Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Been a while since our last blog so big apologies – my only excuse is “We have been crazy busy”

Lots of things going on so will try and bring you up to date..........

The usual summer holidaymakers came for their pleasure dives wanting to explore the beautiful waters of Malta, the fabulous wrecks we have from 14 meters down and breathtaking reefs, swimthroughs and caverns too – good to have new faces and regulars plus the crazy characters too

We also have the 2 sister Islands Comino with its Blue Lagoon and Santa Maria Caves then Gozo with the Inland Sea, Blue Hole, Coral Caves, Fesse Rock and Billinghurst Cave plus much more

Lots of people have come to do their Open Water Course after completing their theory & pool sessions back home then save the dives for the warm clear sea, Advanced Courses have kept us busy too along with Deep & Wreck Specialties......these are our favourite ones to teach and have beaten the amount of courses we taught last year along with Enriched Air – Thanks to you !

Groups of divers have visited us from the UK, Ireland, Norway, Sweden & Finland and many other places this year and had a great time – they have become friends on Facebook and sent us their photos which have been lovely to see

A group of 18 year old students arrived from Norway and were all excellent divers after only just passing their Open Water Course – some of them completed their Advanced whilst here and didn’t want to miss a great opportunity – well done to you all, a pleasure to teach you and enjoyed your company

Keswick Scouts from Cumbria came back again after enjoying their first trip last year, 12 of them completed Open Water, Advanced, Deep & Wreck Specialties and kept us all very busy – Bill Walker who organises the trip was very happy with their achievements and already talking about another group next year.... they created a great buzz around the place and missed them the next day after they had gone – they did leave behind a lovely box of shortbreads and chocolates – thanks guys!

Now as Nov starts we have 14 Candidates on the IDC all learning to become PADI Instructors – we also offer the EFR Instructor Course along with the MSDT so they can go away and teach Specialties as well as the basic Open Water, Advanced & Rescue all kicked off yesterday with their Orientation at 4pm with Alan then it’s going to be a full on 2 week course to prepare them for the Instructor Exam on 18/19th ....... watch this space for more information on their course and lets wish them well !

Finally…. a big THANK YOU to our team this year – you were great and miss you as you leave one by one as our season ends……keep in touch and take care til next season or til we meet again

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Open Water Courses by the dozen this week……..before the Summer comes to an end we have lots of people either starting, half way through or finishing their Open Water Courses this week

We said goodbye to Rick and Britt from the Netherlands who had a great time, Elitsa from Bulgaria who had a great dive on the HMS Maori afterwards - along with Phil and Aoife from Ireland who are coming in on Monday for some pleasure dives hopefully at Cirkewwa to enjoy the archways and Madonna Statue then off to Anchor Bay for some variety

Cedrick, Pauke & Eline all started today whilst Kyle, Leighanne, Saki and Robine are halfway through and are continuing tomorrow to finish

Nick and Laura finished their course last week and are now starting their Advanced on the house reef with Navigation after Comino was cancelled – we had Wreck and Boat planned but I am sure we will be able to run another trip soon to continue their course and choice of dives

Luckily we got our new laptops and head phones on time as we have had to run 3 – 4 languages at the same time so the students can fully understand everything and keep up with the course at the same level – awesome to see them all sitting together and learning the same thing

We have also had a few Scuba Divers Certificates this year and hopefully the divers will be able to enjoy diving in their home country or finish the course on their next holiday – Discover Scuba’s were in abundance this summer and lots came back for pleasure dives on the Maori to explore the wreck and see other marine life – hopefully they get the bug and plan a diving course on their next visit…..

I remember my course back in 1999 – so long ago......... and remember doing the theory and pool in Manchester, the following weekend when I was taken to Stoney Cove for the Open Water Dives in February I was adamant I was not going in – it was so cold and everyone was coming out red faced and freezing but I knew it was not for me….. I waited for our holiday in July and did my first 2 dives in Malta then the last 2 in Jamaica later that year……

I progressed steadily through various courses and braved the cold in Stoney Cove and Capernwray in the summer months of course - but grew to like the diving in the UK and all the other destinations I have been lucky enough to visit……as a retired Assistant Instructor I am quite happy contributing my knowledge and experiences verypassionately to new divers and enjoy diving here in Malta when I get the chance….. the Imperial Eagle and Bristol Beaufighter are my goals for this year

This is me on the left as a Divemaster and was assisting Steve Martin on my sister's Advanced Course - the deal was I had to try skiiing the following year which I absolutely loved but never had the chance to do again........I was so glad to get down the biggest slope at the end of the week still in once piece

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sorry there has been no daily blog for a while but as you can imagine we have been pretty busy being the height of summer...... All going extremely well and enjoying each day as it comes !! Today it is 33 degrees with a gentle breeze so keeping the divers in the shade during their briefings, encouraging them to drink plenty of water and hosing the odd diver down.....

Met lots of lovely people over the last few weeks and more still to come as August is soon at an end and we get more of the dive groups visiting in Sept / Oct whilst now it is families, couples and language students

Carlo, Jacques and Aldo are all doing their Divemaster training and hopefully Ivan and Marta will join them after they finish their Rescue Course today with Pau.....

Max and Coral who are already certified are working towards their A. I Course and are in the pool with Alan today to go over skills and fine tune them - when the IDC starts they should be able to demonstrate them naturally and professionally to impress the PADI Examiners and provide our divers with high standards of teaching and making it fun

We are doing Comino again today followed by the HMS Maori - the Rib has been in full swing servicing lots of recreational divers and technical too - tomorrow they are off to the HMS Southwold for the guys who have just completed the GUE Tech 2 Course so all gases have been prepared today and all ready to be analysed - later the boat will go to the X127 and Maori as a double wreck tour for the divers doing Wreck Specialty

Quiz of the week - do you recognise which member of staff this is as a toddler - 1st one to guess will receive a Divewise Mug

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Staff Day

Last Friday we had our annual Staff Day, where we close the centre and the staff get to go diving on whichever dive site they choose. Obviously it has to be on the Maltese archipelago!

Viv took advantage of the centre being closed and stayed home with Jack to have a well earned rest while Alan played boat captain and Sascha was the allocated driver for the day.

This year we went to two dive sites.

The first dive was a local dive site, the Beaufighter.

Darrell took his camera to document the underwater portion of the day, and made sure he got plenty of photos . . . until Steph stole it . . . Then everyone headed off to the Blenheim Bomber . . .

Anne, Aaron and Steve Hill shook the dust off their twin-sets so they could take advantage of making a deco dive.

Ed took his torch so he could hunt for the resident Morey eel

And sure enough we found him . . .

Steph and Ed demonstrated how useful their snorkels are on a 40m dive while doing their safety stop.

After the dives everyone stopped off in Marsascala for a huge lunch followed by a nap in the van on the way back – just because we could!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Jr Open Water and Jr Advanced Upgrades

Congradulations to Connor

and William
who have just upgraded to the adult version of their diving certification now they have turned 15.

We have had lots of teenagers coming in over the last couple of weeks to upgrade to the adult version of their certification as they turn 15 and want to reap the benefits of diving deeper.

With a Jr certification the maximum depth limit is shallower than the equivalent adult certification allows you to go. For Jr Open water the maximum depth is 12m, whereas the adult certification allows them to go to 18m. For Jr Advanced the maximum depth is 21m whereas the adult certification allows them to go to 30m.

Some people appear to be unaware that the Jr Open Water and Jr Advanced certification that they trained for when they were in their early teens doesn’t just automatically upgrade to an adult certification when they turn 15. It’s important people know this because insurance companies will not cover you if you dive deeper than what your certification allows so you must have an upgrade before you can dive to the depths the adult certification allows.

The upgrade can be done in one day and consists of a tune up, where they go in the pool with and instructor and go through all the 20 skills they did in their Open water course to make sure they remember how to do all the skills. Then they go out into the sea and do a dive to the relative depth of their new certification with their Instructor. A new pic is then processed and an up-to-date photograph is taken for their adult certification.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Anne Japan Back in Action

Congratulations to Marco who completed his advanced yesterday and is now free to explore many of the deeper shipwrecks Malta has to offer!

Anne Japan has been in the UK for a while. She arrives back in Malta today and will be back at Divewise on Monday just in time for some of our Japanese students who have long been awaiting her return so they can learn to dive in their own language.

Kenji’s English is good enough that he didn’t need to wait for Anne Japans return. He completed his Open Water course with Darrell yesterday and was Darrell’s first Open Water student so it was a big day for both of them!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

People Come and Go ... and then Come Back Again!

Darrell arrived back last week. Darrell did his IDC with us in May. Since his return he has been gaining lots of experience teaching Discover Scuba's and Open Water courses and is going to be working here for the rest of the summer with not much intention of going back to the UK for the winter either. If you are interested in Photography he's the person to speak to . . .

Morty completed his Divemaster course yesterday and came to Toni's to say goodbye before Alan took him to the airport. He's planning on returning in September to gain more experience, and there will be plenty of opportunity for that as September has been fully booked for about 2 months now!

We had a group of DSD's yesterday that did their dive in rather poor visibility because of the wind however they all said they had an amazing time and even managed to find an Octopus. Two are coming back to dive the Maori later this week.

Since it’s cooled down a little bit Jack has been eager to get out and about . . .

And he’s certainly making sure his demands are not being ignored, ‘Come on mum let’s go!’ . . . .

Meanwhile Phil and Darrell are getting equipment ready for the 14 DSD’s we have this morning! Luckily the water has calmed down a lot since yesterday so the visibility will be much better for them.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Welcome Back Steve!

We have a new member of staff with us that I have forgotten to mention in the last few blogs. Steve Hill has come over from the UK for 6 weeks to give us a hand during the busy season now that his college has closed for the summer. Many of you may already be familiar with Steve as he comes out every year during the summer to get a tan and his annual fill of physically demanding work!

Helen is back after doing her DSD last week to do her Open Water course. Sarah is starting her off with some theory and the RDP . . .

Morty and Peter are doing Search and Recovery today. Morty has to do Search and Recovery as part of his Divemaster course as the skills you learn on this course such as knot tying and appropriate search patterns are very useful in many aspects of diving.

Let’s hope they find all the various things Steve has lost!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Shiny New Gear

The house reef has calmed down now so that means all the Open Waters can get in the sea today. We also have James a DSD going off to the Maori with Joe who needs to try out some shiny new gear.

Speaking of new gear, we have just got some new aqualung fins in that look very smart . . .

These fins are going to be saved for certified Open water divers and above so they stay in good condition.

Phil has added the finishing touches to our new wash basins . . .

Now all he needs to do is to paint the Divewise logo on the welcome area!

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's a Bit Choppy Today . . .

The wind has been picking up the last couple of days on the house reef so there’s a change of plan for the dives this morning all divers are now heading to Cirkewwa. Our 7 Open water divers luckily have plenty of classroom and pool sessions to keep them occupied so the bad weather isn’t a problem for them.

Morty spent yesterday helping out Aaron with his courses, which means running around getting cylinders and kit, entertaining everyone and sorting out problems both above and below the waves.

Two of these people, Mickey and Matthias, have expanded their range of the underwater world by completing their advanced course so they can now go off and explore some of the amazing shipwrecks that Malta has to offer that were originally too deep for them.

Louis also qualified as a scuba diver yesterday just in time for him heading back to France tomorrow.

Pau was on a mission to sort the pool fins that are forever getting mixed up with all the snorkelling, taster dives and pool sessions we have. They are now neatly organised . . . we’ll see how long that lasts!

Squeaken Squeak!

Jack has a new toy, a rather loud one to be precise. He’s extremely happy about it but it’s been driving Viv mad!

On Wednesday we had Megan, Elizabeth and Hannah doing their bubblemaker. They took to the water like fish I don’t think I’ve seen anyone so relaxed in the water as these guys were.

We have another team of bubblemakers coming in this morning to go critter spotting in the confined area.

Last week’s group had an awesome time but there was a bit too much excitement for one little guy.

Morty our new divemaster has been working hard with Nev the past few days doing some long days in the water and some long evenings in the classroom . . .

Yesterday Peter, Coem and Justus did a DSD with us. Peter is a qualified Open water diver but wanted to come along to refresh his skills. They were naturals in the water. It’s a shame they couldn’t stay longer and get qualified but they made sure they got another dive in and went off with Pau and Steve in the afternoon to explore the Maori.