Thailand – Australia – United Kingdom

Archive for December 18, 2009

Sailing and diving around Thailand

Today Big Blue Tech checked out a new boat that might be part of the Big Blue Diving fleet, bringing our fleet to 7 boats.

The M/V Itsaramai is a sailing boat designed for scuba diving that can accommodate 12 people in their cabins. The vessel has global range providing us the chance to explore long range locations including wrecks and caves.

It’s a real pirates of the Caribbean feeling and you get the immediate essence you are one with the sea even though we only experienced the boat anchored in front of our resort.

One of our new year goals is an exploration to a destination that is littered with caves and caverns but very little exposure. While we can’t speak about this new destination just yet we can offer up Intro to cave and full cave courses for people to join.

Big Blue plans to use the vessel for sailing tours and custom diving trips and occasionally letting us take it hundreds of miles out to sea for weeks on end.

Contact us if you want more information.

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Event – Cavern Diver Course Expedition Khao Sok

Big Blue Tech will be conducting a 4 day  Cavern Course in Khao Sok National Park. The following dates are available.

December 18th – 23th ( 4 spaces )

This trip includes the option of up to 10 dives.

This trip will be open to divers from around Thailand.

Pre-Requisites: Must be minimum Advanced with 20 dives ( Redundant Breathing System Provided)

Conduct: The course will be done on site in the national park over a 4 day period of 10 dives with academic plus dry land skills. Certification as a Cavern Diver will be received after completing 4 dives and a final exam with 6 experience dives to follow.

Included:
– Ferry to and from Mainland Thailand (if required)
– Transport to and around Khao Sok
– 4 nights accommodation in a 4 star resort inside the the National Park
– Manual and Certification
– All gas and cylinder fills
– All equipment (Reels, Torches, Dive Gear)
– All food and drinks (non alcoholic)
– Park Entry Fee
– Boat Fees
– 4 Training Dives
– 2 “fun” Experience Dives

Not Included: Beer

Tekkies: Technical gear is available for those certified, included in the course price.

Certified Cavern Divers:
For those certified we will be running exploration trips in conjunction with this course, this will allow certified divers to use the boat and compressor to conduct 4 days of diving

Gas:
Nitrox, Trimix and boosted oxygen available on site, on request.

Prices: 19,800 Baht


Recall from OMS Technical Diving Gear

Ocean Management Systems Inc. (OMS) ANNOUNCES Safety Replacement OF BCS SEAL RING

Ocean Management Systems, Inc. (OMS) has notified the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), that OMS is voluntarily recalling approximately 19,790 Sealing Rings BCA-500. Molding variations in this part as used in the OMS Buoyancy Control System (BCS) could cause cracking or breakage of part, resulting in rapid loss of buoyancy, creating a potential drowning hazard. While this variation is not present in every Seal Ring (Item # BCA 500) It would be difficult to determine in the field which Seal Rings are suspect. Therefore we are requiring that all Seal Rings be updated with new assemblies. All NEW seal rings are equipped with reinforcement at critical areas.

There are a total of 19,790 BCS Seal Rings (Item # BCA 500) installed in 5730 BCS in use and from May 11, 2006 there have been reported of 19 failures. These failures were discovered during inspection, with no reports of injuries or death.

OMS BCSs were sold through Authorized OMS Dealers and Distributors with an MSRP of approximately $700.00.

How to read your date code: Date Code: 0805XXXX: 08= 2008 (year manufactured) 05=May (month manufactured) Last 4 numbers are used to identify that particular BC, ex. 05080001, 05080002 etc

WHAT TO DO:

What should I do to get my BCS Seal Ring Replaced?

CONSUMERS

Consumers should first look at the Warning label on their BCS. If the serial number on the BCS is listed in the recall list ABOVE then:

1. Stop using your BCS

2. Contact your local OMS dealer or distributor for a no charge repair

3. How do I find a nearby dealer?

4. If you are a USA or Canadian customer access the OMS website ( http://omsdive.com/dealerb.html) and input your zip code or if in Canada input your Province for the nearest dealer.

5. If you are an international customer input your country for the nearest distributor.

6. If you are unable to access the OMS website: you can call 845 692 3600, send a fax to 845 692 3623, or email OMS at recall@omsdive.com for dealer or distributor information.


Technical decompression diving in Thailand

Big Blue Tech completed a TDI Advanced Nitrox Course yesterday with the combined afternoon of skills which embodied both TDI Decompression Procedures and TDI Advanced Nitrox.

With the flexible curriculum offered by TDI it was possible for the training team to introduce interesting and valid skills which are appropriate for the diving ahead.

The students on the course were Mark Slinn, Andy Cavell and Ash Dunn who are all working towards a future as a technical diving instructor.

One of the signature skill introduced involves using a 3m marked line on the sea bed and having the divers wearing full technical diving gear start at the 1m mark and start fining, during fining the diver must remove one decompression cylinder without loosing control, upon reaching the end of the line the diver stops and begins backwards kicking, collecting his decompression cylinder while kicking backwards and returning to the start where the diver turns 180 degrees and moves away. The goal is to not use your hands and focus on perfect trim and balance while performing these skills.

Backwards finning can be quite difficult initially, to help this process we provide Jet Fins to our students as part of the equipment they will be using during the course to enhance the ease of learning. Here is a video to help illustrate the skill:

Additional to these skills was task loading with 8 cylinders removing and replacing each one while maintaining buoyancy. The training team felt the students really excelled and didn’t see them disturb the bottom, without being told to, during both 50 minute dives.

This would be the last dive until the after christmas as the students progress on to their Gas Blender and BSAC Instructor course.


Diving for Treasure in Thailand

As well as enabling professionals to carefully excavate shipwreck sites and recover historic artefacts for the edification of generations to come, Unesco schemes to safeguard Thailand’s submarine cultural heritage will also benefit tourist activities such as scuba-diving, points out Bobby Orillaneda, an academic working for the Underwater Archaeology Section at the National Museum of the Philippines.

Orillaneda and a handful of other researchers participated in the first ever foundation course on underwater cultural heritage organized in Rayong province recently by Unesco’s Asia-Pacific Regional Field Training Centre.

“Recreational divers can unintentionally damage or destroy vital evidence, so it’s important for us archaeologists to get to these sites first. After we sift through the findings we can educate divers on how to conduct themselves in these spots and this, I believe, can make the experience a lot more enjoyable for them,” noted Orillaneda, who’s been here on three previous occasions for similar practical training sessions.

“I’ve been participating in these schemes for 10 years now and this particular Unesco-led course has helped me to brush up on basic methodology procedures and on the latest technology used during excavations.”

Orillaneda first flew in for a training session in Chanthaburi six years ago, later visiting Chon Buri to help excavate a shipwreck site. He says he knows of at least five such sites in the Kingdom’s territorial waters which date back to the 15th century.

What does Thailand have going for it in terms of underwater archaeology?

You Thais are very lucky in the sense that you have the financial and manpower resources to do research on your own. The Philippines has yet to reach that level; we just don’t have the funds to do it. I don’t believe that Southeast Asia has any other established maritime archaeology center except for the one in Thailand.

To what use will you put the knowledge you have gained from training sessions here?

Honestly, all we can do at the moment is give feedback to our superiors and hope for the best. If the National Museum [of the Philippines] has the money to fund research, I’m sure that we can put the data we’ve accumulated to good use. I strongly believe in the importance of working together with other Southeast Asian countries in research and in sharing information. These types of academic collaborations also improve networking, which eventually benefits us in updating our knowledge. I’d also like to evaluate more critically the Unesco Convention and [determine] if it is applicable to the Philippines.

What can be done to prevent our underwater cultural heritage from being destroyed by unscrupulous people out to make a fast buck?

It’s important to establish a more solid legal framework. If you see someone looting or treasure-hunting you can immediately use this legal framework as your back-up. Despite the existence of penalties for such offences, however, people will often go ahead and break [the laws]. This is why I feel that an awareness programme should be put in place to educate the general public on the importance of preserving the cultural heritage found in our seas.

With the exception of the well-traveled and well-educated in our society, the average person has no interest in going to museums and doesn’t give a hoot about culturally significant artifacts. Cultural appreciation can only come about when we’re able to reach people from all walks of life. In my country we organize information-dissemination activities to make the public aware of our work, but since we have to target settlements on over 7,000 islands and we suffer from a serious lack of manpower we aren’t able to reach everyone.

Most of our shipwrecks are found by fishermen and because they need to earn a living these people would prefer to financially benefit from such finds rather than report them to our museum. Giving them monetary rewards would be a step in the right direction.

Tell our readers about a few of the more memorable experiences you’ve had while working as an underwater archaeologist.

One that immediately comes to mind was the sunken city of Alexandria, in Egypt. It was such a fantastic experience to visit this ancient city which lies completely underwater only a few meters from the shore.

Sattahip [where the foundation course was held] was the first place I went for recreational diving. That was very memorable in the sense that I ended up rescuing someone that day!