Anchon WH36, daylight at depth.

I don’t often feel inferior underwater, but after witnessing the clout of Michael’s recently purchased Archon WH36 torch, I knew I had to have one to restore my easily damaged feeling of superiority. Now that I have one, I am God. I can turn night into day and should I feel the urge for an underwater disco, I flick on the strobe and move rhythmically to the beat in my head. This can scare my fellow divers into thinking they are going to need to perform an in-water rescue. Good to keep them on their toes.

ImageThe Archon WH36 is an awesome, super bright, compact and light powerhouse of a torch with one small downside… and that is it comes supplied with a charger that only fits one battery at a time (there are three batteries), and it has a European plug. Before you stop reading, the plus sides of this torch totally make up for this.

It is 3000 lumens. That’s so much, that many, many years in the future, in an area of space a long, long way away, they’ll be talking about the Archon WH36 as the antecedent to the creation of a visually impressive weapon that every child alien wants. 

It has 3.5 hours burn time on full power, 7 hours on half power (makes sense), 5 hours of disco time. That’s so much, that many, many years in the future, we’ll be able to travel to that area of space a long, long way away and still have charge left in the batteries.

It is light, at only 1300 grams with batteries, which translates to 1.3kg, or 2.86601 pounds, or 45.8562 ounces… doesn’t really matter in space.

The battery canister is slim and compact, so it can be tucked away neatly. It also fits nicely in the hand, should you need it to beat clones wearing cumbersome fancy dress outfits, after blinding them with the immensely powerful torch. 

Now wipe the drool off your chin and give us a call. You know you want one.

 

 

 

Top 3 Reasons to Become a Divemaster (From a Non-Divemaster)

It’s a well know running joke in the club. I’m out to set club record for longest Divemaster-In-Training. I had to buy a dive centre to finally earn the right to a snorkel etc. etc. And the question still stands – Will Aileen EVER finish her Divemaster course (watch this space!)

And yet, here I am giving you 3 reasons to do the Divemaster course. Read on…

1. Practice makes perfect – one of the great things about the course, is you get to dive dive dive. When DM-ing, you spend a lot of time helping students out above- and under- water, and hanging in the blue while instructors/students do their thing. This means you learn to prepare for a dive and kit up efficiently,  you perfect your buoyancy, and you build a high level of diving self awareness and awareness of others and your surroundings. I’ve gone down the tech route but can honestly say I couldn’t have progressed as far as I have without those many hours I spent DM-ing.

2. Knowledge is key – you learn what instructors know about diving on the DM-course. How cool is that? This appeals to my geek sensibilities.

3. Key staff member benefits – as a key member of staff, you have access to special supplier deals and promos. Need a drysuit? 30% off thank you very much.

We’ve got a Divemaster induction on the 12th of June. So if any of the above reasons appeal to you (plus Divemaster is by far the best PADI level title), go on and sign-up! If you have any questions or want to talk through the course some more, feel free to call/email or even better catch Maxim, myself or any of the instructors/DMs at club night.

Aileen

Go Pro Night Thursday 25th July

Go Pro Night

Go Pro Night

We’re having a PADI Go Pro night on Thursday the 25th of July at the shop from 7pm. The aim of the evening is to give divers of all levels a chance to meet the PADI staff and to find out more about courses, the PADI system and going pro.

 

It doesn’t matter if you’re very experienced or very new, the night is open to anyone. We’ll have a short presentation from PADI, there’ll be food and drink and also great offers on kit and courses.

 

If you’d like to join us then let us know so we have an idea on numbers and we’ll look forward to seeing you then!

 

 

Day 9. The last day

Wow, well what an amazing and emotional day. I’m writing this in my room where I’m currently suffering from a horrible temperature and feeling really rotten. I think it might be one of those illnesses that strikes after a really long period of adrenalin and stress as your body just relaxes after a huge event. Yesterday began with a lecture about the role of the course director in the industry and also us going through the course director contract, it ended with a warning note about not heading out on a rampage in Punta Cana that evening wearing PADI branded stuff! Afterwards we headed back to do the last teaching presentation. This was just a standard prescriptive one so it was more to with evaluation. I scored a 5 and 6/6 on the evaluation so it was a great way to end the course. Then we had our lunch before heading back over for final counselling and to see if we’d passed. The whole group waited nervously outside a couple of rooms and we were called in individually. As each successful person emerged there were whoops and cheers and social media started going nuts. Finally I was called into the room where I met Fiona, she went through the scores, I managed 96% overall, and congratulated me before telling me she was looking forward to my work in London. And with that, it was done, I emerged to cheers from the team and we had a lots of group photos before heading to the pool bar for a celebratory beer. We then had time for a quick tactical nap before the graduation banquet at 6. Again unfortunately due to the hurricane, which was a bit of a non-event, the dinner had been moved from Playa Blanca to the conference room. The evening began with loads of team photos and then James congratulating us all again followed by a delicious buffet. Afterward James played a slideshow of pics from the course which was quite emotional and then we had the graduation ceremony. We all received a pack with a certificate, card and badge and then the celebrations really got underway. A whole bunch of us ended up in the pool with lots of rum and coke and I had a massive cigar which I pretty much smoked in it’s entirety which may be part of the reason I feel so wrong today! It was an epic party and a great feeling and we ended the day on a high.

graduation group photo

Team Greengos graduate!

Jen and I are here until Sunday, flying in the evening and arriving back home on Monday. We’re going to take the next few days to really relax and soak it all in. It’s been an incredible journey to get here and I was saying to Dave last night, it’s a strange feeling, in that I never quite thought I’d achieve this but in a way, I’ve always been heading here. See you all soon.

Alex gets certificate

Receiving my certificate

Day 8: Hurricane Chantal!

Alex evaluating

Evaluating in the pool

Today we were due to head back to Corales for the last confined open water evaluations but with the foul weather and wind in the morning they’d decided to cancel. James told us it was a ‘CDTC learning moment’ about using conservative judgement! Instead we were going to use the pool at the resort. This was a very popular decision until we found out we would all be doing different skills. I’d had neutral buoyancy LPI (no worries) but now I had no mask swim which has a distance requirement so a little more complicated. I went to get my reel but as we were getting ready in the pool I overheard Johnny talking to one of my teammates about the CESA. Johnny said, why bother measuring out 9m, just get them to swim for 30s. He said they’ll be going at least 18m per minute so 30s easily covers the requirement. I went over and said, ‘well can I just do the same for no mask swim?’ which has a 15m distance requirement. He said ‘sure’, upon further discussion he said that may of the distance skills will have their performance requirements changed to times on the new course, so you heard it here first! It was a much simpler way to run the skill, so I just got them to swim around with me for a minute. I scored a 4.8 only dropping one point on the demo for not emphasising the use of the LPI for buoyancy before starting the skill. I matched up 5/5 for my evaluation.

Due to being in the pool we actually had a decent lunch break so I managed a quick powernap before we headed into another round of presentations.

alex getting out pool

The end of another hard day at work!

In the afternoon we had to deliver 2 more instructor level presentations, one from the IDC and one from the speciality instructor manual. It was a long afternoon and after the first set of presentations we were slammed for all taking too long. I took it upon myself to burn through the next presentation in a box ticking exercise. It paid off and I scored a 4.6 and a 4.8 respectively due to not using enough training aids and not interacting. I was pretty sure the scores should have been the other way around because I barely interacted with the class on the second one and used loads of training aids on the first one but there we go.

In the evening Dave, Jen and myself headed into the village and had some delicious chilli cheese fries followed by a vile burrito. It was cool to just chill and hang out with Dave as well, he’s rapidly become a really good mate and support on the course and I was also in awe at his ability to work a euphemism about backdoor sex into his contact and value on his presentation and get way with it. Likewise I’ve managed a perfect run on selling my double ender in all the presentations too! We couldn’t believe that the course was ending tomorrow either.

Day 7: Marketing Presentations

This day was all about presentations. This was fortunate as I woke up in the morning with a raging head ache feeling really unwell. I’d basically got really dehydrated at open water the previous day and I just couldn’t seem to drink enough water during the morning. We started the day in the main conference room where each team had to deliver their marketing presentation. Dave began with a short comedy intro with various pictures of the staff implying that James was downtrodden at work and looking for a change. It was excellent and very well received; we then followed up with me telling James that our plan was essentially to come to him. Unfortunately our presentation was a bit disjointed and we didn’t get much branding or our Facebook page up on the projector. Other teams gave much slicker presentations but I still felt that we were the only ones to actually come up with a different strategy. Unfortunately due to the headache I wasn’t in the best of moods and the morning was pretty difficult to get through.

Punta Cana Resort

Punta Cana Resort

In the afternoon we had to deliver an instructor level presentation again. Fiona Fishbourne was evaluating us and she was really great, relaxing everyone and making it fun. After that I headed over to the main conference room to do my Emergency Oxygen Provider Instructor course which was run by Alan. It was very informative and also, thankfully, pretty brief!

In the evening it was a huge relief to not have to do any marketing stuff so Jen and I headed over to another part of the resort called Playa Blanca. The service was much better here and we had a lovely evening.

Day 6: Open Water at the Copacabana

A full day of open water presentations today as well as our rescue evaluations. We were taken  by coach to another resort. This one was mental busy with an animation team dressed in leopard print doing aerobics by the pool. The day was overcast and it was incredibly hot and humid so gearing up was pretty uncomfortable. I’m going to hold my hand up and say that I really should have a brought a 3mm with me as this is my first experience of really just being a bit too warm in a wetsuit. Also, we’re not spending that long in the water so it’s really not required!

We headed from the dive centre across the beach, as all the sunbathers looked on. However we then had a very long walk/swim through very shallow water until we eventually reached the buoy by which time I had been lightly poached. Our first task was an open water teaching presentation and also evaluation of our team mates. First of all I evaluated Johan on the 5 point decent with reference, I scored him a very competent 5. I had the sheet bend knot which I’m happy with. The examiners had only provided each team with one length of rope and a lift bag and a quick check with one of the CDs helping on the course confirmed we would be OK to just use one rope to demo the knot. I made my way through my students, one of them had a bit of a nightmare actually tying the knot which led to a lot of underwater laughter but we managed to get there in the end. Afterwards we were evaluated on our rescue demonstrations. When I was used as a body I was almost drowned by the large amount of water slopped into the mask at the end of the demo which was an interesting experience as my desire to not ruin my teammate’s demo conflicted with a basic fight for life.

After the rescue, which incidentally is the first time I’ve done a rescue demo to a banging euro trance soundtrack, we headed back in for de-briefs. My evaluation was spot on but I was marked down on my teaching presentation for a couple of reasons. First of all I had everyone tie the knot individually, the examiner argued that from a time management perspective I should have just got the whole class to do it together. This was a pretty valid point, so no worries there. Then I got marked down for using one piece of rope which kind of upset me, but hey, it’s a point so I definitely wasn’t going to be one of those people who argue every point endlessly with the examiners for no discernable result other than to piss them off. My score was 4.4. Then one of our team was debriefed on his surface compass swim. The performance requirements for this skill are to go for 50m. Sure enough we measured out the distance with a reel. I was his student and I was told my problem should be to look up and not look at the compass. It took my teammate a little bit of time to pick up on this as he was looking at the compass, but he saw it and corrected it. We completed the skill and he did his positive reinforcement and all was good. Except he was scored a 1 because by not making me repeat the skill, I hadn’t gone 50 m so it was a standards break. It was a salutatory lesson for all of us….

After a very quick lunch we were back for our second presentation. This time I was doing mask removal replacement and evaluating reg recovery which again I was very happy to have and this time scored a 5. Another of our team, however, had lift bag deployment and the scene was set for another nightmare. We were being examined by Alan. His style is dry and controlled, he wants things done quickly, efficiently and in order so a large part of his brief emphasised control and not everyone swimming around and stirring up the sand on the bottom. On the way out, my teammate with the lift bag had his weight belt buckle break which caused him a lot of stress. On descent he then stirred up lots of sand with the lift bag and I watched Alan’s face darken…. Unfortunately with all the chaos he then forgot to get the students to rig the lift bag and upon debrief was also scored a one. Needless to say it was all a bit unpleasant and there wasn’t the best of vibes in the bar at the end of the day. Still it was obvious that the entire exercise had been a kind of warning shot across the bows to do with complacency and a couple of beers soon repaired the damage.

All in all a very interesting and also very tiring day. I’ll get the action from today up tomorrow. Can’t believe there’s only 2 more days to go!

Post script to this blog post. Internet access is crap and is now limited to the lobby hence no pictures and the lateness of getting this post up. We also  have hurricane Chantal coming in! I’m going to try and get some more blogs up but it’s been so busy over the past couple of days. Tomorrow is the last day of the course so I’ll try and get some posts up before the graduation dinner. Only one presentation to go….