Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Instructor Specialties for this August have been completed

Instructor Specialties for this August have been completed

On top of that Mark and me had some great dives and lots of fun! Mark, who was quickly dubbed 'Talaat' by my children (the Thai word for 'market', which remotely sounds like Mark, according to my kids!) took up Specialty Instructor training after successfully completing the recent PADI IE.

Anemone and pink anemone fish at Shark Point, Koh Tao

We had Multilevel, Digital Underwater Photography, Deep, Underwater Naturalist, Search & Recovery and Night diving on the menu, besides his additional Nitrox diver and Instructor rating.

The first days diving we tackled the Multilevel and DUP specialties around Koh Tao which saw some good diving conditions! Interesting to see was that the coral bleaching was slowing down and actually seems to be on the mend.

Old masks found at Chaweng Beach during S&R

The second day saw us arrive at Chaweng Beach for some Underwater Navigation and Search & Recovery action. This day turned into a fantastic days diving. Starting out near the beach the visibility was around 50 centimetres and we lost each other within moments. After surfacing we were less than two meters apart from each other and we decided to try again a few 100 meters further away from the beach. Viz improved to 3 meters and we completed the Nav and first Search & Recovery dive. You can't ask for better conditions for these kind of specialties, can you?

Wallet and Pentax camera found during the Search & Recovery dive

During the second Search and Recovery dive we found cazillion of original copy sunglasses, half a dozen of old dive masks, a wallet from an Aussie with drivers license (see picture above), money was gone, a waterproof Pentax camera in the water for 3 weeks, full battery and full functionality, a fishing rod in great shape, shoes, bottles, hats in all varieties and lots of plastic. There are still two beach chairs out there! An excellent day diving at the beach! One of the best dives for finding goodies out of many I've done there. Visibility also went up to 5 meters, almost heaven for us at that moment!

The third day of diving took us to Sail Rock for the Deep dive specialty. This picture shows Mark at around 26 meters, pondering about the physics of diving and wondering what ever happened to his bottle of water.

Visibility was great here and we enjoyed up to 2- to 25 meters viz. Wonderful diving once more.

One of the exciting things I saw during the 2nd dive at Sail Rock was this Conus Textile or textile cone shell, a poisonous species of sea snail and one of the three most dangerous cones to handle (!), a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Conidae, the cone snails, cone shells or cones. Luckily for me I spotted it's squatter before I got anywhere close and the hermit crab inside, visible at the lower right of the shell with it's yellow feet and feelers made it harmless but still a very interesting and unusual sight.

We managed also a night dive at Chaweng Beach again and this dive wasn't asd exciting as the previous day time dive in the same area. We still found plenty of stuff but in the dark it's a lot more difficult to find and/or spot things. I still managed to find an empty Nautilus shell the third within a year or two.

Watch out for more news updates on my next IDC, starting 5th September on Koh Phangan.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

PADI IE for August has been successfully completed

PADI IE for August has been successfully completed

After three days of hard work, a bit of anxiety and lots of excitement, it's official now and Mark and Marc are PADI Instructors after having completed the PADI IE successfully giving PADI Course Director Camille Lemmens another 100% pass rate for 2010. Well done guys, congratulations.

The two Marcks relaxing over lunch half way through the IE, in-between the Knowledge Development and Open Water segments.

The official group picture, a well deserved pose after three days of hard work, from left to right Rob the PADI Examiner, Mark, Marc and myself on a Koh Tao beach.

To give you an idea of the size of this PADI IE, here's a picture of the while IE group inclusive of a whole bunch of PADI Course Directors and 3 PADI examiners.

The next IDC is going to be on Koh Phangan, starting 5th September, don't be shy and ask for information if you're interested. See you there.

First we're off, back to Samui for a little bit of celebration tonight.


Monday, August 16, 2010

EFR Instructor course for August in the can!

EFR Instructor course for August in the can!

Today we completed the EFR Instructor course with Mark and Marc, a day after completing the IDC and a day before leaving for the PADI IE on Koh Tao.

Mark at work with Little Annie

After the IDC this was a relaxed day in which we completed the theoretical and hands on parts of this course at the upstairs classroom of the local hyperbaric chamber in Bang Rak.

Marc on a stroll through the classroom

The 'official' picture, form left to right, Marc, Mark and myself in front of the good old 'pot'.

Stay tuned for IE updates from Koh Tao.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

The August 2010 IDC is in the pocket!

The August 2010 IDC is in the pocket!

Dusted, done and over with! 10 days we kicked off this IDC and now we have reached the finish.

In the meantime, during the AI and OWSI parts of this IDC we explored the never ending fascination of Confined Water-, Open Water- and last but not least; Powerpoint Presentations ;-)
Somehow we all survived it, having lots of fun along the way and thanks to Marc and Mark also with lots of enthusiasm.

Mark in action during one of his classroom presentations trying to explain an eRDPML. Something that every PADI Divemaster should be able to do!

During the course it was easy for me since a simple Marck was all it needed to get full attention of everyone! Very effective!

"Hallo jongens, we gaan het over iets belangrijks hebben nu!" Marc in action during one of his presentations.

Twice we went to Chaweng Beach and had Open Water dive presentations and practised Rescue scenario # 7 of Rescue Diver course fame.

The Kandaburi resort in Chaweng was our safe haven every day and in a local restaurant around the corner, named the Curve, we had lovely lunches each day with great local Thai fare!

A good IDC was had by all and now it's time to head off to Koh Tao Tuesday morning and kick some PADI IE ass! Before that, they will have to warm up during the EFR Instructor course tomorrow in the upstairs classroom of the local hyperbaric chamber in Bang Rak.

Stay tuned since plenty of updates of the Marck's adventures are still to follow.

Keep your eyes out for the next IDC, starting 5th September on Koh Phangang in conjunction with Haad Yao divers, my first IDC on Koh Phangan!


Friday, August 13, 2010

Finned whale shark in the Philippines

Finned whale shark in the Philippines

A few times I've seen pictures floating around on the internet about a finned whale shark, apparently in the Philippines.

Recently I stumbled over somebody's Facebook account and found a set of over 20 pictures of this event.

Have a look at some of the pictures, they're not pretty and a total advocate in the fight to ban shark finning!

Friday, August 6, 2010

August 2010 IDC on Koh Samui kicked off

August 2010 IDC on Koh Samui kicked off

Yesterday the August 2010 IDC on Koh Samui in conjunction with The Dive Academy kicked off with an interesting cast, Mark and Marc, both from the Netherlands.

It's interesting and fun so far and the English IDC slides keep us on our toes.

During the prep course, as usual and much to the Marck's delight, the theory exams are on the menu. These are taken in Dutch and the General standards exams are taken in English, since I'm teaching the new 2010 curriculum, which is not yet available in Dutch!

During the confined water part they practised the skill circuit and Marc is showing off during a CESA.

Mark shows how fluent he is with a regulator recovery. Although both are a bit rusty with their skills, they progressed nicely and show clear signs of confidence during their respective circuits.

Rescue exercise # 7 of the Rescue diver course was also on the schedule and Mark is rescuing Marc with the help of a pocket mask.

Tomorrow the real IDC kicks off with the AI part and an update will follow shortly.


Monday, August 2, 2010

PADI Specialty of the Month August 2010; Underwater Naturalist

PADI Specialty of the Month August 2010; Underwater Naturalist

Look closer to see more on your next dive. Look for symbioses, predator/prey and other relationships between aquatic plant and animal life. Learn not just what fish and animals are, but how they interact with each other and the environment.

Pink Anemone around Koh Tao

If you're interested in aquatic life then the PADI Underwater Naturalist Specialty course is for you. This course is an introduction to the underwater aquatic environment and will help develop safe and responsible aquatic life interaction techniques.

Pink Anemone fish in Mango Bay, Koh Tao

This specialty is popular with students as well as with Instructors who take up Instructor Specialty training. The waters surrounding the Samui archipelago with it's abundance of fish and coral are excellent to teach this specialty.

Hard coral around Koh Tao

Two dives which can be conducted in just one day will give you this rating as a diver and if you book this specialty during this month you will receive a 10% discount on the course price.


A dog's day diving

A dog's day diving

Time to broaden our horizons and take our pets diving next time around.

This dog is ready for the plunge

All dressed up and ready to go

Professional aquarium cleaning service