Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Camille receives sixth consecutive Platinum PADI Course Director rating

Camille receives sixth consecutive Platinum PADI Course Director rating

Just in the nick of time before February is over this year, Camille received for the sixth consecutive year running, the Platinum PADI Course Director rating.
Just a handful of PADI Course Directors world wide receive this rating, let alone PADI Course Directors who received this rating from it's conception onward without interception, like Camille.

Camille during the Open Water presentation on the February 2012 Gili Air IDC in Indonesia

If you're interested in participating in one of my IDC's, the next IDC will start 6th March on Malapascua in the Philippines in conjunction with PADI 5* IDC Center Sea Explorers. This will be directly followed by an IDC on Koh Samui, starting 19th March, followed by two IDC's in April in Khao Lak and on Koh Lanta. Look at my schedule for more IDC's around Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea.

Camille

PADI IDC on Gili Air in Indonesia, February 2012 is over the halfway mark

PADI IDC on Gili Air in Indonesia, February 2012 is over the halfway mark

The PADI IDC on Gili Air in Indonesia at PADI 5* IDC Center Oceans 5, the February 2012 version, is progressing nicely. Yesterday we completed the first Open Water training dive and that marks that we're already passed the half way mark. Time flies when you have fun!

The gang watching a video during one of my presentations

Plenty of more classroom presentation by me and a few by them where they scored on, passed by. Lots of water work, in the pool and open water have been taken care of and a second set of exams is behind the. Busy days indeed!

Max and Sijbren practicing with the lift bag in confined water

Plenty of all kinds of workshops have been tackled, about descents, knot tying, lift bag use, control, CESA's in confined and open water just to name a few. Rescue exercise #7, the unconscious diver at the surface has also been practiced every day.

David in the pool, controlling a fin pivot

It's an enjoyable PADI IDC and we have a nice group that works good together, well done guys! Keep up the good work, we're almost there.

Rafael, in charge of Brandon and Max during an alternate air source skill.

Stay tuned for more updates of this current IDC. If you're interested in participating in one of my IDC's, the next IDC will start 6th March on Malapascua in the Philippines in conjunction with PADI 5* IDC Center Sea Explorers. This will be directly followed by an IDC on Koh Samui, starting 19th March, followed by two IDC's in April in Khao Lak and on Koh Lanta. Look at my schedule for more IDC's around Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea.

Camille

Monday, February 27, 2012

Turtle Conservation Project Gili Air in Indonesia with Oceans 5; twenty turtles released

Turtle Conservation Project Gili Air in Indonesia with Oceans 5; twenty turtles released

After two previous reports about the Turtle Conservation Project Gili Air in Indonesia with Oceans 5, one in August last year, when the Olive Ridley turtles were still really young and small and a follow up in November last year, this time around the twenty biggest turtles were released.

On their way to the ocean

Out of the some 80 turtles, the biggest and fattest turtles were selected to make their big journey.

Measuring for length

It was a well anticipated event by the staff at Oceans 5 and Dave, who just completed his Divemaster training at Oceans 5 and is about to get married next week, had the honors of releasing the turtles with his future bride and wife, Victoria.

20 turtles waiting to be released in their temporary boxes

After the 20 'lucky' turtles were selected, we walked over to a quiet part of the beach on Gili Air, and our initially small group of people grew to a sizable group from all kinds of people that followed when we passed them, until we had some 40 people on the beach in the end.

Turtles, start your engines! The long walk to the water starts

The sizable crowd that gathered to witness the event

Out of the 20 turtles, 3 were taken 'back home' again, to their basins, since they kept swimming back to land, 2 of them and one just never really started to swim, although he was in the water.

It was a great event and I'm very happy that I was able to witness it. Hopefully one or two of the turtles survive, thus helping to sustain the turtle population around the Gili's.

Hats off to Oceans 5 for the initiative. Now the population is down to around 60 Olive Ridley turtles and last week one very young turtle was brought in, too small to determine if it's a Green turtle or a hawksbill turtle. It's that tiny! More to follow later............

Camille

Friday, February 24, 2012

PADI IDC on Gili Air in Indonesia for February 2012 is under full steam

PADI IDC on Gili Air in Indonesia for February 2012 is under full steam

Today was already the second day of already the 5th IDC with Oceans 5 on Gili Air in Indonesia and only the 2nd IDC for me this year. It's a busy one though, with David and Rafael from Switzerland, Max from Germany, Brandon from the USA, Sijbren who joined at the very last moment and who originates from the Netherlands and Eric who just started his IDCS course a few days ago, who's from Brazil. As you can see, a very international group!

Hello, my name is..........

We've been busy with the theory exams, plenty of pool work in the form of skill circuits and a few workshops on control and the rescue diver course among others and to top it off, practicing rescue exercise # 7 'unconscious diver at the surface'.

Eric staffing away during one of the skill circuits

It seems like a nice group and I look forward to the rest of this IDC course. We're lucky to be at the end of the local rainy season, since I arrived here a few days ago, not a single drop of rain has fallen and. it's been very hot every day.

Sijbren doing a CESA during his skill circuit

The Swiss part of the IDC in the midst of a hover

Brandon during Rescue exercise # 7

Stay tuned for more updates of this current IDC. If you're interested in participating in one of my IDC's, the next IDC will start 6th March on Malapascua in the Philippines in conjunction with PADI 5* IDC Center Sea Explorers. This will be directly followed by an IDC on Koh Samui, starting 19th March, followed by two IDC's in April in Khao Lak and on Koh Lanta. Look at my schedule for more IDC's around Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea.

Camille

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Weekly underwater clean up with Oceans 5 on Gili Air in Indonesia

Weekly underwater clean up with Oceans 5 on Gili Air in Indonesia

Since 6 weeks now, PADI 5* IDC Resort Oceans 5 on Gili Air in Indonesia has organized an underwater clean up on 6 consecutive Wednesdays, in front of their resort. This happens to be the harbor and is also their local house reef, with tons of macro!

The clean up group with their treasure, in the white rash vest on the right is Pak Kadus (Dana), the head man on Gili Air

The harbor is now a lot cleaner compared to the first time I dived there, over a year ago. Still they manage to get impressive amounts of garbage out of the water although slowly the participants have to move to the sides of the harbor to find more garbage.

The amount of garbage taken out

Interesting to see is that the local staff took over in organizing yesterdays event, completely on their own without being asked to do this. I like that! Well done guys. Another nice touch was that the head of the island participated in the clean up. Pak Kadus (Pak = mister, Kadus = head of island) Dana participated as well. It seems that the local island people are really interested.

The trash bag that Dave, Victoria and myself shared

I dived with Dave, who's completing his Divemaster training at Oceans 5 and his girlfriend and soon to be wife Victoria, who's in the midst of her Advanced Open Water diver course. We had a massive meshbag/trashbag which we filled up almost to the hilt!

A fish reel, one of my finds

I found the fish reel above and the local Divemasters got really excited about, especially when they figured out that the trolley was still working. Today there was a massive trolley clean up!

It was a fun experience and I always enjoy participating in clean ups. Kudo's to Oceans 5 for the initiative, the house reef and harbor look a lot better already! Keep it up guys.

Camille

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

PADI IDCS course on Gili Air in Indonesia, February 2012

PADI IDCS course on Gili Air in Indonesia, February 2012

At Oceans 5 on Gili Air in Indonesia, Eric from Brazil started his IDCS Instructor course today.

It was a classroom day, filled with Theory exams, a General Standards & Procedures exam, 4 IDCS curriculum presentations by me and evaluation training.

During the IDC prep course, which will kick off tomorrow, Eric will complete one Knowledge Development and one Confined Water presentation and for each he needs to score at least a 4.0 out of 5.

A nice kick off of the IDC activities, now it's time for the weekly reef clean up at Oceans 5 house reef.

See you soon for more updates on this IDC.

Camille

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Diving Shark Point, Gili Trawangan in Indonesia

Diving Shark Point, Gili Trawangan in Indonesia

It's good to be back in the water again. Today is a leisure on Gili Air, so what better to do than going for a dive at Shark Point, a fantastic dive sit near Gili Trawangan. Everybody that is participating in the IDC starting this Wednesday went for the dive, so it was a nice group outing, a great way to get to know each other.

One of the white tips reef sharks we saw during the dive.

The best thing during the dive was that my underwater camera and housing are functioning again, as described in a post during the live aboard in December last year. I could solve the problem by first attempting this and after having cleaned one button successfully but in a time consuming fashion, I decided to resort to option 2 or 'plan B'.
I can happily announce now that my camera is working fine now.

A school of a couple of hundred jack fish, circling

Immediately at the beginning of the dive we encountered one of the biggest groups of jack fish I've ever seen and also Hamdy, the local divemaster with a couple of thousand dives under his belt, stated the same, he had never seen a school of jacks this size. It was impressive and they even started to circle, something I didn't knew that jacks did. It was awesome!

Another shot of the massive school of jacks

Than a strange happened, some 17 minutes into the dive my D6i dive computer go into decompression diving and showed me that I needed to complete extended deco-stops towards the end of th dive. In itself that's no problem or big deal, the strange was however, that nobody else in the group, another 6 divers, had their dive computers signal a similar precaution. I've done this profile multiple times without problems, so receiving this message was strange. The only thing I can think of that caused it is that before the dive I didn't check if the wireless transmitter was synced with my computer. I do mention this, since the computer wasn't synced with the transmitter. Strange. I completed the 9 minute deco stop and surfaced. So far everything's fine!

A turtle that has been nibbled on

Back to the dive, we saw 3 white tip reef sharks(I only saw 2), a handful of turtles, including the biggest one I've ever seen and the one that had been nibbles on, as pictured above, a lobster hiding under a rock, an octopus at the same rock, a cuttle fish plus the usual fish that always seem to be around.

Tomorrow will see the start of an IDCS course with Eric from Brazil. See you soon!

Camille

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Vintage Scuba equipment; the Suunto SME-ML Dive Computer

Vintage Scuba equipment; the Suunto SME-ML Dive Computer

Another oldie but golden and a great addition to my 'Vintage scuba equipment' collection! It's been just over 10 days since I wrote about Chris' SOS Automatic Decompression meter and since I like these vintage dive equipment accessories, here's a report on one of the first Suunto computers; the SME-ML.


It's hard to imagine, but dive computers did not exist 15 years ago. Up until the first reliable multi-level dive computer appeared in the late eighties, a diver had to rely on the U.S. Navy dive tables or similar tables. Dive tables were originally designed for divers who were going to dive to a single depth, stay at the depth the entire dive, and return directly to the surface. The dive tables may have worked fine for a Navy salvage diver, but a recreational diver's depth varies throughout the dive. The recreational diver needed a device that could recalculate no-decompression time on the fly while diving, and calculate available no-decompression times for future dives while on the surface.

Fortunately, advances in microchips, sensors, and other electronic components made it economically feasible to
build affordable recreational dive computers. At the same time, some of the brightest decompression scientists had developed decompression algorithms that could be programmed into a microchip. Hence, the dive computer
was born. Suunto's SME-ML was one of the original dive computers ever made, and there are many still in service today!

The SME and ML models were wrist mounted although early computers were not Nitrox capable back in those days, that was something for the next range of dive computer models.

The SME was unique in that it worked the US Navy dive tables exactly as one would experience them if using a standard depth gauge and timer however The SME/ML added the multi-level capability that has been standard on every computer since then.
The SME series has not been in production for years now. As a typical Suunto however, battery change can not and should not done by yourself, although it may be hard nowadays to find somebody who can change your battery, there are still places out there that offer this service.

It's odd that I keep bumping into all these vintage Suunto computers, the SMI and the Solution and my own EON. So far I've only used Suunto dive computers except for a short stint with a Mares Nemo wide. I really enjoy finding all the Suunto computers though and hope I will be lucky enough to find plenty of more vintage scuba equipment.

Once more, many thanks to Chris!

Camille

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wonderful Water Planet, a book by compiled by Naoko Funakoshi, part 2

Wonderful Water Planet, a book by compiled by Naoko Funakoshi, part 2

Here it is, almost a year after part 1, I presented Naoko's 'Wonderful Water Planet' book today to the head master of 'Baan Plai Laem school' in Plai Laem on Koh Samui in Thailand.

With Kruu Montri Kae-ow, the head master of 'Baan Plai Laem school'

In front of the school library, a building donated by the monks of the nearby Wat Plai Laem

Naoko will send 5 more copies of the book the school. Thanks to Naoko for making this project happen and please visit her website Ocean Lovers.

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.

Camille

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

SOS Automatic Decompression Meter

SOS Automatic Decompression Meter

One of the occasional perks of being a PADI Course Director and diver in general, is that sometimes I stumble over vintage scuba equipment. Mostly whilst diving on boats around Thailand but during last years October IDC on Koh Samui, one of the candidates, Chris, brought in some very interesting training aids for her classroom presentations; some serious, hardcore vintage scuba equipment!

SOS Automatic Decompression Meter with manual

She brought in this SOS Automatic Decompression Meter with manual! Sure enough it baffled me, since up till that moment I had never heard of such a device. It turns out that many accidents happened whilst using these devices back in the days and soon enough they were called Bend-O-Matics.
The model shown here is from SOS, an Italian brand and Chris has actively been diving with this meter without getting bend! Excellent.

Scubapro had also some designs back in the days which were the early sixties into the seventies.

A closer look

Here's a simple yet effective explanation in German, with a similar picture. Here you can find a description of the benefits of having a decompression meter. Don't forget that dive computers the way we know know them today, like the Suunto D6i, were still a long way to go!
An interesting insight in the patent of one of these decompression meters can be found here.

Thanks for bringing them along Chris and allowing me to take pictures, it's much appreciated. A few more posts are in the pipeline featuring your vintage equipment, so stay tuned!

Camille