Saturday, December 27, 2008

Goodbye to 2008

It's time to look back to this year!

It has been a good year and this is a good time to reflect on it. If you're into to number crunching, read on;

On the teaching front, I conducted 8 IDC's with 31 candidates out of which all passed except for one who I advised not to participate in an IE to start with. This year I certified only one IDCS Instructor, which is a lot less than average. I also taught my 200th IDC candidate this year after becoming a PADI Course Director in April 2003!
I'm also on my 49th IDC that I conduct as a PADI Course Director, the next IDC, in February 2009 will be my 50th IDC.

Out of these 31 IDC candidates 12 found work on Samui, 3 in Thailand and 6 outside of Thailand. Some weren't concerned about getting work and completed their course for other reasons or participated in order to realise long term plans, still in progress or on the drawing table.

24 EFR Instructors and Care for Children instructors were certified by me during 2008 and 140 Specialty Instructor courses were conducted during the year. The most popular Instructor Specialty by far was Nitrox, followed by Deep, DUP, Underwater Navigation and Night.

Dive wise, I enjoyed some good dives at Chaweng Beach where there's lot of excellent muck diving and many small creatures can be spotted there that you don't tend to see on the dive sites around Koh Tao or at Sail Rock.
The whaleshark encounter at Chumpon Pinnacle in August with Richard was also something to remember as were my two trips to Pattaya this year for the Wreck dive Instructor Specialty with some of my IDC candidates!

During this year I logged my 1.500th dive and 1.000 hours underwater and I clocked another few 'dives' as a volunteer tender at the local recompression chamber in Bang Rak!

All right, enough number crunching, I hope you enjoyed 2008 as much as I did, dive wise and hope to see you around next year, for some diving, for the IDC or for any other good reason you can think of!

Good luck in 2009,

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

EFR Instructor course and Specialty Instructor training during December 2008

EFR Instructor course and Specialty Instructor training during December 2008

Not so surprisingly, if you have been following this blog, this training was undergone by Steven and Mike.

After the completion of the IE and the subsequent visit to Chaweng afterwards, we had a day off to recover from the party activities, which was well deserved and very much needed!

After the day off, we started the program with the EFRI course at the local recompression chamber in Bang Rak. Mike is trying to revive Little Annie during the skill and scenario practice.

Happy faces after completing the course. As usual, a free tour of the chamber was included and that can be an interesting experience, especially if it's the first time that you see a recompression chamber. I always hope that it will lower the tresh hold a chamber may have!

After the EFRI course it was on to the boat and some diving at last! Over two days we completed the Deep-, Digital Underwater Photography-, Underwater Navigation- and Nitrox Instructor Specialty. They're well on their way to the MSDT rating, their next step!
In order to gain this rating they need however 5 Instructor Specialties instead of the current 4! However, due to the low visibility currently on Chaweng Beach, we will continue and complete the Specialty instructor training with the Search & Recovery- and Night diver Instructor ratings in the New Year. In the meantime they're both participating in the MSDT internship, during which they get to certify 25 PADI divers at various levels, another prerequisite for the MSDT rating.

A nice shot of some Christmas Trees at the Twins dive site near Koh Tao seems to be the right picture for the season!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another 100% score on a PADI IE, December 2008 is done and dusted!

Another 100% score on a PADI IE, December 2008 is done and dusted!

Steven and Mikhail successfully completed the December 2008 PADI IE. Well done guys!

As usual they started last Tuesday with the orientation, with almost 30 other evenly nervous fellow candidates. This is how the classroom looked like just before the orientation kicked off.
Since good luck has nothing to do with their performance anymore, this is the closing slide of the orientation, presented by PADI examiners Thomas Knedlik and Rob Scammell.

They both passed the exams with flying colors and yesterday saw them in action for their Knowledge Development presentation and in the afternoon it was time for their Open Water segment. Here they both are shortly before boarding the boat.
They passed both segments of the IE with very strong scores, both scoring a 5.0 (the highest score possible) on one of their two Open Water presentations.

Today the last segment was on the menu, the confined water presentation and a skill circuit consisting of 5 skills. Once more, this was dealt with in a very confident way and they both had impressive scores.
The picture above shows Steven and Mikhail listening intently to Rob’s briefing, together with other candidates during this IE.

At last, the official picture of this PADI IE; from left to right; Steven Wainwright (OWSI), Rob Scammell (PADI Examiner), Camille Lemmens (PADI Course Director) and Mikhail Shelan (OWSI).

Now it’s off to Samui, for our IDC/IE party with a nice buffet dinner at Bongoes and than most likely off to downtown Chaweng for a few celebration drinks. On Saturday we continue with the EFRI course.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

PADI Specialty of the month December 2008; Search & Recovery

PADI Specialty of the month December 2008; Search & Recovery

During my MSDT training after the IDC's the Search & Recovery specialty is among the more popular ones amongst the newly certified PADI Instructors and for a reason!

Now ask yourself, where do you dive? Right, in water. So what happens sooner or later around this water; people loose things. Now, with the knowledge you gain during the Search & Recovery specialty you will be able to find the lost items back.

You get more practical knowledge on how to work with a compass, how to organise and conduct search patterns and how to use a lift bag! Great stuff and loads of fun! The specialty consists of 4 dives and they're all action packed and interesting. You learn how to find big or small items back and how to choose the correct search pattern that is the most effective for the bottom composition where you're searching and not only that, you also learn how to get it back to the surface.

In order to participate you need to be a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver or Junior Advanced Open Water Diver certification (or qualifying certification from another organization) OR
PADI Open Water Diver or Junior Open Water Diver AND PADI Underwater Navigation certifications (or qualifying certification from another organization) and the minimum age is 12 years old.

Book the Search & Recovery specialty in December this year and you receive a 10% discount on the course price.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The December 2008 IDC is done and over with.

The Dember 2008 IDC is done and over with.

It's already my 49th IDC as a PADI Course Director since I entered the Course Director ranks back in 2003.
We completed and survived more PowerPoint presentations, confined water presentations and open water presentations.

Due to the rough weather and waves around Koh Samui, we took the boat over to Koh Tao and completed our Open Water presentations in one day, split up over two dives.

Here's Steven giving the kiss of life to Mikhail, at least that's what he makes us believe, since we had to practice more Rescue skills!

Mikhail trying to rescue Steven at Mango Bay, after the first dive.

Part of the Open Water dives during an IDC is an Adventures in Diving workshop, during which we practise rigging and lifting a lift bag from the Search & Recovery specialty, mostly a first for most of my candidates.

Also from the Search & Recovery specialty is the knot tying. During my IDC's you learn how to tie a Bowline, 2 half hitches and a sheet bend. We also look into a reef knot, since you may confuse it with a sheet bend.
We also conducted 2 skills and here Steven is controlling the simulated out of air skill from the Rescue diver course.
We had invited Chris, who participated in last month's IDC and is currently diving on Koh Tao for a month. He can be seen on the right side opf the picture.
Tomorrow we're off to Koh Tao for the PADI IE.
Stay tuned for more updates.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The AI part of the December 08 IDC has been completed

The AI part of the December 08 IDC has been completed

The 6 days of the prep and AI course flew by. We had good fun and plenty of new things were learned.

The food at World Resort was as always outstanding and the perfect midday break to look forward to each day.

Knowledge Development presentations were on the menu and Steve is trying to explain what's wrong with his ears!

Steven and Mikhail demonstrating the perfect 'PADI Hi Five'

During their Confined Water presentations, Steven is demonstrating the Alternate Air Source use. Besides their Confined Water Presentations, we also practised for three days a skill circuit consisting of 20 different skills.

As usual, we practiced Rescue scenario # 7 from the Rescue Diver course in the pool.
Due to the recent weather conditions we couldn't dive on the beach and will complete the Open Water part of the IDC on Thursday from a boat around Koh Tao.
Keep an eye out for more news on this IDC during the next couple of days.