Archive for March, 2010

Uncle Travelling Scuba Instructor!

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Passed my I.E. today, I am now an Open Water Scuba Instructor! Will be in teaching status as soon as the paperwork goes through! 😀

The result wasn’t as good as I was hoping/expecting, but a 4.2 and a 4.0 on the two Open Water Teaching presententations are still well on the safe side. 🙂

I do believe a celebration is in order!

Examinations going well

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Really happy about my results today:

Knowledge Development Teaching Presentation: 5.0
Confined Water Teaching Presentation: 5.0
Skill Circuit: 5 x 5.0

Grades go from 1.0, which is a fail, to 5.0.

😀 Happy Uncle Travelling Gjerulf!

IE – Instructor Examinations

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Since my last post, I’ve been a busy little bee…

iphone-031As you know, I’ve been working hard on becoming a scuba instructor. A definite highlight was this Sunday, when we went to Nusa Penida for an Adventure Diving Workshop. The first of our two dives was a dive to 39 meters, practicing teaching deep diving. We all had different tasks, like showing the difference in colours at that depth, showing the effect of pressure on a closed plastic bottle of air and a tennis ball, having people perform a timed task at depth and on the surface, and breathing from a pony bottle. My timed task, pointing at randomized numbers from 1 to 25 in the right order on a slate, took me 36 seconds at depth, and 24 seconds on the surface. I didn’t feel like the nitrogen was affecting me, but the numbers speak clearly of increased problem-solving time due to nitrogen narcosis! Our second dive was a shallow one, max depth a little under 12 meters, but really beautiful, drifting over a gorgeous coral reef. On that dive we practiced leading Discover Scuba Diving customers, people with no training in diving whatsoever, which means I as the instructor have to do everything for them.

Tuesday and Wednesday we did our Mock  IE, and Wednesday was the last day of my IDC, Instructor Development  course. After finishing off our presentations, we went to a restaurant on the beach for dinner and beers, compliments of Jonathan Cross, our Course Director.

Yesterday was my second day off since I came to Bali. This time there was no enforced rest, so I headed out to find a rash vest. Eeva from Finland also needed to do some shopping, so off we went to do a round of some factory outlets outside Kuta. I was disappointed with the selection, even in the Billabong factory outlet, but I found a decent one that wasn’t too expensive. We also padded around in Kuta for a bit, had lunch, and went down to the beautiful crescent beach there to have a look. I rounded off the day with an hour of relaxing traditional Balinese massage, priced at a friendly NOK 33, or about 4 Euros.

Today was the first day of our Instructor Examinations. We met up at Blue Season Bali around ten a.m. to go through some paperwork, and a little past one we went to Hotel Parigata here in Sanur for the theoretical part of our examinations. It started with a briefing on the logistics of the three days of examinations, and then we dove right into the written exams, first 5×12 questions on general dive theory with no reference materials in an hour and a half, and then 50 questions on PADI Standards and Procedures, open book exam in another hour and a half. My results ended up being:
Physics 11/12
Physiology 12/12
Recreational Dive Planner 12/12
Skills and Environment 12/12
Equipment 11/12
and
Standards and Procedures 49/50

The lowest passing grades are 9/12 and 38/50, so I was in the safe end of the spectrum. I’ve generally not had problems getting passing grades, although in the Physiology part of my Mock Exam I had four mistakes. Still, I’m happy with my results, but curious about what the three questions I missed were…

After the written exams, we went back to Blue Season, to prepare our Knowledge Development Presentations for tomorrow morning. I’ll be “teaching” the rest of the crew, who’ll be posing as Open Water students, about how to find minimum surface intervals, using the eRDPML (electronic Recreational Dive Planner, Multi Level)

After those presentations, we’ll head back to Blue Season again, to prepare for our next presentations, and tomorrow afternoon we’ll be in a pool in a hotel here in Sanur, where we’ll do our Confined Water Teaching presentations. My assignment is to once again “teach” four of the candidates, once again posing as Open Water students, how to establish neutral buoyancy, using the low pressure inflator.
After a skill circuit in the pool, demonstrating Regulator Recovery and Clearing, Breathing From a Free Flowing Regulator, Alternate Air Source Use (stationary), Neutral Buoyancy, and Controlled Emergeny Swimming Ascent (CESA) it’s back to home base at Blue Season to prepare the last set of presentations, which will take place in open water on Sunday.
Early Sunday morning we’ll  head out to sea, and my presentation to my “students” will be Alternate Air Source Use (stationary) and CESA. The final task for the examinations will take place immediately after our Open Water Teaching presentations, when we’ll all do a rescue presentation, towing an unresponsive nonbreathing diver to safety, while removing scuba gear and giving rescue breaths.

And VOILÁ, I’ll be an Open Water Scuba Instructor!

IDC part 2

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Balinese New Year Nyepi

In the week since my last post, I’ve mostly been studying, but there’s also been a rather special day here in Bali… Not much interesting to say about the studies, other than list what I’ve done. We finished the Assistant Instructor part of the course, and then we did an Emergency First Response Instructor course, which makes me qualified to teach CPR and first aid. We’ve started the Open Water Scuba Instructor part, which culminates in the Instructor Examinations a week from now. It’s all going quite well, although I had to cut our pool session short today due to a cold that plugged up my ears so I had some difficulty equalizing, and even greater difficulty when ascending from the  bottom. The reverse squeeze was never bad enough to be painful, but made me a bit dizzy, so I hope it’s improved by tomorrow morning, when we’re doing our second set of Open Water presentations in the sea.

After the IE, we’ll be doing five Specialty Instructor Courses, and then my 30 day on-arrival visa for Indonesia runs out. I haven’t bought my plane ticket yet, so I’m considering staying on for a few more weeks, maybe do an internship so I can get some teaching experience, or maybe just kick around and explore some of the dive sites around here. It would feel a bit wasted to not have done the Liberty wreck, for example…

So, for the special day here in Bali last week… It’s called Nyepi, and it’s the Balinese New Year! On the evening of March 15 there was a big parade, with some awesome statues made from papier maché or something. The night ended with a balcony party at some of my fellow instructor candidates’ homestay (guest house), and then I had to get home to my own place before they closed the streets. On the first day off the new year, the Balinese Hindus have an enforced day of rest, so the traffic is stopped, and if you’re caught out on the streets between 6am on the 16th and 6am on the 17th, you’ll get fined, or even put in jail! Lights or fire of any kind (that can be seen from the outside) is prohibited, and a few more things I can’t remember… All in all, it was a wonderful day, when I went from my bed to my porch, to the pool (a meter and a half from my porch), and back… And there was nothing to be done about it! 😀

$850 shopping spree

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Today I finally managed to find time to go shopping for diving equipment. It took an hour, and it meant me sitting in the class room preparing for my knowledge development presentation on Peak Performance Buoyancy till nine this evening, but it had to be done, and I’m eager to try it out!

*Warning, this paragraph is pure equipment talk* I bought the AquaLung Micron regulator, with a standard LPI hose, Calypso Titan Octopus, and SPG with integrated compass. That deal set me back a total of about $735. A pair of off-the-shelf booties cost another $35, and a safety sausage, pointer, writing slate and clips account for the rest. Originally this was almost $1000, but luckily Blue Season Bali, the dive centre I’m training with has a deal with the dive shop, that gave me a discount. I still haven’t looked everything up on the web to see how much it would’ve cost to buy online, and I’m not sure I want to, in case I find out I could’ve gotten it half as expensive if I’d gone web-shopping…

A couple of days ago we had our first session in the sea since I got here, and we’ve had a couple of pool sessions, but I really miss diving! I was prepared to not dive overly much when I got here, but one dive in over a week, and that one a pure skill training dive, is a bit on the tough side for the part of me that aches to explore the local dive sites a bit. 🙂

IDC

Monday, March 8th, 2010

It’s been a few days since I landed in Bali, and my internet access has been sporadic at best. I did a clean install of xp on my eee, but it’s still so slow it seems fast only in geological terms. I for some reason was unable to reinstall the nLited version I was running before, so it’s now running full xp, and not handling it well.

I have five knowledge reviews of independent study to go, and the IDC briefing is tomorrow. Still need to shop for some equipment, but all hours of daylight have been spent studying, so I haven’t had the opportunity yet.

I’ve met my class mates, and been hanging out with a few of them. A Finnish couple, Eeva and Heikki, turned out to be LARPers, not a very common occurrence! I’m looking forward to getting my nose out of the books, and also to getting a better idea of what we’ll be doing in the weeks to come. The other candidates have been here a while already, while I haven’t even quite figured out what questions I need to ask… 😛
It’s almost midnight, and I need to get up early, so this’ll have to be the whole update for now.

Kuala Lumpur Layover

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

My flight arrived on time in Stansted, which meant I had an eight-and-a-half hour stopover before my flight to KL. We landed in KL 30 minutes ahead of schedule, after a twelve-and-a-half hour flight. I caught a bus downtown and a taxi to a hotel, had a meal of mee goreng, and went to bed.

This morning some guy in my dorm got up before five, and I, with my jet lag and compulsory air conditioning induced stuffed nose, couldn’t go back to sleep. (ever considered how odd it is that the nose can be completely blocked, and yet runny at the same time?) My flight is at 10:25, so I figured I might as well be sleepless in the airport, in the knowledge that I won’t be delayed by something to the extent of missing my flight. Hence, this entry is also written on the bus on my way to the an airport, but not posted from there, since this bus definately does not have wi-fi… 😛 (posted from KL LCCT airport)

As a side note to the air conditioning issue, i was planning to dispose of my winter boots, hoodie and cargo pants once I got to KL. The boots were conveniently “forgotten” at KL Sentral Tren & Bas Stesen (yes, that is in fact the correct spelling) I’m keeping the long sleeves and trousers. It had already completely slipped my mind how frakkin’ cold public transportation AC can be…

Liftoff

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

When I returned to Norway in October, I stayed for a while on my friend Hallgeir’s couch in the basement, and then on a camping bed in my friend Oddi’s living room. Since then I’ve lived cheaply (for Stavanger) in a loft, paying NOK 3500 per month, wi-fi included.

I temped as a kindergarten assistant for three weeks, until I managed to land a job as administrative director in Varden church in Stavanger. It was demanding and challenging, as I’ve never had the responsibility of being anyone’s boss before, but rewarding as well, when I got things done.

On Wednesday I managed to gather a surprisingly large group of friends at The Irishman to say “screw you guys, I’m outta here.” Thursday I packed the rest of my stuff and headed to my parents’ place in Vanse, and Friday morning we drove to Arendal, where I’ve spent the weekend with them, my two youngest sisters, my grandparents and my aunt, uncle and cousin. My oldest sister took her husband and son to Paris this weekend, and tried to robb us of a 1-year birthday party, which we still celebrated, without the guest of honour! 🙂

Right now I’m on a bus on my way to Torp airport, where RyanAir is hopefully flying me out to London Stansted at 13:55. I’m supposed to be there at 14:50 local time, and my AirAsia flight to Kuala Lumpur is scheduled for 23:20. I arrive in KL tomorrow night at 20:20 local time, spend the night, and leave again Thursday morning at 10:25. Arrival at my final destination, Bali, will be at 13:25 local time. My Instrucor Development Course (IDC) starts on Friday. Wish me luck!

This is posted from my iPhone, because I’ve managed to mess up my eeePC so it’s stopped working, in my attempt to reinstall XP. 🙁 In the desperate attempt to fix it in my sleep deprived state in the wee hours of this morning, I just made matters worse, by fumbling a format of the thumb drive I was trying to install from, and instead accidentally formatting my external hard drive… I saw that I’d entered the wrong drive letter a fraction of a second after I’d pressed OK, and would’ve wept a river if my eyes hadn’t been all dried up after hours of futile labour…

Nevertheless, I greet all those who remain in the frozen, snowy hell that is Norway with a wide grin and a hearty “SO LONG, SUCKERS!” 😀