Thursday, April 30, 2009

PADI IE April 2009; mission completed

PADI IE April 2009; mission completed

Rob passed all 4 PADI IE exam segments on Koh Tao and thus can call himself a PADI OWSI as of today.
After all the work during the IDC, it’s good to now be able to kick back for a few days before we continue with the Instructor Specialty training.

Two days ago the IE kicked off with the orientation. There were 39 participants and 3 PADI Examiners.

A room full of nervous IE candidates

This morning Rob completed the last segment, after the Theory part, the Knowledge Development and the Open Water segments, it was today the turn for Confined Water.
All was well, with Rob on the far left during a briefing of one of his fellow candidates.

Here’s the official picture, from left to right; myself, Rob and Rob the PADI Examiner.


Monday, April 27, 2009

EFRI course for April is in the can.

EFRI course for April is in the can.

Today Rob completed his EFRI course at the usual location, the local recompression chamber in Bang Rak.

As a 'surprise' guest, my wife participated as well, to give her an idea about the Instructor course, after she helped me out with the EFR course in the Imperial Boathouse. She'll be back and will sit in one more time to get a better grasp and understanding of the material at hand.

Rob at the controls of the AED.

Group picture, from left to right, myself, my wife and Rob.

Tomorrow we're off to Koh Tao for Rob's PADI IE.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mission completed for the April 2009 PADI IDC.

Mission completed for the April 2009 PADI IDC.

Today we finished the current IDC and Rob did very well. He came well prepared to this IDC and had high scores on most of his presentations and exams. Still a steep learning curve but he's also glad this part is over and he can start the PADI IE soon. Tuesday morning we go over to Koh Tao to start that IE.
Before we get on the ferry though, we will first complete the EFRI course tomorrow.

Rob in action during a confined water skill.

Knowledge Development in the classroom, Rob showing off his BCD during a Rescue diver course presentation.

Well done Rob and good luck during the IE!


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Surfing and box jellyfish!

Surfing and box jellyfish!

A strange combination to start with and where does the diving come in?

Today I received two different messages from two different girls originating from and living on two different continents.

The first message was from Holly Beck, a well known US surfer who competes at the worlds surf stage and recently got into diving. Her shots together with a whaleshark became pretty famous. The surf and dive industry, including PADI, are building bridges and that's more or less how Holly got in to diving. She confirmed my link exchange request today, which makes me very happy and I added her to my blog roll in return!

The second message was from a Malaysian blogger, Miss F. She got stung by box jellyfish very recently, posted about it on her blog, including some very impressive pictures of her injuries. Since she didn't know anything about box jellyfish and her injuries, she found my blog on the net whilst researching the subject at hand and since I've been writing a lot about my experiences with box jellyfish she found my blog.

They both write excellent blogs by the way, very different content on each blog but worthwhile checking out and that's how two very different topics, surfing and box jellyfish come together. In their own rights, not directly related to diving but they are definitely connected now!


Sunday, April 19, 2009

April 2009 IDC under way!

April 2009 IDC under way!

It took me a while to report about this IDC but over the last 3 days I'm having problems accessing my blogger sites and we're on day 4 of this current April 2009 IDC, including two Prep days.

So far during my 6 years as a PADI Course Director I've had only two IDC's with one candidate, excluding last month IDC, but this is now the second IDC in a row with one candidate.

Folks, if you are reading this blog, it's time to sign up for my IDC's! Don't hesitate!

Rob is participating in this IDC however and Rob has been on Samui for quite a while now, he joined us in September 2007 for the Rescue diver course and he took it very slowly to complete his PADI Divemaster course.

The IDC is following it's usual outline, Rob has completed his Prep exams, we've done the first Knowledge Development presentations and lots of Confined Water work. The picture above shows Rob whilst he demonstrates a Fin Pivot, a buoyancy skill from the Open Water diver course during his skill circuit.

We practiced Rescue Diver training exercise # 7, Unconscious diver at the surface.

As usual, we are enjoying our lunches at World Resort.
Keep your eyes focused here to this blog to get more updates about the progress of this IDC.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

New Divemaster trainee on the block

New Divemaster trainee on the block

Bas just started his Divemaster course a few days ago. He's planning to complete the course within this month, April 2009. Not impossible but it will require hard work, but Bas seems to be up for it.

Bas and me in the dive shop

Bas started out completing the Advanced Open Water, the EFR and Rescue Diver courses before he committed to his Divemaster course.

As an interesting side note, Bas is travelling Asia by bike. He didn't take his bike to Samui but rather rented a motorbike instead for the time he's going to spend here.

Bas, hope you enjoy your Divemaster course as much as you enjoyed the previous courses.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

PADI Platinum Course Director Status

PADI Platinum Course Director Status

For the first time since I reached the Platinum Course Director status, I received a wall certificate.

Couldn't with hold this for you, so here goes;

Not bad, keep your eyes tuned to this site for more updates on the official Instructor Development award ceremony!


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Course Director update in Bangkok

Course Director update in Bangkok

Yesterday was my mandatory, 2 year PADI Course Director update. It was presented by Colin Melrose, Manager of the Asia Pacific Instructor Development and was held at the Mercure hotel at Fortune tower, next to the IT Mall.
33 colleagues joined me in the conference room and we had some interesting presentations and discussions.

It seems that enxt year there's going to be a mandatory update, more news by than!!

Colin Melrose and myself, during today's IDCS update, to which 19 persons attended.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Wreck diving in Pattaya

Wreck diving in Pattaya

Today we finished 2 days of wreck diving in Pattaya, that's besides me, Mikhail and Steve, former IDC candidates of mine.
We completed two wreck dives, one on the HTMS Koot and one on the HTMS Khram, both dives counting towards the PADI Wreck Instructor Specialty rating.
That wasn't all however, we also completed a dive for Naturalist Instructor Specialty and a Drift Instructor Specialty dive. The latter being a specialty that just like the Wreck dive specialty, I don't get to teach that often, since drift diving is not really possible from Samui.

Hats off to Danny at Seaduction for rescueing the day when he found out in the morning that their boat couldn't go out on the first day and he kept a cool head and arranged an alternative boat for us on very short notice. These are definately the guys to contact when diving in Pattaya.

Today we dived the HTMS Khram during the first dive of the day and the visibility was really nice, a good 10 meters.
Towards the end of the dive, after the safety stop but before reaching the surface my since January brand new underwater housing managed to leak somehow and my housing was flooded and the camera was history! Right now I wasn't able to retrieve the pix I took, but maybe I can retrieve them once I'm on Samui. I was not a happy camper, that's for sure!

Yesterday we dived the HTMS Koot, a sister ship of the HTMS Khram. during this dive my camera still worked and below there will be some pix. The picture above is taken just before the Koot was sunk.

Part of the HTMS Koot from the inside, an electricity box.

This file fish was inside the Koot.

This lovely crab made also an appearance during our dive on the Koot.
It was a weekend well spend with some good wreck dives. For anybody who's interested in easy accessible wrecks in Thailand, well within recreational dive depths, Pattaya is your destination.
Hope to see you soon in Pattaya again.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

PADI Award for Instructor Development awarded to Camille

PADI Award for Instructor Development awarded to Camille

Camille has been awarded the Instructor Development Award for region 26; Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.
The reason for receiving the award, as mentioned by Hans Ullrich, PADI regional manager for this region, are my dive blog activities and the fact that despite Koh Tao being very nearby Koh Samui, with its very competitive IDC market, I still managed to have at least 30 IDC candidates each year for the last 5 year, since I became a PADI Course Director.
Having just started the ‘Awards’ tag or label when I posted a few weeks ago about my third consecutive year as a PADI Platinum Course Director, I didn’t expect to be able to use this tag again so quickly!

It’s been very rewarding to receive this award for Instructor Development since it’s a recognition for the hard work I put in the last couple of years and it’s good to know now and see that turning over big numbers is not the only criteria PADI goes by.

Here’s an excerpt from the PADI newsletter;

To better recognize the achievements of those PADI Dive Centres and Resorts who have made significant contributions to the growth and development of diving, PADI Asia Pacific is pleased to announce details of the finalists of this year’s PADI Asia Pacific Member Awards programme.
Adopting a fresh new format, one that provides a system in which all PADI Members can participate, the PADI Member Awards programme was based on eight separate Asia Pacific regions; a system that ensured PADI Members compete with other PADI Members within their own geographical region for one of five Awards.

All PADI Dive Centres and Resorts within each of the eight regions were considered for nomination by a specially convened selection panel, who selected up to three finalists for each of the regional Awards.

A panel of PADI judges then considered all of the finalists within each region and we are very pleased to announce the following finalists and winners of this year’s awards. PADI congratulates all of our Members on the outstanding job you do training divers and we wish you the best of success for the remainder of 2009.

The finalists in the Instructor Development were;

Instructor Development Award

Mermaids Dive Center S-2694
Planet Scuba/SIDS Koh Samui S-2463
Seafun Divers S-2802

WINNER: Camille Lemmens #933812 from Planet Scuba/SIDS Koh Samui S-2463

The other categories and their respective winners are;

Outstanding (Dive Centre/Resort) Business Award

Bans Dive Resort S-2645Crystal Divers Koh Tao S-6467Seafun Divers S-2802
WINNER: Bans Dive Resort S-2645

Diver Acquisition Award

Phi Phi Barakuda S-16798Simple Life Divers S-36013Sailing Club Divers S-6354
WINNER: Phi Phi Barakuda S-16798

Diver Retention Award

Crystal Divers Koh Tao S-6467Seashell Dive Resort S-6598Sunshine Divers S-6153
WINNER: Crystal Divers Koh Tao S-6467

Project AWARE Marine Environmental Award

Crystal Divers Koh Tao S-6467Kon-Tiki Thailand S-6302Mermaids Dive Center S-2694 WINNER: Mermaids Dive Center S-2694

Congratulations to all the other winners and as soon as I get handed the award, there’ll be more updates with pictures on this Instructor Development award!


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Specialty of the month for April 2009; Digital Underwater Photography

Specialty of the month for April 2009; Digital Underwater Photography

This specialty make my world go faster! Although I use fairly simple almost kinda aim and shoot cameras, first a Canon IXY 80 and now a Canon IXUS 85 15. The latter, including an underwater housing can be had for a mere 13.500,-THB at Pantip Plaza in Bangkok.

Cleaner shrimp at Pattaya

Back to this exciting Specialty though, digital has taken the underwater photography world by storm, including myself! It's a great way to show friends and relatives how beautiful the underwater is. By taking the Digital Underwater Photography specialty course you’ll soon be making pictures like the pros. And you’ll also learn to process your photos on the computer.

Red tailed Butterfly fish at the Similan Islands, January 2009

The course is a good introduction on how to get started with a digital camera underwater and can be adjusted to the knowledge level you're at.

Western Clownfish at the Similan islands, January 2009
Over the years, during my IDC's , I've had two great photographers in my course, one is Imp, a true legend from Malaysia, check out his site for some exciting pix and the other is Richard from the Netherlands who can take a mean picture.

Banded boxer shrimp at Sail Rock, March 2009

If you sign up for the Digital Underwater Specialty during this April, you'll receive a 10% discount on the course price.

Whaleshark at Chumpon Pinnacle, 2008

Tube Anemone at Twins, 2008

Pink Anemone Fish at Mango Bay, 2008

Giant Moray Eel at Sail Rock, 2008
Hope you enjoy taking pictures underwater as much as I do and if you're interested, this is a course to get you on your way or even beyond!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dutch Tourism Uni, presentation about diving on Samui

Dutch Tourism Uni, presentation about diving on Samui

Students of the NHTV, Internationale Hogeschool Breda, Academie voor Tourisme or Breda University of Applied Science visited Samui for the second time in 4 years time, and just like 4 years ago, I was asked to give a presentation about Samui and it's diving.
Last week and today for two different groups I did a presentation and the topics I touched upon where amongst others;

-The development of diving on Koh Samui
-Changes in the local diving market
-Koh Samui and it's relation to Koh Phangan and Koh Tao
-PADI and it's role

It was interesting to meet such large groups of students and try to give an interesting presentation.
Their tasks on Samui (today's group of students also had a detachment going off to investigate Koh Phangan) are very hands on and they have to go out and get some field work done by talking to shop owners and actual tourists.

During both presentations, there was some good interaction going on and during the final question round, plenty of good questions were fired at me.

An interesting experience and I hope to see them back again soon. Hope you all enjoy Koh Samui and get time to go diving!