Saturday, May 29, 2010

Some May speciality training completed

Some May speciality training completed

Sunil was busy after completing his IDC and before starting the IE with some Instructor level Speciality training.

One of the course completed was the EFRI course, learning to juggle around the AED machine together with Little Annie.

Underwater Navigation was also on the menu and Sunil is walking the walk and completing a square and a reciprocal heading on land.

During one of the dives at Chaweng beach, we found this blenny hiding in a small fireworks plastic pipe.

As part of the Search & Recovery speciality we roam Chaweng Beach for garbage and this car mirror (or is it a jet ski mirror?) was part of the underwater scene.

Sunil with the lift bag, carrying trash around and taking it out of the water, between the two of us we must have had at least 5 kilos of trash.

Tomorrow we're off to Pattaya for some wreck diving. Keep your eyes posted here.


Friday, May 28, 2010

May 2010 PADI IE; it's all good!

May 2010 PADI IE; it's all good!

After three exciting days and some hard work, Sunil completed and passed his PADI IE with flying colours! Well done and congratulations.

Yesterday saw the whole IE group waiting at Mae Haad on Koh Tao for the boat to arrive, a great opportunity to get a group shot in of the 42 IE candidates, just hanging around as the Stranglers already sung.

Red 1, 2, 3 and 4 after completing their confined water part, knowing that they all passed. Sunil is cheering on the right side!

Here's the official picture, from left to right, Rob the PADI Examinator, Sunil, a proud OWSI and myself.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

One more Certificate of Excellence

One more Certificate of Excellence

Dijana and Thomas who completed their IDC in December 2009 with me and about whom I wrote earlier this month and their success story, seem to have done something back by sending a letter or email to PADI's Asia Pacific big boss, Henrik Nimb and as a result this Certificate of Excellence was picked up by from the mail box today!

Thanks Tom and Dijana and good luck on your boat and wherever it will take you, safe voyage!

Amongst my other mail was also this 10 year PADI Membership Anniversary wall certificate that came with a small PADI pin. Nice one!


Monday, May 24, 2010

May 2010 PADI IDC is in the can

May 2010 PADI IDC is in the can

Sunil has completed his IDC now. We did lots more Knowledge development or classroom presentations by him, as you can see in the picture below.
Confined and Open Water was also on the menu including an 800 meter swim.

It was a good IDC even if it was with just one candidate. We had fun and it was a steep learning curve for Sunil. Wednesday we're off to Koh Tao for the PADI IE.

After 7 years at World Resort, I changed the Koh Samui IDC's to Kandaburi resort and the lunches are at the same top quality as in World Resort! From left to right, myself, Imad who's staffing this IDC and Sunil.

During both of Sunil's Open Water presentations at Chaweng Beach, we made a dive after his presentations and collected loads of trash. The green basket that is almost covered in this picture was also filled to the brim with trash. Another couple of kilo's of trash cleaned up and it was just like scratching at the top of the iceberg!

The way things look like right now, the next IDC will be in August on Koh Samui, followed by an IDC in September on Koh Phangan, come and see about participating or send an email to for more information.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Coral bleaching on Chaweng Beach and reef

Coral bleaching on Chaweng Beach and reef

Today I was diving on Chaweng Beach during Speciality Instructor Training (later more on this) and I noticed the coral bleaching on the reef at Chaweng's Beach.

To be honest, I was shocked, despite hearing other people already reporting about this. For me it's the first time in 10 years that I witness this around my local dive sites like in Chaweng, local reports talk about Koh Tao and Pattaya also being affected by coral bleaching!

The water temperature is really high, unusually high and this may be a big factor in the bleaching the coral endures now.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Suunto Zoop dive computer and a Scubapro MK 17 and R395

The Suunto Zoop dive computer and a Scubapro MK 17 and R395

Here's some new equipment that I purchased recently, a very nice new regulator from Scubapro, the MK 17 first stage with a R395 second stage and an R295 Octopus (the yellow hose and yellow regulator) with a Scubapro pressure gauge.

On top of that I also got a brand new Suunto Zoop dive computer.

This bunch of dive spaghetti is my new set of Scubapro regulators. The cap of the first stage is off since I took literally off my tank to take this picture and put it back on again. They breathe very nice and easily and the second stage has as an add an adjustable flow stream.

The Scubapro MK 17 mounted on the tank of the day.

A nice middle ranged regulator that will be able with the amount and kind of diving that I do during a year and will serve me for the next couple of years unless somebody has a nice endorsement deal for me!

A nice piece of simple and effective technology from Finnland, the Suunto Zoop. A bit of strange name but the name of the Suunto Zoop dive computer was inspired by Zooplankton – animals that wander the oceans propelled by the currents.

The computer is a basic Suunto computer that exactly does what I need it to do during my recreational diving and it's also Nitrox compatible.

More bits and pieces will be coming up soon, all delivered by Samui Dive Supply.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Camille's new cooperation with Blue Planet Divers on Koh Lanta

Camille's new cooperation with Blue Planet Divers on Koh Lanta

All good things come in threes, so here's my third new cooperation with Blue Planet Divers on Koh Lanta. They've been on Koh Lanta for 8 years now and have established themselves well with not only diving but also free diving and tec diving and now IDC's are to follow upon receiving their PADI 5 Star IDC Centre rating.

Blue Planet Divers' shop on Koh Lanta in the centre of Saladan

Koh Lanta was one of my very first destinations in Thailand ever, after visiting Bangkok for a few nights, some 18 years or so ago. It was good to be back just a few days ago and see the changes that took place on this once so sleepy island. It's still more sleepy in all the good ways than Samui though and I'm looking forward teaching the first IDC here starting 26th October.

The staff of Blue Planet Divers

Here is one more a smaller dive centre with enthusiastic and motivated people who are willing to set up a great atmosphere for conducting IDC's in a relaxed yet inspiring environment with Instructor Level specialities training to follow directly after the PADI IE on Koh Lanta.

Hope to see you here!

After starting cooperation with dive centres on Koh Samui and Koh Phangan and now Koh Lanta, one more destination is still to be announced and that will be Kao Lak. Keep your eyes posted to this site for more updates.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Assistant Instructor part of the May 2010 IDC has been completed

Assistant Instructor part of the May 2010 IDC has been completed

Sunil is getting along and today we completed the Assistant Instructor part of the new IDC curriculum. Imad who's staffing this IDC is having a good look at this new curriculum and he's enjoying being here and being able to staff.

Sunil had to present a couple of classroom presentations as part of his training. This picture shows him in full swing in front of the classroom.

We also completed lots of pool work and here Imad is turning Sunil's air off as part of the out of air drill for the Open Water diver course.

This picture shows Sunil having a go at fin pivoting as part of his confined water skill circuit.

Last but not least, rescue exercise # 7 of the Rescue diver course is also part of the IDC training!
Sunil is trying to get his bearings for this skill.

Tomorrow we continue with the OWSI course part of the IDC, keep your eyes tuned to this channel for updates!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Camille's new cooperation with Haad Yao Divers on Koh Phangan

Camille's new cooperation with Haad Yao Divers on Koh Phangan

Haad Yao Divers on Koh Phangan are happy and proud to present their new PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Dive Resort status, meaning that they can now conduct PADI IDC's on Koh Phangan in conjunction with me.

Recently I travelled to Koh Phangan to look at the facilities and logistics for conducting IDC's on Koh Phangan and the first IDC taught by me on Koh Phangan will start 5th September with a PADI IE scheduled on 18th and 19th September on Koh Phangan and various PADI Instructor level Specialities scheduled after the IE.

From left to right, myself, Heike and Dani in front of one of the Haad Yao Divers offices on Koh Phangan

Haad Yao Divers opened it's doors in 1997 and was the first Dive Center on the west coast of Koh Phangan and one of the island's pioneers. At that time Koh Phangan was famous for its Fullmoon Parties on Haadrin beach but unknown for the beauty of its unspoiled reefs. Things have changed ever since and although the FMP (Full Moon Party) is a big monthly re-occurring event, diving on Koh Phangan took also off slowly but steadily.

Haad Yao divers own their own dive boat, currently Koh Phangan's largest and most spacious boat.

If you like to complete your IDC in a relaxed and tropical island setting than Haad Yao Divers on Koh Phangan may be your calling! I'm looking forward to start my first IDC together with Haad Yao Divers on this beautiful island!


Monday, May 17, 2010

A new fish species has been discovered; Whale Nemo

A new fish species has been discovered; Whale Nemo

Last time I swam around I encountered this brand new fish species;

A very rare Whale Nemo

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My new Gull MEW Safe fins

My new Gull MEW Safe fins

They were only mine for a day or so, before Imad picked them up. They're excellent fins made by Japanese dive equipment manufacturer Gull. They are made of traditional natural rubber in contrast to the thermoplastic concoctions or variations which western diving equipment manufacturers tend to produce nowadays.

The colour range of the Gull fins is amazing, from white to soft pink and many in-between. They come also in different hardness, a softer or harder option is available and closed and open heel fins are also available.

The set of Gull MEW Safe fins that I obtained are available in only one colour; Orange. Just what a Dutchie like me can have good use for. Their characteristic mark is the Swiss flag on the bottom of the fins! Easy to follow your dive leader!

They come in just a few sizes, S, MS, M, L and XL. The L size I ordered was a tad little bit big for me but fitted Imad just fine, now I'm gonna order a set of M sized fins and see how they fit.

Besides a few Japanese divers working for Japanese dive centers on Samui, most likely nobody else on Samui will have a set of these fins! If you;re interested in such a cool pair of Gull fins, let me know and I can order them for you.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Camille's new cooperation with The Dive Academy

Camille's new cooperation with The Dive Academy

Changes are about to happen and as already stated in yesterday's post about the start of the current May IDC, from June onwards I'm going to conduct IDC's on Koh Samui with brand new PADI 5* IDC centre The Dive Academy on Koh Samui. Other locations around Thailand will follow soon, so keep tuned in for more updates.

The change is due so I'm able to work with people who put time, effort, dedication and enthusiasm into the IDC program which will allow me to work in small groups with my own enthusiasm and dedication.

As before, all IDC related programs and packages will still be offered on Koh Samui although in a slightly less hectic Samui schedule. This year I will still conduct IDC's on Koh Samui during June, August and October.

In the picture from left to right Paul, myself and Sarah, the owners of PADI 5* IDC centre The Dive Academy on Koh Samui

I'm looking forward to be working with Paul and Sarah and welcome all those interested in making their dive dream come true by becoming a PADI Instructor into my IDC's on Koh Samui.

We all started with the same dream at some stage and I'm happy looking back and to see where I am today!

Keep in mind that participating in one of my IDC's will make you very employable as my statistics proof!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

May 2010 PADI IDC has kicked off

May 2010 PADI IDC has kicked off

A real small and intimate IDC it is this time around with Sunil taking the IDC and Imad staffing. Imad is a repeat Samui IDC addict since he completed his IDC in February 2009 and his IDCS course in November 2009.

This will also be my last IDC that I will teach for Planet Scuba on Koh Samui, next month I will start teaching IDC's on Koh Samui for The Dive Academy and at various other locations around Thailand. Updates will be announced shortly so keep your eyes peeled to this site!

Today saw red tape being taken care of, the IDC Introduction presentation, a handful of exams and a confined water skill circuit with a Rescue scenario #7 out of the Rescue diver course. Sounds like a lot but with just one candidate it was a nice and easy way to get started.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Box Jelly fish Thai work group visiting Koh Samui

Today I went to see Dr. Lakkana Thaikruea and Dr. Potjaman Siriarayapon who are part of the Box jelly fish Thai work group visiting Koh Samui on one of their work visits to Koh Samui, were they presented their findings of their research into box jelly fishes around Thailand and in this particular case, around Koh Samui.

They work for the Ministry of Public Health’s Bureau of Epidemiology and they have also been in Australia and spent good time in Melbourne with John Lippmann, the CEO of DAN Asia Pacific and Andrew Jones, a journalist who's working on establishing awareness for box jellyfish, after his 4 year old son got stung in Koh Mak during a holiday in Thailand a couple of years ago. During their recent stay the Thai work group did meet all of the Northern Queensland experts on box jelly fish.

Their work in Thailand involves travelling around the country and collecting stories and data. They conduct seminars with health officials and provide training in box jellyfish safety and prevention. This area is one they are wanting to develop much stronger over the next 12 months.

Their work fits perfectly in my postings about the presence of box jelly fish in Thai waters out of which the link mentioned together with Andrew Jones' son above actually is the most visited post on this blog!

Back to the Thai team though, their work so far has included two stages and the first stage of getting proof that there are box jellyfish in Thai waters, in which they succeeded and the consequent recognition of problems that accompany this fact followed by the education to deal with this problem has been closed.

Now they are starting up phase 2 of their project, which is to set up a network around Thailand for surveillance and prevention.

Anybody interested, please feel free to get in touch with me and I will pass on your information to the right persons. Action is needed and each and every action you take may be of importance and will be helpful and appreciated.

Box Jelly fish Thai work group visiting Koh Samui
The Box Jelly fish Thai work group visiting Koh Samui, from left to right; Dr. Rochana Wutthanarungsan, Khun Punnarai, Dr. Lakkana Thaikruea, Dr. Potjaman Siriarayapon and myself.

Let me introduce the main players to you;

Dr. Lakkana Thaikruea; Advisor and Supervisor, she's an associate professor at the Medicine Faculty of the Chiang Mai University and has plenty of publications and research to her name. She has two blogs related to education and awareness of projects that she works on, including this box jelly fish project; this one is in Thai and English and this one is in Thai only.

Dr. Potjaman Siriarayapon; Advisor of the research and she works as an medical epidemiologist at the Bureau of Epidemiology, Ministry of Public Health.
She's very nice and interested in anything related to this project and very much in tune with the realities of this project and very sympathetic to the cause. She’s a very interesting person who has given box jellyfish a high priority considering Thailand has so many diseases and public health issues to deal with.

Dr. Rochana Wutthanarungsan; Principle investigator of the phase 1 research

Khun Punnarai; Project coordinator

Anybody interested in this topic, please don't hesitate to get in touch, it's highly appreciated.

Let's try to get awareness of box jelly fish in Thailand out there.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A great success story

A great success story by Tom, Dijana and Nigel

And great it is! Tom and Dijana, A German couple, decided as many others before them, that it was time for a change in their life and they saw their change as becoming PADI dive instructors.
After some online research, they found my German IDC website and they were especially attracted by the Go Pro CDC package in combination with the MSDT internship, where you get to certify 25 PADI divers at various levels, and as an added bonus they also completed their IDCS Instructor course at a very reduced rate as part of a special offer if one books this whole package.

Their master plan was to be able to work at locations where they most likely wouldn't be able to afford to dive. They rationalised that being just an PADI OWSI that their chances would be rather slim but as an IDCS Instructor, their chances would increase. How right they were. Towards the end of their 5 month stay they had various tempting offers on their hands and they decided to go and work for a prestigious Cruise line organisation that has 4 boats all over the world. They will start in Italy, as managers for the water sports department and end up in 8 months time in Barbados. Not a bad itinerary and I don't envy them at all, right!

To top it all off, after that they already have an offer to be resort managers at one of the Maldives islands. All I can say is; Well done!

Tom and me during one of Tom's fave moments in the IDC and IDCS course, a coffee break

December 2009 saw them participate in their IDC, after they had emptied out the PADI Europe warehouse with all their German PADI materials and after a fun IDC program on Koh Samui, they passed their PADI IE on Koh Tao with ease.

Dijana during her IDCS course, spotting a problem

After the PADI IE was out the way it was time for diving and we got a dozen or so Instructor Specialties out of the way, including non diving Instructor Specialities and some real get wet diving specialities including some exploratory wreck diving in Pattaya.

Now during the recent April IDC, they were ready to start their last bit of their Thailand adventure, their IDCS course. After having taken this last hurdle, they were at last ready to being let loose at the rest of the world and go where they planned to go straight from the beginning, at a great dive location where they wouldn't be able to dive if they would have to pay for it themselves, but now they work at exactly such a location and are getting paid to be there.
Their training was a big part of their success in getting there and being an IDCS Instructor gives it just that extra weight when applying for jobs combined with all the other training they did along the road.

Interestingly enough, Nigel who completed also a Go Pro CDC package, completing his IDC just a month before Tom and Dijana in November 2009, has also landed a job at the same cruise company as Tom and Dijana, the only difference was that he didn't complete his IDCS course.

Truth to be told, it's an investment they had to make, but looking at other career options, the end price they had to pay, is no comparison to other career changing options.

Diving won hands down in the price department and their new offices are now the oceans of the world and great life style is awaiting ahead of them!

Dijana, me and Tom during their last night on Samui, just a few days ago.

They're in Germany now, preparing for their boat/cruise trip! With their great attitude, positive view of life and good humor I'm sure they will succeed wherever they go but nonetheless, a big GOOD LUCK to both of you and thanks for being able to be part of your plan.

To Nigel as well, GOOD LUCK and enjoy your trip, hope you made it on to the boat, despite the Greek strikes.

All three had a great plan to start with and one that paid off big time, I'm looking forward hearing from and following their dive adventures.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

PADI Specialty of the Month May 2010; DUP

PADI Specialty of the Month May 2010; Digital Underwater Photography or DUP

It seems that I mixed up the Specialities of the month for April and May so this month it's Digital Underwater Photography or DUP.

It's one of the more popular specialities and for a reason, an underwater digital camera doesn't cost you an arm an a leg any more and even with small and relatively simple camera's you can make great pictures, see my sample. I'm using a Canon Ixy Digital 2515.

Let alone once you start to look at very basic shoot and aim camera's. Underwater photography has come a very long way since the days of Bruce Mozert!

A Glossodoris atromarginata nudi branch shot during the Exploratory wreck dive in Pattaya

During this course you learn to use an underwater digital at various levels and even snorkelers can learn how to use a camera correctly.

A tube anemone at Twins near Koh Tao

As my pictures throughout my blog show, there's plenty of things and life to see underwater and the coolest thing is to be able to show your friends what you just saw. This course will allow you to do exactly that.

Red breasted wrasse at Twins near Koh Tao

You also learn how to upload your pictures, store them and how to edit and share them, in case you didn't know how to do this yet.

A dancing flatworm in Mango Bay, Koh Tao

A Christmas tree garden at twins near Koh Tao

As usual, you will receive a 10% discount for this Specialty of the Month if you book it during this month with me!

Enjoy and watch out for more posts on this blog!