Sunday, May 31, 2009

Garbage blights dive sites in Thailand

Garbage blights dive sites in Thailand

A few days ago there was a disturbing article in the Bangkok Post about the amount of garbage found in Thai waters. A staggering 22 tonnes of garbage have been found, including the hotly discussed mysterious containers in the Samaesarn area of Sattahip district.

Here's the full article;

Garbage blights dive sites
Published: 26/05/2009 at 12:00 AM

"Marine officials found more than 22 tonnes of garbage dumped into the sea last year, most of it at famous dive spots. Koh Samaesarn in Chon Buri province was the site of the biggest undersea garbage dump, Department of Marine and Coastal Resources chief Samran Rakchart said yesterday.

The Samaesarn area of Sattahip district is where the mysterious containers that have been in the news lately are located. An investigation team is trying to find out what is inside the containers.

Half of the garbage found at Samaesan is plastic and beer bottles.

Koh Kra in Nakhon Si Thammarat province contains another large mound of garbage. Most of it is fishing equipment.

Mr Samran said his department had been collecting records of sunken garbage in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand.

The trash causes the death of many marine animals every year, he said. Autopsies conducted on dead dolphins and sea turtles had found all manner of junk in their stomachs.

It is estimated that 6.4 million tonnes of garbage a year, or 1,800 tonnes a day, is being dumped into the sea globally. Almost 90% of the garbage is plastic waste."

A disturbing article and you can only hope that the amount of garbage that's being dumped in the world oceans will reduce.

Over the years I've been picking up trash during lots of dive, but especially during the Project Aware Beach Clean Up Days, always in September each year and during the Search & Recovery that I teach at Instructor level, my students and myself take kilos of garbage mainly out of Chaweng Beach. Car tyres, plastic beach chairs, plastic baskets, empty beer bottles, tons of sunglasses and beach wear, dive and snorkel masks and general rubbish has been brought out of the water by me over the years. Maybe a drop on a hot plate but it definitely makes me feel better that I start and act small in my own 'backyard' if I read an article like this, since you have to start somewhere and your 'own' place is as good as any.

If you're a diver, I can only urge you to join Project Aware and/or similar organisations and be a responsible and ecological aware diver.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Platinum CD and other Awards stuff

Platinum CD and other Awards stuff

It's been a fairly quiet month for me, dive and teaching wise, although there was plenty 'behind the scenes' work going. Website updating, doing bits and pieces of SEO and being active with other social web platforms like my Facebook acount or my LinkedIn profile and various web forums that I participate in, not to mention updating my Samui Info and weather blog.

Next month should be a busier month with more frequent updates, there will be an IDC starting 8th June and that alone will generate plenty of blog entries.

In the meantime, I have been receiving all the physical evidence of the awards that I received recently, my personal highlight being that I received the PADI Instructor Development Award out of Drew Richardson's hands.
The decal for the Platinum Course Director rating has been in the mailbox as well, which makes it all complete for this year, so far that is!

Wall certificate for the Instructor Development Award
Looking forward seeing you here again next month.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Divemaster trainees training and Oxygen Provider courses

Divemaster trainees training and Oxygen Provider courses

It's that time of the month again and the Divemaster trainees were calling.

With Bruno I spent this morning covering various aspects of Physics of Diving, laced with bits and pieces of Physiology. He should be completing his Nitrox diver certification soon, in order to get a better grasp on Partial Pressure. Right, good old Dalton and his Law!

Yesterday was another day of confined water skill circuit practice. From left to right saw Richard, who will participate in the upcoming June IDC, Bas and Bruno take a plunge and practice skills, skills and some more skills.
Yesterday afternoon I conducted an Oxygen Provider course with Bas, Rob and Bruno. Rob and Bruno will complete their Instructor rating for this specialty soon, once Bruno has completed his Divemaster course.
In between all this activity I also managed to pick up my PADI Instructor Development Award, presented by Drew Richardson, the President and Chief Operations Officer for PADI Worldwide, who is on Koh Samui right now.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Instructor Development Award Ceremony

Instructor Development Award Ceremony

Today I received the Instructor Development Award, handed over by Drew Richardson, the President and Chief Operations Officer for PADI Worldwide, who happens to be on Koh Samui right now.

Drew Richardson, the President and Chief Operations Officer for PADI Worldwide on the right, who's seemingly a bit more camera experienced than me by looking at the right camera at the right time!

The actual award.
Thanks to PADI for rewarding me this way, it's nice to see that not only quantity but also quality gets rewarded!
This is the right time or as good as anytime really, to join me in one of my IDC's or any other Professional level training courses that I offer.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Specialty Instructor in the making

Specialty Instructor in the making

The last couple of days I've been conducting some Instructor level Specialty training with Rob.
We conducted the Navigation and Search & Recovery Specialties off of Chaweng Beach and the Deep dive Specialty at Sail Rock, surrounded by whale sharks, but more to that later.

Believe it or not, but these coat hangers are actually part of the Underwater Navigation Specialty, they will be set out in a pattern and you need to find them back. The coordinates to the next location are written on the blue pvc parts.

An underwater compass is not only a very useful item to have during both the Underwater Navigation and the Search & Recovery specialties but pretty much on every dive. It's utterly worthwhile to know how to use a compass underwater and both these courses address this and you learn how to use an underwater compass.

During the dives on Chaweng we encountered some interesting fish, one of them was this garden eel.

One of the highlights of the Search & Recovery dive was this big octopus who was living in a glass container and even sheltered under the bottom of a can. You can clearly see the eye of the octopus. A lovely sight!

Another beauty was this simple but delightful tune anemone which seemed to be glowing, that's how bright the orange colours were.

During the Deep dives at Sail Rock, Rob had to complete a timed task amongst others. You're asked to complete a task at the surface and than repeat the same task underwater, at depth, to see if you're affected by Nitrogen Narcosis.

A white eyed Murray Eel at Sail Rock.
During our two dives at Sail Rock, we must have almost been surrounded by whale sharks, since everybody else on the same speedboat as we were, saw a whaleshark, most divers saw the whale shark during both dives. Not us though, somehow we managed during both our dives to avoid the whale shark, a feat in itself!
All in all though, some very nice diving was done and we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Specialty of the Month May 2009; Multilevel and computer diving

Specialty of the Month May 2009; Multilevel and computer diving

Everybody likes to stay as long as possible underwater and maximize their dives. In recreational diving you can get the most out of your dive computer or eRDPml with the PADI Multilevel and computer specialty.

Here's a picture of the computer that I'm currently using the Mares Nemo wide.

In this course, you learn how to plan dives that extend your bottom time by crediting you for slower nitrogen absorption when you ascend to a shallower depth. That’s the way you really dive, after all. On top of that, you'll also look into the meaning of M-values and learn a bit more about some theoretical aspects.

Here's my Mares Nemo wide in full action at the beginning of a dive. Knowing and understanding what your dive computer can do is important and the Multilevel specialty may help you out with just some of this knowledge.