Why I became a Scuba Diving Instructor

Caroline-Padi
Just next to our house is the ocean. This never ending deep blue that used to give me the shills now makes me feel like nothing else. To submerge myself in this salty home of a thousand of marine creatures makes my heart beat. When I was six years old all I wanted to be was a dentist (for some unfamiliar reason,) then when I was older I wanted to save the orangutans (I still want to save them,) I wanted to be a dolphin trainer (before I discovered all cruelty that comes with it,) built a shelter for rescue dogs (and someday I will,) I wanted to travel the world and I wanted to be a dive instructor. The dreams I had always differed a lot from my friends but my parents have always encourage me telling me it’s all possible. They believed in me and let me tell you, that means the world for a little girl. I will always love them for that.

To do something out of the ordinary
As long as I remembered I wanted to do a difference, I wanted to do something I believed to be important. To share the oceans with others, to tell my students why not to eat shark fin soup, where all our plastic ends up, why not to eat certain fish and why not to pay to see animal in prisons. I feel like I can do a difference, how small it might be I’m making an effort. I try with all of my heart.

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Respect
I’m very lucky to be able to do just that. Every time I take people diving that never before have seen the underwater world I feel good about myself. If you thought it was hard to show expression behind a dive mask on your face and a regulator in your mouth, think twice. I can hear them laugh, “wow” and “aaah” of excitement. Sometimes people smile so much they constantly have to clear their mask from water and it makes me do the same.

Every time I tell my students not to touch, not to collect, not to harass the marine creatures and I tell them why, I always get surprised by the respect they show. How people barely in controlled of themselves trying with all they have not to get to close to the reef not to kick anything. When we are back up again some of you thank me for showing you something you didn’t known to exist and telling me how much you tried not to hurt any corals while under water and I can tell that you will dive for the rest of your life and that you will be bloody good at it as well.

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We are so scared of the unknown
I have to explain to some of the people why the sharks will not attack them, that the poisonous fish will not come after them and the ocean is not some black hole that just swallows people. It fascinates me how many people that are scared of the ocean before the actually splash in. Into the unknown. And how easy it is to take this fear away. We humans will always fear the unknown, but it will always be something stronger than fear and that is curiosity. What we don’t know so much about scares us but it also fascinates us. That is how we work and that is why I’m so happy to do what I do. To enlighten people, to show them the magnificent about the ocean and to be able to replace what before was scary with something exciting and warm.

 

/Caroline #353983

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Souvenirs of the ocean

Think twice when you buy souvenirs on you holiday to bring  home to friends and family.

That dried sea horse you are holding in your hand once had a life on the reef, was a part of a perfect functional Eco system and now it’s an endangered species. It is as well one of the most beautiful creatures we as dive guides can show our guest here at Quo Vadis.

Dried seahorse

The colourful cone shell you are thinking of buying to your mum once had tenant, someone living in there and now we barely ever see them while diving. The sea star they sell in the souvenirs shop next to your hotel once was a part of the ocean floor and a highlight for snorkelers in the shallow waters. It can even be someones lunch.

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When buying these products you create a demand for them. Don’t buy products that exploit unsustainable marine creatures. Corals may  look beautiful on a piece of jewellery but take my word for it, they look more stunning where they belong on the reef and they play an important role in the Eco system.

What should we bring?

We should bring pictures & stories up from the ocean. Then we can share it and show what other people are missing out on when they are spending all that precious time up at the surface.

You can start by sharing this post about where all the marine creatures belongs!

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Who can change the world?

An ocean of plasticGreenpeace? Sea Shepard? PADI Project Aware? Oceana? Ocean Defender? You? Me? Even the smallest action can do a great impact on our future. That is, if we do it together. 

Did you know that 9.1 million tons of plastic will end up in the ocean every year? And that all this plastic contributes to habitat destruction which entangles and kills tens of thousands of marine animals each year? It´s estimated that in 2025 it will rise up to 150 million metric tons. I cannot even grasp that number.

Here are a few things you can do to help:

Support the organisation that fights for the future of the oceans
All people behind the organisations mentioned above are true heroes. Its people like you, like me who got tired of us destroying our planet and decided to take action. We can talk about their actions, we can like it, share it, spread it encourage and join them, but don’t forget to volunteer, to help out and also consider to give financial support. Find your local organisation and ask them how you can help.

Reduce your plastic usage
To limit your impact, carry a reusable water bottle, store food in non-disposable containers, bring your own bag when shopping, and recycle whenever possible. And never forget: everything we through away will eventually end up in the ocean. Plastic dissolves in the water and will then wander from the smallest creature to the ocean giants and yes it will end up in the food we eat as well.

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Clean up after yourself and others
Imaging if every human would spend 5 minutes per day to pick up garbage and recycle. We are approximately 7.4 billion people, now multiple that by five and we would have 37 billion minutes every day of erasing all the trash in our world. That is what I call a big change for the better, right?

Never stop fighting. Wherever we are we can always clean the nature and spread the green message. Soon Quo Vadis Dive Resort will arrange a beach clean-up here in Moalboal and if you happen to be around you are more than welcome to join. More information will follow, stay tuned!

/Charlie and Caroline

 

 

5 awesome facts about the seahorse

1. Did you know that the Latin family name of the sea horse, hippocampus, translates to horse seamonster? They sure don’t look very scary to me. Their size are ranging from tiny 1.5 cm up to 35 cm. 2.

2. They don’t have any stomach and because of the missing stomach these horses needs to eat all the time. To be exact they need to find at least 3000 tiny shrimps every day or they would die of starvation.

3. The male seahorse really takes his daddy role very serious. In this relationship the male are the one to carry all eggs in his pouch. Of all the eggs only one of thousand survives to an adult size. Some studies shows that they are extremely faithful to each other. Once they find a sea horse partner in their taste they stick with each other for the rest of their life. How romantic!

4. To great exercise can kill this little creatures so mostly they are sitting on the same coral relaxing and eating. Except to gain too much weight the only thing this guys need to worry about is the hungry crabs. If the dwarf sea horse needs to run from the crab he faces a problem, since his horse powers only can create a top speed of 1.5 meter per hour…

5. The seahorse are endangered by over fishing and habitat destruction. The Chinese medicine market has a huge responsibility since they convinced the chines people that seahorses cure impotence, wheezing and pain. Which has non-scientific proof. 20 million seahorses are estimated to been taken from the sea by this reason every year.

The fishing of the endangered seahorse has been controlled by CITES since 2004. CITES is a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Sadly enough Norway, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia didn’t sign the law. Support CITES and other ocean fighters that supports our ocean with knowledge among the local people.

Denise’s Pygmy Seahorse at the divesite Umbrella

 

 

Meet Caroline

13445776_10154314896642430_3164609797173540346_nMy name is Caroline Sandstedt and I will also be blogging here together with Charlie, so I want to give you a chance to get to know me a little. So who am I? I’m the girl who got addicted to scuba diving, I’m always the one with the loudest laugh and the largest suit case. I grew up in Sweden but since I have been old enough to travel I have not stayed put since. I have tried a lot of different jobs in my 26 years; I’ve been working as a waitress, barista, copywriter, art hostess, nanny, telemarketer and saleswomen. But it turned out all I ever wanted to do was to work with scuba diving.

I started diving 11 years ago but it took a little bit longer for me to fall in love with this world and lifestyle. When I was 22 I travelled to Thailand and there the underwater beauty got to me and I quickly worked my way up from Open Water diver to Advanced Open Water then to Rescue Diver and then I was stuck. Like really, really stuck. Have you ever heard about the dive virus? Whatever it is, I caught it and now I work as an instructor and dive center manager at Quo Vadis Dive Resort and my life is complete. 11264860_10153376111792430_4036510932369688699_n

I always tell my friends: if you want to be really good at something you have to truly love what you do. And I live as I learn. Going from an office job in Sweden to practice my passion in the warm tropics was a life changer and a life saver.

I’m in love with the ocean and being an Dive Instructor was the most obvious choice, giving me the chance to spend countless hours in the place I love the most, teaching people how to enjoy the colourful life under water and to show them how to take care of it so we can enjoy it’s magnificent beauty in the future.13510961_10154314891402430_40901198977813199_n

So if you want to learn how to dive and if you want to be inspired, I’m definitely up for the task. Make you holiday stand out and I can promise you an experience you will always remember. I’m hoping to see you underwater soon!

Meet Charlie

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My name is Charlie, as my blue eyes and blond hair might tell you, I’m from northern Europe, Sweden in fact. Since I graduated school I’ve been working abroad with the ocean as my office. I been working as dive guide since 2013 in Thailand, but in the end of last year I decided that I was ready to share my passion about the blue world to others. So I did my instructor course and that was one of the best decisions of my life.

To teach diving and to feel the excitement among the students when we finally splash down in the water, slowly descending to my favourite part of our world. Seeing the huge smile behind the regulator causing a minor mask-leak when they finally manage one of the tasks underwater and to watch them starting to share my passion is the best feeling in the world. It’s truly a privilege to be able to work with this.

When I’m not teaching or guiding my absolute favourite activity is to photograph the stunning marine life around me. If I ever stays dry on a day off, I love to explore the nature and to catch the adventures around me.

Come by for a chat. It’s very easy to find me, I’m the guy with the huge smile and dreadlocks!

Why do I blog?

It all started off when I met a magnificent Green turtle many years ago. The beautiful creature changed me so drastic that I after that moment knew that the ocean was my future. The big adventure started and I was off to the wonderful world. I was finally a part of the adventures that I was reading about as a child.

The peaceful ocean calms me down. It makes me humble by showing it’s glory and what’s worth dying for. Each time I enter the ocean, I can hear it whisper. One day I couldn’t just ignore the whispers so I decided to give the ocean a voice that could touch people.

I gives the ocean a story from my eyes. I will fight to inspire all of us, to a better world.

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Meet the Staff: Lukas

Divemaster Lukas

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Hometown:  Salzburg, Austria

Why I started diving:  I’ve always been interested in underwater life, so trying it on my trip around Thailand seemed like a good idea.

What keeps me diving:  I really like the weightless feeling you have while diving and there is always so much to see, so no two dives are the same. It’s great to share the passion with so many other divers and see them enjoy diving just as much as I do.

My favorite thing to do in Moalboal during my surface interval:  I do like to go fun diving on my day off. Besides that the Kawasan Falls and Mainit Hot Springs are cool trips, or simply relaxing in a hammock and enjoying the sunset.

Some of my favorite creatures:

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Lionfish: As a kid visiting the aquarium, this was always the one that fascinated me the most. Even after seeing loads of them in the ocean, it’s cool to watch out for the different kinds.

Papuan Toby

Papuan Toby: Very colourful fish, but also terrible swimmers, often found in pairs dancing around each other. They are related to puffers, so they are able to “blow up” as well.

 

I’m a Certified Diver: Recommended Equipment

Equipment Recommendations

Selecting your first set of SCUBA equipment can be an overwhelming prospect.  There are so many kinds and variations, colors, brands and functionality to consider; too many in fact to P1110443discuss at depth in this segment however we may attempt to tackle this in the future.  For now we want to delve into the specialized equipment, beyond your standard kit, that we recommend when diving with just you and a buddy.  Like selecting your basic gear there are so many tools, gadgets, attachments and toys to salivate over and attempt to convince yourself are absolutely necessary; however we recommend beginning with the basics and consider if the item’s weight, bulk and size justify a spot in or on our BCD.  As a baseline we would recommend at minimum a cutting tool, torch, visual signal, audible signal, first aid and emergency oxygen.

Cutting Tools

images (1)A cutting tool is a recommended for all divers for both safety and utilitarian purposes.  It is not recommended as a weapon for defense against “aggressive” underwater creatures; not only is this impractical but also goes directly against the sustainable underwater stewardship that we have committed to as divers.  Cutting tools come with a few basic options, fixed blade vs. collapsible, blunted tip vs. pointed and steel vs. titanium.  While there are valid arguments for both sides of the fixed vs. collapsible and blunted vs. pointed tips I would recommend that you take your BCD, exposure suits and diving conditions into consideration when making these decisions.  When considering steel vs. titanium there are very clear benefits and costs associated.  If you are working with a tight budget then a stainless steel blade will definitely be more affordable; however please investigate the grade of the stainless as there are some lower grades that will rust almost instantly when introduced to salt water whereas there are some that with a gentle rinse or short soak after a dive in fresh water will remain rust free for years.  If you budget allows it a titanium blade is a well-placed investment as in addition to being lighter it should also remain rust free, even if you forget to rinse or soak it, for many years to come.  Two features that I personally recommend are a line cutter separate from the cutting edge and a lanyard to avoid an unfortunate loss under the water.

Torches

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Illuminating an Octopus hiding in the cracks with a 700 lumen torch at around 12 meters; without it would be nearly impossible to make it out.

There are enough torch options out there to make a thorough exploration impractical; however there are a few key features that can be taken into consideration.  A good starting point can be investigating the lumens of the torch and taking into consideration what conditions you will be using this in.  I have witnessed divers using 10,000 lumen video lights on a night dive before; effectively turning it into a day dive for everyone and possibly blinding every poor creature caught in its beam…Please don’t do this!  For guiding a dive or for dive professionals we recommend at minimum a 300 lumen light though 700 lumen will definitely make you visible to other divers while still keeping in the spirit of a night dive.  Another feature to consider is the battery type.  Some come with rechargeable batteries while other manufacturers recommend that you do not use rechargeable batteries due to corrosion concerns.  While I have seen some torches with more uncommon 3v lithium batteries, like those used in older digital cameras; these can prove quite difficult and expensive to source, especially when traveling.  Finally I would recommend thinking about the size, shape and method of attachments.  As you begin to amass more dive equipment space and weight become a growing concern and when using a tool, like a torch, on frequent basis the comfort and ergonomics become more of a determining factor when making your selection.

 

Visual and Audio Signals

The general recommendation is that all divers carry at minimum one visual and one auditory signaling device; please check with you local authorities for any area specific flag and float requirements.  In my experience I have had more than one occasion to need two of each; if you are diving with just you and a buddy I would recommend you do the same.  I keep a smaller backup plastic SMB (Surface Maker Buoy) in the pocket of my BCD with 7 meters of line Lukas SMBand a small fishing weight wrapped around it.  The plastic won’t mold and rot as easily like the fabric SMBs making it perfect for keeping in a damp pocket.  For a primary SMB there are a variety of options from colors, size, inflation type, reel length and type, etc.  I would recommend that you select a set up that is appropriate for the diving you will be focusing on; such as having a 15 meter reel and smaller SMB for a shallow, calm lake or a 30 meter reel and larger SMB for choppy ocean drift diving for easier spotting from the boat.

For the auditory devices I personally prefer whistles as there is very little that can malfunction on them.  I prefer to have both a standard common whistle, such as the ones that often come with a BCD, for everyday use.  I also keep a Storm whistle for emergencies; this is purported to be the loudest whistle on the market, while I doubt that, it is louder than what is pleasant but will definitely get peoples attention quickly in an emergency.  Whatever you select i would ensure that they are attached securely and close enough to your mouth to have quick and efficient access.  I  would also ensure that they are attached with stainless fasteners to avoid rust and corrosion.

First Aid and Emergency Oxygen

I will start this section with the following disclaimer: you need to act and stay within your level of training and comfort whenever administering first aid, CPR or emergency oxygen.  If you are in doubt please visit your local dive shop and inquire about the EFR, Emergency Oxygen Provider and Rescue Diver courses; these are specialized courses with a focus on responding to diving related accidents and are a prudent investment if you will be diving without professionals.  You can find a general recommendation for a first aid kit in the back of the EFR manuals and may be able to get additional local recommendations oxygen-mainimagefrom your dive shop or other experienced divers.  Emergency Oxygen kits with waterproof cases are available though many dive suppliers, dive shops and first aid suppliers.  You should take into consideration the elevation and proximity of your dive site to EMS when determining the appropriate Oxygen cylinder size for your kit; you wouldn’t want to carry the kit around for years and need it only to find that you have only a 10 minute supply for a 2 hour drive.  Again, if you are the least bit uncomfortable in these areas I strongly suggest you seek additional guidance or training from your local diving professionals.

The Next Stride

Check in next week when we will discuss some continuing education options to hone your dive planning skills.  Please feel free to send us your questions, comments or input about this series or requests for future series.

Please send comments and questions to Andy@QuoVadisResort.com

View the previous post here:  I’m a certified diver: Selecting a local dive site

I’m a certified diver: Selecting a local dive site

Planning Our Dive With a Buddy

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Our open water student planning and leading their first dive with Instructor Andy and Divemaster Lukas

The thought of planning a dive with our dive buddy for the first time may be a little scary or even overwhelming at first; but then again was it so different the first time we submerged our heads in the swimming pool or the shallows on the beach with a 2nd stage in our mouths?  Let’s start out by remembering one of the cardinal rules of diving: Always dive within our limits and training.  This may mean that we plan our first dive to the local swimming pool, or a pond at the golf course; we should of course ask permission first as we aren’t advocating trespassing in full SCUBA gear.  You may also find it easier to start you planning by talking with a local dive shop or finding a local dive club to meet up with and ask for either some good local dive spots or maybe even a local orientation dive with someone who has dived the site before.  Starting well within our limits and training will reduce stressors during our dive allowing us to focus more on the dive and aquatic life, ultimately leading to a much more enjoyable experience that we will feel comfortable repeating.  Some things to take into consideration when deciding on a local dive site may include but not be limited to: current (or the lack of), visibility, water temperature, site accessibility, altitude and proximity to local emergency medical services.  For this segment we are going to focus on selecting a site with appropriate current and visibility.

Current and Visibility Considerations

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Students visiting our airplane wreck at Umbrella with lower visibility.

Diving with current or lower visibility can make for a very enjoyable and relaxing drift dive or may be necessary to visit a blue water wreck or Manta cleaning station; however, it may not be appropriate if we are trying to plan a relaxing dive with a buddy.  Why don’t we start out with a dive site that is well within our limits, training and experience; somewhere with what we call pool like conditions?  However, don’t be fooled into thinking that lakes, reservoirs or ponds won’t have current or visibility concerns.  Lakes close to an ocean, bay or river may have tidal swings and often have pretty significant thermoclines; which are layered changes in water temperature and can cause significant turbidity.  Reservoirs can obviously experience significant changes in current if they are being drained or filled and may also have significant changes in visibility due to algae blooms or runoff from heavy rains.  While still water ponds may seem clear and void of current changes they may be used for irrigation and often can have silt bottoms that can easily be stirred up clouding the water for P1100674 - Rev1hours.   These concerns can easily be addressed with a little research online, by reading a book on local dive sites or having a conversation with a fellow diver or professional with experience at the site.  When we take these potential issues into consideration while planning our dive we become empowered and can use site condition changes to our advantage and to find times with more ideal conditions or dive profiles that are site and condition appropriate.  A good practice for planning our first dives could be if we are uncertain then make sure we ask; whether that be online, in a dive shop or maybe a dive club.  Having more information than we need will most likely be much better than not enough.  Once we have this information and our first dive under our belts and in our log books we will most likely find it much easier for repetitive dives at this site and may find that in time we become the local expert that others come to for advice…

The Next Stride

Check in next week when we will discuss some equipment considerations and recommendations.  Please feel free to send us your questions, comments or input about this series or requests for future series.

Please send comments and questions to Andy@QuoVadisResort.com

View the previous post here:  I’m a Certified Diver: Now What?

Meet the Staff: Pernilla

Pernilla Sjöö MSDT

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Hometown: Jönköping Sweden

Why I started Diving: I started dive because i have always been a water person and i was very curious about the underwater world. So when we planned a trip to Thailand i decided to take my Open water in Sweden. After the my first breath underwater i was already hooked. Since then i have traveled to many of the best dive site over the world.

What keeps me diving:  There is so many places to go to and so many reefs to explore. But i enjoy every day i go out for a dive here in Moalboal because our reef are just stunning.

My favorite thing to do in Moalboal during my surface interval:  Pack a picnic and head to Kawassan falls early in the morning so you have the beautiful waterfall all for yourself.

Some of my favorite creatures:   My favorite creature underwater is our beautiful sea turtles. They have been around for 110 million years, since the time of the dinosaurs. The green turtle that is very common here in Moalboal and can weigh up to 317 kg. They are so relax underwater and often take a nap on the corals. Turtles can hold their breath for hours if the rest and sleep underwater. They just need to inhale 1-3 seconds at the surface before they dive down again. Every time a see a Turtle i get a BIG smile on my face. We can spot sea Turtles at all of our dive sites here in Moalboal.

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My other favorite is Clown trigger fish because it just looks awesome. We often spot them at our dive site Umbrella.