Sunday, August 30, 2015

PADI Discover Scuba Diving at Sail Rock with Camille

This month I didn't do a lot of diving, but the few dives I did do were worth it; the PADI Discover Scuba Diving at Sail Rock with Camille included my 500th dive at Sail Rock whilst conducting a PADI Discover Scuba Dive with my friend Luc and his daughter Lotje from the Netherlands. I hadn't seen them and Luc's wife for over 16 years!
The same day Nicole and Tobias from Germany also completed their PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience.

PADI Discover Scuba Diving at Sail Rock with Camille

Luc and Lotje during their dive

On the second dive of the day we also spotted a Hawksbill turtle, a very rare sighting indeed, my first in all the 16 years and 500 dives at Sail Rock.

PADI Discover Scuba Diving at Sail Rock with Camille

Luc, Ellen and Lotje on the boat

Everybody had a lovely and relaxed day on the boat with a bit of sunshine and sunbathing and two good dives. It was also nice to go diving with Luc and his daughter Lotje!

PADI Discover Scuba Diving at Sail Rock with Camille

Nicole and Tobias

Besides working at the Hyperbaric chamber in Bang Rak as an operator and tender this month on two occasions, this was all the active dive involvement for this month I participated in.

If you're interested in a PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience, or any other recreational PADI dive course, please contact me.


Friday, August 28, 2015

My next PADI IDC is scheduled for 14th September in Moalboal, Philippines

My next PADI IDC is scheduled for 14th September in Moalboal, Philippines in conjunction with PADI 5* IDC Center 'Neptune Diving Adventure', which is less than three weeks away! There are still spaces available for this relaxed IDC setting with some great diving opportunities.

My next PADI IDC is scheduled for 14th September in Moalboal, Philippines

This IDC program will be followed by an IDC scheduled to start 26th September in Puerto Galera in the Philippines, which is followed by 15th October on Koh Samui, Thailand and this is followed by 2nd November in Khao Lak, Thailand.

See you there,

Friday, August 21, 2015

Plastic straws; public enemy # 1

Plastic straws; public enemy # 1

Last year whilst visiting a dive resort in Dauin in the Philippines, I ordered a mango shake (without sugar!), my favorite drink in the Philippines. The glass with the thick juice came but there was a no straw, much to my surprise!

Upon asking for a straw, the owner of the resort explained to me that they did not allow any plastic straws to be used in the resort, due to them being such a big part of the plastic pollution problem.
That was a bit of an eye opener and something I don’t think I ever will forget!

During the various underwater and beach clean ups I organized and/or participated in, I did indeed collect lots of straws and they were a big part of the trash that we found on each day. Sometimes somebody needs to put it in your face though, before you can add one and one together.

Here’s a sample of two separate searches at Manly beach in Sydney, where respectively 80 straws in 20 minutes during one snorkel dive were found and 319 straws during two snorkel dives were found

Plastic straws; public enemy # 1

Check the Two Hands Project on Facebook, click on this link

Plastic straws; public enemy # 1

Or check the Two Hands Project website on this link

As a result of this ‘lesson’ I learned in Dauin, I do notice how many straws are actually tossed away by people and can be found on beaches, underwater but also sitting next to the roadside.

I live in Thailand and like most other nearby countries in the South East Asian region, ecological awareness is sadly enough not one of the strongholds in the local societies.
The average person will just throw anything away that they bought in a convenience store (like 7-11 or one of its many local variations) after they finished consuming it, without batting an eyelid.

Besides being an avid and also a professional diver (I’m a recreational dive instructor), I’m also a long distance runner. After each run, which is about at least 3 or 4 times per week, I have developed a kind of a post run cool down routine. After I finished running, I go the front of our house on Koh Samui in Thailand, drenched in sweat most of the times, with an electrolyte drink in hand, and walk up and down the roadside of our house and pick up trash. Surprisingly, probably after cigarette butts, the most found trashed items are straws. It is mind bugging how many straws I find each time during my post run, cool down routine.

This just shows how much straws are a way too important part of this world’s trash heap, voluntarily ditched each day.

Back to the ocean, one of the horrible side effects straws can cause, have a look at this shortened video that shows how a straw is pulled out of a turtle’s nostril (there is a longer, 8 minute video available as well);

 As you can see, straws can cause all kinds of serious problems, that you probably didn’t even consider up until you read this article or saw this video.

Hopefully this article about plastic straws; public enemy # 1?, with the pictures and the video is ‘your’ eye opener and you will pick up the straws that you will find discarded along your travels and I most certainly hope I can inspire you to stop using, let alone trash straws like you did before.

Are plastic straws; public enemy # 1? It sure is a worldwide problem and we can and need to change the habit of ditching straws. The best way is to start simple; start at home, like I do after my runs. Find something that works for you and from there you can expand to bigger projects!

Thanks for dropping by and reading,

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

500 logged dives at Sail Rock

Yesterday I reached a small milestone by having 500 logged dives at Sail Rock. One of my very first dives upon arriving on Koh Samui back in 1999 was at Sail Rock and for the next 3 years I dove there regularly. The next 13 years was a lot less regular, especially the last 5 years, when I was teaching PADI IDC's around Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, I rarely visited Sail Rock, maybe 10 times a year, if at all. Hence, after 16 years and over 2000 logged, yesterday were my 500th and 501st logged dives at Sail Rock!

500 logged dives at Sail Rock

Setting up the descent line before starting a PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience with visiting friends from the Netherlands

There was no better scenario imaginable than visiting Sail Rock for my 500th logged dive with friends from the Netherlands who I hadn't seen since I left the Netherlands some 16 years ago and they has an awesome experience taking their first breaths underwater with the PADI Discover Scuba Diving Experience.

500 logged dives at Sail Rock

During the PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience with my friend Luc and his daughter Lotje

To top it all off, at the beginning of their second dive and my 501st dive at Sail Rock, we encountered a hawksbill turtle, the first turtle I have ever seen at Sail Rock, a very rare encounter indeed and the icing on the cake for everybody on that dive.

Sail Rock is in my humble opinion the best dive site in the Gulf of Thailand and is a daily destination for the various dive boats leaving Koh Samui each day.

If you're interested in diving Sail Rock or taking a PADI dive course, please contact me and I will be more than happy to help you out and find dives or courses suiting your purpose whilst on Koh Samui.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Next PADI IDC on Phuket, Thailand starts 25th August 2015

The next PADI IDC on Phuket, Thailand starts 25th August 2015 in conjunction with PADI 5* IDC Center Kiwidiver.

This PADI IDC program on Phuket is offered in German and English languages with to different PADI Course Directors. Come and join us and ask for more information if interested.

Next PADI IDC on Phuket, Thailand starts 25th August 2015

This PADI IDC will be followed bu more programs at different locations, starting with 14th September in Moalboal, Philippines, which is followed by 26th September in Puerto Galera in the Philippines and this in turn is followed by a program starting 15th October on Koh Samui, Thailand.

Next PADI IDC on Phuket, Thailand starts 25th August 2015

The successful PADI IE on Phuket, Thailand in February 2015

See you at one of these locations,

Monday, August 10, 2015

Box jelly fish work group visits Koh Samui and Koh Phangan

Yesterday I met with a work group of box jelly fish, funded by the Thai government and the main people in this group are the same that I met five years ago on Koh Samui for the first time. Sadly enough, many box jelly fish encounters have occurred since our first meeting. but both the group and myself keep working hard to get awareness out there.

Dr, Lakkana Thaikurea contacted me around 20th July, to see if I could arrange meetings on Koh Samui through the THA (Thai Hotel Association), but on such short notice and in high season, that seemed not really possible.

Unfortunately. come 31st July we had a very sad incident, a 31 one year old Thai woman passed away on Koh Phangan after a box jelly fish incident and 3 other persons got injured.

Box jelly fish work group visits Koh Samui and Koh Phangan

Dr, Lakkana, Dr. Potjaman Siriarayapon, Dr. Hataya Kanjanasombut and Khun Chunton Ratanasuwan, owner of Bandon Hospital with myself and other work group members at Bandon Hospital

Nonetheless, the main reason for the work group, was achieved, by meeting new contacts and trying to set up a network that can help each other out when box jelly fish accidents happen.
One of the meetings was held at Bandon Hospital and this is where I met up with the work group.

Today they were still on Koh Samui and tomorrow they will go for a few days to Koh Phangan, where they will have several meetings, before coming back for a few days to Koh Samui.

Over the years we stayed in contact whenever incidents occurred in the Samui archipelago and other parts of Thailand. I met Dr. Lakkana again last year, when she visited Koh Samui and presented awareness programs to Samui hotel staff.

It was good to meet up again and see the determination of these dedicated Doctors, who take every opportunity to raise awareness about box jelly fish and how to deal with incidents, at various levels.
It's good to see how the circle of awareness widens every time we have incidents and more people get involved.
Respect to the members of this work group.


Friday, August 7, 2015

Testimonial from Lucas Alloing of the June 2015, Koh Samui IDC

Earlier today I received this testimonial from Lucas Alloing of the June 2015, Koh Samui IDC in conjunction with PADI 5* IDC Center 'Easy Divers' on Koh Samui, Thailand.
It was a pleasure having you on the course Lucas and I appreciate it that you found the time to write this. I'm looking forward meeting up again, the Philippines later this year sounds like a plan indeed!

Check below the picture for the actual testimonial;

Testimonial from Lucas Alloing of the June 2015, Koh Samui IDC

Lucas on the right after successfully completing his PADI IE at Silver Beach on Koh Samui, Thailand with PADI Examiner Brendon

Duikinstructeur worden was een kinderdroom van mij die werkelijkheid is geworden. De Jaren van reizen en naar verschillende locaties gaan om verschillende soorten duiken te doen heeft uiteindelijk allemaal tot dit geleid.

Om de juiste PADI Course Director te vinden ben ik alvast in Belgie op zoek gegaan naar course directors in het buitenland. Ik kwam terecht bij Camille Lemmens die op vele media kanalen aanwezig is en een hele snelle respons heeft op al jouw vragen. 

Camille heeft me zelfs geholpen met het kiezen van de juiste duikcomputer alvorens ik zelfs beslist had om mijn course echt bij hem te doen. Hij is niet enkel professioneel maar hij heeft ook een hart en dit is een eigenschap die je mentor zeker moet hebben.

De eerste dagen van de course verliepen heel vlot. Theorie herhalen, oefeningen bekijken, de structuur van PADI. Het kwam allemaal aan bod. Maar na enkele dagen kreeg ik het toch moeilijk. De structuur van PADI kan soms heel strict en intens zijn. Camille merkte dit bij mij op en sprak me hierover aan. Hij nam ruimschoots de tijd om met mij hierover een gesprek te hebben. Hij luisterde naar wat ik te zeggen had en nam de tijd om mij uit te leggen waarom het PADI systeem op deze manier in elkaar steekt. Door deze aanpak heb ik mijzelf erop kunnen toeleggen om de course op een goede wijze te kunnen volbrengen. Ik wil Camille nog eens bedanken voor deze aanpak.

De specialties is een must! Bij deze mini- cursussen leer je veel meer over de extra’s die PADI en de onderwaterwereld te bieden heeft. Let wel op zorg dat je zelf interesse hebt voor de onderwerpen waar je voor kiest. Het hangt immers van jezelf af hoeveel jij wilt oppikken en bijleren van de ‘’mentor’’. Wij hebben prachtige duiken gedaan met bijna al onze duiken op sidemount. Dit was nog een extra van Camille om ons hiermee zo veel mogenlijk ervaring te geven.

Als je Nederlands,Engels of Duitstalig bent het is allemaal geen problem. Camille spreekt ze alle drie heel vlot. Twijfel dus niet langer and become PADI OPEN WATER SCUBA INSTRUCTOR with CAMILLE!
Lucas Alloing

Now it's time for you to follow your heart and join one of my up and coming PADI IDC programs, the next one is scheduled to start 25th August on Phuket, Thailand in German and English language with two PADI Course Directors, followed by 14th September in Moalboal in the Philippines and this is followed by 26th September in Puerto Galera in the Philippines.

See you there,