School and diving update

And I’m back. Hey everyone, it’s been a while but I have lots of news for you all.

Having just past midway through the semester, we recently held exams at our school. Now for me this was a very exciting as it was the first time that I was on the “teachers’ side” of an exam paper and let me tell you, it’s way easier than the student side! hahah. But it also made me realise the amount of effort that goes into setting an exam paper- you have to make sure all the work is covered equally and that the difficulty of the paper is at an even level. Believe it or not this is actually harder than it sounds, as in some of my classes the range of ability varies greatly. Never the less it all seemed to go off without a hitch; the kids- including some of their home class teachers- were quite nervous for the test, but after some revision and reassurance, they all managed the exam successfully.

Then the tough part started for me – marking time. At the end of our three day test period I had approx.. 220 papers to mark. The school then made our lives harder by giving us only three days to complete our marking. Other school exams, where they test math, history science, etc. were still happening. Luckily though, we were given this exam time off, and although we had to go to school, we didn’t have to teach, so this left us many hours in which to mark. I was very impressed with how my kids faired in the exam, with many of them scoring above 75%. In my best class (P5\1) I even had about 20 kids who got 100%. It is quite a confidence and morale booster for us teachers when we see our kids actually doing well; it lets us know we really are making a difference. Now begins the road to finals, and with the semester ending on 30 September we don’t have much time to get the kids ready. However after these past exams I am feeling quite optimistic.

But now for some other news… I have a scuba diving update for you all. The last time we chatted I had just completed my advanced open water certificate which I totally enjoyed. Since then I have gone on to complete two speciality courses. The first began on a long weekend. I travelled just 2 hours from Bangkok to coastal town called Payattaya. Now this area isn’t primarily known for diving, but research had shown that the diving was still quite good and the advantage for me was that it is close to Bangkok and easy to get to. After some research and chatting to a couple of dive schools in the area, I decided to do my drift diving speciality here. The theory of this course involves learning about the different ocean currents, why they exist and the different kinds of lines, floats and safety procedures used when diving at a site with currents. I actually found this theory quite interesting. I have spent a lot of time in the ocean throughout my life but have only recently started studying it and must say, it is rather interesting. Back to the course – the practical part of the course consisted of 2 dives, during which we focused on body position and flowing with the current while keeping a correct heading. Now this is a lot harder than one would imagine as the current doesn’t easily allow for you to turn or change direction at will haha. Also during this course I was taught how to lift/inflate a DSMB and manage a reel attached to a surface marker. Again this is harder than it sounds as 16 meters underwater the current goes at one pace but on the surface it’s a whole different story. The wind, waves and current are all different up there and so the marker is being dragged, pulled and blown in all sorts of directions and really makes holding onto the line a workout haha. But all in all, this course was really cool and exciting and filled with a lot of learning.

There was quite a sad element to this dive as well. The ocean there was filled with a significant amount of pollution – trash and debris. This was my first dive in such conditions and really upset me. Although the skill part of the dive was fun, the actually diving and site conditions were poor, there were plastic bottles and glass all over the sea bed and shore line as well as fishing line across the coral. The coral itself looked lifeless and bland; the amount of fish and marine life in the area was also significantly lower than I had experienced in my other diving.
Although this was shocking and disappointing, I will not let this pollution put me off diving. In fact it made me want to continue my diving in the hopes that I could make a difference by educating people about the importance of ocean environment conservation. I am doing some research into any projects currently setup that promote this. Also I definitely want to do my divemaster course as I think this will help me to spread the importance of this conservation. It is something I really want to do, it is in fact something that I HAVE to do.

But for now that is all! Thank you for reading. To hear about the next speciality course I did – the DPV (aka James Bond/Navy Seal underwater scooter course) please stay tuned.

xxx



2 responses to “School and diving update”

  1. Magda Johnson says:

    Hi There Mr Bond!

    Thank you for the update 🙂 Your adventures sound amazing! Well done on making a difference in the lives of those kids and for having the courage to explore and find yourself (or new parts of yourself).
    As you can see, our path is not always clear in the beginning and it is with time and fearless exploration that we learn what we like and what we don’t. The more we do, the more we see and learn. It is the unknown adventures that will shape and guide our passions and our path in life.
    Diving has been one of my life passions since I completed both my one star and advanced two star diving courses (CMAS- professional diving) at University. I even wanted to do my final year marketing video (studied marketing and business communications) for a company called SAEUS Southern African Underwater Ecological Society. I know they are based in South Africa but they do work on an international scale and do research projects on global coral and conservation of the oceans.
    Maybe contact them and see where you can get involved.Their knowledge and expertise changes your whole diving experience. It is almost like normal diving is like having 10% vision and having their knowledge opens your eyes to 80%! Imagine going on Safari and only looking for the big 5 when there are thousands of species, and plants that you don’t even see because you are not aware of them! SAUES gives you that knowledge for when you are diving.

    http://www.divestyle.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=307:saues&catid=912:news&Itemid=125

    (Here is the article published in Divestyle)
    SAUES
    The Southern African Underwater Ecological Society now offers you the opportunity to conduct coral reef monitoring and take an active role in conserving your favourite coral reefs.

    The course is designed to teach you everything you need know about conducting full scale coral reef surveys. In this programme you will learn all about the globally standardised methodology as well how to identify key indicator fish, invertebrates and substrates selected for global monitoring and the conservation of coral reefs. Sounds like a lot? It is! But all those who have taken the course have fully enjoyed every minute of it. This course will allow you to join the SAUES/Reef Check monitoring team and assist in underwater surveys around the world.
    For more information, call 011-425-2866. saues@mweb.co.za

    Well here in JHB it is freezing. As in sitting in the lounge watching tv with a beeny on freezing! Dave and I am off to Botswana to explore the Central Kalahari for the month of August. All going well with Stace and Justin. I think they have adapted to JHB lifestyle. Justin is working hard and Stacey had an amazing trip overseas. Please keep us updated and send lots of love to Katy!

    • shrimp says:

      Hey Magda

      Ah thanks so much for reading the blog, and thanks for the comment. I have actually read a bit about CMAS through my research, but now I shall be doing some more indepth reading into their conservation projects. Thank you for letting me know.
      Hopefully next time you guys come out this way we can go do some diving, maybe partake in a reef clean-up dive.

      Thanks again for the information

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