Thursday, October 31, 2013

A good day to dive in

Easy Divers Bali - professional edition

As best things in life happen spontaneously, and spontaneity can be achieved only through careful planning and endless practice – some of us enjoyed the fruits of our labor during some fantastic days in late October.
What's been going on?

a) coded messages were sent and received
b) we started to gather
c) gear checked
d) diving

Seven days a week I'm in the water with experienced divers, absolute beginners, professionals, recreational divers, snorkelers (I really wouldn't know how it happened, but snorkelers are again mentioned last …) - simply trying to keep the flame of diving (as diving used to be) alive.
And I enjoy every minute of it.
But there are times when pleasure can be boosted to some new levels.

Gods of scuba diving were obviously satisfied with my crusade against all the dark forces trying to destroy the essence of true diving.

And they started to check in. True dive professionals. Different backgrounds. Different training organizations. A good number of dives under their weight belts. They came from Finland, Hawaii, Korea, Sweden, France, Canada, Slovenia, Germany, Texas – and a smiling recreational diver diving with us in these days was warmly embraced by all of us.
There was no need for bragging. No need to prove anything. No need to compete.
We've all been there, done that and got our fucking T-shirts to prove it.
Time for pure pleasures of diving.

Our divers Putu Sebudi and Putu Toya were exchanging roles as leaders of the groups, Jana was diving with a special couple of divers on a classified location, my role was a classic omnipresent gray shadow in blue waters (gray has nothing to do with the color of my beard).
It's been another confirmation for our Putus that enduring with me and my rules (which would make a marine boot camp look like a kindergarten in comparison) that what they learned, practiced and mastered definitely pays off.
Sincere praises from a bunch of hard core professionals – well, you can deserve and get them, no way you can buy them.

This post is a big, big thank you – to all of you, my brothers (OK, OK, girls, I'm already adding ... and sisters!) in arms.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Organic snorkeling in Bali

Don't copy! Just paste.

Latest Sutchy & Sutchy, Pemuteran creation hits visitors of our village straight between the eyes! Copywriter, infamous Ketut the Organic Brain, divulged the secret of the marketing success:

a) you need expert team to find out what tourists are looking for
b) you need a genius (Ketut the Organic Brain) to make your offer stand out
c) genius needs a portion of magic mushrooms to start creating
d) you need several buckets of water to revive fainted tourists under the sign

Whenever I say “I've seen it all...”, something like this hits me.

I asked Ketut, copywriter and owner of Sutchy & Sutchy, Pemuteran to tell me a bit more about his booming marketing agency.
He modestly said that it's been a rather easy project to figure out what tourists are willing to buy (you just check what neighbor is selling) – also to get accentuator for the service was not hard. Organic you can always sell at higher price, and Westerners get very soft when they hear or see this word.
Real hardship was how to convince his clients to pay for this stroke of genius.

He added an amazing fact.
For last couple of years my agency is getting more orders from local businesses than combined five world top marketing agencies. As this sounded really unbelievable I placed some calls to New York, Okefenokee and London. True!!! I added up all the orders these world class agencies got from Pemuteran businesses – obviously Sutchy & Sutchy, Pemuteran is absolute winner!

He admitted his path to the top was not easy. To dethrone long time king of advertising O'Giveme & Futher, Pemuteran, owned by Ketut the Special Brain was an epic battle of creative minds.

As both agencies use a proven philosophy “Don't change a winning horse” you can tell by subtle differences which business is using which agency.

Dive PADI Organic, Second-hand Cell Phones and Scuba Courses Special, Organic Koka Kola, Organic Sunrise Tour, Organic Massage, Funny PADI Divers Special, Classic Fried Rice Special, Organic Motorbike Rental …

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Open Water Diving in swimming pool

And keep your hat on ...

As times are changing (or I'm getting nastier and nastier), I'm slightly fazed with some environments used nowadays to learn and do some good scuba diving. However, most certifying agencies still recommend we should include some degree of water in our training program.
For instance:

a) ocean or lakes
b) shower
c) bath tub
d) swimming pool

Sea and lakes are becoming options reserved for remaining few true hard-core divers. Lakes tend to be cold and murky – scary and not really friendly environment for learning to dive. Oceans are even more wild. Water is kind of salty, it tends to move you (waves, currents and who knows what else), many creatures in there are just waiting to scare you – not something a normal scuba diving student would want to expose himself or herself to.

As cravings for possession of a diving license are increasing also among normal population (not just among direct descendants of Jacques Cousteau) - industry responded.
After salivating and getting fits over prospects of generating more and more and even more income, some brave diving industry scuba gurus did some mental acrobatics and proved open water is open water is open water.
Either you open the faucet to take a shower or to fill a bathtub or to fill a swimming pool – in all the cases you can get wet, which is the last minimum standard to become certified as a diver. Prehistoric ideas, that open water you find in seas and lakes are slowly becoming obsolete.

Brave, new approach to scuba diving is really expanding diving business. How many people do you know who would willingly submerge themselves into hostile environment, armed only with a thin hope that they will survive the ordeal? And all they need / want is a diving certificate.
Not many.
However, if we start with Hollywood shower, after achieving certain goals there we move into exciting bath tub diving and finally relax in a swimming pool – well, this definitely is the way scuba diving learning should be!

In a very unlikely case, that a question about my sanity is hitting your brain cells, the answer is, thank you, my sanity is OK, I just went bananas a few years ago when I first got three autonomous divers (fully certified) who freaked out when exposed to horrors of warm, clear and calm sea. And each year I get more and more Open Water certified divers, who did all their training only in swimming pool – or was it a shower?

We (teacher and student on the photo), obviously did not properly use new age guidelines imposed by some instructors for Open Water training - we used the pool to discuss heavenly stupidity and greediness the world is rushing into. And a speed boat and clear, blue, deep waters of the ocean for open water immersions.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Diving safety in Bali

A typical manifestation of an après fun diving syndrome.
From “SCUBA Diving Anomalies”, Volume 3, Chapter XXII ~ Dusan Repic et al.

This post is for true brave-hearts only. All examples are just descriptions of events during this summer. Upon consideration I omitted a couple of the worst cases. Before reading the post check our guidelines for your safe reading!

consult your physician if your blood pressure and heart are adequate for ultimate terror
ask somebody to administer CPR in case you drop down when reading
if you start to uncontrollably shake or start to convulse stop reading immediately
if the world is becoming darker and darker, you are just fainting

All set? Good. We can immerse into activity sometimes described as “Diving is fun!”
Very true, especially in South East Asia, namely in North Bali.

How this usually starts?
Not very experienced fun divers, meaning not certified divers, run from one dive kiosk to another and compare the prices. When they find the cheapest offer, as adult, intelligent, safety conscious travelers they want to establish credibility and safety of the chosen outfit and their dive leader.
They very seriously ask the guy: “Are you PADI? A professional? Very safe?”, and as he very seriously answers: “Yes, I am very PADI, very professional, and very safe!”, fun starts.

For experience programs , such as scuba funny diving for not yet trained divers, they put on a boat between 4 to 12 tourists, take them to a blue water dive spot, get them in full scuba gear, blissfully without any instructions how to use it and what scuba diving is about, and unceremoniously drop them in the water.
Their very professional leader (yes, one is enough for the group) already knows where to put his regulator – which definitely makes him a dive professional.

Now the scene turns into full action thriller.
Every meter deeper the fun and adrenaline searchers descend more, more frantic their struggle is. Pain in the ears is becoming unbearable. Water in the nose, salty and bitter taste in the mouth (from sea water and extreme fear), no chance to breathe, slowly suffocating under the surface - a horrible way to go. No way to see the sun again. They would exchange their loved ones for one deep breath of plain, good fresh air. No help for abandoned souls. Legs and arms are flailing wildly. Eyes bulging. When they struggle to the surface and see any boat close enough to grab it for some support, real fun starts.
They try to climb aboard in full scuba gear with their fins still on. And fall back in water. And repeat. And repeat. When their faces are out of the water you can hear moans and pleas “Get me out of the water...”.

When boat drivers, helpers and snorkelers drag them on the boat, is usually the time when their benevolent instructor (AKA snorkel master, AKA full-time idiot) appears and proclaims: “Yeah, that was funny ...”.

Sponsors of extreme tourism on a shoestring in Bali are not available for comment. They are in the bathroom – washing their hands …

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ignorance is not an excuse

A fair legal warning.

Any attempt of using content or part(s) of it from my blog, e-mail(s), letter(s), oral communication(s) and/or any other way of communication(s), in any possible or impossible way(s), that might displease me, is an unconditional consent by the mindless drone(s) violating my rules of engagement, to pay me any and all claims, as unilaterally set by me, indefinitely.

a) offender(s) (i.e., person(s) or entity declared as offender(s) by me) waive their right(s) to dispute or appeal my claims.
b) offender(s) will settle the claims within 15 calender days from the date the claims are sent
c) these rules are valid for anything I have published and/or communicated and will publish and/or communicate between the years 1572 and 2816 (Gregorian calender)
d) any argument against my claims must be delivered to Easy Divers Supreme Authority in Pemuteran, Bali, Indonesia at least one day before offender receives my claim

I decided for this step as I want to increase safety of scuba diving. As usually, I do it for the good of majority.
As I can not directly control safety of scuba diving globally, I started in a similar way that major government agencies, dive training organizations and drug dealers do.

I hired a prestigious law firm (bloody expensive!) to protect my ass. This approach - start very locally, think globally, collect money universally, seems the right panacea for all the shit happening in the name of scuba diving.