Saturday, July 31, 2010

Underwater creatures photo book project

Underwater creatures photo book project

This post is about a project by a Japanese scuba diving instructor who goes by the name of Naoko Funakoshi. I stumbled over her Facebook profile recently and liked her project, please have a read;

Hello, my name is Naoko Funakoshi, a director of "Ocean Lovers".
I am working for an advertising company in Tokyo, and I am also a scuba-diving instructor.

Please support my project - "underwater creatures photo book project" for children who lack basic educational resources in the developing countries.
*This is my website & about Photo Book Project:

My goal is to collect underwater creatures’ photos from 100 divers & underwater photographers (both professional & amateur underwater photographers) from all over the world, to make original photo books for children, and donate these books (at least 1,000 copies or more) to "Room to Read" (an NPO, which aims to provide educational access to 10 million children in the developing world).

My idea is to list those photos from A to Z according to the creatures' common names, and provide some simple educational information on marine preservation as well. I want to give those children a chance to see how beautiful the ocean & underwater creatures are!

Now fortunately I have 100 people who have joined my project. The title of the photo book is "Wonderful Water Planet". There are some famous wildlife / underwater photographers.
*The photos from photographers who help this project, and their

names/websites/profiles are here:

I've already told "Room to Read" about my project, so that they would deliver these photo books to the children in the developing countries when the photo book is completed.

Now I'm looking for some sponsors for this project. If I could not get any sponsors, then all the production cost would be my expenses. But if I can get some sponsors, I can make more copies for more children. I'm hoping to give these books not only to "Room to Read", but also to the other NPO who can deliver books to the children who were suffered by the earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, China ...etc.

I'm also hoping by telling many people about this project I can let people recognize "Room to Read" - the children who lack basic educational resources as well as I can raise awareness of the importance to protect our oceans.

PADI Japan & WWF Japan would introduce this project & photo book on their websites & booklets when this photo book is completed.

I appreciate if you can support my project in any way. Please be a sponsor, or introduce this project on your website or tell your network & friends about this project! I will list supporters' names on my website.

Thank you very much for your help!

1 July 2010

My best regards,

Naoko Funakoshi

*This is my website & about Photo Book Project:

*The photos from photographers who help this project, and their names/websites/profiles are here:

*How to support this project:

*I will list supporters' names on my website:

Naoko Funakoshi
Director of "Ocean Lovers"
*website :

Monday, July 26, 2010

Chanel J12 Marine watch

Chanel J12 Marine watch

Diving is cool and to proof this, Chanel released earlier this year in March a Marine or dive version of their popular J12 watch, the J12 - Marine. How fashionable and stylish is that? There's a new player on the Rolex Submariner market.

The watch is waterproof to 300 meters and has some cool features. It comes in three colours, although the official Chanel site only offers Black or Blue versions, there's supposedly also a white version out there.
The case is 38 or 42mm wide and in black, blue or white. Still ceramic, the black and blue cases are bead-blasted for a matte, rather than shiny finish. Though the white version is still done with a glossy finish.

The black with black bezel version is only available in 42mm and looks pretty cool.

Strangely enough there are pictures out and about of a white version of the J12 Marine but as already mentioned, Chanel's website doesn't mention these. I wonder if they are some kind of limited version?

The back plate has a fairly simple engraving which shows a J12 Marine text and some wave like looking lines.

If you have an rough 5.000,-$ floating around, this watch can be yours. For most of the divers that I know, that amount of money will be rather spent on many things but not necessarily on a watch!

Technical details;

Black high-tech* sand-blasted ceramic and steel case with --black rubber bracelet and blue bezel (38 and 42mm) or black bezel (42mm).
White high-tech* polished ceramic steel case with white rubber --strap and white bezel (38mm).
Engraved steel back.

Unidirectional rotating steel bezel, engraved and equipped with a high-tech ceramic or sapphire dial (in blue or black) for easy reading of time under water.
Luminescent dot at 12 o’clock acts as guide marker.

Sapphire watch-crystal with a blue anti-reflective coating on the inside and outside (on the black version) or clear coating on the white model.

Screw down steel crown with high-tech* ceramic cabochon equipped with a crown protector.

Black or white lacquer dial.
Hands, numerals and the numeral ‘12’ is luminescent for perfect legibility in the darkness.

Resistant to a pressure depth of 300 meters (30 atm).

Mechanical Swiss automatic movement (28,800 vibrations/hour).
Power reserve: 42 hours.
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds, date and time under water on the bezel.

Matte rubber bracelet with openings allow water to be released --from the bracelet.
Highly water resistant, shock resistant, light resistant, UV resistant composite material.

Polished and satin-finish ardillon buckle, engraved with CHANEL

Sunday, July 25, 2010

IDC Schedule for 2011 is available

IDC Schedule for 2011 is available

If you're planning to complete your PADI IDC soon and become a PADI Instructor, now is your chance to sign up with PADI Award winning and Platinum Course Director Camille Lemmens for one of his four IDC locations throughout Thailand.
The 2011 schedule is now available.

4 IDC's will be conducted on Koh Samui in conjunction with PADI 5* IDC Centre the Dive Academy, starting 6th January, 5th May, 7th August and 4th December.

2 IDC's will be conducted on Koh Lanta in conjunction with PADI 5* IDC Centre Blue Planet Divers, starting 26th February and 25th September.

2 IDC's will be conducted in Kao Lak in conjunction with PADI 5* IDC Centre Similan Diving Safaris, starting 11th April and 26th October.

2 IDC's will be conducted on Koh Phangan in conjunction with PADI 5* IDD Resort Haad Yao Divers, starting 2nd February and 4th September.

All IDC's at each location will be directly followed by a PADI IE.

For more information, contact me at or visit my website for prices on IDC's check here.
All other IDC related courses are available at all locations, like Instructor Specialty training, IDCS courses, DSAT Gasblender Instructor and more. All IDC's include the EFR Instructor course.

Looking forward seeing you in Thailand!


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Old Army tanks to help grow reefs in Southern Thailand

Old Army tanks to help grow reefs in Southern Thailand

The Nation posted this article today;

The Royal Thai Army yesterday handed over 25 tanks that were in disrepair to be used as materials for artificial reefs in the Gulf of Thailand on the shores of Narathiwat and Pattani.

From yesterday to Sunday, the Chinesemade 30T692 tanks, used by the Army since 1987, will be transported to Bangkok's Klong Toei Port before being shipped off to Narathiwat. This project is meant to lend a hand to Her Majesty the Queen's moves to help the local fishery industry along the coasts of Narathiwat and Pattani as well as rehabilitate the sea in the area.

Both pictures are taken from the same article by the Nation.

How I wished they would drop a few of them near Samui shores and it's archipelago!
Still, a very good initiative and a reason to go diving around those shores where the tanks are being sunk.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Teaching an Open Water Diver Course

Teaching an Open Water Diver Course

This time to the sons of my sister and her husband, who are all on vacation on Koh Samui for 10 days in total. Last year both of them completed a Discover Scuba Diving experience on Chaweng Beach and this year it was time for their Junior Open Water diver course!
It's great to teach Open Water diver courses, especially since I don't get to teach them so often any more. It's been almost a year ago when I last taught one with my Dutch friends Marc and Myriam.

Four days ago I started with Niklas and Nino, doing their Knowledge Development and Confined water skills over two days. The picture above sees them setting up their equipment repeatedly!

After these two days, it was on to the boat for two days of 4 open water dives in total. The first day we were off to Koh Tao. Today we had 2 dives at Sail Rock. All those tanks and the equipment had to be loaded on to the boat, early mornings for the staff!

On their way to Sail Rock, full of energy and looking forward to some great diving.

Nino getting ready to jump off the boat. He was really impressed with a moray eel we saw at Sail Rock.

Niklas getting ready for a giant stride entry. He really enjoyed a seeing a scorpion fish towards the end of the last dive of the course!

On the way back home, tow exhausted but satisfied brand new Open Water divers, Well done guys!


Friday, July 16, 2010

Camille's new cooperation with Similan Diving Safaris in Kao Lak

Camille's new cooperation with Similan Diving Safaris in Kao Lak

This week my newest cooperation with brand new PADI 5 Star IDC center Similan Diving Safaris in Kao Lak has started. We'll be offering IDC's with the first one being scheduled to start 17th November.

Kao Lak is very much an up and coming dive destination due to it's great location opposite the Similan Islands, one of the top ten dive destinations in the world.

Completing an IDC in Kao Lak immediately followed with a live aboard in the Similan Islands, got any better ideas? Prices and schedules will be published soon.

Hope to see you soon in Kao Lak!


Saturday, July 10, 2010

EFR Instructor course for July 2010

EFR Instructor course for July 2010

Today I travelled to Koh Tao to teach my first EFRI course there. I was to teach in the beautiful Charm Churee Resort which had a fantastic scenery and view in our second floor, almost open air classroom with a breath taking view over the resorts private beach and bay.

There were 3 participants eagerly waiting after my Seatran ferry arrived half an hour later than planned, but at last we were ready to kick off.

Sven, a dive shop owner in the Netherlands is trying to figure out what buttons to push on the AED.

P or Pauline is showing the typical maternal reaction to Baby Annie by giving her a good spanking. Well done girl ;-)

Last but not least, Lorne is wondering how to get the chain of reaction going after having realised that the mannequin isn't breathing at all. No surprise there.

We had a relaxed and fun filled day and congrats to all of them for thanks for taking part!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Divers are protecting sharks. Are you in?

Divers are protecting sharks. Are you in?

It's been one month since Project AWARE launched the "Give Sharks a Fighting Chance" petition to demand international protection for critical shark species on the brink. In just a few short weeks nearly 25,000 divers and shark advocates like you have voiced their concern.

Are you in?

If you've not yet taken action - your help is needed today. Sign the petition to give threatened sharks species like hammerheads, oceanic whitetip and spiny dogfish a chance to survive.

Thank you to each of the 25,000 supporters who've signed the petition so far. With your help we're preparing to deliver a clear message to CITES Party representatives and demand better shark protection worldwide. As I've read through the signatures and concerns from divers around the globe, one thing is clear - divers are uniting with a common goal to demand better shark protection worldwide.

Despite recent setbacks at CITES 2010, shark advocates like you have helped secure protections in Europe, Palau, Maldives and most recently, Hawaii. As we speak, the United States Senate is poised to take action on the Shark Conservation Act to strengthen anti-finning legislation and show leadership in shark conservation.

But to ensure survival for the most vulnerable and heavily traded shark species, we must persuade CITES Party representatives around the world to control international trade for the future.

Please take two minutes of action and sign the petition today. Already signed? Help spread the word by asking your family, friends and colleagues to sign. Do you Facebook or tweet? Post the petition page ( to your favorite social networking sites.

Thank you for being part of this global effort.
Jenny Miller Garmendia
Director, Project AWARE Foundation

Once more, here's the link to the "Give Sharks a Fighting Chance" petition

Sunday, July 4, 2010

More coral bleaching, this time around Koh Tao

More coral bleaching, this time around Koh Tao

The coral bleaching that I reported about in late May has unfortunately not stopped but continued. During my recent dive trip to Koh Tao, there was plenty of bleaching going on at Hin Wong and other sites around Koh Tao.

Stag coral

The water temperature is still 30C which is too warm for the waters here. Although just by one or two degrees, over prolonged periods of time, this can be fatal for the coral.

The dive sites look like Christmas time underwater and it made me really sad to look the damage being done.

Massive coral formations are all bleached and it takes years to recover, providing the coral survives. If the coral in questions dies, it will take even longer.

It's a phenomena that's all over the region and all neighbouring countries are experiencing similar problems, it's not only Thailand or let alone Koh Samui or Koh Tao that are affected.

Right now I can only hope for the water temperature to go down but it doesn't look too great. The predictions don't have a lot of rain in the makings and August is usually a very warm month as well.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Specialty of the Month for July 2010; Deep diving

Specialty of the Month for July 2010; Deep diving

This is and remains a very popular specialty. At Instructor level, it's one of the most popular ones.
Most divers like to go deep, to look at things that they can't see at shallower depths. Many times certain fish species can or may only be seen at depth or many wrecks are located at deeper depths.

The Deep Dive Specialty allows you to go down to a maximum depth of 40 meters and is conducted over a total of 4 deep dives. One of the things you will observe is the effect that pressure has at depth, like on this water bottle at around 30 meters at Sail Rock.

Other things that you will experience and find out about are the effects of nitrogen narcosis at depth and the changes in colour whilst you go deeper and deeper. During the courses that I teach, the nitrogen narcosis or the 'raptures of the deep' I use the simple toy pictures above which allows for a timed at the surface, simply to be repeated at depth to check if you are under the influence of said nitrogen narcosis.

There are a few more things to the course as well, so if you're interested, get in touch with me and you will receive a 10% discount if you book the course during this month.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

A dive trip to Koh Tao; Chumpon Pinnacle and Hin Wong

A dive trip to Koh Tao; Chumpon Pinnacle and Hin Wong

Yesterday I was on a speedboat trip to Koh Tao with two Norwegian divers, Trond and Simon, father and son.

Our destination for the first dive was Chumpon Pinnacle, known for it's population of Bull Sharks.

With three Honda four stroke engines behind a boat, the trip to Koh Tao doesn't last too long, about an hour and fifteen minutes, weather permitting plus a nice wake behind the boat.

Life on the speedboat, yesterday on the way over to Koh Tao. The weather yesterday was favourable and it was smooth sailing with plenty of sunshine and no big waves.

Chumpon Pinnacle is a good dive site, with plenty of deep areas, although we went to a max depth of 25 meters. We made it all around the pinnacle just in time before it was time to ascend and do our 5 minute safety stop. Visibility wasn't the greatest yesterday but still there was plenty of life on and around the pinnacle. Trond and Simon enjoyed it.

An interesting piece of equipment that Trond carries around is a full face mask. He dives a lot in Norway and the water there is a couple of degrees colder than here in Thailand, hence a full face mask to protect him from that cold water. A piece of equipment you don't get to see an awful lot here in Thailand.

Trond during the safety stop wearing his full face mask. Training in use of full masks is possible in Thailand and one of the dive schools in Pattaya I work with offers courses for this kind of diving. If you're interested, let me know and I can hook you up with the right people.

A picture taken during the safety stop, showing lots of small shells hanging on to a piece of rope.

There's a lot of coral bleaching at the local dive sites in trend with the overall region, as already reported well over a month ago. In a day or two I will put up some pictures of the coral bleaching at Hin Wong, our second destination of the day. Click here for the post on Hin Wong's coral bleaching.

A good days diving with more to come. If you're interested in diving trips around Koh Samui or Koh Tao you can get directly in touch with me and I can arrange your trips.