Monday, January 31, 2011

Laplight, local dive site at Malapascua, Philippines

Laplight, local dive site at Malapascua, Philippines

During the day off of the current IDC, I took the advantage of jumping on a local dive for a fun dive. The site is called Laplight and is in between two local sites (Lapus Lapus and Lighthouse) and is one of the few sites around Malapascua where there's hard coral.
After the IDC I will go on an early morning dive for a look at the Thresher sharks, what the island is famous for!

Dog or sealed faced puffer


Magnificent Chromodoris

A tiny, juvenile lion fish

Star feather, a christmas tree family member

Stay tuned for more updates on my Philippines dive adventures.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

PADI IDC on Malapascua is half way!

PADI IDC on Malapascua is half way!

After a couple of days of hard work, tomorrow is going to be a well deserved day off for the candidates. Time to regroup and get ready for the second part of this IDC.

Plenty of classroom time has been spent and lots of presentations where shed out over the candidates, here's Allen in action during his first IDC curriculum presentation ever.

Two confined and an open water presentations were taken care of and here' we're on our way to the dive sites, on the local dive boat or bangka as it's named in Philippino or tagalog.

Jackie in action during confined water with the Alternate Air source drill

Part of each IDC is a knot tying workshop, in confined and open water. Here the sheet bend is demonstrated.

Martin in charge during a controlled descent in open water

Rescue in progress!

Tuesday we continue with the rest of this IDC. See you soon and stay tuned. First I'm going to enjoy a day off on Malapascua.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

IDC on Malapascua has kicked off

IDC on Malapascua has kicked off

That's Malapascua in the Philippines in conjunction with Thresher Shark Divers and it's my first IDC that I teach outside of Thailand!
There are 5 students and two people staffing this IDC, Allen who lives in South Korea and is an IDCS and Richard, who you may remember from the IDC's he recently staffed in Koh Lanta and Kao Lak who's a Master Instructor and who also got accepted into the next and upcoming CDTC (Course Director Training Course) in Malaysia come March.

The group just after class today, ready to hit the books! From left to right Richard, Anne, Jacqui, Martin, Allen, Jessi and Lea.

A more formal picture with Richard, Anne, Jacqui, Lea, Martin, Jessi and Allen. Exams, skill circuits, rescue practice, all already accounted for, tomorrow more confined water is on the schedule, just crossing our fingers for good conditions!

Stay tuned for more updates.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Super Sexy CPR

Super Sexy CPR

Now for something completely different. This video on CPR training might get all of your (male) students very interested in this course. A step up from your daily EFR video.

Super Sexy CPR from Super Sexy CPR on Vimeo.

Enjoy teaching your upcoming courses with a little bit of glamour and spice things up a little bit.


Friday, January 21, 2011

18 Dive sites closed in Thailand to save coral reefs

18 Dive sites closed in Thailand to save coral reefs

After a couple of days with conflicting information coming from the Thai government and especially the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department and it's chief Sunan Arunnoparat in which closures of complete parks for an indefinite time were announced, the current situation of 18 closed dive sites was announced as posted in the Bangkok Post today.

Map of closed dive sites as per 21st January 2011

Initial reports and announcement made by the Khun Sunan's department named divers as the culprit of the current coral bleaching. Something hard to defend since year long research points to a combination of factors, amongst which elevated water temperatures have a high impact.
Divers most certainly have an impact on world wide coral reefs but coral bleaching is something I find difficult to blame divers for.

Bleached hard coral at Hin Wong, Koh Tao in June 2010

My first reports on coral bleaching on this blog originate from May and July last year, mentioning and showing pictures of personally recorded bleaching on Chaweng Beach and around Koh Tao.

It turns out that hard coral (like stag horn) is hit the hardest and the soft coral is a lot less affected. Out of own observation, the bleaching in the Gulf doesn't seem as bad as compared to the Andaman Sea, especially the Similan Islands have some hard hit areas.

The general consensus and an accepted fact is among divers that closing down Marine Parks for divers will give a free reign to illegal fishing practices by Thai and Chinese fishing boats which will lead to even more coral reef destruction since they can do whatever they want, without the dive boats being able to see and report illegal fishing activities.

Some very interesting threads are going on on Thaivisa and Scubaboard.

The last word won't be said or written about this topic, stay tuned for more updates.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

PADI IE on Koh Samui, January 2011 done and dusted

PADI IE on Koh Samui, January 2011 done and dusted

Today the two day PADI IE program for January 2011 on Koh Samui was completed and Darius, Simon, Yukari and Tatsuma did well! One of them had a slight problem with the theory exams so we may seem him back again.

Nobu (PADI MI and translator, Tatsuma, Yukari, Rob (PADI Examiner), Simon and Darius in the pool

Yesterday was an action packed day and besides the IE orientation by Rob, the PADI Examiner for this program, there was also the exams (5 x theory plus General Standards & Procedures) on the schedule and on top of this also the Knowledge Development and the Confined Water presentation.

The complete IE group plus Nobu during the Open Water briefings

Today had the Open Water presentation and Rescue scenario scheduled on Chaweng Beach and tonight it's time for some R&R; first some food and than party time downtown Chaweng.

From left to right; Nobu (PADI MI, Darius, Rob (PADI Examinator), Yukari, Tatsuma, Camille (PADI Course Director), Aiko (PADI IDCS) and Simon.

Well done guys and congratulations and lots of good luck and loads of fun during your future PADI Instructor careers!

Remember, you can be in the next picture! The next PADI IDC conducted by me starts 24th January on Malapascua in the Philippines followed by an IDC on Koh Phangan starting 9th February.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

EFR Instructors for January 2011 is accounted for

EFR Instructors for January 2011 is accounted for

Yesterday Darius and Simon completed their EFR Instructor course at the local recompression chamber in Bang Rak on Koh Samui.

In front of the pot, from left to right; Darius, Simon and myself.

Tatsuma and Yukari completed their course with Nobu, who is also an EFR Instructor Trainer but he speaks a lot better Japanese, compared to me.

Today and tomorrow they're all sweating it out in the PADI IE! Stay tuned for updates.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The January 2011 PADI IDC on Samui is in the bag!

The January 2011 PADI IDC on Samui is in the bag!

Darius, Simon, Yukari and Tatsuma have completed their current January IDC on Koh Samui.
Today the EFR Instructor is being conducted and tomorrow the PADI IE kicks off. I had to tell one of the guys that I do have some reservations about participating in the IE, regarding the waterworks, so we keep our fingers crossed!

Something must've gone right for Darius and Yukari, it seems that Tatsuma agrees

We had some good fun though and more practice in all parts of the IDC was completed, classroom presentations, confined and open water skills were practiced.

There's got to be a difference, just keep in mind that size doesn't matter, or does it?

Simon telling us about the mysterious ways a lift bag works

After this IDC on Samui, I'll be off to Malapascua in the Philippines to conduct an IDC there, my first outside of Thailand, there are still places available, it kicks off 24th January followed by an IDC on Koh Phangan, starting 9th February. See you there and drop me a mail if you need some info on my programs.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

January PADI IDC on Samui is half way

January PADI IDC on Samui is half way

Today is a day off from the IDC and we all enjoy our rest, well, at least I do! The Assistant Instructor course part or over now and tomorrow we will kick off the OWSI part of this IDC. Maybe the candidates are enjoying a rainy day on Samui and/or are running around or following additional lectures on physics?

Darius telling us some things about a regulator

They all went through the first set of 'Death by Power point' and survived, kind of. Classrooms presentations by me and some by the candidates as well were on the menu.

Yukari during Rescue exercise # 7, the unconscious diver at the surface

There was also plenty of confined water quality time. Almost each day we do something in the water. Rescue exercises according the to the Rescue diver course exercise # 7 is an ever re-occurring event!

Tatsuma and Simon during an Alternate Air source drill

Besides the rescue scenario practice, plenty of confined water presentations are being conducted by the candidates, from various levels of training but mainly they need to deal with skills from the Open Water- or Rescue diver course or parts of the Adventure Dives.

Tatsuma, Yukari and Simon during a fin pivot skils

Lift bag workshop

In confined water there are also plenty of workshops, CESA-, Control-, Rescue course-, knot tying and DSD Workshops are just a few that I conduct during my IDC's.

We also went to Open Water and had a dive at Chaweng Beach, during which we integrated two skills per candidate. The picture shows from left to right; Simon, Tatsuma, Aiko (IDCS), Darius, Yukari and myself.

Stay tuned for more updates on this IDC and the up and coming PADI IE on Samui and if you want to join me in one of my future IDC's, I'm starting one on the 24th January on Malapascua in the Philippines and the next one in Thailand starts 9th February on Koh Phangan. Let me know if you would like to receive more details on these courses and or dates.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

MV Trident on it's way down!

MV Trident on it's way down!

It's almost 4 months now since the MV Trident was purposely sunk off Koh Tao's South coast and for various reasons (unknown to me) the official video of this sinking hasn't been released until now.

Please have a look below, it's an excellent video shot by the good folks at Ace Marine Images on Koh Tao;

The video above is a good 10 minutes long, if that's too long for you, please find a 1.16 minute long video below;

If that isn't enough, just one wreck in the form of the MV Trident, there are negotiations going on to have a retired Thai navy vessel being sunk by the end of June 2011, a 49 meter long, 17.5 m tall and 7 m wide vessel, photo shown below!

It will be great if Koh Tao can offer some counter weight and balance to Pattaya when it comes down to wreck diving.

In the meantime, I'm still waiting to get my first dive on the MV Trident in!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

The January 2011 IDC on Samui has kicked off, the first IDC this year!

The January 2011 IDC on Samui has kicked off, the first IDC this year!

The show is on the road again and the first IDC of the year has kicked off, this time on Koh Samui in conjunction with The Dive Academy.

There are 4 candidates, Simon from Switzerland, Darius from the USofA who lives in Australia and Tatsuma and Yukari from Japan, making it as usual a very international affair!

In good old fashion and tradition, the red tape was tackled first immediately followed by the theory exams with Simon and Darius in full concentration, pictured above.

Did I mention already that Darius is tall?

Look Mum, no air!

Darius calling out

Rescue exercise #7

Stay tuned for updates on this IDC, soon to follow, same channel, just tune in.