Sunday, February 27, 2011

PADI IDC Koh Lanta for February-March 2011 has kicked off

PADI IDC Koh Lanta for February-March 2011 has kicked off

Yesterday the first day of the PADI IDC on Koh Lanta for February-March 2011 has kicked off and it's the first one that is run out of Blue Planet Divers in Saladan.

Cody, Luke and Paul are sitting through a set of theory exams, sweating it out despite the aircon!

Roman Emperor Cody during a giant stride

With three candidates Koh Lanta proofs to be a steady home for small classes with lots of personal interest!

Luke during a confined water fin pivot

Lots of confined water training, by means of the skill circuit, is on the menu conditions were actually so good that yesterday we used the ocean for confined open water training and it looks like tomorrow we'll be back in the ocean again.

Paul on a rescue mission

Keep an eye out on the progress of this IDC, followed by a PADI IE later in March also to be conducted on Koh Lanta.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

PADI Member Forum 2011 Koh Samui and Koh Tao

PADI Member Forum 2011 Koh Samui and Koh Tao

Over the last couple of days it was PADI meeting mayhem! After the recent PADI Course Director update on Koh Tao on Monday during the daytime, I went to the Member Forum update that same evening and yesterday I went to the same member Forum on Samui at the Kandaburi Resort in Chaweng and a third may be luring around the corner in the first week of March during my IDC on Koh Lanta starting this Saturday!

Welcome to the Samui Member Forum

Some 20 people showed up, much to Tony Andrew's relieve, since the updates he conducted in Phuket, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao where much bigger events, Samui gave him a quiet and relaxed evening! Attendee numbers ranged from over 100 to 60 in the other locations.

This way please!

Tony Andrews and myself at the Samui Forum

Tony Andrew is the new Regional manager for region 26 or better known to us as Thailand. Last year during October there was a change of guard and Hans Ullrich, the big Dutch guy, who was RM (regional manager) for the last 7 years in Thailand moved on to Queensland in Australia.
Tony, who was the previously filling the RM shoes in Indonesia came over to Thailand following up Hans' legacy and he's doing fine, considering what a big bite Thailand is compared to all other regions in Asia Pacific.

The Koh Tao update was attended by around 100 PADI members it and was the biggest Member Forum I ever attended! It was also one of the most informal updates or Forum that I've been to and Tony had a tough job but handled it well getting the attention from everyone at the right moments. Nice side note was that Colin Melrose gave moral support!

Looking forward to 2011, the start has been a lot better than the same period in 2010!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wonderful Water Planet, a book by compiled by Naoko Funakoshi

Wonderful Water Planet, a book by compiled by Naoko Funakoshi

The book contains images of various fish, contributed by 100 divers from all over the world and compiled by Naoko Funakoshi.

A total 298 photos were donated by 100 divers (both professional and amateur photographers) from all over the world. The book consists of 52 pages (B5 size). Please visit her website Ocean Lovers.

About half a year ago I posted about her and her book project on this blog and now we can see the result.

The cover of the book

Naoko approached with a request if I could present this book to the school of my children on Koh Samui and possibly one or two more schools.

She said that the schools or better the libraries at the schools should keep the book for all the children to see!
She just want many children to enjoy seeing the images of those creatures :))

After taking some pictures and noting the address of the schools in question, respectively the school of my son and daughter, Naoko will send another 5 copies of the book to each school.

At my sons school library, from left to right; Kruu Nowarat Pechruantong (my sons teacher), Kruu Sermsook Cheeanban (owner, head teacher), Dennis Lemmens my son and myself, Camille Lemmens PADI Platinum Course Director.

At my daughter's school, in front of the school library I presented the book to the main teacher Kruu Mechai Srijong.

In the picture from left to right; Kruu Supaporn Taptiyapong, Kruu Mechai Srijong (main teacher), the librarian of the school Kruu Thom, my daughter Julia Lemmens, my son Dennis Lemmens, myself, PADI Platinum Course Director Camille Lemmens and Kruu Wattana U-Ratchanopakhon, my daughters teacher.

The word 'Kruu' in Thai means Teacher.

There's one more school scheduled to be visited, in Plai Laem on Koh Samui and I will hand them also a copy of the book.

If you are interested to obtain a copy of the book and if you live on an (remote) island, I can happily get you in touch with Naoko or it shouldn't be rocket science to find your own way to her.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

PADI Course Director update 2011 on Koh Tao, Thailand

PADI Course Director update 2011 on Koh Tao, Thailand

Yesterday afternoon PADI's main man for IDC and IE coordination in the Asia Pacific region, Colin Melrose kicked off the Koh Tao PADI Course Director update for 2011, the second only in a row of multiple updates all over the region.

Colin and myself at the update on Koh Tao

The main topic discussed was the changes in the new and updated PADI Divemaster course, which from 1st July onwards is required for all instructors to teach in the new format, in English. Some of the translation for this course may take a little longer to see the light of day.

Thanks to Colin and Tony Andrew, Thailands regional manager for PADI for the interesting afternoon.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Present from Malapascua IDC candidates

Present from Malapascua IDC candidates

Jesse, Lea, Jackie, Anne and Martin had a little surprise for me during the IE party recently on Malapascua in the Philippines. After they all passed the PADI IE successfully, they somehow arranged for a wooden thresher shark for me as a gift for me, on sale at various locations at the beach on Malapascua.

This one is special is special though since it has a very nice inscription on it; Thank you Camille for a great IDC! What else can you ask for!

They wrote their names at the other side of the wooden thresher shark. Thanks guys, it was my pleasure! Now the only thing missing is seeing a thresher shark myself and seeing Martin smile again!

Before I received their present I already had bought a wooden, small version of a local bangka or outrigger canoe, the kind of boat used around the Philippines for transport and for diving.

One of TSD (Thresher Shark Divers) barkeepers father sells them directly in front of the dive center and TSD's restaurant, Oscars. If you're on Malapascua and want to buy a copy for yourself, you can't miss him. Besides threshers in various sizes and bangka's, he also sells wooden Manta Rays and they're all beautifully handcrafted.

Frontal view of a bangka

Looking forward returning to the Philippines again, but for starters I'll have an IDC beginning on Koh Lanta this coming 26th February! See you there.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

PADI IE Malapascua, Philippines; 100% pass rate

PADI IE Malapascua, Philippines; 100% pass rate

After two nervous and partly nerve wrecking days, all of Thresher Sharks candidates passed with 100% rates, not even a single make up was involved! Well done guys and girls! Malapascua has it's first ever PADI IE in the bag!

The hardest part, the orientation and the red tape

Getting ready for and on the way to confined water

The group picture, from left to right, Martin (OWSI), Jesse (OWSI), Camille (PADI Course Director), Lea (OWSI), Anne (OWSI), Jackie (OWSI), Richard (Master Instructor) and George (PADI examiner).

Tonight is party time, see you there!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

North Point, local dive site at Malapascua, Philippines

North Point, local dive site at Malapascua, Philippines

Yesterday I went for two fun dives around Malapascua, since I had a day 'off' after completing Anne's Specialty Instructor training and before the PADI IE kicked off today. The first dive was at Monad Shoal, famous for it's Thresher Shark sightings, but three days with early morning dives (early as in waking up at 4.15am! and the boat leaving by 5am) did not get me to witness a Thresher close up.

During the morning dive at Monad Shaol and the next dive at North point I did manage to get a lot of 'firsts' in though, at Monad there were Mushroom coral pipefish and a sea moth. I didn't take any pictures since using flashlights is prohibited at Monad Shoal, not that all photographers care though.
The afternoon dive saw a couple of more 'firsts', a long time wish list fave, a frog fish!!, zebra crab, spider crab and a sponge snail and two sea moth crawled along a swell.

Look at the pix below for some of my pictures I took at North Point;

Believe it or not but this is a snail, a sponge snail to be precise, it moved at a snails pace when I took this picture

A spider crab is hidden in the fan

This is how a zebra crab looks like

A sea moth crawling around

Frog fish

Some real good diving can be had here, big stuff like the Thresher sharks, white tip reef sharks, Manta Rays and hammerheads but also tons of macro stuff can be found here like mating mandarins during night dives at Lighthouse and some of the stuff pictures and mentioned above.
I can highly recommend coming and get wet on Malapascua! I enjoyed it tremendously and feel sad that I need to leave soon and don't have more time to get some more dives in!


Monday, February 7, 2011

Specialty Instructor Training on Malapascua, Philippines

Specialty Instructor Training on Malapascua, Philippines

Today we completed the Specialty Instructor training and Anne was the only one who took on the MSDT prep course with at least 5 diving Specialties.
We covered the Night, Deep, Aware Fish ID, Underwater Naturalist, Enriched Air and Multilevel Instructor specialties. On top of that we also completed the Emergency Oxygen Provider Instructor course.
During our Deep dive specialty we saw on each dive a Manta Ray at monad Shoal!

During the night dive at Lighthouse we saw this rather big seahorse.

Anne in action during the deep dive with a compressed plastic bottle, the physics of diving

A sea Squirt at Calangaman wall

A shell in a tube coral at Calangaman wall

False Clown Anemone fish at Calangaman wall

We had some great diving and despite visiting the Monad Shoal early in the morning, we didn't get to see Thresher Sharks for which Malapascua is famous for.

Tomorrow the very first PADI IE ever will start on Malapascua, so stay tuned for more updates!
The next full IDC will start 26th February on Koh Lanta.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

DSAT Gas Blending on Malapascua

DSAT Gas Blending on Malapascua

Allen who staffed the recent IDC on Malapascua took the opportunity to upgrade his DSAT Gas Blender certificate to Instructor level.

The filling station on Malapascua with a stik system, which we didn't use, since we filled the tanks by partial pressure method.

Allen checking out out the partial pressure system, it seems he has some difficulty finding the right connections.

It does result however in him being the King of Nitrox!

In between diving and Gas Blending, there's plenty of action going on with the Instructor Specialty training around this IDC, stay tuned for more updates!


PADI IDC February 2011 on Malapascua completed

PADI IDC February 2011 on Malapascua completed

The first IDC that I teach outside of Thailand has been completed in conjunction with Thresher Shark Divers on Malapascua in the Philippines. The PADI IE isn't on until the 8th and 9th February so a couple of days of rest and time for Specialty Instructor Training are in place.

Jesse showing the perfect use of non diving training aid during a knowledge development presentation

The whole gang together before an Open Water training dive, except for Richard who seems to be camera shy!

Confined water debrief in process

Richard, not so camera shy in this picture, giving the candidates their feedback after an Open Water presentation

Stay tuned for updates on the Specialty Instructor training and the PADI IE.

The next IDC will kick off on 8th February on Koh Phangan, where I will only conduct an OWSI program and after that it's off to Koh Lanta for 26th February IDC kick off.