Archive | April, 2009

The day in the life of a DMT.

30 Apr

The day is always different; obviously we have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday etc. But also, as a DMT (Dive Master Trainee) your day is never the same, you may be assisting on courses, attending lectures, studying, writing exams or just going diving for the fun of it. In this post I want to try and portray what my day has consisted of the past month here in Thailand.

My day starts with the rising of the cock, yep you guessed it, cock a doodle do, natures alarm clock our good friend the rooster. Or if the cock sleeps in then I can rely on my AA battery powered beep beep to bring me back to reality, and a hard reality it is, haha. I get dressed which involves putting on my boardies (swimming wear). I have my cornflakes on the porch and watch the gerbil creatures jumping between the branches and low hanging power lines surrounding our bungalow. Then it’s on my island Harley and off to the sunshine, Sunshine Divers that is, the name of my dive school.

I get ready for the day ahead, either going fun diving or assisting on courses. After packing the dive equipment we hop into the long tail boat at 7.15am that takes us through the shallow water out to the big Sunshine boat.

Then morning consists of going for a 40 – 50 min dive then coming up for an hour break –surface interval if you want to use diving terms. During the surface interval you have a debrief with the students about the dive, and enjoy a cup of coffee and fresh pineapple while on the top deck in the sun.

After the hour surface interval has elapsed, its back down into the underwater world for another dive. Diving really is a fat man’s sport, I love it. It’s so relaxing, it’s not physical, but you are out and about, exploring, being one with nature, you have a feeling of getting out and achieving something, really is a great way to spend a morning or a day.

After the second dive it’s back to shore and wash the gear. If I’m feeling like it I can go out diving in the afternoon for another 2 dives. But since I’m such a good student, I usually dedicate my afternoons to study, attending lectures or completing skills circuits.

After an academic afternoon, its sunset time. This involves settling down and quenching your thirst with a cold beverage while catching up on everyone’s day. Then it’s dinner time, either we cook at home or eat out.

Then it’s bed time, which these days it usually early. I have to admit that I’ve been lying in bed totally exhausted and look at the clock and it’s been before 9pm! Phew, life’s hard! Then it’s up in the morning and repeat the cycle.

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What’s a DMT

27 Apr

So you know I’m in Thailand, but what exactly am I doing? Something to do with diving? Yes, you are correct. I’m a DMT, which stands for Dive Master Trainee, and for those of you who haven’t had your morning coffee, that means I’m training to be a Dive Master.

What is a Dive Master? Without going into the ins and outs of it all, basically it is an underwater tour guide. For example if a diver comes to Ko Tao and wants to go diving, they go to a dive resort, where they will get a package, gear rental, boat trip to the dive sites and a Dive Master. The client needs a dive master for two reasons, firstly because they are unfamiliar with the local dive sites and conditions, secondly because they may not have much dive experience or lack confidence.

If you have stumbled across my blog when googling “dive master”, I will go into a little bit of detail about the course (PADI I expect some commission). The prerequisite to starting your DMT is that you have completed the following courses

  • Open water
  • Advanced open water
  • Emergency first responder (first aid incorporating administering oxygen)
  • Rescue diver

The DMT course involves both theory and practice. The main exams that have to be completed are Physioloy, Physics, Dive Environment and Skills, Dive equipment and decompression theory – these make you realise how technical diving is. You also have practical tests where you show that you have mastered particular skills, as once a dive master you will have to demonstrate to students. During your DMT you have to assist on all of the above courses, or in my schools case you have to assist on each of the above twice.

Can a Dive Master teach novices to dive? No, only instructors can. This is the next step on from a Dive Master that involves paying more money and completing 2 more weeks of training. A Dive Master deals with already qualified divers, unless taking out a group of snorkelers or skin divers.

How long does your DMT take? As long as you want it to, depends on what ratio of partying to studying you want. Anywhere from 3 weeks (bloody quick) to 5 years. But the average would be between 4 to 8 weeks. Or some people drag it out as you get “free” diving whilst completing your course.

That’s enough, I set out to write a post on what I’m doing in Thailand and have gone on a tangent of a Dive Master course outline. The next post will be what my day consists of.

Photo Album of Ko Tao

25 Apr

Howdy folks,

Get a coffee, grab your lunch or just put off doing that report and check out some of my photos from Ko Tao, where I have been living the past 5 weeks doing my Dive Masters. Click here to view the photo album.

PS the best way to view the photos is to click on the first photo and then you can flick through them with the arrow key. This is a better than trying to do a slideshow as in the slideshow the captions cover the photos and become annoying.

PPS Rands, G, Puke, Code’s, Tom and Lauren, this is what you have to look forward to, can’t wait to see you guys.

Video tour of our bungalow in Ko Tao

24 Apr

Here’s the video tour of our bungalow in Ko Tao that I promised you a couple of posts ago.

Ko Tao bungalow video tour

My new baby!

23 Apr

No, Mandy is not pregnant, I’m not pregnant, but I havea new baby.  Imagine if a motorcross dirt bike and a scooter were to make love, the result would be my new baby. Confused? I tend to have that effect of people sometimes. What I’m trying to say is that we got a new motorbike yesterday and I’m like a little boy with his new christmas present.

jesus-on-a-bike

Anyway here’s a photo, now you will understand where I was going with the whole dirt bike meets scooter story. The new mean machine takes the place of the scooter and now means I can explore more of the rutted out steep island roads, well I was exploring them before, but now I can have more exploring success. Woop woop

Riots and blowing things up!

20 Apr

I only have an hour on the internet, so I apologise for my grammar and verbal Diarrhoea.

Apparently there’s some riots going on in Bangkok. I’m Ok, in fact I’m bloody great, I’m on an island, Bangkok is a world away and no doubt the media portrays it as being worse than it is.

I love being removed from the media, I find there to be nothing more depressing than sitting down and watching the 6pm news. Riots, war, murders, economic crisis! Ok, so that’s whats happening, but I’m sure there’s also something good happening as well, but I suppose that doesn’t sell. Have you ever watched the news and be filled with a warm fuzzy feeling, “this is a great world we live in”. The way I look at it, if you d0n’t watch the news it’s not happening, there’s no economic crisis on Ko Tao.

The only thing that’s been blowing up is my lap top charger! Urrgghhh talk about frustrating, that’s two laptop chargers in two weeks. So that means I have to order a new one and be told everyday for a week that it’s arriving tomorrow, haha.

I have to keep this short as I’m currently about to explore the world of being an electrician. I’m off to the hardware store to buy some materials to ground our bungalows electricity, and thus will hopefully prevent my future lap top chargers from burning up. So if you don’t hear from me in the next couple of weeks I have either electrocuted myself, or more probably I’m still waiting on my charger to arrive.

Don’t worry mum, the long haired guy at the island computer store gave me real good instructions on how to ground the electricity, “just chuck a wire out the window, join it to a metal stake, bang it into the ground, then buy a orange adaptor, join the wire to a little metal loop at the bottom of that, and that should work”.

Also, thank you to those people who have emailed me and informed me of the New Zealand Antarctica recruitment. I’m already onto it, I’ve been waiting for this time to roll around since last year when I applied. So fingers crossed, hopefully my lap tops back in action so I can apply, or more importantly the island has internet.

It’s great to know people are looking out for me, and conspiring to help me achieve my goal. Thank you. It is those little emails and replys that I get that keep giving me hope that I will get to Antarctica, as that will be the toughest continent to get to. Thank you.

Home sweet Bungalow

19 Apr

When the thought of living in Thailand first popped into my head, I had visions of a little wooden bungalow on a golden sand beach with palm trees swaying in the warm tropical breeze. I dreamt that I would skip 3 metres to the crystal clear water like a little girl in a flowing dress floating through a field of daisies. In the water I would splash about overcome with joy like a special needs kid the first time swimming in the ocean. After all the frolicking I would retire to my hammock that’s strung between two palm trees where a little Thai lady would appear with a tropical fruit salad drizzling with freshly squeezed lime juice. Then the monkey’s would start performing for me juggling coconuts…………………………………………………OK, sorry, I put this rambling down to reading too much Hunter S Thompson (Author of Fare and loathing in Las Vegas) and Paulo Coehlo and having gone 10 days without my laptop for writing.

The reality is that I’m living in a concrete bungalow, which may I add is a sign of affluence in Thailand as the less wealthy use the cheaper materials of wood to build their bungalows – Well done Hap, you’ve made in life if you’re living in a concrete bungalow in Thailand, haha J. The bungalow is not on the beach, this was just a dream, the beaches on the island are taken up by the resorts, bars, restaurants and traveller accommodation.

As with anywhere you call home, you love your home, or in this case bungalow, or we like to call it a Mansion. What I love most about our Mansion is that it only costs us $240 (Australian dollars, as that’s what I’m spending at the moment). Our bungalow is nestled in amongst trees, don’t be fooled into thinking of lush rainforest, no just trees.

As mentioned in a previous post our bungalow is home to all critters large and small. I think with my long hair and “beard” the animals have me mistaken for Noah. The Arc opens in the morning with the cicada and rooster chorus. Following this centipedes, cats, cockroaches, chickens, dogs, lizards, ants, frogs, peacocks, maggots, geckos, mosquito’s, beetles and these little gerbil creatures come to say hi. My personal favourite is Annie, our friendly neighbour who lives next door in the grass. Annie is a goat, he comes over, makes himself at home, walks around the kitchen, head butts the bungalow walls and hangs out. You may wonder why I have named a male goat Annie, it’s Thailand the home of lady boys.

It is no coincidence that in the previous paragraph I mention lady boys and neighbours. On our first day in the bungalow we were lying in the hammock and our neighbour walked past. I said to Mandy, that looks like the ladyboy from the cabaret we went to when we first arrived in Ko Tao. Sure enough, looking back at the photos from that night, it was. That’s me with him/her below. Her/his name is Ban, he/she is real lovely and lives with her boyfriend Tommy. So that’s our interesting neighbourhood.

I have tried to upload a video of our bungalow onto YouTube but it won’t upload, it’s been uploading for 2 hours and still hasn’t uploaded, so will try again soon.