Posts Tagged ‘Outdoors’

What IS a Divemaster?

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment

What IS a Divemaster anyway?  As a recreational diver looking to become a professional, what are YOU looking  for? What do you want to achieve or become by the end of your course? What is your personal goal? Other than the fulfillment of the standards given, what do you think you need/want to achieve to be a professional?  PADI‘s simplest definition is that a Divemaster is someone who serves other divers by solving problems, giving advice, lending a hand and making diving more fun!  If that is the case I think I was a Divemaster before even becoming an Adventure Diver..LOL.  We’ll take a look at some of these questions here and we’d love to hear back from you to the question… What IS a Divemaster?

Let’s look at a few of the reasons for people aspiring to reach Divemaster status in the first place.  Becoming a DM is the first stepping stone in becoming a Diving Professional.  It is the course which you spend the most time developing skills and becoming a master of dive theory; leading onwards to Instructor level courses.  There are also divers who do not wish to go on past the level of Divemaster.  They are looking to gain the knowledge and confidence they see in other Divemasters and want to stay at this level.  Whatever the reason you have to become a Divemaster / Dive Professional, you should keep in mind that divers will be looking for a few things from you (which are best explained by PADI’s Divemaster definition).  They expect that you will help them solve their diving problems.  Does this mean the you are there to do everything for them? Well no… they are certified divers and should be able to look after themselves however, maybe they need a little guidance because they’re diving in a new area or they have a question about a different type of equipment or simply for you to be there to supply a little extra confidence in their first dive in a little while.  Does it mean you should be a one-person-show, making everything fun and exciting while out on the dive?  This ones up to you, I do believe that within the Divemaster role it is your responsibility to make things more enjoyable for your divers, I’ll leave it up to you how far you want to take this.  I DO know that if I was to hire you, I’d wanna know that you’d excel in this area.  Having fun with your divers isn’t a must but definately helps to make things more enjoyable.. and you more employable 😉

So what do we have already? A Divemaster is one that is knowledgeable, helpful, fun, has some great advice, what else do we need?… SAFETY!  Yes on most dive trips around the world, you (the Divemaster) or a fellow pro level diver will be the most qualified individual to handle a diving related injury.  You should be up-to-date on your First Aid and safety courses.  A great story, (not at the time… but we look back and smile now)  I was working in the dive shop and a speed boat came racing in, calling ahead saying that they had a diver with some sort of DCI!! We knew it was serious from the tone in the BoatMasters’ voice.  They said they could not help but send this diver back as he insisted he needed to be rushed straight to the hospital!  This diver also happened to be a Medical Doctor, so how could our BoatMaster question that?  At the end of telling us this via cell phone as we waited at the waters’ edge for our speed boat to pull up, the Boat Master told me “I didn’t know what to do but his face looks like hell, it looks like the worst case of mask squeeze I have ever seen”.  As he got off the boat and came up to us he was calm but demanded to be taken directly to the hospital!!  It was the wost (funniest) mask squeeze we have ever seen.  So this is just one instance where at the end of it all everyone was fine and NO I’m not saying that a DM knows more than an MD nor am I saying that a DM is always right.  Just that as a DM you should be able to tell the difference from a mask squeeze from something more serious.

Over all before taking on a Divemaster Course be sure YOU know what you want to get out of it, as there are many avenues to take after you are finished, so make sure you use your time in the program to prepare yourself properly.  We are a BIG school here at Bans and I see tons of Divemasters come through our program every year.  If you are looking to carry on to the Instructor level do your self a favour, 75% IS a pass, but study your notes till your scoring in the 90’s everytime.  Use your time in the IDC to learn how to teach not as a refresher of things you should already know, you’ll be a better diver for it and ultimately a better professional!


Breath Easy

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Yup, you guessed it, here’s a little look at Regulators.  In this day and age there are hundreds to choose from and tons of different options.  You can get balanced, over balanced.  You can get a piston or a diaphragm.  You can get one with a digital display telling you when to get it serviced (however if you have a thing for gadgets this one is hard to find and discontinued, but fun to look at).  What about environmental seals? Or you can have heat exchangers or even an ACD (Auto Closure Device).  How cool is that! No idea what I’m talking about?  Don’t worry.  One day soon we’ll sit down and look at all of these options, however today we are just looking at a few of the top regs on the market and what is popular with the Divemasters and Instructors here at Bans Diving.

Let’s get my favorite outta the way at the beginning.  Apex XTX200, is a fantastic reg and has been taken deeper than any other reg in the world. John Bennett decided to take this reg to 300Meters or 1000Feet!  You can change the configuration from the right side to the left for setting up a tec kit any way you’d like.  Its an over balanced, diaphragm reg with environmental sealing and if you don’t mind spending a little extra you can even get it covered in Tungsten, one of the strongest materials on earth! (OK that’s a little silly to have done  and to pay the extra for.  You’ll never really need a reg that strong … maybe if your going lava diving… right LOL) … (Yea yea I got it on mine).  Over all this is the smoothest reg I have ever breathed from at any depth.

After that review we could stop right here and say that’s it! But that’s not so fast, there are tons of regs out there, so we’ll have to look at a few more.  The best reg to follow the Apex XTX200 would be Aqua Lung Legend LX ACD Supreme (wow that’s a mouth full).  If you are familiar with Aqua Lung and Apex you’ll know that if you follow the money trail they are owned by the same company.  Aqua Lung is a fantastic company, always trying new things in the market place, the last thing they did was the Heat Exchanger, which you’ll find on many other regs in the market place.  This time they have out done themselves with their newest ACD or Auto Closure Device. To see how this device works take a look here.This device comes in both DIN and Yoke first stages.  A fantastic idea I think you’ll see on all regs in the future.. Just remember it was Aqua Lung that first made it possible.  Another important note is that the Legend is very similar to the Apex xtx200 believe it or not, just look up the schematics for both regs.  So the Aqua Lung Legend is definately ranked my number two favourite reg.

Scuba Pro where are you guys?… I know I know this new reg looks great… and its shiny, but did that really meet the requirements to support bringing out a whole new reg? Sorta looks like you last one (don’t get me wrong I like it, and the last one) but really guys?  Sorta like you fired all your developers, put the money in your pocket and gave a bit more to your marketing team.   “Lets make a new reg … ok so… let’s make it shiny and tell everyone it’s new”. Hmmmm..

So before we wrap up, lets take a quick look at looking after a reg.  Most companies would like you to get it serviced every year or so.  But wait what happens if you are away on a trip to a remote destination where the diving is superb and suddenly you need your reg repaired?!  Did you know that Scuba Pro has a ton of tools their technicians must have just to take the course?!  I’m a tool buff, I’m not that sucker you can talk into buying just anything. But just tell me it’s a tool… SOLD!  My problem is if these toosl are necessary and you are in the middle of nowhere how likely is it that there will there be a tech in the area with the correct equipment?? As for Aqua Lung and Apex they do have some specialty tools of course but their tools are about making it easier, not mandatory in order to service your reg.  After all, do you think it’s more likely to find a spanner and a screw driver or a Scuba Pro Multi-tool on your next scuba adventure???

Ever Wonder Where Adventure Is?

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment

BAN’S DIVING RESORT Koh Tao or (Turtle Island) THAILAND.  That’s where Adventure is.  I remember coming to Koh Tao for the first time in 2006.  My wife (girl friend at the time) were traveling around the world on a year-long break from Canadian living.  The only way we even discovered Ban’s was by walking down the beach, back pack in hand, and bumped into a guy by the name of Nando (ok didn’t bump into him he hit me right in the head with a volley ball lol).  The rest is history.  But if you can say that you’ve been diving for 24 odd years, all over the planet, traveled 4 times as far on land and choose to hang your hat here for a while… it’s gotta be a pretty special place… right?!

BAN’S has been open since 1993 and has been growing and expanding ever since.  The island as a whole is almost unrecognisable from the time we first arrived here so you could just imagine the changes from the early ninties.

Currently, BAN’S Diving Resort is one of the largest certifying Resorts in the world.  Certifying over 15,000 Open Water and above students a year.  BAN’S is not just a PADI Five-Star Instructor Development Center anymore, it is now also a registered CDC CENTER (Career Development Center) and recognized as a world leader in the diving industry. We are a part of PADI’s Asia-Pacific Region (including Australia) with over 1200 dive centers.  In recent history we have been awarded PADI’s:

Member Award for OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO THE DIVING INDUSTRY 2010 Member Award for OUTSTANDING DIVE CENTRE/RESORT BUSINESS AWARD 2009-2010 Thailand’s Best Dive Center / Resort 2009

Asia Pacific's Outstanding Contribution to the diving industry 2010

Asia Pacific’s Outstanding Business Award 2010


BANS resort is now just over 140 rooms and is growing quickly!  We have a room for every budget and every style.  From fan rooms starting at just a few dollars a night to a full hill-top bungalow to meet the needs of todays travelers.

Our classrooms are structured for both large and small groups outfitted with everything you need to be comfortable while learning.  The resort has a full Dive Shop, carrying all the major Diving brands, able to help you in all your equipment needs, no matter what level of diving you are at.  We have a fleet of six boats, two swimming pools, a 24 hour convenience store, spa and hairdressing room, laundry, Internet, kayak rentals, snorkeling, yoga, island tours and of course DIVING!

Here at Bans Diving Resort our staff has the unique ability to make you feel like a part of a Dive Family from the minute you unpack.  Our job is not just to make you feel comfortable and confidant in your diving ability but in your choice to stay with us!

Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Ever Picture yourself as an Instructor???

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment
Bull Shark Chumphon Gulf of Thailand

Bull Shark at Chumphon

Did you know that as a Divemaster you can be an Instrutuctor of Digital Photography? Yes, it’s true and a great opportunity for any true Photographer.  Divemasters may apply after completing a PADI Digital Underwater Photographer Specialty Instructor Training course with a PADI Course Director or attending a Business of Digital Underwater Photography program conducted by PADI.  Applicants must have logged at least 10 digital underwater photography dives as well.  We have offered this to many Divemasters at Ban’s and it has been a great success.  Having this as an extra qualification can go along way with future employers as well.  There is no telling where this certification may lead you.  You may find yourself looking more seriouly at becoming a Instructor or working as a Underwater Photo journalist… Who knows.  Give it a shot and see where Underwater Photography will take you!

Are You Up For Your Next Adventure?

October 28, 2010 Leave a comment
Diver Propulsion Vehicle

Diver Propulsion Vehicle

Have you ever had the want to improve your diving, but aren’t sure if you want to go to the next official level.  What about trying a specialty?  There is a multitude of courses you can take in the Padi system.  Some specialities start from Open Water, others for the Advanced Open Water diverlevel, there are even specialty programs for kids!  After doing your home work and deciding that becoming a Divemaster is maybe not for you, have no fear, you may choose another path. This path leads you to Master Scuba Diver.  This is Padi’s highest rated Non Professional level.  To get there you must be a Recue Diver and have compleated five different Padi specialties.  The average Specialty consists of four dives (some have none, some have up to seven!).  If you think one might be of interest to you but your skeptical about committing your time, then you are able to do the first dive out of the program and go through a few of the objectives to decide if this specialty is right for you.  This program actually has a title of its’ own, it’s called an Adventure Dive. Just like you did if you have been through the Advanced Diver Program, which IS reallyonly five adventure dives!

Padi Specitilty Training

AWARE Fish Identification

As you can see there are many ways to keep learning and experiencing as a diver other than just moving into the next official level.  Have fun with your diving, see if there is an area of you every day “on land” life that translates into the diving realm.  I’d bet you’d be pleasantly surprised with what you discover.  Let’s say you’re an avid photographer, then perhaps Underwater Photography is up your alley OR maybe you’re a true environmentalist at heart then check out the Padi Aware program and so on.

Just keep diving, learn and have fun!


A Look At What Moves You

October 27, 2010 Leave a comment

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Ever found your self looking for a new car, and thinking “WOW! I never knew there were soo many options!” Fast n’ sporty, economical, sleek and powerful.  The same can be said for today’s market of diving fins. There’s the new fast n’ sporty Mares X Stream.  Something we have not seen yet from any other company, this fin is light-weight and possibly the fastest in its class as well.  We have not seen a lot of these yet but we will have some fun testing them out for sure!  Some of the previous generations of fins including the Quatro and Quatro Excel, both by Mares, are still some of my favorites. Unfortunately the power bar they inserted in the Quatro Excel leads to tearing of the fin.  Therefore for now I recommend staying with Mares Quatro the most reliable fin we have been able to find on the market today.

Secondly, we tested Aqua Lungs Sling Shots, another futuristic design, with their built-in power band system.  Allowing the diver to adjust the tension in the fin,taking the fin from stiff and rigid to soft and flexible in just a few seconds.  Great idea and for the most part the people we have had try these either loved them or hated them.  On the plus side, divers found them to have a ton of power and to be very comfortable during extended dive times. However, a few people missed out on the dive completely due to spending the time setting the adjustable power bands or playing with the settings.  And some divers had their power bands break completely. This has happened quite a few times now and for that reason it’s hard to recommend a fin like this.  With the kind of tension put on these bands, I feel Aqua lung should do one of two things a) make a stronger band or b) provide extra bands with every fin purchase.

Scuba Pro has always had a place in my heart, up to the past few years, when I think they started just repackaging some of their great products and re-marketing them (that’s for another blog); just my opinion of course!  I do like there split fins however, both the Twin Jet and the Twin Jet Max have performed well. Very maneuverable, very comfortable fins.  But I do remember getting stuck in a current one day and having to help a diver wearing a pair of these back to the boat … Don’t think I’d like to do that again.  The power in these fins are just not enough.  Again great comfort, great maneuverability, just not enough power.  Now going up against the new fins such as the X Stream and the Sling Shot, Scuba Pro has come out with the Seawing Nova, looking forward to trying these in the next few months!  On a further note once you get outta recreational diving I do know a lot of people who have gone with the Scuba Pro Jet Fins and find them more than adequate for Tec diving … still a little heavy though.

For now, I think I’ll stick with my tough, durable and proven Mares Quatros – plain black, good quality, great power!  They have hundreds of dives in and are three or four-years old.  I did replace the straps once.  However, I went to the spring strap design and don’t think I’d ever go back!  So what about you what do you have? What are you thinking to get?  Anything on your wish list? Let us know, we wanna here from you!


Ever found your self looking for a new car, and thinking “WOW” I never new there were soo many options! Fast n’ sporty, economical, sleek n’ powerful.  The same can be said for today’s market of diving fins. There’s the new fast n’ sporty Mares X Stream.  Something we have not seen yet from any other company this fin is light weight and possibly the fastest in it class as well.  We have not seen a lot of these yet but we will have some fun testing this one out for sure!, we tested Aqua Lungs Sling Shots another futuristic design with their built in power band system.  Allowing the diver to ajust the tention thefin has, taking the fin from stiff and ridged to soft and flexile in just a few seconds.  Geat idea and for the most part the people we have had try these eighter loved them or hates them.  On the possitive side, divers found them to have a ton of power and very comfortable during extended dive times. However, a few people missed out on the dive compleatly for either spending the time setting the adjustable power bands and playing with the settings.  Or having the power bands break compleatly.