Monday, March 30, 2009

PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider course

PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider course

Today was for our Divemaster Trainee Goran to complete his PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider course, which was part of the Divemaster package that he chose.

As usual the course was held in the local Hyperbaric chamber in Bang Rak.

What I really like about this course is the fact that it gives you dive related knowledge for dive emergency situations and how to use the right flow rate with the right Oxygen providing mask.

The course is very hands on and part of the practical part is setting up a working Oxygen station. Here are all parts shown that you need for the course; an oxygen tank, a regulator, a pocket mask, a non-rebreather mask and a mannequin, shown on the picture below.

Goran is practicing how to use the various masks on Annie in different circumstances.

After the course was completed, Goran had a look around at the chamber and received a small, introductionary tour of the chamber and how it works.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Australian International School Hong Kong visiting and diving Koh Samui

Australian International School Hong Kong visiting and diving Koh Samui

For the third year in a row, the Australian International School Hong Kong is visiting and diving around Koh Samui with it's students.
This trip we had 19 Open Water diver students and 3 Advanced Open Water diver students, one of the Advanced Open Water diver students was a teacher and together with two other teachers who had achieved this rating already, they were supervising the trip. Thanks to Steven, Anne and Liz.
All 4 of our Instructors plus Krit, Gav and Mikhail who are participating in the MSDT internship were teaching the 15 and 16 old year kids over a 4 days Open Water diver course.

Under a warm and sunny sky we sat sail to Sail Rock.

On the way over to the dive site of the day, Sail Rock, there was plenty of time to complete Knowledge Review 5 and the Final exam, before the dives of the day started.

It was great to see the MV Waverunner back in action again on Koh Samui shores. The boat accommodates up to 80 divers and snorkelers so today was a nice amount of people on the boat.

The actual destination of today; Sail Rock

The dive site was gorgeous today, during the first dive there was hardly any current at all but lots of different schools of fish, including Batfish, young Barracuda's, adult Yellowtail Barracuda's, Trevally's and plenty more.

Some of the Open Water students with Instructor Gav during a safety stop.

A cleaner shrimp I saw during the second dive today, also at Sail Rock.

Filling out the certification cards with instructors Krit and Mikhail, excitement all around.

The group picture, all students, teachers and instructors on our way back to Samui.

A good day was had by all and we look forward seeing you back next year!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thai Box Jellyfish - The Tentacle Connection

Thai Box Jellyfish - The Tentacle Connection

After various posts on this topic, not necessarily dive related as such, but something for divers in Thailand to be aware of nonetheless, especially after a personal encounter with a box jelly fish on Chaweng reef in 2003, this interesting press release came up through Andrew Jones, father of a young boy who survived a box jellyfish sting in the Gulf of Thailand and who is now an advocate for stinger awareness;

Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery’s Curator of Natural Science is packing her bags and bound for Thailand this week, at the invitation of the Phuket Marine Biology Centre & Thailand Ministry of Public Health to take part in an important workshop and conference about lethal box jellyfish.

Accompanying Dr Gershwin on her trip to Thailand from Australia will be Kim Moss from UniNet Qld (manufacturers of stinger nets), and Andrew Jones from Victoria, who as the father of a young boy who survived a box jellyfish sting in the Gulf of Thailand is now an advocate for stinger awareness.

And as if right on cue, the ''boxies'' have suddenly returned to the island with a researcher collecting almost 40 immature specimens just over a week ago of dangerous box jellyfish in Nam Bor Bay, on Phuket's east coast, not far from Phuket City.

Along with her seminar duties, Dr Gershwin will be involved in 4 days of field work, where she hopes to quickly grasp the ‘lay of the land’ and ascertain which areas are more – or indeed, less – prone to stingers, and whether the box jellyfish are likely to spread to Phuket's popular western beaches.

The April 1-3 seminar has been organised by Dr Somchai Bussarawit, Chief of the Museum and Aquarium at the Phuket Marine Biology Centre, to fast-track local research and knowledge on the marine creatures. Coastal health officials, epidemiologists from Bangkok and marine biologists from all over Thailand will be attending the conference, the largest of its kind so far. Representatives are also coming from Malaysia, which has a jellyfish problem. Topics covered during the seminar will include:

-prediction of the spread of jellyfish
-identification of species
-prevention of stings
-first aid treatment of stings

The seminar is a sign of the growing awareness of the need for proper safety and protection in the sea for residents and tourists, and according to Dr Gershwin, her attendance at the seminar “is the neighbourly thing to do… one country helping another. Not only can we offer assistance in helping the Thai people understand the issues around jellyfish populations and treatment of stings, it’s also about raising awareness of the issue and being responsible to Australian tourists who regularly visit Thailand.”

The Australian team is flying to Phuket with the help of the airline Jetstar and Le Meridien Phuket Resort and Spa. No member of the team is being renumerated for their attendance.

About Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin:

Dr. Lisa-ann Gershwin is the Curator of Natural Science at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and is currently also the Director of the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Services, and is on the Medical Advisory Panel for St. John Ambulance. Prior to her appointment in Launceston, she served as the National Marine Stinger Advisor and was based in Townsville.

Lisa was born in California, and holds a PhD in Marine Biology from James Cook University in Queensland. She originally came to Tasmania in 1998 on a Fulbright Fellowship, to study the effects of jellyfish blooms on commercial fisheries. Finding herself in demand in both Australia and the United States, she spent time in both countries studying problem jellyfish and their management.

Lisa’s role at Launceston City Council’s QVMAG involves scientific research with an emphasis on jellyfish, community education about science, and the development of exhibits. Her numerous other activities include running the Marine Stinger Safety and Education Roadshow in tropical Australia, and advising the Thai government on stinger management.

The Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery is proudly owned and operated by Launceston City Council.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

PADI Platinum Course Director for the third consecutive year running

PADI Platinum Course Director for the third consecutive year running

This month I received the PADI Platinum Course Director for the third consecutive year running, since PADI Asia Pacific introduced this rating.

A reward that this year only 49 PADI Course Directors received worldwide out of more than 1000 PADI Course Directors. Out of these 49 Platinum Course Directors there are even less working for a PADI CDC Center.
It's been an honour and a great reward by PADI to have been included in this rather elite group of Platinum Course Directors since PADI Asia pacific established this rating.

Course Director's are the only people who may conduct the IDC needed to become a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor.

The 2008 Platinum decal, the 2009 decal is in the mail
Enough slapping on the back now, it's time again to go back to work!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

2009 March IE is in the bag!

2009 March IE is in the bag!

Aliroy is a PADI Instructor after an intense 3 day PADI IE on Koh Tao over the last 3 days!

Together with 45 (!) other candidates he started the IE on Tuesday 17th March, as part of the classroom with the instructors to be can be seen here during the orientation.

Aliroy hitting the books to prepare for his Knowledge Development presentation, which he did without a hitch! He passed the previous day already the 5 theory exams and the General Standards & Procedures exam!

Aliroy in the classroom with members of his small group. PADI Examiner Thomas Knedlik is sitting in the back.
Open Water and Confined Water posed no problem for him at all and he passed this IE easily!
Unfortunately I don't have a group picture, since I had to leave Koh Tao prematurely due to private matters, but Aliroy; Well done!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The EFR Instructor course for March 2009 has been completed

The EFR Instructor course for March 2009 has been completed

This time we conducted the EFRI course before the PADI IE started, since due to standards change, PADI IDC candidates need to be either an EFR Instructor or equivalent before their IE application is being processed. This means that the easiest way to achieve this is to either complete the EFRI course shortly before or shortly after the IE. In this case, logistically it worked out best before the upcoming IE.

Besides Aliroy, who we know already from the recent March IDC, Alexandra, a PADI Divemaster participated in this course. Here's Alex in action trying to work out the AED machine.

Aliroy in action trying to revive Little Annie.

The group photo, in front of the control panel of the 'pot' at the local recompression chamber in Bang Rak, where as usual I conducted this EFRI course. During the lunch break we went next door of the Chamber and had some good food at the Picnic Basket.
Now it's off to Koh Tao with Aliroy, tomorrow, for his PADI IE. Stay tuned!

PADI's 2009 Member Forum on Koh Samui

PADI's 2009 Member on Koh Samui

Presented by our RM or Regional Manager, Hans Ullrich, it took place yesterday evening at Centara Grand Beach Resort in Chaweng, every time a great setting for a meeting. There was nice finger food (at least one good reason to go!) and Hans had some interesting stuff to tell us.

It all looks very professional with a nice welcoming sign showing us where to meet. About 30 people showed, a relatively low outcome but most likely affected by the rain last night. A few days ago Hans had a Member Forum on Koh Tao and just over a 100 PADI Members showed up.

Hans during the Member Forum on Samui, talking about some dive scenarios, set up in the virtual world of Second Life, which I found really interesting. I heard a lot about Second Life but this was the first time I saw it in action or an application of it.
There were plenty of other interesting topics that Hans covered and he had a lot of positivism about the current world wide crisis about how it affects the dive industry, particularly in Thailand.

Hans and me after the Member Forum, ready for another year of diving!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The March 2009 IDC has been completed.

The March 2009 IDC has been completed.

Today was the last day where we completed the last training bits and pieces and for this March 2009 IDC and Aliroy is now looking forward to start the PADI IE or Instructor Examination.

We completed all the required performance requirements, set by PADI, like Knowledge Development Presentations or Aliroy giving a presentation on various dive topics from various courses, like the PADI Open Water diver course and PADI Rescue Diver Course or the PADI Divemaster course.
Aliroy also had to prepare some Confined Water skill presentations and Open Water skill presentations plus various other bits and pieces like doing an 800 meter swim and scoring at least 75% in 5 different exam topics and a General Standards & Procedures exam.

He actually completed two parts of the IDC; the Assistant Instructor course and the OWSI Program, together forming the IDC.

As always we had some excellent food during our lunch breaks at World Resort, where I conduct my IDC's.
Keep your eyes posted to see an update from the upcoming PADI IE, next week! Before we're heading over to Koh Tao on Tuesday though, we'll first complete the EFR Instructor course tomorrow at the local Chamber in Bang Rak.

Monday, March 9, 2009

March 2009 IDC is on it's way

March 2009 IDC is on it's way

And it's a one person course. It's been a while I've done an IDC program with just one person, but here we are and Aliroy is the main candidate!

We started to prep course with getting the usual red tape out of the way and with the 5 theory exams. However, Aliroy got a vicious visit from 'Montezuma's Revenge' and we had to stop for a day and a half.

Yesterday we continued and since Aliroy is the only candidate, it's easy to pick up were we left.
We're in full swing now and I will be back with updates towards the end of the course.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

PADI Specialty of the month March 2009; Diver Propulsion Vehicle (DPV) or Underwater Scooter

PADI Specialty of the month March 2009; Diver Propulsion Vehicle (DPV) or Underwater Scooter

It's been exactly a year to the month that the Diver Propulsion Vehicle (DPV) or Underwater Scooter Specialty was Specialty of the month in March 2008.

DPV's are a blast and they scoot you through the water without kicking. They're ideal to cover larger areas underwater or to get somewhere faster!

This specialty consists of 2 fun and action laden dives which can be conducted in just one day.

Sign up this month for the Diver Propulsion Vehicle (DPV) or Underwater Scooter Specialty and receive a 10% discount on the course.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More Divemaster training in the pool

More Divemaster training in the pool

The same three Divemaster Trainees as last week gathered together for another round of Confined Water skills.
Morten is about to complete his Divemaster course so he can start the March IDC, Goran is well on his way to complete the course and Bruno is still in the beginning stages of the course.

Goran during his fin pivot, a buoyancy skill.

Morten (left) and Bruno (right) during their buddy breathing swim.
It'll be a few weeks before we see some more DMT work come by on this blog, first it's time for the March IDC to kick off.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Instructor Specialties for the February IDC are completed

Instructor Specialties for the February IDC are completed

It took a while after the IDC to get going, but today we completed the last Instructor Specialty Training segment from the recent February IDC. The weather conditions weren't looking that great today, but it turned out to be fine day after all, sunny and hot, just as February was all month long, we just had a quick shower on the way back around Koh Phangan.

We started out with the Night Dive Specialty, for which we were joined by Steven and Mikhail, from the December IDC of last year. Above are the Men in Black, ready for nocturnal adventures underwater, from left to right; Steven, Preben, Gav, Krit, Mikhail and myself.

The Underwater Navigation Specialty was on the schedule for Preben and Krit, they can be seen on this picture above practicing Navigation patterns on land at Chaweng Beach, using their compasses.

The same day as we did the Navigation dive, we also completed Search & Recovery Specialty Instructor dives from Chaweng Beach and we usually combine this with some clean up activities, Steven is in this picture with some improvised Search & Recovery utensils, found during the dive, which he's using to collect garbish with. We filled 4 big bags of garbish that day! We were paying some respect to Project AWARE.

Krit and Preben went on to to work on the Digital Underwater Photography Instructor rating during which dive I caught this Nudibranch in a frame. Krit also completed the Underwater Naturalist Specialty and Preben got his Multilevel rating.

Today we went on the speedboat to Sail Rock to have two Deep dives for the Deep Dive Instructor Specialty rating. Gavn, Krit and Preben on their way to Sail Rock in the above picture.
All of them also got their Nitrox Instructor rating, which comes free with my IDC programs.
Gav and Krit are continuing with their MSDT internship program, where they get to certify 25 PADI divers at various levels. Steven and Mikhail have by now almost completed this part of their training.
Having barely finished this Instructor Training part and within just a few more days, I'll be starting another IDC course.
On 4th and 5th April this year, more Wreck Instructor training is schedule in Pattaya on the Pattaya wrecks. If you're interested, let me know.