Friday, July 31, 2015
It's the end of the month and there were more PADI DSD's around Koh Samui, Thailand. Last week I went to Shark Island near Koh Tao and Koh Ma next to Koh Phangan and took Nico and Marie-Theres from Austria for their introductory dives and first breaths underwater. As the picture below showed, they really enjoyed it and we had good conditions.
Nico and Marie-Theres
Later that same week I went one more time to Sail Rock where we had excellent conditions with 20 meters visibility and took Viola and Eric for their respective Open Water training dives 1 and 2 of the PADI Open Water diver course.
The rest of the week saw no diving for me, due to a back problem and a cold, not a good combination for diving! Next month should be a busy month with high season in full swing and I might find myself back on the boat a few times more. Stay tuned for more updates.
Contact me if you're interested in diving or PADI courses on Koh Samui.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Today I received this testimonial from Willem Gladisch of the June 2015, Koh Samui IDC in conjunction with PADI 5* IDC Center 'Easy Divers' on Koh Samui, Thailand. Thanks for taking the time out to write this testimonial Willem and I wish you good luck in finding work around the Samui archipelago, before you can move over to Khao Lak, to work there when the season starts. I'm already looking forward seeing you again there!
Check below this picture to see the actual testimonial;
Willem with the PADI Examiner Brendon, after successfully completing the PADI IE
Ich habe im Juni 2015 den IDC Kurs bei Camille absolviert... Mit Erfolg! IE bestanden und somit meinen Traum erfüllt, Ich bin nun Tauchlehrer und kann da arbeiten, wo die meisten Menschen nur Urlaub machen.
Ohne die fabelhafte Vorbereitung hätte ich das allerdings nie geschafft. Mit Camille habe ich definitiv die richtige Wahl getroffen, er ist sehr kompetent und geht auf jeden einzelnen ein. Außerdem habe ich seine offene Art und seinen frischen Humor sehr genossen. Der Kurs ist und bleibt eine Herrausvorderung aber mit Camille an deiner Seite wirst du bestens vorbereitet. Vielen Dank Camille und hoffentlich sehen wir uns demnächst wieder!
If this raises your interest in participating in one of my PADI IDC programs, the next programs are scheduled to start 25th August on Phuket, Thailand in both German and English languages with two PADI Course Directors, followed by 14th September in Moalboal, Philippines and this is followed by 26th September in Puert Galera in the Philippines.
See you there,
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
The Six P’s and Your PADI IDC
This blog is written by Drew Mcarthur, who staffed the March 2012 PADI IDC on Malapascua in the Philippines. He is currently working in Grand Cayman, working for a tech outfit as a boat captain /instructor/DM.
He also writes articles for his own blog, check his series about 'Being an Instructor', in my opinion must reads for aspiring PADI Scuba Instructors and I feel honored that Drew wrote this blog exclusively for this blog.
On top of this, his writing skills have been recognized and he is also writing and publishing articles for Diver UK & Diver North America.
Thanks a lot Drew and I wish you all the best in your writing and diving career!
Drew participating in a lift bag workshop during the March 2012 PADI IDC on Malapascua in the Philippines
Now, let's bring on the goodies;
The Six P's and Your PADI IDC
By Drew Mcarthur
When I was young, my dad used to bang on about the six P’s: Preparation and Planning Prevents a P*** Poor Performance. The meaning is simple to understand, if you want to get a good result from something then you need to put the work in beforehand. Looking back, I guess when I was young I never listened to dad much which must have been pretty frustrating for him. In my school years, my time was generally spent staring out of the window and getting in to trouble as opposed to preparing for classes. This lack of preparation on my part resulted in various fates like having to do P.E. in my underwear and turning up for a very important exam in the afternoon when it was clearly advertised as being in the morning. It should come as no surprise that I left school without much in the way of impressive pieces of paper, it turned out that dad had a point.
As adults, the majority of us now know that if we want to get the most out of an experience then we need to put effort in to it, your Instructor Development course (IDC) is a great example of this. For many, one of the biggest considerations when deciding whether or not to become a scuba instructor is the initial cost. Making the financial commitment is a big deal but doing so does not guarantee success. It should be taken for granted that anyone who goes in to the Instructor Exam (IE) should do so with a view to pass but to what extent? Would you be happy to scrape through or would you want to ace it? Forget about the IE for a minute and consider the IDC as a standalone educational experience designed to prepare you for the big scary world as a scuba instructor, how much do you want to get out of it? Just enough to get by or enough to really empower you to be the best and most employable instructor you can be?
For most people there is a period of time between deciding that they want to become an instructor and the date their IDC starts. If you truly want to get the most out of the program and want to succeed as a scuba professional then this is a valuable period that should not be wasted. Whether you are a seasoned diver of many years or relatively new there are things that you can do in preparation for your IDC that will help build strong foundations for your course director to work with. And just to be clear, building up your alcohol tolerance before starting your gap year off does not constitute preparation! Here are some ideas for areas to focus on:
As much as dive crew members like to joke around and act the fool (something that comes a lot more naturally to some than others) there are strict standards throughout the instructor training process which have to be met. These start with prerequisites, in other words, what you need to have achieved prior to starting your IDC. Before starting instructor training there are some things that you have to have squared away. Depending on where you go to do your course you may well be able to fill in any missing gaps prior to the start date, if that’s the case then make sure your course director is aware of what you need before you arrive. Prior to starting the IDC (assuming you have to do the entire course – AI as well as OWSI) you’ll need the following:
• To be a divemaster (DM). If your DM cert is not from PADI then you’ll need to complete the rescue exercise from the PADI DM course. If you completed any course from entry level up to pro with a different agency (not PADI) then you need to make sure you bring your certification cards along with you.
• To be at least 18 years old.
• To have been a certified diver for at least six months.
• To have logged at least 60 dives (100 upon completion) and documented experience in night, deep and underwater navigation.
• To have a medical approval signed by a physician within the last 12 months stating you are fit to dive.
• To have completed EFR training within the last 24 months.
Before you can get signed off as an OWSI, you will need to be an Emergency First Response Instructor (EFRI). This is quite often built in to the IDC but does not have to be. As far as prerequisites go, if you do not have them already, including the EFRI, then make sure you are clear of their costs as they will no doubt be on top of the standard fee for the IDC.
Get Your Skills up to Scratch
In the IDC, you should be using your time learning how to teach, not learning how to do. I have seen many instructor candidates that turn up still having trouble with basics like hovering etc. If your demonstration of hovering looks scrappy then how does that help instill confidence in your students? Think about it from a 360 approach, if you turned up to your IDC and you noticed your course director couldn’t put his gear together very well then what would go through your mind? IDC candidates will always have development areas but time spent during the IDC learning how to hover properly as opposed to developing something like student control techniques is a waste of your time and money.
Its worth getting as much pool time as you can to work on your own skills as well as running through skill sets from the DM course. You can try listing skills that you did in your OW, AOW, Rescue & DM courses and then run through them. You may want to try to find recordings of other people demonstrating their skills on the internet, these help you visualize what it is you are trying to achieve. If you find an area you are not so strong in then that’s where you need to invest your efforts to practice.
Time spent assisting instructors teaching courses is exceptionally worthwhile. There are so many advantages in this, for example:
• You get to build familiarity with the syllabus.
• You get to see real life issues that students have and then how the instructor helps overcome them.
• You may well get time with students helping them practice.
• Your comfort level with the skills increases.
• You start getting used to being on the instructor side of the course as opposed to the student side.
In your IDC you will have to do a rescue scenario – Unresponsive dive at the surface. You will have done this already in your rescue course as well as your DM but now you need to learn how to do it to demonstration standard. If you can, it will help you immensely if you can assist other instructors in delivering a rescue course. The skills in this course can be pretty complex and managing them effectively requires quite a bit of thought from the instructor. Instructors always appreciate extra bodies on rescue courses to be victims, role play actors, equipment handlers etc so your involvement should be gratefully accepted.
Further to the above, there are other skills that may well feature in your IDC which are not so obvious like compass skills, knots and lift bag use. Re-visit your AOW course and make sure you are absolutely comfortable in how to take a bearing with a compass, navigate a reciprocal and a square. You do not even need to be in water to practice these. Also from the AOW course, take time to get up to speed with your three knots – the bowline, sheet bend & round turn and two half hitches.
When people make a mess of deploying lift bags & SMB’s things go south fast. It is hard to try to maintain a professional image while looking like a kitten tangled up in a ball of string being carried fins first to the surface by a lift bag you inflated, your “students” in front of you try to keep a straight face as they watch your demonstration wondering what is going to happen next. End every dive by deploying your SMB, even when not required so that when you get in to your IDC it is second nature.
Beyond all that, just get out there and dive. The more experience you can get, the better. It really does not matter if it is in your local quagmire or out on a stunning reef, try to get as much experience as a diver as you can.
Know Your Theory
Unsurprisingly (I hope), to be an instructor you need to have a good understanding of dive theory. As well as the theory exams you are going to have to sit, you will be expected to give knowledge development presentations on various subjects. Beyond all this, you need to be thinking of life after the IDC, when you are out there in a classroom full of open water students and someone asks you a question, trust me, you do feel like a bit of a tit when you don’t have the answer.
Go through your knowledge developments, quizzes and exams from your OW, AOW, Rescue, EFR & DM theory as well as at least nitrox & deep from your specialties. Try to avoid just remembering the answers and really make sure you understand the content of the subject. This helps you answer questions when they are presented in different contexts to how you have found them so far. You can find some really useful pieces on the internet but be careful, it turns out that some online content is not entirely accurate!
In your DM crew pack you should have had some reference materials which will help. The Encyclopedia of Recreation Diving is an amazing resource. Its big and has lots of words but is well worth the read. In addition to this you should have a copy of the instructor manual. Take time to get comfortable with how to navigate your way through it and understand where you need to look to find a general standard versus a standard for a particular course.
As I have already mentioned, I didn’t do very well at school so did not really have a strong educational background to help me through the theory work. I personally found the Diving Knowledge Workbook a world of use.
To be an instructor you will need your own gear. It is fairly common for instructors to use a little shop gear here and there but the expectation when hiring a PADI professional is that they have good working, well maintained equipment of their own. Make sure you know what regulator fittings they have where you are going, so if you have DIN regs you may well need to buy a DIN-Yoke converter. Also consider the changes in global units of measurement, if you are used to one but the place you are going to do your IDC uses the other then you will need to be aware of the conversions, things to consider are feet vs meters, pounds vs kg’s, Fahrenheit vs Celcius, Bar v PSI.
It is best to have fairly standard gear to use when instructing. For example, there is nothing in the standards that prevents you from having a backplate/wing configuration as opposed to a BCD but it is most likely your students will be learning in a standard jacket style BCD so think about how relevant your demonstration will be when you use kit that is different to what your students have.
When you get in to the IDC, it is worth looking at everyone else’s gear to ensure you understand its use if different from yours. If you are used to a standard pressure gauge but some candidates have their pressure displayed digitally on their computer then ask for a run through as to how it works, its best to find this kind of stuff out early on as opposed to when you are giving a demonstration on how to teach an out of air exercise.
My recommendation is to get your kit as soon as you can so you can build familiarity with it in the run up to your IDC. Requirements for the IE are:
• Fins, mask & snorkel
• Buoyancy control device with low pressure inflator.
• Regulator with alternate air source and SPG
• Timing device, depth gauge & compass
• Knife or cutting tool
• Blank slate
• Two surface signaling devices – one audible like a whistle and one visual like an SMB
• Weight Belt
• Pocket mask
This is not a deal breaker but it does help during your IDC and then getting a job if you are kinda in shape. Your IDC is tiring, you will be working lots of hours and will likely end the days physically and mentally exhausted. If you spend some time before your IDC developing your fitness then it will help you manage those long days.
Beyond the IDC, getting a job may be a little easier if you are in shape for two main reasons. Firstly, from a safety and practical point of view, if you find yourself in a position where you have to assist someone by pulling them in to the boat but you generally struggle to get yourself in the boat in normal conditions then you are not off to a good start. Depending on where you work you may have to get involved with physically demanding roles like changing over the tanks on the boats. Hauling 80 empty tanks off a boat and replacing them with 80 full ones in the midday heat is hard work.
Secondly, image is important for a dive centre. Some potential employers may not want to offer a job to someone who they feel does not have the right image. This could mean someone who smokes, has heavy tattoos or piercings or who is noticeably physically unfit. Rightly or wrongly, most dive centres like to promote an image of being healthy and active, their staff are instrumental in maintaining this image.
Start Thinking About the World of Work
Getting your instructor certificate is a big deal but in truth, it’s just the beginning. What you are going to find is that there is quite a bit of competition out there for jobs for freshly certified instructors. You need to start thinking about how to stand out from the crowd in order to get started. You may have something lined up already but if not I strongly advise that you start thinking about how you are going to make it happen. I have written a blog series which focuses on how to get a job as a new instructor, you can read it on Drew's own blog.
During my IDC I recall other certified instructors who were around at the time telling me that they had a great time during their IE. I personally had such a sense of impending doom that it seemed impossible that the IE could be anything like fun. When I got there, I was surprised to find that there were no nasty PADI dragons waiting to tear me apart and after passing the written exams I actually did enjoy the whole experience just like others had told me I would. This time, I had prepared, very thoroughly indeed and it was this preparation that enabled the experience to be fun. No one wants to have to write that Facebook status telling the world that they failed and there is no reason why they should have to as long as they put the required effort in. In summary, my advice to you is get the basics nailed, prepare well, learn lots in the IDC and then have fun blitzing the IE. Good luck!
My next PADI IDC programs are coming up soon; 25th August on Phuket, Thailand in German and English languages with two PADI Course Directors, 14th September in Moalboal, Philippines and 26th September in Puerto Galera, Philippines.
See you there,
Friday, July 24, 2015
With a longer gap not teaching PADI IDC's around Thailand and the Philippines, I helped out with PADI 5* IDC Center 'Easy Divers' on Koh Samui with PADI Discover Scuba Diving on Koh Samui with Camille. And that will be explained here!
PADI DSD with Jacques, it's amazing what diving can do to people
On 17th July I was on my way to Sail Rock for two dives with Jacques from Switzerland for a PADI Discover Scuba Diving on Koh Samui with Camille. His daughter should have been there with him, but unfortunately it turned out that when she was about to fill out the medical statement, she had asthma and we couldn't get a medical sorted on such short notice. Kudo's to Jacques though that he continued with the experience and he enjoyed it a lot, as the picture shows!
Diving with Sabine
A few days later I found myself again on my way to Sail Rock for two dives, this time with Sabine from Switzerland. She hadn't dived for over 3 years and requested a private dive guide and I was more than happy to oblige. We had two great and relaxed dives at Sail Rock and once more a happy diver who is now thinking about getting wet more often.
Fanny, Camille and Camille
A day later it was once more Sail Rock, due to weather conditions, the Big Easy on each Tuesday which should have three different dive sites, was restricted to Sail Rock, which under these conditions, with visibility between 20 and 15 meters, is not exactly punishment. For the first time ever, I met a woman with the same name as me, Camille! Indeed a serious case of PADI Discover Scuba Diving on Koh Samui with Camille! She was nervous at the start of the first dive but relaxed during the dive and during their second dive, she had a blast, full of confidence and fun!
Her friend Fanny turned out to be a CMAS 1* diver, who had dived each weekend for four years, but that was a while ago, she started to dive at 12 years of age.
Another great day of diving and my telly of logged dives at Sail Rock is now at 497.
There may be some more dives this and next month and I will report accordingly. If you would like to go diving around Koh Samui, let me know and I can hook you up with dives and/or PADI courses, including PADI Discover Scuba Diving.
See you at the dive sites!
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Today I received this great testimonial from Simon Gurney of the June 2015 PADI IDC on Koh Samui, Thailand in conjunction with PADI 5* IDC Center 'Easy Divers'. It's much appreciated that you took the time out to write this and I wish you good luck in your further PADI Instructor career. It was my pleasure to have you in one of my PADI IDC's (text continues below the picture);
Simon with Brendon, the PADI Examiner after completion of the June 2015 PADI IDC on Koh Samui in Thailand
I recently successfully completed the June PADI IDC by Course Director Camille Lemmens, this has been the culmination of many months of work and preparation, and I would like to take the opportunity to thank Camille for his excellent course and the support and direction he has provided during our time together.
I actually took some time in researching the Course director whom I felt would be a good fit for my requirements, and I’m happy to say that I reached the right conclusion, As I had completed my Divemaster in 2006 and done very little diving in the 8 years since I was anxious in how rusty my skills and knowledge were in becoming a PADI Instructor, and having decided to talk things through with Camille before I knew it I was on the path towards Instructor.
Camille worked out a tailored IDC preparation schedule for me and quickly got me up to IDC level on my skills, a perfectly balanced approach as I scored 5s in all my skills on the final PADI IE.
The IDC with Camille In Samui in Thailand in June was a breeze, all very comfortable and I could not have asked for a better course, a small group of 5 who all quickly came together as a team to help each other through the course, and happily all passed very successfully, (Thanks Guys).
I along with one of the other IDC Candidates completed a number of Instructor Specialities with Camille after the successful completion of our Instructor Examination and he gave us huge amounts of useful advice and techniques for future courses and specialities, and would highly recommend doing the Sidemount Instructor and Deep Instructor specialities.
Having started 6 months ago feeling too old and too rusty somehow with Camilles help I’m now a PADI Scuba Instructor with tons of Specialities, Thanks again for your dedication and support and sharing your vast experience with us.
If this inspires you to become a PADI Instructor, please contact me for information about my PADI IDC programs. The next program is scheduled to start 25th August on Phuket, Thailand in German and English languages with two PADI Course Directors, followed by 14th September in Moalboal in the Philippines and this is followed by a program scheduled to start 26th September in Puerto Galera in the Philippines.
See you there,
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Earlier this week we completed the PADI Specialty Instructor Training on Koh Samui for June 2015. We actually finished in this July month with a few dives on Chaweng Beach, but more of that later.
Lucas on side mount during the confined water dive
The start sign was given after a day off, in order to recover from the party after the successful PADI IE for June 2015 on Koh Samui.
We met at the pool for the knowledge development part and the confined water dive for the Instructor side mount course for Lucas and Simon.
Simon on side mount during one of the open water dives
The next day it was off to the Angthong National Marine Park for a side mount dive with both of them and a Fish Aware specialty dive. The start was given, two dives and specialties down, with 5 more specialties to follow, since the Enriched Air Instructor course was already taken care of.
This was followed by a days diving at Sail Rock where we completed the Deep Dive Instructor specialty with two deep dives, both laced with some skills. A dive to 37 meters which included a staged decompression stop for 8 minutes at 5 meters and a second dive to 27 meters with plenty of deep dive related skills.
Anemone gardens at South West Pinnacle
The next dive day saw us back on the PADI 5* IDC Center 'Easy Divers' dive boat for the 'Big Easy', three dives during one day with visits to South West Pinnacle, Shark Island near Koh Tao and Sail Rock.
I hadn't been to South West Pinnacle for about 12 or 13 years, at least, and with only 9 logged all time dives there, I didn't expect to recognize the dive site anymore. How wrong I was! During the dive a lot of memories of diving this pinnacle came back and we had a very enjoyable dive during which we completed the underwater naturalist instructor specialty.
South West Pinnacle had stunning visibility and some amazing anemone gardens to boost. A dive site which I can highly recommend.
The second dive of the day was at Shark Point, just South of Koh Tao and Lucas completed his Digital Underwater Photography Instructor dive there.
The third and last dive of the day was a Sear &ch Recovery dive at Sail Rock, which allowed us to practice and execute some search patterns, which was a nice ending of a long days diving.
Emergency Oxygen Providers in the making
During our dive outings we also took the opportunity to complete the practical skills of the Emergency Oxygen provider course. During the actual IDC we visited the hyperbaric chamber in Bang Rak.
Relaxing at Chaweng beach after all is dived and done
The finals two dives were made at Chaweng Beach. First off was the second Search & Recovery dive, although it was conducted in very low visibility, we still managed to get some 20 kilos of trash and debris out of the water and the second dive was the Underwater navigation dive, to which the low viz greatly contributed to sharpen their skills.
After that it was time for a relaxed drink at the beach and kick back for a while, everything was out of the way now and we have two very happy Specialty Instructors on the island!
Come and see me for more information about my upcoming PADI IDC programs, the first one is scheduled to start 25th August on Phuket, Thailand with a German and English PADI IDC on offer with two PADI Course Directors, followed by 14th September in Moalboal, Philippines and this is followed by 26th September in Puerto Galera in the Philippines.
See you there,
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
The testimonials are coming in hard and fast the last of couple of days and here is the testimonial by Matt of the May 2015 PADI IDC in Moalboal, Philippines;
After hearing good things about Camille from his previous students i decided to do my idc with him in the Philippines. From the get go it was clear i had made the right choice, he helped with organizing and understanding the aspects of the idc. Once the classroom work started he was just as helpful. Having a small class was great and allowed lots of attention where and when i needed it. I highly recommend Camille to anyone thinking of attempting their idc, he provides a great learning environment that is fun, relaxed and very knowledgeable.
Nice one Matt, much appreciated that you took the time out to write this and I enjoyed your dry humor during the IDC. I wish you good luck in your future instructor career and that your dreams and plans may come through and true. You know where you can find my for any advice you may need!
Matt receiving his PADI Instructor certificate at the PADI IE from PADI Examiner Colin Melrose
Come and join me for another PADI IDC program, starting with 9th July in Puerto Galera in the Philippines, followed by an English and German IDC program with two PADI Course Director on Phuket, Thailand, starting 25th August and this is followed by an IDC starting 14th September in Moalboal in the Philippines.
See you there,