Introducing Manta McMantaface…

Please allow me to introduce Manta McMantaface !

Manta McMantaface

This beautiful manta was encountered at Hin Daeng, near Koh Lanta, playing with six of her friends around the cleaning stations in 2017.  The encounter was reported to MantaMatcher by one of Lanta Diver’s photographers – Narcosis Nick – and this was the first recorded sighting of this individual.  She was then re-spotted a year later close to the Similan Islands, at Koh Bon.  You can see the recorded sightings of Manta McMantaface here – http://tiny.cc/McMantaface

As Nick was the first to record a sighting of this majestic beauty, he was given the chance of naming her.  And what an awesome moniker he chose – Manta McMantaface !

Citizen science projects like this help provide valuable data to the marine biologists studying the majestic giants, and to track their movements.  If you have any suitable photos, please send them in to MantaMatcher, and maybe you will have the chance to name a manta too.  Check out the MantaMatcher website to see which photos are suitable for identification purposes – https://www.mantamatcher.org/photographing.jsp

Manta ray id, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Hin Daeng, Lanta Diver

But please remember, when trying to get a photo of the underside of a manta to respect its space and behaviour patterns.  Do not chase the manta to get your photo – observe its behaviour and try to guess where you think it will go, and then position yourself in a manner that will not disrupt its feeding or cleaning.  For more information on how to interact with mantas, please have a look at the info provided by The Manta Trust.

You can also sign up for a PADI Manta Conservation Diver Specialty course with us at Lanta Diver, on Koh Lanta, Thailand.  The west coast of Thailand is home to a healthy population of mantas, and Koh Lanta is the best location to base yourself to dive at the world famous Hin Daeng/Hin Muang dive sites.  The two stunning sites are situated next to each other, and in addition to offering you the chance to dive Thailand’s deepest drop-offs, there’s also a very good chance of spotting the mantas at the cleaning stations on these amazing dive sites…

Manta Ray, Koh Lanta, Thailand, SCUBA Diving, Divemaster, PADI IDC, scuba diving
Manta Ray cruising above the cleaning stations at Hin Daeng.

For the 2019/2020 season, in a bid to help out winged friends, we will be including the Manta Conservation Diver Specialty in all our PADI Divemaster programmes at Lanta Diver. During this training we will be helping our budding new dive professionals to contribute to these citizen science projects, and also to make sure they know how to brief and conduct dives at sites visited by mantas in a positive way.  We also offer Manta Conservation Specialty Instructor Training for those who are already certified as PADI Instructors, or as an add-on to our PADI Instructor Development programmes.

For more information about the mantas of Koh Lanta, check out these links and see the excellent work being done in the area by Lanta resident Jamie of the Thailand Manta Project too:

www.facebook.com/thailandmantaproject/

www.mantatrust.org/thailand

If you are interested in the PADI Manta Diver Conservation Specialty, or in becoming a PADI Divemaster or Manta Conservation Specialty Instructor, please send us a quick email and we will be happy to answer your questions…

PADI IDC, Divemaster, Thailand, Koh Lanta, Manta Rays, Koh Tao, Phuket, Phi Phi

Underwater Photography Courses, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, IDC, scuba diving

Working As An Underwater Photographer…

Do you fancy the lifestyle of a dive instructor, but don’t want to teach ?  Do you enjoy photography ?  Or maybe you are already a Divemaster or Instructor and would like to try something different ?  Then maybe the life of a photo pro on a dive boat could be for you…

Underwater Photography Courses, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, IDC

When it comes to working in the dive industry, most people don’t look past the roles of being a Divemaster or an Instructor for an opening to the dive lifestyle.  However, there are many other opportunities available, one of which is working as a photographer on the dive boats…

At Lanta Diver, we operate three dive boats – two larger boats and a speedboat for Hin Daeng/Hin Muang – and we have photographers on the larger boats to take photos of the guests enjoying their day snorkelling or diving with the Lanta marine life.

Scuba diving Thailand, snorkeling, PADI Divemaster, IDC training, Pro courses, photography

The photographers’ days begin by getting to the boat in the morning, and starting to prepare their equipment for the day – both their dive equipment, and their camera kit.  Once the divers are settled on the boat, and have finished their breakfasts, the photographers will usually have a walk around the boat and introduce themselves to the divers/snorkelers, and let them know what their role is on the boat, and gauge their interest in purchasing photos at the end of the day.  The next step is to chat with the Divemasters and Instructors about their plans for their groups – routes on the dive sites, and when would be a good time to take some photos of their group.  After this, the photographers can start to plan their dives to maximise their chances of getting photographs of all the interested divers and snorkelers, and maybe also take a few photos of the groups setting up their equipment.

Underwater Photography Courses, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, IDC, scuba diving

In between dives, the photographers will start editing their photos a little, and then chat with the dive staff again about their plans for the second dive, trying to make sure they have all the groups covered over the two or three dives that day.  Once the day’s diving/snorkelling is finished, it’s time for a little more editing, and arranging the processed photos, with a few photos of the marine life encountered during the day, to start showing the groups.  Once ready to show their day’s work, they will politely ask the groups if they would like to view the slideshow of the photos, and inform them of the prices and how they will get the photos to them.

Underwater photography courses, Thailand, Koh Lanta, Cuttlefish, Divemaster, IDC

The Lanta Diver photographers are very experienced in their field, and love their work.  They are also happy to share their secrets with you, and have designed a special course for anyone interested in working as a photo pro on dive boats – including classroom, pool, and boat sessions. It is preferred that you are already a dive pro before taking this course, but not compulsory, but you must be an experienced and competent diver with excellent buoyancy skills – the Self-Reliant Diver certification is also recommended.  You can also add this course onto your PADI Divemaster course at Lanta Diver, if you are interested..

If you would like to know more about the training, send Nick a quick email, and he will be happy to answer your questions…

Also have a look at Nick’s website to see some of his stunning images !

PADI IDC, Divemaster, Thailand, Koh Lanta, Koh Tao, Phuket, Phi Phi

PADI IDC & Divemaster courses, Koh Lanta, Thailand

Teaching Tips: Regulator Recovery…

Most instructors, or PADI IDC candidates, have few worries regarding teaching the regulator recovery skill.  They have performed it many times, and most people would consider it to be one of the ‘easier’ skills to teach.  However, with the shift in teaching methodology more towards neutral buoyancy teaching, we just have to be a little careful of meeting the stated performance requirements for this skill when teaching in confined water:

PADI IDC & Divemaster Courses, Confined water teaching presentations.

To teach this skill correctly in confined water, we must ensure that the regulator has been recovered from ‘behind the shoulder‘.  With the old-style teaching, when the students were on their knees, this was quite easy to achieve with either the sweep  method or the reach method of recovery.  However, nowadays, when teaching the skill in a more horizontal position, we have to be careful that the recovery was deemed to be ‘from behind the shoulder‘.  In a horizontal ‘diving position’, the regulator will naturally fall below the shoulder, and if we just use the sweep method of recovery, our students will not meet the performance requirement.

In this horizontal position – on fin-tips or in mid-water – we must use the reach method of recovery, so that the hand reaches behind the shoulder to recover the regulator.  We can also teach the sweep method, so the students learn more and will know two different techniques for recovering their regulator, but the reach method is needed to meet the course performance requirements in confined water.

PADI IDC & Divemaster courses, Koh Lanta, Thailand

To teach this method in Confined Water Dive #1, we must first help the students attain neutral buoyancy and a horizontal position.  One way of doing this is to add little bits of air to their BCDs as you coax them into the correct breathing pattern for diving (read more about this in a previous blog – here).  Once in this horizontal/neutral state, we then continue with the skills from CW#1, including the regulator recovery skill.

During an Open Water Course, I would still teach the sweep method of recovery first, as it is perhaps a little easier.  With the confidence gained from this, we can then move on to the reach method of recovery too, and then we will meet the confined water performance requirements.  Later on in Confined Water Dive #5, we can then re-practise both methods during the mini-dive, whilst swimming around the pool neutrally buoyant.

PADI IDC & Divemaster Courses in Koh Lanta, Thailand.

When we then move to open water, our students can choose to recover the regulator by either method, as PADI Standards do not stipulate that the regulator must be recovered from behind the shoulder in open water (only in confined water).  Personally, I prefer to have the students complete this skill on Open Water Dive #1 whilst swimming along, as they did in Confined Water Dive #5.

Teaching this skill in this manner will help your students be better, more confident divers.  By employing this teaching technique, we have not only met the PADI performance requirements, but we have also taught two different recovery methods, and focused on maintaining and improving the buoyancy of our entry-level students –  make neutral buoyancy a habit, rather than a skill..

During our PADI IDCs on Koh Lanta, Thailand, we focus on neutral buoyancy teaching, and teaching our students to be good instructors, not just to pass an exam.  If you are looking to become a PADI Instructor soon, send us an email if you have any further questions about teaching neutrally buoyant skills.  Likewise, if you are already a PADI MSDT, you could join us for your PADI IDC Staff Course and also get an insight into joining the ranks of instructors who teach skills whilst neutrally buoyant…

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The Dive Sites of Koh Lanta

The thought of visiting Thailand conjures up images of white-sand beaches, swaying palm trees, delicious food, and fantastic diving.  And the west coast of Thailand offers the best diving in the region, with regular manta ray and whale shark encounters…

Koh Lanta is situated in the middle of Thailand’s west coast – a short drive from the international airport at nearby Krabi Town.  Its warm, clear waters and stunning beaches make it a great choice as a holiday destination, and with such great diving, it’s a top diving destination in the region – arguably Thailand’s best land-based diving.

Scuba diving Thailand, Koh Lanta, Open Water, Advanced, Rescue, Divemaster IDC

Suitable for all diving levels, Koh Lanta offers a nice variety of dive sites, and has something for everyone to enjoy – shallow, colourful reefs; deep drop-offs; small critters; large pelagics; and a couple of wrecks.  Let’s have a look at the dive sites on offer:

Hin Daeng / Hin Muang

Manta Ray, Koh Lanta, Thailand, SCUBA Diving, Divemaster, PADI IDC, scuba diving

The twin-pinnacles situated to the south of Koh Lanta are perhaps the biggest draw for experienced divers.  Famed as Thailand’s best wall dive, Hin Daeng (and neighbouring Hin Muang), provide divers in the area with great chances of watching numerous manta rays circling the cleaning stations on the shallow parts of the reefs. The two dive sites take their names from the abundance of soft corals covering the rocks – ‘hin’ is the Thai word for ‘rock’, ‘daeng’ translates as ‘red’, and ‘muang’ means ‘purple’.

The two sites are just a couple of hundred metres apart, and a dive trip here usually includes one dive at each site.  Hin Muang is a submerged, elongated pinnacle, with the shallowest section just below the surface, and the sea-bed a little deeper than sixty metres.  Hin Daeng resembles an underwater mountain, again rising from around sixty metres, with its summit protruding a few metres above the surface.  The pinnacles offer oases of life in the middle of the open ocean, and can present lucky divers with some great marine life encounters, both big and small.

Marine life: whale sharks, manta rays, ornate ghost pipefish, leopard sharks, seahorses, schooling trevally and barracuda, ribbon eels, spearing mantis shrimp, and octopuses.

Koh Ha

Scuba Diving Thailand, Koh Lanta, Koh Ha, Phi Phi, Krabi, Phuket

The name of this cluster of islands translates to ‘five islands’, and they offer a number of different dive sites at one location with varying topography. Koh Ha #1 is famed for its chimney – a vertical swim-through suitable for experienced divers – that is often teeming with fishes and life.  the chimney is a nice way to end the dive as it takes you up to five or six metres – perfect to start your safety stop.

Koh Ha Lagoon Dive Site Map, Koh Lanta

In the middle of islands #2, #3, and #4 is the lagoon area (as seen in the photo above).  this is great dive site for students and experienced divers a like.  Divers can start in the middle of the lagoon, at a depth of around six metres, and then follow the sandy slopes between the islands down to a maximum of thirty metres.  The outside of the islands are covering with a rainbow of soft corals, and are home to many cool and amazing creatures.

Koh Ha Yai – the biggest island of the group – is another stunning dive with the chance for experienced divers to enter ‘the cathedral’.  A natural hollow within the island that allows divers a unique experience – surfacing inside an island !

Koh Lanta, Thailand, Harlequin Shrimp, IDC, Divemaster

Marine life: whale sharks, black-tipped reef sharks, harlequin shrimp, seahorses, turtles, ornate ghost pipefish, peacock mantis shrimp, spearing mantis shrimp, and nudibranchs.

Koh Bidas

The two Bida islands – Bida Nok & Bida Nai – are two limestone rocks jutting out of the water to the south of the Phi Phi islands.  Both sites are covered in beautiful soft corals, and are home to a myriad of varying species of marine life.  Diving at the Bidas is a great spot for shark enthusiasts, with regular sightings of leopard and black-tipped reef sharks, and also the occasional appearance by the world’s biggest fish – the whale shark.

Whale Shark, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

The Bidas are also a great place for the smaller critters.  A nice relaxed swim along the reef usually allows divers to find nudibranchs, ornate ghost pipefish, seahorses, and cuttlefish hiding beneath the sweeping school of yellow snapper that frequents the reefs.

A trip to the Bidas from Lanta usually involves the first dive at Koh Bida Nok, and the second dive at the slightly shallower Koh Bida Nai.  If you are on a three-dive trip, then the chances are you will do a third dive at the nearby Hin Bida – a submerged dive site on the way back to Koh Lanta, and a favourite resting place for the leopard sharks.

Marine life: leopard sharks, whale sharks, ghost pipefish, nudibranchs, yellow snapper, barracuda, turtles, seahorses, frogfish, black-tipped reef sharks, and bent-stick pipefish.

Kled Kaew Wreck

Wreck diving, Koh Lanta, Phi Phi, Kled Kaew, Divemaster, IDC, Thailand
Photo by Colin Prior

The HTMS Kled Kaew is a former naval gunship in the Royal Thai Navy.  The Kled Kaew was built in 1948 for the Norwegian Royal Navy, being launched initially as the RnoMS Norfrost. Eight years later it was acquired and renamed by the Royal Thai Navy. In 2014, she was brought to her final resting place near Koh Phi Phi Ley and purposefully sank.  The wreck sits in around 26 metres of water, with the shallowest section of the wreck reaching about 14 metres.  As is so often the case with wrecks, the ex-naval launch provides shelter to many different species of marine life, and has large schools of fish circling just above the structure.

Wreck diving, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Phi Phi, PADI, Divemaster, IDC

The 47-metre long wreck is a nice easy wreck, with some occasional current at certain times.  She’ s a great wreck to dive as part of your PADI Advanced Open Water Course, or a perfect dive for Nitrox, with the reduced nitrogen levels affording a longer bottom time on the decks.

Marine life: barracuda, trevally, lionfish, scorpionfish, frogfish, nudibranchs, moray eels, batfish, and catfish.

Frogfish, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Scuba diving, IDC, Divemaster

All the above dive sites are easily accessible from Koh Lanta.  Lanta Diver offers regular trips to these sites on one of its three dive-boats.  If you would like to know more about the dive sites and the trips from Koh Lanta, please email Lanta Diver – scuba@lantadiver.com.

Photos taken by Narcosis Nick U/W Photography, Richard Reardon, Colin Prior, and Steve Branson.

PADI IDC Thailand, Platinum Course Director Richard reardon
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PADI Divemaster Course on Koh Lanta

Always dreamed of living on a tropical island ?  Sunshine everyday ? The commute to work a stroll down the beach ?  Then maybe life as a PADI dive professional is for you…

PADI Divemaster Course, Koh Lanta, Thailand, PADI Pro, IDC

At Lanta Diver we offer PADI Divemaster training in a stunning location, with great diving, at a PADI CDC training facility.  All the professional-level PADI training is run by an experienced Platinum Course Director with a wealth of experience and knowledge to pass on.

Koh Lanta is a small, idyllic tropical island on the west coast of Thailand.  It offers divers the best land-based diving in Thailand, with regular sightings of both whale sharks and manta rays.  The smaller marine life is plentiful too – seahorses, harlequin shrimp, ghost pipefish and nudibranchs are commonly seen on all dive sites too.

Whale Shark, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

Above the surface, Koh Lanta also has a lot to offer – stunning beaches, great restaurants, and sunsets to die for.  Check out some great photos of Lanta here.

Koh Lanta, Thailand, Beach, Divemaster training, PADI IDC, best diving

The PADI Divemaster course is the gateway to a life as a professional scuba diver, and gives you a passport to great diving destinations all over our blue planet.  During the course you will learn how to guide dives and how to function as an assistant to PADI Instructors.  After qualification, you will be able to start working in the dive industry, guiding divers around dive sites, and showing them the rich marine life that Koh Lanta has to offer.

Manta Ray, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

Koh Lanta, Thailand, Harlequin Shrimp, IDC, Divemaster

If you fancy the challenge of becoming a PADI Divemaster in Koh Lanta under the watchful eye of a Platinum PADI Course Director, then send us an email for further information on how you too can live in paradise. For this season, we are also including the Manta Conservation Diver & Dive Against Debris Specialty courses ion all our Divemaster programmes !!

PADI IDC, Divemaster, Thailand, Koh Lanta, Koh Tao, Phuket, Phi Phi

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Top 8 Coolest Creatures To See Diving From Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta, on the west coast of Thailand, has perhaps the best land-based diving in all of Thailand. It boasts easy access to some great dive sites, including Hin Daeng, Hin Muang, Koh Ha, and the dive sites of Koh Phi Phi are also only a short trip away. During your dives on these great dive sites, you are sure to bump into some amazing creatures along the reef. Starting with the smallest, here are my favourite eight reef denizens to spot on your dives…

  1. Harlequin Shrimp

Koh Lanta, Thailand, Harlequin Shrimp, IDC, Divemaster

The colourful harlequin shrimp is perhaps the funkiest and coolest of all shrimp. They are commonly encountered hiding in the reefs around Koh Lanta, often munching on a sea star. Harlequin shrimp don’t stray too far once they have found a nice spot with plentiful supply of food, and when your dive guide knows where they are hiding out, they can be found quite easily…

2. Ornate Ghost Pipefish

Koh Lanta, Thailand, Ornate Ghost Pipefish, Divemaster, IDC

The ornate ghost pipefish is another cool visitor to the reefs surrounding Koh Lanta. They come in a variety of colours, and can be seen in pairs or as solitary individuals. Ornate ghost pipefish can change their colour to suit their chosen home among the branches of gorgonians, in floating weeds, or feather stars. They can be tricky to spot, but again, once found, they often stay in one location for a while…

3. Seahorse

Seahorse, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

Seahorses are another common spot amongst the reefs of Lanta. They can even be spotted very close to shore on Lanta’s beaches, but are also common on dive sites such as Koh Ha. The tiger tail seahorse is the most commonly encountered seahorse on Koh Lanta’s dive sites, and are spotted year round…

4. Frogfish

Frogfish, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

Perhaps a less frequently spotted critter in the area is the frogfish. These cryptic creatures are a master of disguise and can be difficult to spot. The are still seen quite often on the dive sites around Koh Ha and Hin Daeng, as well as on the wrecks around Koh Phi Phi…

5. Turtle

Turtle, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

Hawksbill turtles are a regular sight on all the dive sites around Koh Lanta. They are often encountered munching on bubble coral, or just cruising by in the blue close to the reefs. Green turtles are also occasionally spotted in the area…

6. Leopard Shark

Leopard Shark, Zebra Shark, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

The leopard shark, also known as the zebra shark, is a commonly encountered shark in the waters around Koh Lanta. They like to rest on the sand, and are often seen at dive sites like Hin Bida, Bida Nok, and Bida Nai. When they are resting on the bottom, you can get close enough for a good photograph if you approach them very slowly. They are also a great photo subject when they are swimming, with their distinctive long tails scything through the water…

7. Manta Ray

Manta Ray, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

If you want to dive with the majestic manta ray, then you need to book yourself on a trip to Hin Daeng & Hin Muang – two sea mounts in the open ocean. These two stunning dive sites are home to many cleaner fish, and the mantas come to get preened. You just hang back and watch the spectacular show as the mantas circle the cleaning stations. Mantas are my favourite animal to just hover and watch…

8. Whale Shark

Whale Shark, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

And last, but definitely not least, we have the giant whale shark – the biggest fish in the ocean. Whale sharks are very common, but you still need a little luck to be in the right place at the right time. They are commonly encountered at Hin Daeng, Hin Muang, and at Koh Ha. They are also sometimes seen at Bida Nok, close to Koh Phi Phi. Diving along and then seeing the unmistakable shape of a whale shark emerging from the blue is a truly unforgettable experience…

If you haven’t dived from Koh Lanta yet, maybe it’s time to add it to your bucket-list and come see the amazing creatures of the Andaman Sea. Lanta boasts a nice mixture of dive sites for both beginners and experienced divers alike. It is also a beautiful island to spend your non-diving days relaxing on the beach enjoying delicious Thai food or even a sunset cocktail…

If you would like to dive Koh Lanta, email Lanta Diver – a five-star PADI IDC centre offering day trips to all the sites mentioned above. Lanta Diver also run all recreational courses, as well as professional-level courses such as Divemaster & IDC programmes. And if you are looking for a great hotel on the island, look no further than Mook Lanta Eco Resort. What are you waiting for ?

Photos by Narcosis Nick and Richard Reardon

PADI IDC Prep, RDP eRDPml, Dive Theory Exams, IE

PADI IDC Study Tips: The RDP

Remember the RDP ?  You know, that blue and white thing you last used during your Open Water course ?  How about the eRDPml ? Well you should be up-to-speed with both of these and comfortable with all aspects of their use before arriving at your PADI IDC

PADI IDC Prep, RDP eRDPml, Dive Theory Exams, IE

The PADI Divemaster course should have left you comfortable with both the RDP and the eRDPml, but all too often I see IDC candidates spending their evenings trying to remember how to work out minimum surface intervals when they should be learning new information and preparing their teaching presentations for the next day.  If you are a little rusty with the use of either version of the RDP, then here’s some tips to help you arrive at your IDC confident with both versions of the PADI RDP:

1. Read through the ‘Instructions For Use’ booklets for both versions

The instruction booklets that come with both the RDP and the eRDPml are very good at explaining the two products.  The booklets walk you through how to use the products from the beginning with example questions to work through as you go.  They are an excellent way to refresh your memory, especially for minimum surface intervals…

PADI IDC Prep, RDP Instructions, Dive Theory Exams, Minimum Surface Interval

2. Go through the PADI Open Water Diver Course Quizzes and Exams

Inside this booklet you will find the ‘RDP Table and eRDPml Quiz’, the ‘RDP Table and eRDPml Final Exam’, and the ‘eRDPml Multilevel Quiz’.  All three of these have two versions – A & B.  You should try all of these questions, and be comfortable finding the correct answers without any issues. Every PADI dive centre and instructor should have a copy of this exam booklet for you to look over.  There is a copy included in the IDC Crew Pak too.

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3. Visit the Study Tools page of our website

The Go Pro In Paradise website has a ‘PADI IDC Study Tools‘ page designed to help people prepare for their PADI IDC.  There are study notes and practise exams for each of the five topics of the dive theory exams – Physics, Physiology, Equipment, Dive Skills & The Environment, and Decompression Theory – plus some extra downloadable questions to help you practise with both the RDP and eRDPml.  There are also links to videos to help you remember your knots, and some practice exams for dive theory and standards….

4. Check out our YouTube channel

The Go Pro In Paradise YouTube channel has videos covering different aspects of dive theory – including physics, physiology, and dive planning.  The dive planning videos are designed to help you work through some of the different types of questions that can be asked on the PADI IDC and IE dive theory exams with both the RDP and the eRDPml.

PADI IDC Prep, Dive Theory Exams, RDP eRDPml

Following these four steps before your IDC will help you arrive much more relaxed.  You will also have much more time during the IDC to focus on the new information being presented rather than studying what you should already know…

If you would like any further information about the PADI IDC process, or how to prepare for it, please feel free to send me an email and ask – rich@go-pro-in-paradise.com

PADI IDC Thailand, Platinum Course Director Richard reardon
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Neutrally Buoyant PADI IDC

At Go Pro In Paradise we are trying to push more and more towards neutrally buoyant skills during our PADI IDC programmes at PADI CDC Lanta Diver on Koh Lanta, Thailand. We are trying to stay off the knees, and teaching more on fin-tips or in mid-water. The dive environment is becoming ever more fragile, and we need to train the future generation of divers to be even more environmentally aware, and with even better buoyancy skills than in the past.  There is no need to spend any time on the knees during diver training – we should promote proper weighting and positioning in the water right from the first moment new divers get their heads under the water.

PADI IDC Thailand, Neutrally Buoyant, Platinum Course Director

It starts with Confined Water Dive #1 of the Open Water Course.  During our IDCs, the first time we take our IDC Candidates in the pool we conduct a CW Dive #1 workshop, and teach our candidates the importance of not over-weighting their future students, and how to get them neutrally buoyant before proceeding with the rest of the skills in CW Dive #1.  We achieve this by teaching the ‘Breathing Underwater’ skill as an introduction to the fin pivot (as described in a previous post).  All other skills in confined water can then be performed on fin-tips.

PADI IDC Thailand, Neutrally Buoyant, Platinum Course Director

We also then conduct a neutrally buoyant skill circuit, with all skills demonstrated on fin-tips – staying off the knees.

PADI IDC Thailand, Neutrally Buoyant, Platinum Course Director

PADI IDC Thailand, Neutrally Buoyant, Platinum Course Director

After this skill circuit, we then conduct a Confined Water Dive #5 workshop, where we teach our IDC candidates how to help their Open Water students to make the transition from performing skills on their fin-tips to now performing them mid-water whilst swimming around the pool neutrally buoyant.  We also highlight the importance of correct weighting and the value of practising swimming in shallow water without touching the bottom or breaking the surface – demonstrating good trim and horizontal body position.

PADI IDC Thailand, Neutrally Buoyant, Platinum Course Director

PADI IDC Thailand, Neutrally Buoyant, Platinum Course Director

PADI IDC Thailand, Neutrally Buoyant, Platinum Course Director

For the rest of the IDC, we then expect our candidates to perform all their teaching presentations in this manner.  Hopefully we can do our bit to inspire the next generation of PADI dive instructors to teach better buoyancy, trim, and environmental awareness in their future Open Water Courses…

PADI IDC Thailand, Neutrally Buoyant, Platinum Course Director

If you would like to know more about our PADI IDC programmes, please feel free to visit our website, or to send us an email

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How To Choose Your PADI IDC

Choosing where to take your PADI IDC can prove a little daunting at first – there are many places offering the PADI Instructor Development Course, so how exactly do you choose your PADI IDC ? Here’s a few things to consider and questions to ask…

PADI IDC, SCUBA Instructor Course, Dive, Diving, Go Pro

Experience

One factor to consider is how experienced is the person who will be teaching your PADI IDC. But what is experience and how is it measured ? For some people it’s just a case of asking ‘how long have you been a Course Director ?’. But really, it goes a little deeper than this. Time is a consideration, but it’s also good to know in which locations the Course Director has worked before – have they only taught in one location, or do they have experience of conducting PADI courses and skills in different locations with different water conditions and logistics ? Have they taught in cold and warm water ? Have they taught skills on wall dives, or just shallow sandy sites ? Do they have any experience teaching in strong currents ? Did they fast-track their way to Course Director, just meeting the minimum requirements, or did they spend a few years teaching in different locations ? It might also be worth checking if the Course Director will be teaching the whole course, or using less experienced IDC Staff Instructors to do the teaching, and if the Course Director advertised on the website is the same one that will be running the course.

PADI IDC Thailand, Koh Lanta, Platinum Course Director, Tao, Phi Phi, Phuket

Questions to ask:

How long has the Course Director been conducting PADI IDCs ?

When did the Course Director become a Divemaster and an Instructor ?

Does the Course Director have the ‘Platinum’ rating ?

Will the Course Director teach the whole IDC ?

Where has the Course Director worked before, both as a Course Director and as an Instructor ?

How many students has the Course Director certified – both at recreational and professional levels ? And can I see a copy of their Student Count Report ?

PADI Elite 300 Instructor, PADI IDC Thailand

Teaching Style

With the revisions to the PADI IDC programme coming later in 2019, it is more important than ever to research your potential Course Director’s style of teaching.  PADI will be putting a bigger emphasis on training whilst neutrally buoyant.  Therefore, look for a Course Director that has experience teaching skills neutrally buoyant – not on the knees.  Many Course Directors have adapted to this style of teaching already – with all skills being performed either on fin-tips or in mid-water.  Have a look at the Course Director’s or dive centre’s Facebook pages for recent photographs from their training, also read any blogs they may have posted regarding their training, and check out their YouTube channels to see if they are still suggesting demonstrating skills on the knees.

PADI IDC, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Neutral buoyant skills, fin tips, Divemaster

Another aspect to research is whether or not the IDC will be conducted using the most up-to-date and modern PADI eLearning materials.  PADI have been encouraging the use of electronic materials for a while now, yet some IDCs are still being run using the paper materials to teach from.  As a new instructor, it is important that you are familiar with, and comfortable with, these new PADI digital materials.  During the IDC you should get a chance to utilise the full range of PADI digital products – eLearning student manuals, the PADI app, PADI Library app, and the Project AWARE app – as well as a workshop on how to certify divers using the updated Online Processing Centre.

Questions to ask:

Do you teach skills on knees or whilst neutrally buoyant ?

Have you written any blogs on this subject that I can read ?

Will be be using the latest digital PADI teaching materials in class ?

PADI IDC, Divemaster, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Tao, Phuket, Phi Phi

Facilities

It’s important to know what facilities the dive centre that you are considering has. Do they have a comfortable, air-conditioned classroom ? Tropical destinations are very popular for PADI IDCs, and you want to make sure you will be comfortable in the classroom as that’s where the majority of course time is spent. You should also find out where the confined water and open water training will take place. Does the centre have a pool, and how suitable for training is it ? If, for example, the pool is too shallow it would be problematic to teach something like a hover, or 5 point descent without touching the bottom, where plenty of depth is required – a purpose built dive pool is ideal, with at least 3 metres depth. The pool should also be well-maintained – you don’t want an ear infection in the middle of your training. There should also be good equipment washing facilities, with different tanks for different pieces of equipment – washing wetsuits and regulators in the same water is not ideal. The water for rinsing equipment should be clean and changed frequently. You should look for a PADI Career Development Centre – the top rating for a training centre – with a good reputation, and ask to see their facilities.

PADI IDC Equipment Wash Area, Thailand

Questions to ask:

Do you have an air-conditioned classroom ?

How big is the classroom and how many candidates do you usually have per IDC ?

Do you have a private training pool ?

How deep is the pool ?

PADI IDC, CDC, Thailand, Phuket, Platinum CD,

Duration

Before you sign-up for an IDC, you should also make yourself aware of the time commitment required. In accordance with PADI standards, an IDC can be taught in as little as seven days. Many PADI IDC centres offer course over nine or ten days, however this usually translates to long days in the classroom – sometimes twelve hours. There is a lot of information to take in during an IDC, plus you need to prepare for the next day after finishing. It is possible to find extended, more relaxed PADI IDCs where your day will finish around 4pm – giving you plenty of time to prepare your presentations for the next day, eat a good meal and relax a little. A 12 – 14 day IDC programme is ideal – any longer and you are losing time that you could be certified and teaching your own students with. After a relaxed 12 day IDC, you arrive at the Instructor Examination feeling relaxed and confident rather than stressed and tired. These slightly longer IDC programmes typically include extra workshops (such as Confined Water Dive 1 workshops, neutral buoyancy teaching, how to teach hovering effectively) and extra presentation practice, rather than just hitting the minimum training requirements set out by PADI. Ask to have a look at the schedule…

PADI IDC Thailand, Phuket, Platinum Course Director, Workshop, Confined Water
Search & Recovery Workshop

Questions to ask:

How long is the IDC programme ?

Are there any extra workshops ?

Are any Specialty Instructor ratings included ?

Do you conduct a ‘Mock I.E.’ ?

How many teaching presentations will I deliver ?

What time does each day start and finish ?

Location

The location is perhaps the least important of these factors to consider, but it’s still something to think about. Most of an IDC is spent in the classroom, but it is nice to be able to go diving before or after the IDC to relax underwater with some mantas or sharks. It is also nice to take the course in a relatively quiet location, free from distractions – it might be best to avoid the party islands or towns.

Also, after the IDC has finished, you will need to wait a week or so for your paperwork to be processed before you can start teaching. This is the perfect time to take some Specialty Instructor Training and learn even more. If this is something you’re considering, think about which Specialties you would like to teach. If you want to become an AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty Instructor, you need to be somewhere that offers current, if you want to teach the Wreck Diver Specialty, you would need a location with a wreck. Also find out if the Course Director has written any Distinctive Specialities, or can offer any unique Specialty instructor training which will help your CV stand out when applying for jobs – such as Manta Conservation Specialty, or the new Adaptive Techniques Specialty. Some places, such as Koh Lanta, are very fortunate in that they can offer conditions and dive sites conducive for teaching most Specialties. And if you are looking to gain these extra qualifications, find out if the Course Director will be diving with you, or just asking a less experienced IDC Staff Instructor to do these dives instead.

Reef Shark Awareness Distinctive Specialty, PADI IDC, Thailand, Phuket, platinum CD
Reef Shark Awareness Distinctive Specialty

Questions to ask:

What type of area is the dive centre located in ?

Do you offer any free diving before or after the IDC ?

What is the water temperature ?

Do you have wrecks ?

Which Specialty Instructor ratings can I do with your Course Director ?

If I take Specialty Instructor ratings, will the Course Director be in the water with us ?

PADI IDC, Dive Against Debris, Specialty Instructor, Divemaster, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Ko Tao

If you need any further help deciding where to make the step up from PADI Divemaster to PADI Instructor, or IDC Staff Instructor, please feel free to email and ask…

If you are looking to complete a PADI IDC soon, then also check out our blog post ‘How To Prepare For Your PADI IDC‘…

We also offer career programmes so you can keep progressing after the IDC with IDC Staff Instructor Courses, Master Instructor Prep programmes, and even an internship designed to prepare you to attend the CDTC and become a PADI Course Director !

PADI IDC, Divemaster, Thailand, Koh Lanta, Koh Tao, Phuket, Phi Phi

Go Pro In Paradise PADI IDC Courses YouTube Channel, Dive Theory
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How To Prepare For Your PADI IDC

PADI IDC Thailand, Dive Theory, Study notes, dive instructor

The PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) is an intensive programme, usually lasting around twelve days.  There is a lot of new information and knowledge to take in during this time-frame, and your course will be a lot easier if you are not also trying to re-learn things that you should already know as a PADI Divemaster.

Your IDC training will be much more relaxed, and the IE will be much easier, if you are comfortable with dive theory and a few other things before you arrive.  You will spend time during the IDC going through this, and completing more dive theory exams, but there will also be a lot more information for you to take in, and most nights you will have teaching presentations to prepare after a full day in the classroom.  I like to give my candidates a set of dive theory exams on the first day of the IDC, and I would expect everyone to be able to pass with a minimum score of 75% in each of the five subjects – Physics, Physiology, Equipment, Dive Skills & The Environment, and The RDP & Decompression Theory.

PADI IDC Phuket, Thailand, dive theory exams, study notes
Physics is fun !

When people book a PADI IDC with Go Pro In Paradise, we send a link to our students with materials to study before arriving – dive theory study notes, practise exams, knot tying videos, RDP revision questions etc..  A few of these study tools are also available to download from the Go Pro In Paradise website.  We also have a few videos to help understand the dive theory on our YouTube channel.

As a Divemaster, you should also be comfortable with the following knots:

  • Sheet bend
  • Two Half-Hitches
  • Bowline

It will also be beneficial if you are also familiar with the ‘reef knot’, or ‘square knot’, – as this is sometimes the result of a sheet bend going wrong, and you need to be able to recognise this error.

The more comfortable you are with all this information before you arrive, the more you will be able to focus and the new information and spending your evenings preparing your teaching presentations for the next day.  If you also need to spend your evenings trying to figure out how to calculate minimum surface intervals, or trying to remember the difference between convection and conduction, then you will be a lot more stressed during your training.

When you book an IDC with us, we will start helping you prepare straight away.  We don’t just wait until you arrive and then try to cover all this during twelve days.  Our IDCs are nice and relaxed when the students have revised the information that we send them at the time of booking.

If you would like more information about our PADI IDC programmes in Koh Lanta, Thailand, please feel free to send us an email – info@go-pro-in-paradise.com

PADI IDC Thailand, IDC Staff Instructor, CDTC Prep, Divemaster Internships