Just when really stuffed with work and frustration I got a call from Kiwi Dive Resort in Larena Siquijor. They have guests arriving this evening and need an Instructor to introduce them to the underwater world. Hey, nothing can be better than jumping in the water and show some people the beauties of the sea.
The Discover Scuba programm is a PADI program for people who never tried diving before or just have no time for a Open Water course or want to make a course but are not that sure about it. It can be done in about 3 hours and includes a bit theory, snd some very simple skills. It is held in confined water, what can be a swimmingpool or in that case a shallow protected bay with water shallow enough to stand up.
The DSD can also include a Open Water dive after the few skills are done. During this dive the instructor is basically responsible to control everything. The participant will just breath and watch fishes.
90% of my discover Scuba programms are ending up to become an Open Water course. This has nothing to do that I am so good. It is simply the wonderful aquatic life here in the Philippines.
This Programm costs about 50 US$. This can be credited towards the Open Water Course.
I will let you know if my 4 participants of the Discover Scuba Diving Programm going into the full course
… off to Siquijor
After plenty of off-topics I need to get back to diving. Last Thursday I met Egon the owner of Dumaguete Springs Resort at Casablanca, our both favourite Restaurants. He ask me if I have time to teach a Rescue course at his Resort. After some calls and changes in my planned schedule I decided to teach the course.
My Student Liz was arriving from Bacolodand we introduced each other. She came with her parents and we run through the rough schedule. It is a requirement to have an EFR course (Emergency First Response aka Medic first aid). While my colleagues headed towards Apo Island I was left alone with two mermaids to teach the Rescue and EFR. the only guy helping us was “Manni” the Manequin… but as you can see on the pictures he has some important body-parts missing that I was totally left alone with the two.
My alarm rang at 5:30 in the morning to run through my daily online-routine for being ready to bring Mike into the “Big Pool”. I picked him up at Coco Grande and we drove out to Dauin. The water was calm and clear, even the Medias told that Typhoon “Frank” is rolling in. We prepared our Equipment and I gave the briefing what we gonna do in the water. Open Water dive one is a great dive for the diver as the OW-student don’t have to do anything but breathing and watching the fish.
We entered the water and submerged to 2 meters. Mike took a few deep breaths and I could hear how nervous he was. I was close to him and together we swam out at the sandy bottom just next to the colorful reef of the marine sanctuary of Dauin North. In 5 meters depth we just kneeled down and watched the marine life. He relaxed big time and when he reached 100 bars I decided it is time to go back. I made a small tour on top of the sand and he took care of his buoyancy and tried to control all by him self. Sure, there were a few up’s and down but all in all a great job for the first dive.
After an hour surface interval we changed the tanks and went back for dive 2 of the PADI open Water course. The second dive has a lot of skills and I always try to have most of the flexible skills (which have to be done some when during the course done at that open water dive 2. All skills went fine and even the mask – clearing was not a big problem. So we exit the water, disassembled and rinsed our gear before heading back to Dumaguete City before 1 pm. Not that I am pushing things, but knowing the small amount of time we have I let him do the quizzes and exams before we had a beer and went home tired to have a good sleep before the final dive next day.
A year ago or so my friends Tom and Kim were living down here in Dumaguete or better 20 kilometer south of it in a small village called Maajong Tubig. We were drinking and partying many times together but never dived. When they finally decided to move back to Angeles City we ran almost out of time and squeezed in as many dives as possible.
Finally 2 days before departure Michelle the lovely girlfriend of Tom decided to make a PADI Discover Scuba Programm with me. A DISCO is usually the first experience in the water with SCUBA equipment. The participant has almost nothing to do… just breathing. If the DISCO programm is conducted in the open water they have to clear the mask and recover the regulater as some easy skills.
Michelle did it with flying colors and the rest was simply fun. Sometimes it is just great to be a PADI Scuba Diving instructor in the Philippines. Now almost a year later I dedected a short video of that dive on youtube. I thought Tom was just making pictures, but obviously he recorded a few frequences of that dive. Good that I behaved a kind of…
Somehow I must thank Asia Divers in Puerto Galera and PADI. Asia Divers made me to a complete diving addict and PADI gives me the tools to enjoy that kind of stuff.
cheers and enjoy
Siquijor is known as the Island of “Witches”. The Island lays in the Bohol Sea in the Central Visayas. Siquijor can be reached either from Dumaguete (Negros Oriental) or Bohol (Tagbilaran) via Ferry. If you want to visit Siquijor from Cebu City, you can take a Ferry to Tagbilaran on Bohol and from there either to Larena or Siquijor proper.
It is a very laid back Island and everything slows down a bit. The population of Siquijor is outstanding friendly. A walk at the beach even at night time is very safe.
The reason why I went to Siquijor was simply a call from Bruce, the Owner of Kiwi Dive Resort north of Larena. He had a guest who was interested in doing the PADI Rescue diver course. After agreeing to the conditions I packed my dive-gear, bought a ferry-ticket with Weesam Express (180 Peso) to Siquijor and left Dumaguete at 11:15 for a 45 minute trip to my destination. The water was flat like a mirror, so we arrived at the Pier in Larena in time at 12:00. It is my second stay at this resort, but the first time I work for Bruce.
A driver from Kiwi Dive Resort was already waiting for me. One the way to the resort we stopped for some shopping in Larena and what can I say, it was HOT. Have a look at the picture and the shadow of the umbrella… I am sure you could boil an egg on the street. I was scared that my slippers are melting away and I will burn my over-sensitive sole of my feet.
Looking up the street I recognized a crowd of at least 40 people in front of a shop. Being here long enough, I know there can’t be many reasons. There might have been somebody collapsed in the shop and everybody needs to see if the person will survive or the shop has a TV. In that case it was “only” a TV. The screen was smaller than the 17 inch monitor of my notebook and the first viewer on the street was in a distance of minimum 6 meters. The volume was off and the picture was black/white and blur. I guess they all standing there just to figure out why the TV is switched on at all???
Another 10 minute drive and we reached the Kiwi-Dive Resort. Raul showed me my small cottage on the top of the cliff. I had a look at it and found everything I need. Two beds, two towels, an electric fan, a toilet and a shower. Time to refresh and meet the staff.
Eden manages the resort in a professional friendly way. Raul and Eden are the only staff left I remember from my visit last year. This time Bruce the owner was there also and we introduced our self. A few minutes later he introduced me to Jean, the rescue student. A 52 year old Frenchman who looks like 40 runs 15 km every other day and works as a diplomat in Bangladesh. His English is perfect and I definitely never met a French guy that world-open and friendly. To be quite honest, I also tried to avoid them in my life before. He read already the whole rescue-manual and filled in the three out of five knowledge reviews. So all looks really cool for an easy course.
We spend the afternoon watching the PADI Rescue-Diver-Video and to know each other better. After Sunset it was time to order lunch. As mentioned before everything is slow in Siquijor. The staff of Kiwi asked me to order way ahead of time (minimum 1 hour) and tell them what time I wanna eat. So I ordered a Pumpkin Soup and Fish ‘n chips. The meals on the menu are simple but very good. There are always pepper salt and chili-powder on the table to spice the things up a little bit.
Two SMB later we all went to bed around 9:00 pm. There is not much more to do. Time to sleep after another quick refreshing shower even the “Sexy Shower-Helper” I was asking for was not there… When I lay on my bed I found out that I basically sleep on the plywood. The 5 cm foam just gave up under my weight… But I was tired and it definitely was time to sleep. So no problem… (to be continued)
Many people know that I was working there for 2.5 years. I stopped working at Atlantis Beach Resort in Dumaguete August 07, or should I say I got stopped as I have an own Character and don’t fit in the Diving MC Donald’s policy of the owners.
I never said anything bad about Atlantis and the value for money, but what I know, hear and read on different SCUBA diving boards is just scary and life-threatening.
In September I was contacted to help with some information about the altitude of the waterfalls. Putting my 2 Cents of knowledge together and the public post on DumagueteInfo.com there must have been a Decompression problem. Getting in contact with the person I found out that the customer-caring management sent them to 650 – 700 meters altitude after 2 weeks of “hardcore”-diving (up to 4 dives a day) and two dives in the morning.
One of the guests suffered the next day during the flight from decompression-problems and had to extend the stop-over in Singapore for treatment in the recompression chamber.
Around the same time Chef Guenther gave me a note that some Star-Divemaster went to Apo Island did a 42 meter dive and after a quite short surface interval a 46 meter dive. Those dives were no technical dives. Back on the Boat the diver recognized some itchy skin and red spots, a very clear sign for decompression problems. The responsible person on the boat was the Diveshop manager of Atlantis Dumaguete and a IDC-Staff Instructor from Puerto Galera. The education-level of those should be high enough for some proper treatment, but at least Guenther the Chef (not diving since 3 years) knew what to do. Other Philippino Instructors got fired for doing things like that, even there was no accident or problem involved. That probably never happens if you are the little puppie of one ow the owners.
Even more strange that Atlantis is promoting “SAFETY FIRST”, listening to that stories and knowing quite some facts I consider that Karabaw Poo (the philippino version of Bullsh…)
If it comes to American groups it is a hunt for enormous tip’s. Many safety-rules got thrown overboard.
30 Meter/100 feet limit… only with non-americans.
Only non-decompression dives… no problem, we multilevel up and spend 20 minutes in the shallow anyway.
Very amusing, that divers from the US visiting the Philippines are almost all PADI divers aged 50 and above who are not in the best physical conditions anymore…
Most European divers are CMAS, VDST or equivalent educated. In that systems diver learn to make dives below 40 meters and deco-procedures, but they can’t do that dives in Dumaguete, at least not in Atlantis. Maybe they should also give 100 $ tip at the beginning of the week, would make thing easier for them.
I was just attending a PADI Member update for 2008. It was a two hour Seminar in the Waterfront-Hotel in Mactan, Cebu. It was held by Jimmy Christrup, the PADI representative for the Philippines. Jimmy is an old friend of mine from Puerto Galera when I was working for ASIA DIVERS, the number one diveshop in Puerto Galera 4 years ago. The last four years he made all his way up to PADI Course Director and now an employee the biggest diving association in the world.
Usually I fall asleep during these 2 hours, but trying to be respectful, I stood alive during the whole time. We got some numbers of the worldwide certifications and the status of PADI. PADI is the certifying agency for approximately 70% of all new certifications worldwide in over 180 countries. Overall there were 900.000 new certifications issued last year.
In 2007 in the Philippines were 18.500 divers certified.
11.700 at the entry level (Open Water Divers)
5.000 in continuing education level (Advanced Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver)
1.800 in Specialty Courses like NITROX, deep-diver or Under Water Naturalist.
The entry level numbers went down about 3.5% while the continuing education increased by 14.8%. The start 2008 is promising a good year. In the first 2 month of this years, as all 3 numbers increased significantly in that time. The entry level by almost 30% compared to 2007.
For all who are interested in diving but don’t wanna read books and study in their holiday, PADI has different options for everybody. The latest launched option is the eLearning. You can finish all academics including the exams online. In your holiday you make a quick review and the rest is water work. That is a great option for business travelers with only a few days at one location. As many waiting areas in Airports offering free WIFI they can make all the theory while they are traveling. The water work can be done in minimum 2 days, but this would be a quite tough schedule. I recommend 2.5 or 3 days.
The pictures are showing the hard way to become a professional diver.
1.)The Open Water Entry, quite simple test with a beer or two through a snorkel.
2.)Nitrox course: also easy, you just need to look like a idiot
3.) and 4.) The Divemaster mix is a bit harder, you get some wired stuff through the snorkel, including Tabasco, Rum, Beer, and everything what comes into your instructors mind.
The reactions of the new diving PRO are different. At that time my DM-candidate was still able to sit. I have pictures where he is sleeping on the ground a few minutes later with three dogs in his arms
There are some levels between. I will put some details on the side soon.
More information about diving on www.philippinen-tauchen.com