Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Old school equipment

Old school equipment

An interesting sight during the current IDC is some of the equipment used by some candidates. It's truly old style and there's nothing wrong with that! It is however, in my book, rather interesting to see old style regulators and BCD's and see the development in the brands and/or a specific models.

Working with the company that is the sole and exclusive importer for Mares in Thailand, it's nice to see a common model, the Vector in an old style version, actually a 16 year old version, as pictured above.
It proofs that if you take care of your equipment, it will last a while! Interesting to see is the colour coding on the BCD, a kind of checkered blue that would not be considered to be fashionable nowadays!

Another interesting sight is these two alternate air sources, both Mares models and both around 15 to 16 years old! Again proof that if you take care of your equipment, it will last. The equipment repair course comes to mind to make sure you can deal with minor problems.
Nice to see this equipment and good luck with it guys! Keep looking after it and it will serve you just fine, well after this IDC.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The October IDC has kicked off

The October IDC has kicked off

Today was the first day of the new and current IDC, after we completed the prep course yesterday and starting the AI or Assistant Instructor course part of the IDC. Craig, Olivier, Bruno and Gregory had their first taste of IDC PowerPoint presentations today and we talked about preparing Knowledge Development- and Confined Water presentations.

They also completed their skill circuit today and Gregory and Olivier can be seen during their air depletion skill.

Craig and Bruno give it a go together at the Alternate Air Source skill during their skill circuit.

If you follow this blog on a regular base, than you should know by now that part of the IDC training involves practicing rescue exercise # 7 of the Rescue diver course and Gregory tries to rescue Bruno in this picture, with Paul waving in the background.

Craig, Olivier and James, who's completing his IDCS course, seem to be having quite a bit of fun at this rescue attempt.

Last but not least, Gregory in action during his performance of a Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent, which is slightly more challenging for him than the other 3 candidates, since he doesn't have a PADI background, but is crossing over from another recreational dive organisation. He's standing his ground though and if you like to keep updated about their progress, stay tuned to this channel!

Monday, September 28, 2009

IDC Prep is underway

IDC Prep is underway

Yesterday the October IDC prep course started at World Resort, as usual. It's going to be a busy classroom with candidates, James doing his IDCS course, Paul who already is an IDCS instructor is staffing and there are also 4 Japanese IDC candidates with their IDCS instructors.

Olivier, Gregory, James, Bruno, Paul and Craig just after they completed the physics exam. During the afternoon they practiced the skill circuit and rescue exercise # 7 of the Rescue diver course.

Today we will finish the prep course and tomorrow the actual IDC will kick off. Stay tuned for more information on this course.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

IDCS course started today

IDCS course started today

It’s been a couple of months ago when Mike started and completed his IDCS course and today it’s James’ turn, to start his IDCS course. James completed his IDC and PADI IE in February 2008 so it’s a very good time for him to look into this IDC to complete his IDCS course.

As usual on this extra day before the start of the IDC, we had loads of classroom time, exams straight after breakfast, followed by some presentations by me and than the evaluation video’s which James needs to score and get within a certain grade of the official PADI score.

Here’s James in front of his tank filling station that he has at his own dive shop.

Tomorrow the IDC will kick off and we will get wet again. Keep your eyes posted to this blog for more updates.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Samui Mala Festival, the GIDOA part

Samui Mala Festival, the GIDOA part

Today it's time for some educational aspects of diving, divers and dive centers.

First of all, from 19 - 27 September, the Mala festival is held on Samui and today was Blue Day, when GIDOA came into action. You can visit GIDOA's Facebook page and find out more about them, the Green Island Dive Operators Association, of which I'm part of and today our platform was at the Kandaburi Hotel where we highlighted water and reef issues including try-dives at the pool and gave some presentations, mainly to children of the Blue Water school on Samui. Previous activities of GIDOA amongst other included a beach clean up at Bang Rak.
Representatives of Bio Rock were also on site and participated in the activities.

The Project AWARE corner at the Kandaburi with plenty of information by and from this organisation. Thanks to Joanne at Project Aware in Australia we had plenty of materials available to help us set up this stand.

A nice flowchart by Green Fins Thailand, available in Thai and English informing us on how long it takes down to break materials down. Ranging from plastic bags to aluminium cans to flip flops.

A captive audience during one of the presentations, this one was about what GIDOA is and what they do and the effects of garbage on the underwater environment.

Geoff, one of our instructors at work with 5 young ladies who are participating in a try dive or Discover Scuba Diving in the pool. The pool was filled with garbage by us, like fish nets with small plastic fish caught up in it, empty plastic bottles, a car tire etc so they can experience how that looks like underwater.

The Bangkok Samui Hospital supported today's event by sending an ambulance plus staff to stand by in case of a medical emergency, good for us that we didn't need them but thanks for coming over.
Thanks to all who helped out today, Marion, Paul, Sarah, Becci and Geoff, Mel and all staff of the various shops that came along.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Project AWARE International Clean Up Day 2009 @ Chaweng Beach

Project AWARE International Clean Up Day 2009 @ Chaweng Beach

Today, 19th September 2009 was announced as Project Aware's International Clean Up Day and just like last year, we went with staff and interns to Chaweng Beach to pick up a few kilo's of rubbish and garbage. Unfortunately we were successful!

My estimation is that with the 10 bags of garbage that we collected we picked up around 35 to 40 kilo's of garbage. One of the stranger things we picked up was this hood of a jet ski.

Commonly found garbage included lots of empty glass and plastic bottles and various kind of clothes, varying from hats, to sunglasses and even shoes. Above is a plastic canister pictured that we found.

A few of the bags and other times that we found today, including a plastic beach chair and various pvc pipes.

The group picture, taken back at headquarters, where later today we will have a nice BBQ or barbie as the Aussies say. Thanks for the big turnout guys! It was a pleasure, with thanks to Becci, Bruno, Gregory, Olivier, Craig, Gav, Steve W, Uncle Steve, David F, Eric, Kwan, Jonesi, Xavier, Rob, Massi and myself!
See you next year!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The new PADI Open Water diver course from an Instructors perspective

The new PADI Open Water diver course from an Instructors perspective

As some of you may know, PADI has announced the introduction of a new or rather extended version of the Open Water diver course, now it can be taught using dive computers and the RDP Table or eRDPML becomes optional if you opt teaching the Open Water diver course with a dive computer although you can teach both the computer and either or both versions of the RDP tables.

There's a brand new computer book that you need for teaching the course this way;
Open Water Computer option with manual (PADI AP catalogue #'s to be announced later)
- OR -
Open Water Computer option with Multimedia Disc (PADI AP catalogue #'s to be announced later)

Table with instructions a la carte (PADI AP catalogue #'s to be announced later)

Currently there are no plans to integrate the computer option into eLearning.

PADI will print a new exam in late 2009 or early 2010. For now there is an errata (free download from the homepage of The most current PADI Open Water exam has a revision date of 2008.

Exciting for an instructor is that there will be a new revised version of the Prescriptive Lesson Guides, this product has undergone drastic changes and will be released towards the end of this year.

There will no new Open Water diver course Instructor Guide, however, PADI will release a completely new (streamlined) instructor manual in 2010. Instructors who renew before the end of 2009 will receive a CD version of the new instructor manual for free with their first quarter 2010 Undersea Journal in the USA.

You can find more information on teaching the computer option if you reference the third quarter 2009 training bulletin.

Good to know is that the Open Water diver manual and DVD have not changed.

PADI Standards require all Open Water students to own a copy of the Open Water Manual. Computer students must complete knowledge reviews 1-3 from the OW manual, but are not required to complete 4 and 5. In lieu of knowledge reviews 4-5 from the Open Water manual, the computer student completes two knowledge reviews from the How to Use and Choose Dive Computers manual. Answers to these knowledge reviews can be downloaded from the PADI Pros site.

What is the Dive Simulator?

The Dive Simulator is a generic dive computer used to illustrate some of the topics discussed in the How to Use and Choose Dive Computers manual. The simulator is a free download (access information can be found in the Computers manual). Students are not required to use the Dive Simulator.

How does PADI address variety of dive computers on the market (and differences in dive planning calculations)?

The How to Use and Choose Dive Computers manual discusses general computer use and refers students to their users manual for specific details. Please look in this article which includes sample pages. Quiz and exam questions are worded to address general computer usage rather than specific scenarios.

All in all an exciting new development in the Open Water diver course and a perfect way for you as an instructor to get your Open Water student accustomed to dive computers at the earliest possible stages.

All information from this post comes from this very useful PADI USA North Western blog, thanks for the info!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Another round of Divemaster training

Another round of Divemaster training

Today was the first day in the pool for a skill circuit for Grainne and David and a second time around for Craig, who was already here last year in October and November.

Bruno and Olivier are Divemasters already and were invited to refresh their skills for the upcoming IDC, starting towards the end of the month and of which Craig will also be a participant.

It all went good and was rather successful and after a couple of hours in the pool, we called it a day and they got signed off on a couple of skills each. Soon more to follow.

In the picture from left to right; Olivier, David, Grainne, Craig and Bruno.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Instructor Specialties in the making

Instructor Specialties in the making

Antoine and Chris aka Jonesi continued on after the recent IDC and PADI IE with their Instructor level Specialty training.
The Specialties we tackled included Deep, Underwater Navigation, Search & Recovery, Night diving, DUP (Digital Underwater Photography), Nitrox and Underwater Naturalist.

We went to dive around Koh Tao one day and here's a shot of Mae Haad bay on our way back after two fantastic dives at Japanese Gardens.

Visibility was superb, with a good 20 meters and we saw plenty of interesting things underwater, amongst them a lot of these lovely Christmas Trees as pictured above.

A really interesting encounter was with this Star Puffer fish who was being cleaned by a cleaner wrasse and didn't move for at least 5 minutes, enjoying being cleaned and I take it also our interest. The cleaner fish is just about to disappear in the puffer's gill.

This colorful shot is from an anemone that was waving around in a mild current and exposed it's very colorful side.

During the dives on Chaweng beach we encountered also some cool stuff, like this octopus which was hiding in a kind of ball.

What excited me very much was this pipe fish and I can't make up mind which kind it is, it may be a black banded one but I'm not sure. It was at least 30 cm long and it just kept sitting there, without moving, giving me some good photo opportunities.

We also completed a night dive as one of the Specialties and I yet need to find a place where you see more crabs during a dive than here. This one looks like a swimmer crab and he's got plenty of family around at night!
Thanks for some great fun during the dives and good luck to Jonesi who is about to start his MSDT internship as soon as he receives his teaching status.
Stay tuned, the next IDC is about to start in less than 2 weeks!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The September 2009 PADI IE is done and over with!

The September 2009 PADI IE is done and over with!

Jonesi, Antoine and Kobi were as successful as always and bagged this PADI IE on Koh Tao like there was no tomorrow.

Antoine, Jonesi and Kobi during the IE, wrapping it up one at a time. Tuesday they started with an IE orientation directly followed by the 5 theory exams and a General Standards & Procedures exam.
Wednesday morning they tackled the Knowledge Development part convincingly.

During the afternoon they were on the boat for their Open Water presentation, as can be seen above.

Today they finished it all off with a Confined Water presentation and we just walked out of the closing ceremony where this 'official' picture was taken with from left to right; Jonesi, Antoine, Kobi, myself and Thomas the PADI Examiner.
Now off to some diving and complete the Specialty Instructor training and Jonesi is going to complete the MSDT internship as well.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The September 2009 IDC has been completed

The September 2009 IDC has been completed

Kobi, Antoine and Chris have successfully completed the OWSI part from this IDC. More classroom presentations by me were part of this course but they had to throw in their weight as well with their own Knowledge Development-, Confined- and Open Water presentations.

Some of the non diving training aids that have been collected in the IDC classroom after the candidates donated them to be used for the next class of candidates. A can of Olives (Hi Imad!), MSG, band aid and plenty of other interesting items.

Today we finished with an Open Water dive and Kobi can be seen during his debrief.
Tuesday we're off to Koh Tao for the PADI IE. Stay tuned.

Friday, September 4, 2009

PADI Specialty of the Month September 2009; Project AWARE

PADI Specialty of the Month September 2009; Project AWARE

If you want to learn about the plight of worldwide aquatic ecosystems and how you can protect them, this Project AWARE Specialty course is for you. This non-diving Specialty course may also be conducted in conjunction with other PADI Specialty Diver courses.

You'll learn about aquatic ecosystem degradation and the conservation measures protecting aquatic resources. This includes:
- The Project AWARE philosophy
- The importance and interdependence of worldwide aquatic ecosystems
- Current issues regarding fisheries, coastal zone management and marine pollution
- The status of several critically degraded marine environments
- How you can help

One way of helping is to order with each PADI course that you complete, a Project AWARE certification card. With a minimum of just 10,-AUD you will receive a special Project AWARE certification card, each year will have a different design. the shark shown here is from the 2005 card.

If you participate in the course, this is the manual that you will receive, a very interesting manual with plenty of useful information.
Sign up now and receive 10% discount on the course fee. No dive certification is required and there's no minimal age limit.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

EFR Instructor Course for September is bagged

EFR Instructor Course for September is bagged

Yes indeed, today Kobi, Chris and Antoine completed their EFR Instructor course.
Tomorrow we continue again with the OWSI course as part of the current IDC.

The guys are getting ready to asses an accident scene in order to rescue a victim and stay out of trouble or get injured themselves.
Some kind of male bonding must be going on here or is just checking their blood circulation? True blood part 17b?

As usual, the EFRI course was held in the classroom of the local recompression chamber in Bang Rak and here's the official picture, from left to right; Jonesi, Antoine, Kobi and myself.