Thursday, June 30, 2011

PADI IE for June 2011 on Gili Air in Indonesia was successful

PADI IE for June 2011 on Gili Air in Indonesia was successful

Today the PADI IE on Gili Trawangan was completed with an Open Water presentation for all 9 participants, out of which 3 completed the recent IDC on Gili Air with me in conjunction with Oceans 5.

From left to right; Joeri, Fanny, Jmal and myself

They all three cruised through the IE, only Jmal had a hick up with his General Standards & Procedures exam, his English knowledge and concentration factor played tricks on him and he will have to resit this part again.

Well done to all of you though and I hope to be able to attend a PADI IE on the Gili's soon but tomorrow I'm already starting an IDC on home turf on Koh Samui. So, stayed tuned on this channel for more updates on a brand new IDC.

If you're interested in participating in one my IDC's, please have a look at my IDC schedule.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Diving around Gili Air; Scallywags to Oceans 5 house reef

Diving around Gili Air; Scallywags to Oceans 5 house reef

After the June 2011 PADI IDC on Gili Air with Oceans 5 was completed, what does a PADI Course Director do on a day off, right, he goes diving!

One of the dives I did was to jump in on the beach, in front of Gili Air's best restaurant, Scallywags and drift and dive to the Oceans 5 house reef.

Hermite crab

It was a very nice and relaxing dive, it lasted 88 minutes! The scenery was lovely and changed a few times with some outstanding coral patches thrown in!

Cuttle fish

Green turtle

Once more a first; a Leafy robust pipe fish. it was well hidden between leaves that looked just like it!

A cute, tiny, yellow box fish

It was the last of my dives during this trip, a report of another dive site, Nudibranch City, is still in the pipeline. The diving in general was really good, with excellent visibility, ranging between 20 and 30 meters and during the last three days, on two days Manta Rays were spotted, along with Eagle rays and plenty of sharks!

Come and dive the Gili's!


Emergency Oxygen Provider Instructors on Gili Air in Indonesia, class of June 2011

Emergency Oxygen Provider Instructors on Gili Air in Indonesia, class of June 2011

Fanny and Joeri both completed a set of PADI Instructor Specialties, I already wrote a post about their DUP dive but they also completed the Nitrox and the Emergency Oxygen Provider Instructor courses.

During the latter, they actually got to set up and work with a real Oxygen unit, and as the pictures shows, it was a fun event.

For the time being, that's my job done on Gili Air, their PADI IE is coming up 28th June till 30th June but by that time I'll be on Koh Samui again, preparing to start my next IDC, on Koh Samui, starting 1st July.

See you there!


Saturday, June 25, 2011

PADI IDC for June 2011 on Gili Air in Indonesia with Oceans 5 is in the bag!

PADI IDC for June 2011 on Gili Air in Indonesia with Oceans 5 is in the bag!

Joeri, Fanny and Jmal all finished their current IDC at Oceans 5 on Gili Air.

All went well and we sure had some fun! The PADI IE will start 28th June on Gili Trawangan, especially for Jmal who's still battling it out with the written exams, so all the best of success to him!

Joeri during a Knowledge Development presentation

Fanny during one of her Knowledge Development presentations

Joeri controlling Jmal during a CESA skill in confined water

The quick reverse, self rescue skill from the Rescue diver course in Confined water

Jmal working with the lift bag in Open Water

If you're interested in participating in one of my PADI IDC's, the next one is scheduled to start 1st July on Koh Samui which in turn is followed by an IDC in Osan, South Korea, starting 20th July, just to be followed once more by another IDC on Koh Samui, starting 7th August. A busy schedule ahead so don't miss out! All of these IDC's have confirmed candidates, so hope to see you there!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Diving around Gili Air in Indonesia

Diving around Gili Air in Indonesia

Since I arrived on Gili Air to teach the current June 2011 IDC I've managed to dive twice, once at Oceans 5 house reef during a night dive and once more at the amazing Shark point near Gili Trawangan. During the latter dive Joeri and Fanny also completed their DUP Instructor Specialty course.

Have a look at the pictures and enjoy!

Myself taking pictures of a school of Barracudas at Shark Point, thanks to Joeri for the picture!

The school of Barracudas that I was taking pictures of at Shark Point!

A juvenile cuttle fish during a night dive at Oceans 5 house reef

Blue spotted sting ray at Shark Point

One of the 4 Green turtles we spotted during the Shark Point dive

A leafy scorpion fish at Shark Point, hiding among the corals

A white eyed murray eel at Shark Point

One of the three white tip reef sharks we spotted during the Shark Point dove

A nudi branch at Shark Point

All three of us were able to take great pictures during the dive at Shark Point and this specialty went down very well! With thanks to Sup for guiding us.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Gili Air's PADI IDC for June 2011 with Oceans 5 is under way!

Gili Air's PADI IDC for June 2011 with Oceans 5 is under way!

Yesterday the red tape and some exams were taken care off and an afternoon PADI skill circuit completed the first day. Fanny from the Netherlands and Joeri from Belgium are taking part with Jmal from the last IDC here in April on Gili Air is giving the theory exams another go and he will sit in on all Knowledge Development, confined and open water water presentations as a refresher.

Joeri is enjoying the exams

Today we completed the remainder of the exams and more skill circuit practice was enjoyed in the fantastic Oceans 5 pool. We also have already completed two presentations by me.

Joerie with a giant stride entry

The conditions are good around Gili Air, sunny days with cooler evenings and a strong wind. I enjoy being back again on this lovely island where there are no cars and no dogs!

BCD removal and replacement at the surface, with Sander, the owner of Oceans 5 looking on in the background

Jmal showing is pressure gauge during the air depletion drill

Joeri removing and replacing his scuba unit underwater

Fanny during a CESA

Yes Fanny, you really need to rescue him!

Stay tuned on this blog channel for more updates of this IDC on Gili Air.

If you're interested in participating in an IDC with me, have a look at my schedule.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Project Aware, the new look, the new mission

Project Aware, the new look, the new mission

Since over 20 years the Project Aware has been around, it all started with a group of environmental advocates at the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) when they founded Project AWARE. They were deeply concerned about emerging threats to the underwater world. You can visit the new website here.

For two decades Project AWARE’s mission was to educate divers about emerging ocean issues and encourage participation in underwater conservation activities. More than 1000 dive operators and countless dive volunteers committed to marine protection efforts worldwide.

The new logo

Since 8th June 2011, the whole non profit organisation had a complete revamp, a make over came with a new mission and logo!

With new programs and more online resources than ever before, Project AWARE supports an unprecedented global movement of divers acting in their own communities to protect oceans and implement lasting change. You can craete your 'own ocean' inside the site and become part of the Porject Aware community. There are options for blogging and other iteresting options are available.

They’re focusing in on two major ocean issues –Sharks in Peril and Marine Debris, or trash in our ocean. Truly, there are many conservation issues converging on our ocean planet at once, but we’re concentrating on these serious problems where scuba divers are uniquely positioned to directly and positively affect real, long-term change in these two areas.

It looks like my run for Ocean Protection was one of the first fund raisers for the new direction Project Aware is going. Please keep donating to Project Aware, it's for a good cause that all of us divers should care about.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

The run for Ocean Protection during the Laguna Phuket marathon

The run for Ocean Protection during the Laguna Phuket marathon

It's done and over with. Pffffffffffff. After having competed in so many races over the years, cycling during my younger days and running fairly recently, it always amazes me how nervous one can get before the start of a race! But it's all good now and the race is in the bag with a good time for me, 2 hours and 4 minutes over 20.09km. I was aiming for a time between 2 hours and 2:15, so not bad at all.

From left to right, Rob Scammell (PADI Examiner) who was the inspiration for getting Project Aware involved, Lizzy, Mia, Cait and myself, last night at the registration.

Last night I met up with Mia and her two friends Lizzy and Cait from Singapore. They ran together with me under the Project Aware banner and Mia raised around 1.000,-USD for Ocean protection. Thanks a lot Mia, hat's off and I hope you enjoyed your race!

I raised 500,-AUD and 7.000,-THB so far, if anyone feels compelled to donate, please feel free and get in touch with me. 5.-000,-THB was donated by The Dive Academy and 2.000,-THB by Infinity Divers, both on Koh Samui.

5:30am, half an hour to go before the start, still looking fresh

The race was well organised and I'm looking forward to a next challenge, providing my busy IDC schedule this year will let me. The next running event scheduled for me is on 8th October 2011 in Bangkok, a midnight 12km run on Sukhumvit Road! That sounds like a lot of fun.

Moments after I passed the finish line, relieved, satisfied and knackered!

The participants medal of this years edition of the Laguna Phuket International Marathon with around 5.000 participants coming from 45 countries

Signs along the marathon course in Phuket

I hope I can make it to next years edition, I'm looking forward it!

First stop now however is Gili Air in Indonesia for an IDC, starting 16th June!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Running for Ocean Protection, The Dive Academy donation

Running for Ocean Protection, The Dive Academy donation

Paul and Sarah, owners of 'The Dive Academy', the PADI 5* IDC center that I conduct IDC's with on Koh Samui, have donated 5.000,-THB to my cause for Ocean Protection during my half marathon at the Laguna Phuket International Marathon this coming Sunday, 12th June.

Paul and me with The Dive Academy's donation

Visit the new Project Aware webpage to support my cause and make a donation or you can get in touch with me directly.

Looking forward to your help!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

More specialty instructor training around Koh Tao

More instructor specialty training around Koh Tao

Today was Simon's final day of specialty instructor training. After Saturday's Deep diving at Sail Rock, there was DUP (Digital Underwater Photography) and Fish ID on the menu today at Shark Island and Ao Leuk respectively, the Southern tip of Koh Tao.

Blue spotted sting ray at Shark Island

Conditions were excellent, above and under the waterline! It was cloudy so not too warm and the visibility was around 20 meters! Great diving conditions indeed.

A grouper at Shark Island

Both our dives were really enjoyable, first of all because of the nice conditions and secondly by the leisurely pace of our dives and the multitude of fish we encountered.

Christmas Trees at Shark Island

Today we were on a speedboat and due to the nice surface conditions, a flat ocean all the way from Samui to Koh Tao, we were back home by 2am! A really good time, considering we went all the way to Koh Tao.

Jenkins Whip Ray at Ao leuk

One of the high lights of the day was spotting this Jenkins Whip Ray, you don't meet too many around here and the nice thing was that this guy was not camera shy at all!

Healthy stag horn coral at Ao leuk

To finish it off, a picture of some healthy had coral, stag horn, around Ao leuk. Other parts in Thailand, especially around the Similan Islands, a lot of the hard coral has some serious damage due to coral bleaching. It was good to see that the coral around Koh Tao in general is in very good shape, especially the hard coral recovered very well from approximately one year ago.

A nice days diving and I'm looking forward to my next dive adventure, the IDC starting this 16th June on Gili Air in Indonesia.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Vintage Scuba Equipment; Mares BCD from 1982

Vintage Scuba Equipment; Mares BCD from 1982

It's been a while since my last post on the topic of vintage dive equipment but here's one that made me happy when I saw a 1982 Mares BCD on my recent trip to Sail Rock, earlier this week.

1982 vintage Mares BCD, they don't come in these colors anymore!

A French customer on the boat was setting up a rather remarkably colored BCD, the one pictured above. The colors are like the amazing colors used during the 8-tees, when there was still no fluorescent equipment, so I think that the manufacturers just went for 'in your face' colors instead! Purple Rain by Prince comes to mind.

Upon asking some question to the customer, amongst other asking permission to take pictures and post them here online, it turned out that the BCD and regulator (Poseidon), were only used around 300 times but also that they were never serviced.

True enough, just before the first dive, about to gear up, one of the regulator blows. Another regulator was quickly provided, however, the lip hose wouldn't connect with the 1982 nipple on the bcd's LPI hose.

1982 Mares LPI hose (the cap on the deflator button is missing though)

Another BCD had to come in as well and after a short delay, our customer was ready to dive and join his group that was waiting in front of the Rock.

Different view of the LPI

I find it amazing to see that dive equipment is still going strong after so many years, although in this case a service check was desperately needed.

Keep wt folks and only leave bubbles, I hope you enjoyed this post!


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Deep dive instructor specialty at Sail Rock

Deep dive instructor specialty at Sail Rock

Today I went to dive at Sail Rock with Simon, who completed his IDC in January here on Koh Samui. Due to both of us having busy schedules, we couldn't get around completing his Deep diver instructor specialty until today.

Big school of fusiliers

The weather was great today, sunny all day long and the conditions at Sail Rock were nice, around 20 meters visibility during the first dive, our deep dive during which we reached 39 meters.

The same school of fusiliers, a wall of fish!

The second dive there was a bit more of a current and visibility dropped a little bit but conditions were still excellent with a massive school of fusiliers and jacks all over the place.

The school of fusiliers with a diver on top of them

Jacks were all over the place today, in small and bigger schools

A potato grouper hiding outside of the current

A sea urchin showing it's inner beauty

Simon in the blue

A great day's diving was had and Wednesday we continue with some more Instructor Specialty training. See you than!