Simon Lomas ……..The story so far
Back in October 2011 I arrived in Patong, Phuket with the intention of spending the next 5 months diving and completing as many PADI courses as I could in the time. I was an Advanced Open Water Diver and I had the ambition of going up to my Master Scuba Diver Trainer with an Internship at Scuba Cat Diving.
Pre Dive Safety Check
Things started well after a few days to recover from the flight, I had a couple of days fun diving as I had not been in the water for over a year. Then I flew through my Emergency First Responder Course with the excellent instruction of Tony Lock, one of Scuba Cat’s Managers and Core Instructors.
Next: my PADI Rescue course. This was a great follow up to the EFR and under the instruction of Vince Moy, another great PADI Instructor. This course was very physically demanding and covered all scenario’s you will ever encounter and many you will never see too. After a few days I was exhausted, but was pleased to be told that I had passed with flying colours.
This was proved after meeting other instructors, who been working with other companies, that my course was much more in depth and I came out tired but much more confident.
Vincent Moy was again my instructor for my PADI Divemaster course. This I planned to do over a couple of months, so I could get experience as well as instruction. The Divemaster course is mentally demanding as well as physically as you need to learn all about Dive theory: physics, physiology, RDP and equipment as well as how go run safe guiding sessions.
Assisting instructors, with real courses and with simulated courses, does this. The simulated courses lets you see and deal with things that can happen so you can learn to deal with them and the real courses helps with the real world teaching and how different instructors teach in different ways. This course was good as it let me learn and dive at the same time.
I had great fun with a Chinese family who were with Tony one day. They all hit the water and got excited. They all swam off in different directions some could swim other could not. Wow, trying to hold two with my hands then towing a third who was holding on to my fin whilst I was finning with the other was something I wont forget in a hurry!
After completing my Divemaster course I went under the instruction of Big Vince, who’s job was to get me ready for the PADI IDC, bridging the gap in my Dive Theory getting me to a level where I could confidently demonstrate skills to a very high standard comfortably and confidently.
At first I was annoyed at this, as I believed I had already done this and was now wasting my time. I was wrong. Big Vince got me up to a very high standard, which came in so useful later.
Now to my IDC……..hmmm where to start.
Since my time with Scuba Cat I had seen two IDC courses before mine and I saw the stress levels of some students, so I was a bit nervous. This was now not about skills but how to teach them. The others had far more experience than me but after my time with the Vinces’ I was confident.
The classroom sessions were fun but very well run. We learned all we needed to and more. Both Sarah, PADI Course Director and Sean, PADI Master Instructor were hard on us and as a result our standards were far higher than the other candidates when it came to our PADI IE.
I was appalling at physics, even after passing with both Vincent and Vince but with Sean going over it everyday in different ways I got the hang of it with 12 hours to spare.
The Open water skills were good fun too, as we now had to teach. Sarah gave us problems which we had to over come that were far harder than any we encountered on the PADI IE. This made us so much more aware of problem spotting and solving than any we would got in the IE.
All in all the IDC was a hard two weeks but good fun as well.
I believe I coped far better than most of the other students I had seen from previous IDC’s, I was shaved and I only lost a few kilos and always slept well compared to many others who were up all night.
Thanks Scuba Cat for the preparation.
Now to the final IE this gave us a sleep in as it did not start till 3-4 pm which meant I could relax and have a few beers the night before, get up late have a good breakfast and a massage before getting ready. The Friday afternoon for me was the most nerve raking, the written theory exams, all 5 and the PADI General Standards. It was only Physics that bothered me. I did the exams well within the time, well actually with an hour to spare, sorry Sean I did try to slow down! I got them marked there and then. I did not look at the mark, only to make sure the examiner drew a “P” on them for pass then walked out.
The next day, Saturday was confined water skills and presentations. Easy. We got to the pool, in, did the skills, out, all passed no make-ups necessary in minutes.
That afternoon, knowledge development presentation which Sarah and Sean had prepared us so well for during the IDC, again we flew through.
All that was left was the open water sessions on the Sunday.
Rescue-scenario sped through – thanks guys.
The teaching scenarios were good too as Sarah had made the standards so high in our IDC it meant that actual IE was simple.
On top off all this I also managed to do 5 specialities towards my PADI MSDT which will be done when I return. This was great for me as I now have a the skills to work well and on top of that I also came out of my internship with a job offer too.
….Thailand here I come.
A big thanks to all at Scuba Cat, Sang, Jack and all in the shops, Akiko for getting me hooked on Diving with my Open Water Course a couple of years previous, Tony for so much help, encouragement and advice throughout. To Nat, who helped me so much with my guiding and how to find so many things. To Vincent Moy for all his help on my Rescue, Divemaster and photography courses .To Big Vince for his frowning, head shaking and low scores throughout his training of me, which has now got me to the standard needed for the IDC. Last but by no mean least, to Sarah and Sean who taught us, laughed at (with) us and made the IDC fun as well got me to become not just an instructor but a GOOD Instructor.
Now as I was told throughout my IDC stop talking or you will lose points if you are still going after the sun goes down.
Thanks to you all.
See you in October for the next chapter in my story.