Koh Lanta, Thailand, PADI Divemaster, IDC, scuba diving Thailand

Koh Lanta – The Weather In ‘Rainy Season’

‘Rainy season’, and ‘monsoon season’ are terms often heard when people talk of visiting Koh Lanta, and other west coast of Thailand destinations, between May and September. However, these terms are a little misleading. While it is true there is more rain at this time of year than during the other months, contrary to popular beliefs, it does not rain all day, every day – far from it…

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Kantiang Bay, Koh Lanta, during ‘rainy season’…

Does it rain all day, every day ?

According to weather app, yes, it does. But in reality, no, it does not.  The most common weather patterns we experience at this time of year are hot, blue-skied days, with possible heavy rain showers late afternoon/early evening. If you look at rainfall charts for this time of year, there will be a large spike in the amount of rain falling, however, this usually falls in one short, heavy downpour as the day is ending – not as a constant drizzle throughout the whole day as in northern Europe. These 30 – 60 minute downpours are quite spectacular, with a lot of rain falling in a short space of time, and they clear the air and cool things down whilst you are getting ready to venture out for dinner. And they don’t fall every evening…

Scuba diving Thailand, Koh Lanta, Weather, Rain season

The wettest months are the months when the seasons are changing – usually June & September. During these months, you are more likely to encounter the odd wet day, when it does rain through the day, but there is still plenty to do on the island at these times of year too. The months of the so-called ‘rainy season’ between these change-over times are usually as described above – short tropical downpours in the evening, and still nice and hot temperature-wise (even the rain is warm water when it does fall).

These downpours are needed too. After the very dry months of January through April, the island needs a good watering. The wells sometimes run low at the end of the driest months, and the vegetation is calling out for water. The effects of the rain are readily seen – everything quickly becomes greener and lusher, hence the locals refer to this time of year as ‘green season’. The cooling effect of the evening rain is also very welcome. The rain helps lower the humidity, and cool things down for the evening, as well as keeping the dust of dry season down to a minimum.

Is everything on the island closed ?

Another misconception about Koh Lanta is that the island shuts down for green season. This is also not quite true. There are a few businesses that will close for a few months, but many restaurants and bars are open as usual. Also hotels are open as usual, and are often great value at this time of year.

Diving-wise, Koh Lanta Marine Park is closed from May 15th, and re-opens on October 15th. However, the Phi Phi dive sites are open all year and dive trips are still running during this time period.

PADI IDC, Koh Lanta, Divemaster, Lanta Diver, SCUBA Diving Thailand
Blue skies and calm seas…

Places to go, and things to do in green season…

The National Park at the southern end of Koh Lanta is open, and in all its glory after a bit of rain. It’s always a nice place to relax with its quiet and beautiful beaches, and the lighthouse is a great photo spot.

Just before the National Park the beach at Klong Jark is also very nice. And either before or after a laze on the beach, the short trek to the Klong Jark Waterfall is also spectacular at this time of year – much better than in the dry season.

Koh Lanta Rainy Season, Thailand, Beach, Blue sky, Divemaster Training, PADI IDC

Lanta Old Town is also a great place for a spot of lunch during a drive around the island. Old Town is on the eastern side of Lanta, and a good spot to see a bit of traditional Thai culture, with views over the islands in the bay towards the mainland.

Scuba diving and snorkel trips are available to Phi Phi all year round too. A short sail out across the Andaman Sea, and you can dive or snorkel at some beautiful spots, with some amazing marine life around. Turtles and sharks can be seen regularly, and if you are lucky, you might even get to see the biggest fish in the ocean – the mesmerising whale shark ! Contact Lanta Diver to see their trip schedule – scuba@lantadiver.com

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

Another activity that many enjoy is to pay a visit to Lanta Animal Welfare, and to maybe even take a dog or two for a walk along the beach…

Where to stay, what to do, and where to eat ?

During green season it is very easy to find a room for your stay, and most resorts offer great value for money at this time of year. Lanta offers accommodation to suit all budgets and needs, but the prices are a little lower during these months. For accommodation, check these places:

Mook Lanta Eco Resort – beautiful boutique resort at the southern end of Long Beach. Nice rooms in a quiet garden setting, just a short walk to the beach. They do a great breakfast too – check out the Mook Muffins !

Sri Lanta – situated in Klong Nin, Sri Lanta is a nice resort with a beachfront area. Nice for a sunset cocktail…

Kaw Kwang Beach Resort – close to the main town of Saladan in the north of Koh Lanta.

Long Beach Chalet – also on Long Beach.

Lanta Riviera – found in the middle of Klong Kong area, close to the beach.

Lanta Sand – at the northern end of Long Beach, within a short distance of many beachfront restaurants.

And when you’re getting a little hungry after a tough day exploring/relaxing…

The Irish Embassy – Great pub food served in a great pub atmosphere, fantastic music, award-winning cocktails, with all your sporting needs on the multi-screens. There’s always something going on here too – Monday is quiz night, Friday is Name That Tune & Killer Pool, with live music midweek too. Situated in the Long Beach area.

May’s Kitchen – To be found close to the Irish Embassy in Long Beach. May’s Kitchen is a favourite amongst the locals. Amazing Thai food, great bbq and ribs, and good selection of western dishes too.

Sole Mare – Italian pizzeria & restaurant in Klong Dao. They have specials on Tuesdays (Pizza Party) and Thursdays (Pasta Party).

The Fat Pig – Also know by its Thai name of Moo Uan, The Fat Pig is located over the water in Saladan, looking out to Koh Lanta Noi. Good ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ breakfast, and live sports shown too.

Ni Restaurant – Small, family-run restaurant close to Relax Bay, at the southern end of Long Beach. Good Thai & western dishes, and nice prices too.

Happy Veggie – If you fancy a healthy, or vegetarian, option, The Happy Veggie is found between the southern end of Long Beach and the northern end of Klong Kong beach.

To find out more about what’s going on in green season, join the Koh Lanta Info Facebook group…

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

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PADI IDC No Mask Swim, Instructor Course Thailand, Koh Lanta, Phi Phi, Phuket, Tao, Dive Instructor Training

Teaching Tips: No-Mask Swim…

The no-mask swim skill from Confined Water Dive #4 of the PADI Open Water Course is a skill that often appears during the PADI IDC and the Instructor Exams (IE).  There are a few different ways to teach this skill, and the main differences are regarding the organisation of the skill – how to set it up and conduct it underwater.  The mechanics of the skill are relatively simple, yet students may be a little anxious before attempting this skill for the first time.

PADI IDC & Divemaster training in Koh Lanta, Thailand

The performance requirements for this skill state a certain distance must be covered during the swim to successfully complete the skill.  The first thing to think about when organising this skill then, is to ensure the full 15 metres will be covered.  If you are teaching in a pool, then this is very easy to do once you know the dimensions of the pool.  However, if you are teaching in confined open water, from a beach, then you may need to measure the distance using a reel or tape measure.  A tape measure is obviously already marked out with the distances, but if you are using a reel, you may need to add some distance markers yourself.

PADI IDC & Divemaster Training, Koh Lanta, Thailand

I prefer to use a reel, as it is more convenient because it is already a part of my dive equipment, and is easier to stow when not in use.  Along the length of my 40m line, I have used a permanent marker to add a mark every 5 metres – as below:

nav-1

These markings are not just useful for the no-mask swim skill, but for many other skills and dives within the PADI system (e.g. Navigation Adventure Dive, wreck penetration).

Once we are happy that we have a means of ensuring the full 15 metres will be completed, we can think about the other aspects of the organisation of this skill.  First, let’s see what PADI’s Guide To Teaching suggests:

PADI IDC & Divemaster training in Koh Lanta, Thailand

The final sentence in the above excerpt from the Guide To Teaching is an important factor to consider when deciding how to organise this skill.  I find it more beneficial for the students if they work in buddy teams and take turns guiding each other over the 15 metres, rather than the instructor guiding the students.  This strengthens the understanding of the buddy team, makes the skill more realistic as training for the event of a lost mask during a dive, and is extra practice at swimming whilst neutrally buoyant.

During the briefing for this skill, I will let the students know that I will demonstrate the skill with the Divemaster first, and that the students will then perform the skill as buddy teams, switching roles after one buddy team member has completed the skill satisfactorily.  The student with their mask in place can guide the student without the mask by swimming alongside, and holding the other student’s first stage with one hand, and their wrist out in front of them with the other hand.  Having physical contact with the buddy’s wrist during the skill helps the students stay relaxed, especially if they will close their eyes during the practice. I will also inform them that I will be swimming alongside the buddy team, on the side of the diver without a mask.  If I only have one student, then I would take the role of guide as the student performed the skill.

PADI IDC No Mask Swim, Instructor Course Thailand, Koh Lanta, Phi Phi, Phuket, Tao, Dive Instructor Training

I will also tell the students during the briefing that when they are happy with their neutral buoyancy, they can then flood and remove their mask to perform the skill, and that they should then pass the mask to me.  I then hold onto each student’s mask whilst they swim the distance.  It is not a requirement to take the masks from the students, but I find it helps with the realism and conduct of the skill.  In real life, if they lost a mask, it would not be in their hands.  Also, if the instructor has the mask, the student cannot replace the mask too early, before the full 15 metres has been covered.  This method also removes the issues of students dropping their masks during the exercise.  During an IDC or an IE, this method of teaching has then eliminated two of the problems that a Course Director or PADI Examiner can assign during this skill – your anticipation and actions have prevented problems.

Once I am happy that the student has mastered the skill, and completed the full 15 metres comfortably, then I can signal this to them with a tap on the shoulder, and I can place the mask back in the student’s hand – ready to be replaced and cleared to complete the skill.  The same two students would then switch roles, and complete the skill again…

If you have any questions regarding this skill, or any others, please feel free to email and ask us for our advice.  Also, if you are looking to complete a PADI Divemaster or IDC programme, please email and ask for further information about our courses in beautiful Koh Lanta, Thailand – rich@go-pro-in-paradise.com

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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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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…

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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

Teaching Tips: The Navigation Adventure Dive…

As a new instructor, the Navigation Adventure Dive can seem a little daunting – there’s lots to do, but we also want to save some time to swim around and explore the dive site too.  It’s a dive we conduct often – it is a compulsory core dive on the Advanced Open Water Course. We obviously need to make sure all our students meet performance requirements, but we also want to work efficiently to allow that time for exploring the dive site and practising actual diving !

The first thing to consider when planning a Navigation Adventure Dive is when and where you will conduct this dive.  I would never plan to conduct this dive as the first dive of an Advanced Open Water Course, I would prefer to see my divers in the water first.  Ideally, I like to conduct Peak Performance Buoyancy as the first dive of an AOWC, and certainly before the Navigation Dive.  Another thing to bear in mind is depth and site selection.  It’s preferable to conduct the Navigation Dive on a shallow site, with relatively open sandy areas.  Also, a site with little or no current is ideal.  Aiming for a shallower site is another reason not to plan this as the first dive of the course.  I prefer to plan my Navigation Dives as either second or third dives of the course – it’s also not a nice dive to finish the course with for the students.

Now let’s have a look at the performance requirements – what the students must achieve…

Navigation Dive, Advanced Open Water Course, Teaching Tips, PADI IDC

Okay, so we need to get ourselves organised before we tackle those performance requirements.  We need to get our instructional equipment together first.  Our students should each have a compass, as per PADI standards, for every Adventure Dive.  But for me, we also need a reel/spool – that’s how I measure the 30 metres for skill #2, and I also then use it as a baseline, and a way of measuring performance requirements, for the other skills.  I have a reel and a spool, and I have marked them both off for distances every five metres.  I also made sure when I bought my reel and my spool that I selected ones with orange lines, rather than the more common white. The orange line is much easier to see (when using a dSMB, or conducting wreck penetration, as well as when laying it on the floor for Navigation skills). I then marked my lines every five metres as below:

Navigation Dive, Advanced Open Water Course, Teaching Tips, PADI IDC

I have always used a Dive Rite Safety Reel, and have also, more recently, added the new Apeks Lifeline Spool to my kit bag, as pictured below:

PADI IDC, Navigation Dive, Reel Spool

Once I have laid this line out, carefully avoiding damaging any aquatic life, I am ready to start the skills with my students.  If there is a slight current, I will try to set the line perpendicular to it. Skill #1 will be combined with all the other skills and monitored throughout the dive.  Skill #2 is pretty straight forward, but the trick is to avoid this turning into a race along the line.  I am very careful how I brief this skill – I brief that the 30m swim should be at a normal dive pace, and that I will set the speed by swimming in front of the students, emphasising that they should not overtake me.  I instruct the students to count their own kick cycles, and I time the swim.  The number of kicks and time can then be noted on the Adventure Dive Data Carrier slates.  I perform this skill twice – once in each direction to ascertain an average.  This is especially important if there is a slight current.

The next skill is the natural navigation swim, returning within 15m from the start point.  This is a skill that needs to be briefed well too.  We need to emphasise what features to look for in the reef formations/topography, and also to point out that often things will look different when returning in the opposite direction.  I brief my students to look back at a reference point as they pass it to get an idea of how it will look on the return leg.  I also brief the importance of slow relaxed swimming – the normal dive pace – and tell them how many kick cycles I would like them to complete before turning around.  I start this skill from the centre point of my 30m baseline – the 15 metre mark.  I now have 15 metres of line either side of the start, so I can very easily see if the students have met the performance requirement, which is to return within 15 metres of their start point.

Skill #4 is then combined with skill #5. Correct positioning/handling of a compass to swim a reciprocal heading.  I also remind the students they can also incorporate some natural navigation techniques as used in the previous skill into this exercise – especially if there is a little current.  For the skill #4 element of this reciprocal heading swim, I do emphasise that the compass must be level, and that the lubber line must be pointing in the desired direction of travel, but I do not insist they hold the compass in the manner pictured below during the entire exercise – because nobody dives like this, ever – it just needs to be held correctly when checking the heading/direction !

Navigation Dive, Advanced Open Water Course, Teaching Tips, PADI IDC

Rather than insist on the above position, I brief students to use natural navigation in conjunction with the compass – keeping the compass level, point it ahead, and pick out a natural feature in line with the lubber line, then when they reach that feature, they can again hold the compass level with the lubber line in the correct direction and pick another natural feature – this is a more natural, ‘realistic’ way to navigate with a compass. This is also a much better technique if there is any current – if people just stare at the compass in a current they may not notice they are being pushed off course. Also bear in mind that nowadays people may be using a digital compass on their dive computer, so you might need to cover how to calibrate and use that version of a compass.  Again, we need to cover how many kick cycles before turning in the briefing.  I also start this skill from the same 15 metre mark on my baseline, so I can check that they meet the performance requirement of returning to within six metres of the starting point – I have a mark on my baseline five metres either side of the starting point…

With both skill #3 and skill #4, if conditions are good enough, and my divers are also competent enough, I can send two buddy teams off simultaneously if I have four students. I assign one member of each buddy team the task of navigating with the compass (setting the heading by pointing the lubber line in the correct direction and rotating the bezel so the north arrow is between the two index markers), whilst the other will be counting their own kick cycles and tapping the shoulder of the buddy to signal time to turn around. To turn around, the buddy member with the compass just needs to turn their body until the south arrow is in between the two index markers.

Before I allow a buddy team to begin the swim, I position myself directly in front of them, blocking their path, until I am happy they have set the compass correctly, then I move to the side and let them begin.  Once buddy team #1 has started, I position myself directly in front of the second buddy team until I am happy their compass is also set correctly before I allow then to swim. Once the second buddy team have started, quite often the first buddy team is arriving back, and I can have them swap roles and repeat the skill. This helps me work more efficiently and have time to explore the dive site once all skills are completed:

Navigation Dive, Advanced Open Water Course, Teaching Tips, PADI IDC

Once everybody has performed each role for the reciprocal heading compass swim, the final skill is the square pattern.  For this, I also get the two buddy teams swimming in different directions at the same time (conditions and competency allowing) to work efficiently:

Navigation Dive, Advanced Open Water Course, Teaching Tips, PADI IDC

Again, I start from the 15 metre mark of my line and use the marks on my line to gauge whether they have met the performance requirements of returning to within eight metres of the starting point.  I prefer to use the Suunto SK8 compasses for this dive too, as they have all four cardinal points on the face, and not just a north arrow.  This makes this square pattern, and the search patterns in the Rescue Diver and Search & Recovery Specialty, much easier too.  Again, for the first heading, the students need to point the lubber line in the right direction and turn the bezel until the two index markers are over the north arrow.  Now, when they come to make the first 90 degree turn, for a turn to the right, they do not need to touch the bezel, they just need to turn the body until the east arrow is between the two index markers, and on the next turn, the south arrow between the two markers.  For a left turn, they would turn the body until the west arrow is between the index markers.

I ask the students to set the first side of the square to follow the direction of my baseline (as in the picture above).  This means their final leg of the square will be back towards the line, so again I can see how close to the start point they finish.  And once more, when the buddy teams return, I get them to swap roles and repeat the skill.  The conditions will determine length of each side of the square – if the conditions are good enough, I will have the students use the same amount of kick-cycles as it took them to complete the 30 metre swim earlier (This is PADI’s recommended size for the square), but if conditions are less favourable, I may shorten this to suit (as in the example picture above).

Another key to making this dive run smoothly and efficiently underwater is to practise these skills on land before the dive.  I like to do this with a towel over the students’ heads, so all they can see is the compass, and to learn to trust it (and me!).

And that is basically how I try to run the Navigation Adventure Dive.  As I mentioned above, sometimes conditions or student skill level means I need to adapt my approach a little.  But this is the Advanced Course, and the students, as certified divers, should be good enough to swim a short distance away from the instructor, and allowing them that little extra freedom will also help them become more confident divers…

If you have any questions about how I run my Navigation Adventure Dives, or would like to take an Underwater Navigator Specialty Instructor Training Course to see it first hand, please feel free to email and ask for more information…

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PADI IDC Staff Open Water, Thailand, Phuket, Richard Reardon Platinum Course Director

PADI IDC Staff Instructor Course

PADI IDC Staff Instructor Course. Phuket, Thailand, Platinum Course Director

If you have been teaching a while, you might be considering your next steps, and maybe even planning on attending a PADI CDTC and becoming a Course Director in the future yourself.  The PADI IDC Staff Course is the first step on the instructor development ladder.

As a certified PADI IDC Staff Instructor you will be able to assist Course Directors with IDC programmes and share your wisdom and experience with new PADI leaders. The IDC Staff Instructor course provides you with extensive knowledge of the PADI IDC process and prepares you to positively shape the next generation of PADI Professionals. It’s also a great career move, and opens up more opportunities…

PADI IDC Staff Open Water, Thailand, Phuket, Richard Reardon Platinum Course Director

So, what do you gain from the training ? After certification you will be able to:

Independently teach PADI Assistant Instructor courses

Assist on PADI Instructor Development Courses

Get closer to applying for the PADI Master Instructor rating

Improve your own teaching – especially of Divemaster courses

There are two options for the IDC Staff Instructor course.  The most popular is to sit in on a full IDC programme.  You start a couple of days before the IDC itself, learning about the psychology of evaluation and how to evaluate the candidates IDC teaching presentations.  Also during these days you will need to pass the PADI Dive Theory and Standards Exams again – with a higher passing score of 80% this time.  You will also need to deliver one Confined Water and one Knowledge Development Teaching Presentation again.  Also with higher passing scores than on an IDC programme.  Then it’s time for the IDC candidates to arrive, and you sit back and relive the IDC experience from a different, more relaxed, perspective…

PADI IDC Staff Course, Thailand, Platinum Course Director Richard Reardon

As a PADI Instructor with teaching experience already, you will be able to take in more information now you are on the other side of the fence, and more relaxed.  You will absorb even more of the valuable information stored in the heads of our experienced Platinum PADI Course Director, and help pass this on to the IDC candidates.  You will also help deliver the extra workshops and seminars added to Go Pro In Paradise IDC programmes to help the IDC candidates hit the ground running after the IE, and see how we try to focus on teaching our IDCs neutrally buoyant.

PADI IDC Staff Course, Thailand, Phuket, Platinum Course Director

The longer option outlined above is perhaps the better option.  You will get more practice getting to grips with the evaluation process for Confined Water, Open Water and Knowledge Development presentations.  However, for those short in time, there is a shorter four-day option.  During this option you will still learn the basics of becoming an IDC Staff instructor, but you will not then see everything put into action in a real world IDC setting.  Following this shorter option though, you can always come back when you have more time and gain that experience staffing an IDC at a later date.

PADI IDC Staff, Phuket, Thailand, Staffing Credit, Master instructor, CDTC

If you are interested in improving your teaching skills and knowledge, and becoming a member of the PADI Instructor Development team with our highly experienced Platinum PADI Course Director, then please drop us an email for further details.  If you are already a PADI IDC Staff instructor, we also offer programmes to help you get more staffing experience, as well as Master Instructor and CDTC Prep programmes…

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

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