Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wreck dive Specialty in Pattaya, day # 1

Wreck dive Specialty in Pattaya, day # 1

Today we completed day # 1 out of two days of wreck diving in Pattaya for the Instructor Wreck Specialty rating. The travel party is big this time and consists of Grainne and Rob who just completed the IDC in February and Preben who completed his IDCS in February. There are also Nigel and Thomas who completed their IDC last year, respectively in November and December.

HMS Koot on the surface just before it's being sunk

After the two days of wreck diving near Pattaya's near islands on the HMS Koot, there will be a third day of wreck diving in the form of an exploratory trip. One wreck will be of a Navy Patrol boat and two marks are new and we will explore them. We could be diving a heap of stones or a beautiful wreck. Very exciting to explore uncharted waters. The captain gets these marks of other fisherman boats or captains because these are locations where they keep losing their nets.

This is the boat that we're using for these days, owned by Andrey, a Russian dive store owner in Pattaya who brought this boat down to Pattaya all the way from Wladiwostok over South Korea straight into Pattaya. That must've been quite a voyage. The boat is build in Poland by the way and has an iron hull, in contrast to almost all or most dive boats used in Thailand!

On the HMS Koot, at the aft buoy one can find these two flags, the Thai national flag and the King's flag. Nice touch and well done to whomever put down those two flags. I like it!

There's also plenty of marine life on this wreck site but not as much as it's sister ship the HMS Khram. This crab looks beautiful though and we encountered some very big puffer fish as well, besides schools of juvenile barracuda's and plenty of more fish.

Some ship wreck scenery, great stills that tell more than words sometimes.

The other specialty we completed today was an Instructor Drift dive Specialty although the current wasn't too strong.

More diving is coming up tomorrow, so stay tuned for more updates.

Camille

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Project AWARE Announces International Cleanup Day Report 2009

Project AWARE Announces International Cleanup Day Report 2009

Received a press release from Project Aware today, the non profit environmental organisation associated with PADI and thought it right to share this information with you, my dive blog readers.
We put our own little effort in on September 19th last year with our own Clean Up Day on Chaweng Beach on Koh Samui.
Good to see that Project AWARE gets a bit more exposure on my dive blog, two days back to back now!

This was part of the mail;

"Your fabulous cleanup efforts have contributed important data to the Global Marine Debris Index due to be released later this year. The data results also feature in the latest Project AWARE Cleanup Report 2009 – just released.

Now is also the time to register for Dive for Earth Day 29 April (on Koh Samui). So check out your countries listing in the report and take action this Earth Day!

Keep up the great work. "

PRESS RELEASE

Project AWARE Foundation’s International Cleanup Day 2009 Report: outlining dive community’s global actions to combat marine debris.

Six million tonnes of debris enter the world’s oceans every year wreaking havoc on underwater creatures and environments every day. For 16 years, Project AWARE Foundation has led underwater and shoreline cleanup efforts in partnership scuba divers worldwide and Ocean Conservancy.

The newly released International Cleanup Day Report 2009, highlights Project AWARE’s efforts by volunteer divers and water enthusiasts. During International Cleanup Day, they removed over 222’000 kg/490’000 lbs of debris. Debris, that would otherwise continue to poison our waters and be “out of sight and out of mind” for most.

More than 90 countries collected a staggering 140’814 cigarette filters, 78’854 plastic bags and found baby sharks, fairy penguins, moray eels and sea turtles, entangled and killed by the debris.

The 20 page International Cleanup Day Report provides an introduction to Project AWARE’s Marine Debris Campaign; recognizes the ongoing efforts of divers and water enthusiasts across the globe and underlines the dire consequences of marine debris for the aquatic fauna. It offers a visual snapshot of trash collected with a colourful map highlighting number of volunteers and weight of debris collected in each region.

“Project AWARE Foundation truly appreciates the dive community’s efforts to combat litter in our oceans and waterways. There are solutions to the marine debris crisis and it is inspiring to see divers leading the way. We ask cleanup organizers and divers to use this report to highlight efforts and encourage others to become part of this global movement to bring about change,” said Project AWARE Foundation’s Director, Jenny Miller Garmendia.

To check out the Top Ten Debris Items found or Tips to Keep Waters Debris Free download the International Cleanup Day 2009 Report today.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The New Project AWARE Certification Card is Here

The New Project AWARE Certification Card is Here

Students have already told Project AWARE on Facebook that they just love the new Turtle Card and want one now!

The new turtle design for the 2010 Project Aware card

So show your support and all students or IDC candidates should make the only card choice that contributes to underwater conservation!

All divers and PADI Members who donate AU$10 to conservation, above the standard card fee receive the Project AWARE version of their PADI certification or replacement card, as pictured below.

Your Participation Matters:

More than 70 percent of funds raised for aquatic conservation is a direct result of PADI Member action. Make your voice count and donate so you also receive a Project Aware card.


Thank you for your commitment to conservation.

Yours Sincerely,

Camille and The Project AWARE Team

Friday, February 19, 2010

PADI Member Forum 2010 on Koh Samui

PADI Member Forum 2010 on Koh Samui

Yesterday Thailand's regional manager Hans Ullrich presented the yearly PADI Member Forum on Koh Samui.
This years seminar took place at the Kandaburi resort in Chaweng, a nice change of scenery.

Hans talked us through the various upcoming changes, including lots of information about e-Learning, Discover Scuba Diving and the Open Water diver- and Nitrox courses now opening up to computer based teaching, leaving the RDP Tables optional and about some of the new PADI materials that are coming on the market real soon.

It was also a good moment to catch up with the various other instructors and dive center owners on the island and with 24 people showing, it was a good turn out for Koh Samui.

Looking at the picture of me and Hans above, it looks like he is in need of a new shirt though comparing it to last years Forum.

Camille

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

PADI IE for February has been completed

PADI IE for February has been completed

Tonight is gonna be a good night, tonight is gonna be a good, good night!

Two days of blood, sweat and tears later and there are 4 new PADI Instructors babies born today at World Resort on Koh Samui during the recent PADI IE.

Yesterday the 5 theory exams and the General Standards Exam were tackled and after that the candidates completed their Knowledge Development. That day went by without a hitch and all passed easily both PADI IE sections.

Today saw water work only and almost all scores were straight five's with a few 4.6's as lowest score of the day!

The whole group can be seen here during Rob Scammell's, the PADI examiner, speech after the IE and before they're cut loose into the rest of the world again! From left to right; Rob, Grainne, Takuo, Nobu (IDCS), Sachiko, Aiko (IDCS), Preben (IDCS) and Rob Scammell.

Here's the official group picture, from left to right standing; Grainne, Takuo, myself, Rob, Rob Scammell and Aiko. Sitting; Preben, Sachiko and Preben.

Well done guys and girls and all the best for your future diving career and thanks for such a great time during the IDC.

Camille

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The February 2010 IDC is done and over with

The February 2010 IDC is done and over with

Today we finished the current IDC in the morning with an Open Water dive and the afternoon was reserved to discuss a final and big General Standards & Procedures exam and an overview of the PADI IE. After that it was time for final counselling and off home they went.

Tomorrow at 1pm the PADI IE will kick off at World Resort.

The OWSI part of this IDC saw a few more knowledge development presentations by all of them and here Rob is in action, explaining how a RDP Table works.

Grainne trying to sell us a rash vest during one of her presentations.

To keep it interesting, some of the assigned presentations that you may get have it in them, any one for Compartments, half times or M-values? Anything you ever wanted to know about them but never dared to ask? The Divemaster course and the IDC have the answer for you.

Confined water was also on the menu and our Japanese IDC candidates joined us for this, from left to right Rob, Sachi, Takuo and Grainne.

As usual, lovely lunches were had at World Resort during our lunch breaks. From left to right; Sachi, Nobu, Grainne, Rob, myself, Preben and Takuo. Aiko also staffed but is not in one of these pix.

Tomorrow the fun is really gonna start, bring on the PADI IE!

Camille

Friday, February 12, 2010

The new PADI IDC Curriculum 2010 materials have arrived

The new PADI IDC Curriculum 2010 materials have arrived

A few days ago, in the middle of the current IDC, I received the updated and new IDC training materials. Remember the Course Director update in Phuket that I posted about in December last year, that update was all about the new materials and curriculum that we can teach now. Alas, unfortunately not for this current IDC, that's the last IDC following the now almost 'old' curriculum.
My next IDC, scheduled in April will follow the new outlines, pretty exciting and I'm looking forward to teaching that.

There are plenty of new materials available and the Instructor Manual is one of them, as shown above. It's now just 160 pages in an A5 binder with zipper, the same size as a PADI logbook.

A new thing about this Instructor Manual is that Divemasters now are required to own a copy.

The Instructor Manual is now available as a free download for PADI Members at PADI's Members website.

Another new item is PADI's Guide to Teaching, which replaces the Candidate Work book and is an extension of the Instructor Manual.
This new product also includes teaching techniques and recommendations previously found in the instructor manual.


This shows the new Instructor crew pack, although the pack bag is not necessarily included, only at an extra, marginal charge.

Besides the usual slates and exams, it now also includes a CD-rom with three books; Best of the UJ, Children & Scuba and the Business of Diving. The Positive Approach Selling DVD is part of the crew pack and the Instructor Specialty Manual on CD Rom is included.

Here's a glance at the new design of the IDC slides. I had a peak into it and will look more into it once this IDC is over and I have a bit more time.

Come and see me for the April IDC on Koh Samui!

Camille

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A tribute to Bruce Mozert, part 2

A tribute to Bruce Mozert, part 2

After the tribute to Bruce Mozert part 1 I think it's time for a follow up with this part 2!

For information on Bruce please check part 1 which as loads of background information. In a nutshell, Bruce Mozert is the godfather of underwater photography. He took pictures at Silver Springs in Florida in the 1950's. Some of the results can be seen here.

Now let's enjoy the pictures!

Great idea!

One of the few pix that I know of where his models actually use scuba

Season of the witch

Qualification for the underwater Olympics

The Chief at work

Hope you enjoy these pix, I think they are an eye opener and are full of creative thinking and just fun to look at

Camille




Wednesday, February 10, 2010

EFR Instructor course February 2010; ticked off

EFR Instructor course February 2010; ticked off

After a well deserved day off from the IDC yesterday, today the EFR Instructor course was ticked off. At the usual location, the upstairs classroom at the recompression chamber in Bang Rak, the deed was done, so to speak.

Grainne, Rob and me met at 9am and we had an enjoyable day teaching with skill and scenario practicing.

Tomorrow it's back to World Resort for more IDC work with the OWSI program kicking off and it's back to IDC routine. Well, routine, is there such thing during an IDC? Right, I don't think so!

Camille

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Rotation

Rotation

Indeed! Students come and go all the time and this time it was Chris Jones' time coming up to rotate back home to Australia again. He's been on Koh Samui for almost 6 months and completed his IDC in September last year and MSDT internship here.

There was a farewell evening and early in the evening the picture shows from left to right Grainne, who's participating in the current IDC, Chris Jones aka Jonesi, Graham who's in the midst of his Divemaster course, Nigel who is currently completing his MSDT internship and myself.

In good tradition this most likely ended in a very late or early morning in Chaweng.

Craig and Irish Steve went back home earlier in this young year already.

Camille

Friday, February 5, 2010

PADI IDC for February 2010 is in the making

PADI IDC for February 2010 is in the making

The prep course finished yesterday and today the actual IDC kicked off. There's Preben who's completing his IDCS course and as IDC candidates we have Grainne and Rob.
So far we have sunny blue skies over Samui, absolutely lovely!

Lots of classroom time is guaranteed! From left to right Rob, Preben and Grainne, who completed her Divemaster course last year with us.

Before one of the skill circuit practice dives, Grainne and Rob complete a buddy check on each other. Even at this level something that shouldn't be left out.

Rescue course exercise # 7, 'unconscious diver at the surface' is part of the practice cycle as usual, as in every IDC.

Preben also had to do a Confined Water presentation as part of his IDCS course, his presentation was a CESA (Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent). He's controlling Grainne's CESA in this picture.
Rob is showing off his CESA demonstration skills in the pool. Today they both passed their skill circuit evaluation with flying colours.
Stay tuned for more updates.
Camille



Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A tribute to Bruce Mozert, part 1

A tribute to Bruce Mozert

Bruce who? That's exactly how I felt just a few days ago, until I browsed the US PADI Instructor blog and found a post on Bruce Mozert in there. That was an eye opener!

The short version; he is the pioneer of underwater photography. If you enjoy this part, have a look part 2 for some more pix by him.

As Mozert puts it, he “took to photography like a duck takes to water.” For the man generally considered the “grandfather of underwater photography,” that may be something of an understatement. On the scene at Silver Springs in 1938 to capture the third in the Tarzan series starring Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan, Mozert was vexed to discover that the one shot he truly needed, Weissmuller swimming with “porpoise-like grace” in the springs’ crystal clear waters, was the one shot he couldn’t get. That’s because the only way to capture underwater sequences was in a submerged drum outfitted for the movie’s cameraman, and there wasn’t room enough in the rig for Mozert.

Bruce with one of his early underwater housings

But, in what would become Mozert’s lifelong mantra, necessity proved to be the mother of invention. He got permission to nose around the park’s maintenance shop and cobbled together the world’s first underwater camera casing out of galvanized metal sheeting, an old inner tube, and rubber cement.

“When I showed up at the set the next morning, they all laughed at me,” he says. “But I just walked into the water and took my pictures.”

He ended up with black-and-white images so good that MGM snagged them for publicity stills, paying Mozert the princely sum of $12.

The rest, as they say, is history.


IN THE PRIMORDIAL days before Disney, Silver Springs became Florida’s premier tourist attraction thanks in large part to a public relations juggernaut that targeted snowbirds through release of thousands of publicity stills on the national wire services.

Mozert was part of an aggressive marketing machine that by the 1950s saw annual visitation of 800,000. During the park’s heyday, from the 1940s through the early 1970s, Mozert’s pioneering efforts resulted in the first underwater movie camera and the first underwater lighting system that is still used today.


TO PROMOTE SILVER SPRINGS, Mozert knew his photographs had to be “snazzy” enough to grab attention from the press and would-be tourists. To accomplish that, he used shapely models performing everyday tasks such as smoking cigarettes or drinking Cokes, flipping burgers on a grill, playing golf, or cooling off in front of a new-fangled air conditioner—all underwater.


He continued to refine his housing designs for both still images and movie cameras. Mozert shot all the underwater footage for the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and worked for all of the major television networks, including ABC Sports, NBC’s Mike and the Mermaid, and CBS’ Sea Hunt. For 15 years during the 60’s and 70’s he was a contract photographer and cameraman for Mercury Engines. Shooting high speed underwater footage of propellers is a feat that he is particularly proud of.

Shooting scenes underwater with Bruce Mozert

Mozert’s legacy is the series of unique underwater images of beautiful models in real-life domestic situations under the crystal clear waters of Silver Springs. His images are world class examples of conceptual photography at its best. For forty five years Bruce Mozert developed impactful and memorable images that not only required creative prop work, but early on required inventive experimentation with homemade housings and lighting systems. In fact some of Mozert's early underwater rigs are on display at museums around the USA like the Smithsonian. He began shooting underwater before the invention of regulators (the “aqua lung” as he refers to it), and explained how he would submerge in a diving helmet tethered to a hose at the surface with people pumping air by hand. Eventually he recommended attaching the hose to a compressor and essentially invented the first compressed air system. These were the days prior to navy dive tables and an understanding of dive injuries like embolisms. He reflects back on a few situations where he had to perform an emergency ascent and in retrospect is lucky he didn’t embolize. We should all be just as happy that he didn’t as we all owe Mozert credit for helping to bring the modern era of underwater photography to fruition.

Keep your eyes peeled to this blog for more pictures of Bruce here shortly!

Camille

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Preben's IDCS course kicked off today

Preben's IDCS course kicked off today

Preben, who completed his IDC last year in February 2009 is back to complete his IDCS course this year! Well done Preben and a great example of taking your own education serious and continuing your dive experience and education.

Today Preben breathed through the 5 Theory exams, knocking them all out way above the required 80% passing grade and we had a Knowledge Development section as part of this IDCS course shows Preben during this evaluation training and he knocked them out as well today!

Above is one of my presentation topics shown! Get in there!

Tomorrow the actual IDC will kick off and Preben will sit through the complete IDC course again and gets the opportunity to see it from a different angle this time and with more opportunities to practice his grading.

Keep your eyes peeled to this channel for more updates this coming week!

Camille

Monday, February 1, 2010

Specialty of the month; February 2010 - Boat Diver

Specialty of the month; February 2010 - Boat Diver

Just like February last year, specialty of the month is Boat Diver.

In Thailand most diving is done from boats but in the Netherlands, my native country, most dives are done in lakes and other water ponds and they are almost all shore dives.

MV Waverunner (pictured above) and MV Seafarer are the boats that I dive most with.

There's a lot more to this Specialty than the eye meets.
Mainly because different boats in different parts of the world do things differently. This Specialty course familiarizes you with the various ways you stow gear, enter and exit the water, use surface lines and more, depending upon the type boat and the location but you an also learn about the various anchor designs and their specific uses.

If you mix up starboard and port, here's an easy one to remember; we left port!

You can also learn where the head, aft cardinal points or galley are and what they are by becoming familiar with boating terms.

Come and participate in the Boat Dive specialty and get a 10% discount his month!

Camille