Teaching Tips: The most important skill…

PADI IDC Thaialnd, Confined Water, Go Pro, Scuba Instructor

Mask clearing ? C.E.S.A. ? Neutral buoyancy ? No, for me it’s ‘breathing underwater’ from Confined Water Dive 1. Not only is it essential to stay alive, but it the basis of everything that happens underwater…

PADI IDC Bali, Indonesia, Confined Water, Teaching Diving, Scuba Instructor

Quite often on an Open Water course this skill gets brushed over and taught too quickly. But if you spend the time explaining the importance and the effect of breathing correctly underwater, you might find that your entire Open Water Course will flow more smoothly. As an instructor, do not be too quick to place extra weight on the student’s belt when they can’t descend at the start of Confined Water Dive 1. Instead, take the time to explain the correct breathing pattern, and the importance of emptying the lungs on exhalation. Once the student divers do this, they should descend more easily, and now right from the beginning, they have understood the correlation between breathing and buoyancy/depth control.  Their instinct now, should they start to rise in the water will be to exhale, rather than to reach for the deflate button.

PADI IDC Phuket, Thailand, Platinum Course Director, CDTC Prep

Sometimes at the beginning of an Open Water Course, the students are a little nervous, and this can affect their breathing pattern too. Once underwater, I then take the time to teach the correct breathing pattern before attempting mask clearing or regulator skills. I treat this skill underwater as an introduction to the fin pivot. I ask them to lie down from the first moment they go underwater – never on the knees –  practising equalising as they do so.  Then I ask them to watch my hand as I coax them into a relaxed, correct breathing pattern. As they do this, I add little amounts of air to their BCDs to get them neutrally buoyant, so they are essentially ‘fin pivoting‘, and I will let them continue with this for several minutes – just breathing. After they are relaxed with this, I can continue with the rest of the skills in this ‘diving’ position. If I find that I need to add a significant amount of air, then I will remove a weight from their belts, as they are over-weighted. Now the students will truly start to understand the importance of the correct breathing pattern underwater and the effect this has on buoyancy, depth, and position in the water, and your Open Water Course will be easier to teach, and more importantly, your students will be better divers…

To learn more tips about teaching PADI courses why not enrol in one of our PADI IDC or PADI IDC Staff Instructor courses – email for further details – rich@go-pro-in-paradise.com

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New 2014 PADI Instructor Manual

The New PADI Instructor Manual is available !

PADI IDC Thailand Koh Phi Phi Koh Lanta Phuket

The updated 2014 version of the PADI Instructor Manual is available for download from the PADI Pros website.  Log-n to the Pros site, and then hover the mouse over ‘Training essentials’, then click on ‘Digital Instructor Manual’.  Make sure you’re teaching the latest standards, so download the latest version today !  At present the new manual is available in the following languages – English, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Japanese and French, with other languages to follow…

If you are not yet an instructor, but would like to be, visit our website to learn how you can make your dream a reality.  Or you can simply e-mail us for further information…

 

PADI IDC Thailand Koh Phi Phi Lanta Phuket

PADI IDC Thailand
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New year, new career ?

PADI IDC Thailand Phuket Phi Phi Lanta

Well, I hope everybody had a fantastic Christmas and New Year, and that 2014 is a great year too !  2013 was a busy year for IDCs on Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta, and some great times were had.  My IDC candidates’ 100% first time pass-rate is still in tact, and I hope some of you can come and help me extend that throughout the coming year too…

PADI IDC Thailand Phuket Phi Phi Lanta
Two happy new PADI Instructors !

 

Our next PADI IDC will be taking place on Koh Phi Phi at Phi Phi Barakuda, and will start on January 30th.  If there’s anyone contemplating becoming a PADI Instructor, there’s still time and spaces on this IDC.  Please e-mail me at rich@go-pro-in-paradise.com for further information.

PADI IDC Thailand Phuket Phi Phi Lanta
E-mail for info – rich@go-pro-in-paradise.com

 

We have plenty of other IDCs planned throughout 2014 too.  Why not take a look at our IDC schedule to see if there are any dates that would suit your plans.  If there’s anything you would like tom know about making the step to become a PADI Pro, either at Divemaster or Instructor level, please feel free to drop me an e-mail on rich@go-pro-in-paradise.com.

Have a great 2014 everybody !

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The Sharks Of Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

The idyllic island of Koh Phi Phi on the west coast of Thailand is famous for once, briefly, being home to Leonardo DiCaprio and friends during the filming of the hit movie ‘The Beach‘.  Koh Phi Phi’s surrounding waters are also home to some amazing sea creatures.  The diving here is exceptional, with great biodiversity, good macro critters, plenty of turtles and stunning corals, but for me, the big draw is the sharks…

PADI IDC Thailand
The stunning tail of a swimming leopard shark…

The sharks around Koh Phi Phi present no problem for anyone who wishes to enjoy these beautiful, warm waters.  The main sightings are of leopard sharks and black-tipped reef sharks, with occasional bamboo sharks and from time to time whale sharks pass through too…

The Leopard Shark

PADI DC Thailand
A leopard shark resting on the seabed at Pileh Wall, Koh Phi Phi

Common Names: Leopard shark, Zebra shark.

Latin Name: Stegostoma fasciatum.

Family: Stegostomatidae

Identification: Body scalloped with two distinct ridges running from behind head along each flank into caudal fin (tail). The immense caudal fin is almost as long as the body. First and second dorsal fins low and long with a free rear margin. Pectorals well-developed. Body colouration cream, yellow, or greenish-yellow, with dense black spots. Juveniles have vertical lines of black on cream. Hence the two common names of leopard or zebra shark.

Size: Maximum length 3.5m. 25cm at birth. Colouration changes at around 90cm.

Habitat: Inshore and offshore adjacent to reefs.

Abundance and distribution: Red Sea south to South Africa, west to Indonesia and Samoa and from Japan to Australia.  

PADI IDC Thailand
Distribution of leopard sharks…

 

Behaviour: Usually seen resting on the sand or rubble adjacent to reefs during the day. Hunts in same area nocturnally. Feeds on molluscs, crustaceans, and occasionally on bony fishes.  The leopard shark is quite approachable, and it’s possible to get nice and close for a photograph.

Reproduction: Oviparous. Up to four purple to brown egg cases are laid at a time. During mating the male bites on to the pectoral fin of the female. Juveniles are rarely seen and probably inhabit waters deeper than recreational scuba allows.

The Black-tipped Reef Shark

PADI IDC Thailand
A male black-tipped reef shark in the shallows…

Common Names: Black-tipped reef shark, Indo-Pacific black-tip shark, black-tip shark.

Latin Name: Carcharhinus melanopterus

Family: Carcharhinidae

Identification: Well defined black tips on all fins. Dorsal fin tip black/white demarcation line extremely distinct and unique. Dorsal colouration grey/tan. Ventrum (underside) is white. Snout is short and bluntly rounded.

Size: Maximum length 2m. Size at birth 45-75cm.

Habitat: Very shallow coral reef flats and slopes. Occasionally on deeper reefs and in brackish water.

PADI IDC Thailand
Black-tipped reef shark (photo Neutral Buoyancy Images)

Distribution: Indo-west Pacific Red Sea to southern East Africa including Madagascar. Present along much of the shallow coastline of the Indian Ocean and throughout South East Asia from Southern Japan to northern Australia. Abundant in many South Pacific Island chains including much of French Polynesia. Also present in the Mediterranean (via the Suez Canal).

Behaviour:  Swims constantly either alone or in small groups. Does not school.  Black-tipped reef sharks are a very shy shark, and it can be difficult to get close enough for a photograph.

Reproduction: Viviparous (live young). Litter number 2-4.

Most likely if you do come and dive at Koh Phi Phi the sharks you would encounter would be either the leopard shark or the black-tipped reef shark.  But occasionally we are lucky enough to be graced with the presence of the world’s biggest fish…

PADI IDC Thailand
Me snorkelling with a whale shark…

If you’d like to come to dive at Koh Phi Phi and learn more about these, and other sharks, then you should consider taking the AWARE Shark Conservation Diver course or the PADI Reef Shark Awareness course.  These courses will teach you all about shark biology and behaviour and help you to learn to identify sharks not only to species, but also to gender.  You will also learn about the current threats to sharks from man, and what you can do to help…

PADI IDC Thailand
PADI Reef Shark Awareness Specialty

If you are a PADI Instructor, you can also complete the corresponding PADI Specialty Instructor Training courses with me and become qualified to help spread the word about the plight of the world’s sharks too. For further details, send me an e-mail, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions…

PADI IDC Thailand
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A Busy End To 2012…

Last month saw my first IDC with Lanta Diver on the beautiful island of Koh Lanta, and now I am already in the middle of the final IDC of the year back on Koh Phi Phi.

November’s IDC on Koh Lanta went extremely well.  After a great two weeks in the classroom at Lanta Diver the PADI Instructor Exams passed by without any problems – all five candidates recorded some very high scores and have all successfully become PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors

IMG_3883b
Happy PADI Instructors at the PADI IE in Koh Lanta…

 

After a celebratory night in Koh Lanta’s Irish Embassy and a day of recovery, it was time to take the short ferry ride across the Andaman Sea back to Koh Phi Phi.  December’s PADI IDC at Phi Phi Barakuda is now in full swing, and it will soon be time for the next PADI Instructor Exams to begin in Phuket.

With candidates from Spain, Sweden and Russia and PADI Master Instructor Isa on hand to help, this final IDC of the year has been great fun.

PADI IDC action from Bida Nok, Koh Phi Phi...
PADI IDC action from Bida Nok, Koh Phi Phi…

 

We are already at the half-way point of this IDC, and the candidates have all been doing very well with their presentations, scoring well in the classroom, Confined Water and in Open Water too.  We have also conducted some useful workshops designed to help the candidates teach DSDs and CESAs in the real world after their IE…

C.E.S.A. Workshop
C.E.S.A. Workshop

 

Following the next few days of fine-tuning, the candidates will be well prepared to face the Examiners at the IE in Phuket.  After the IE, it will be straight back to Phi Phi to start some Specialty Instructor training – beginning with Enriched Air Instructor…

After this it will be time for a short break over Christmas and New Year before the first PADI IDC of 2013 starts on January 4th at Phi Phi Barakuda.  We have plenty of IDCs planned for the west coast of Thailand for the rest of 2013 too – on both Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta.  If you are interested in becoming a PADI instructor in Thailand, please view our schedule, and feel free to e-mail for further details on the courses…

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The Sharks Of Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

The idyllic island of Koh Phi Phi on the west coast of Thailand is famous for once, briefly, being home to Leonardo DiCaprio and friends during the filming of the hit movie ‘The Beach‘.  Koh Phi Phi’s surrounding waters are also home to some amazing sea creatures.  The diving here is exceptional, with great biodiversity, good macro critters, plenty of turtles and stunning corals, but for me, the big draw is the sharks…

PADI IDC Thailand
The stunning tail of a swimming leopard shark…

The sharks around Koh Phi Phi present no problem for anyone who wishes to enjoy these beautiful, warm waters.  The main sightings are of leopard sharks and black-tipped reef sharks, with occasional bamboo sharks and from time to time whale sharks pass through too…

The Leopard Shark

PADI DC Thailand
A leopard shark resting on the seabed at Pileh Wall, Koh Phi Phi

Common Names: Leopard shark, Zebra shark.

Latin Name: Stegostoma fasciatum.

Family: Stegostomatidae

Identification: Body scalloped with two distinct ridges running from behind head along each flank into caudal fin (tail). The immense caudal fin is almost as long as the body. First and second dorsal fins low and long with a free rear margin. Pectorals well-developed. Body colouration cream, yellow, or greenish-yellow, with dense black spots. Juveniles have vertical lines of black on cream. Hence the two common names of leopard or zebra shark.

Size: Maximum length 3.5m. 25cm at birth. Colouration changes at around 90cm.

Habitat: Inshore and offshore adjacent to reefs.

Abundance and distribution: Red Sea south to South Africa, west to Indonesia and Samoa and from Japan to Australia.  

PADI IDC Thailand
Distribution of leopard sharks…

 

Behaviour: Usually seen resting on the sand or rubble adjacent to reefs during the day. Hunts in same area nocturnally. Feeds on molluscs, crustaceans, and occasionally on bony fishes.  The leopard shark is quite approachable, and it’s possible to get nice and close for a photograph.

Reproduction: Oviparous. Up to four purple to brown egg cases are laid at a time. During mating the male bites on to the pectoral fin of the female. Juveniles are rarely seen and probably inhabit waters deeper than recreational scuba allows.

The Black-tipped Reef Shark

PADI IDC Thailand
A male black-tipped reef shark in the shallows…

Common Names: Black-tipped reef shark, Indo-Pacific black-tip shark, black-tip shark.

Latin Name: Carcharhinus melanopterus

Family: Carcharhinidae

Identification: Well defined black tips on all fins. Dorsal fin tip black/white demarcation line extremely distinct and unique. Dorsal colouration grey/tan. Ventrum (underside) is white. Snout is short and bluntly rounded.

Size: Maximum length 2m. Size at birth 45-75cm.

Habitat: Very shallow coral reef flats and slopes. Occasionally on deeper reefs and in brackish water.

PADI IDC Thailand
Black-tipped reef shark (photo Neutral Buoyancy Images)

Distribution: Indo-west Pacific Red Sea to southern East Africa including Madagascar. Present along much of the shallow coastline of the Indian Ocean and throughout South East Asia from Southern Japan to northern Australia. Abundant in many South Pacific Island chains including much of French Polynesia. Also present in the Mediterranean (via the Suez Canal).

Behaviour:  Swims constantly either alone or in small groups. Does not school.  Black-tipped reef sharks are a very shy shark, and it can be difficult to get close enough for a photograph.

Reproduction: Viviparous (live young). Litter number 2-4.

Most likely if you do come and dive at Koh Phi Phi the sharks you would encounter would be either the leopard shark or the black-tipped reef shark.  But occasionally we are lucky enough to be graced with the presence of the world’s biggest fish…

PADI IDC Thailand
Me snorkelling with a whale shark…

If you’d like to come to Koh Phi Phi and learn more about these, and other sharks, then you should consider taking the PADI Reef Shark Awareness course.  This course will teach all about shark biology and behaviour and help you to learn to identify sharks not only to species, but also to gender.  You will also learn about the current threats to sharks from man, and what you can do to help…

PADI IDC Thailand
PADI Reef Shark Awareness Specialty

If you are a PADI Instructor, you can also complete the PADI Specialty Instructor Training course with me and become qualified to help spread the word about the plight of the world’s sharks too. For further details, send me an e-mail, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions…

PADI IDC Thailand
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July’s PADI IDC & IE In Thailand…

Happy new PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors…

(Click on images to enlarge.)

Following July’s PADI IDC on Koh Phi Phi and the Instructor Examinations in Phuket, we now have three new PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors and a new PADI IDC Staff Instructor !!  Sarah and Andy from England, and Miki from China all did very well during their course and passed the examination process with ease.  Nick, also from China, completed his IDC Staff Instructor course during this IDC too…

Sarah teaching in the classroom…

 

Miki practising rescues, as Nick watches on…

 

Andy demonstrating in Confined Water…

 

After a fun-filled IDC on Koh Phi Phi and lots of hard work from the candidates, the Instructor Exams in Phuket went swimmingly well.  The IE started with everyone’s favourite section – the Written Exams !  All the candidates were very happy to see the end of these exams, and were all smiling after passing this section with no problems.  The following day we headed off to the swimming pool in the morning for the Confined Water section.  Again, there were no problems here, with all candidates recording very high scores.  Following the Knowledge Development presentations that afternoon, we were just left with the Open Water presentations for the final day, and then it was time to celebrate…

One happy instructor…

 

And another one…

 

And a third !!!

 

And let’s not forgot Nick who did an excellent job throughout his PADI IDC Staff Instructor course

Nick evaluating in Confined Water…

 

If you too would like to follow in the footsteps and Andy, Sarah and Miki and change your life, then e-mail me for further details.  Also if you’d like to become a PADI IDC Staff Instructor, feel free to ask for more details…

 

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