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Scuba diving training for Koh Phra Thong boys

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Uncertainty on Koh Phra Thong

Koh Phra Thong’s population was severely impacted by 2004’s devastating tsunami. Everyone in Pak Chok village lost their homes and many islanders lost family members. Lions Village was built to re-house survivors but the village remains under threat. The main reason is that the traditional fishing lifestyle is increasingly pressured by the commercial fleets which unceasingly harvest the ocean. In turn this has reduced the local catches to a shadow of what they were before.

Training locals in Eco-tourism

Blue Guru Team involved in training

PADI Course Director Helen Macnee is in charge of Blue Guru dive education. She oversaw the twins' DSD experience at Koh Phra Thong and has mapped out their training for the 2012/13 season
Blue Guru Diving Operational Manager & PADI Master Scuba Diving Instructor Ilona has succesfully mentored the twins during the 2011/12 season. Her strong leadership has allowed the boys to blossom.
Thai speaking PADI Instructor Louise Clifford was responsible for Thoom & Tam's thorough training during the 2011/12 season. She has also been key in their english language development.
IDC Staff Instructor Gannon Murphy generously dedicated his time to teaching Tam & Thoom the PADI Open Water course during 2010/11 season. He also guided them at Richelieu Rock.
Blue Guru Divemaster Bo Collins is an important figure in the twins' early dive education. His wealth of experience with the Thai language and culture made the initial DSD instruction possible.
Blue Guru PADI Instructor Christopher Williams is relieved to have fulfiled a promise made to the twins in 2008. He led PADI DSD in the Surin Islands and was the one to see their eyes light up.

To compensate for the low local fish stocks and to help preserve what is left, Blue Guru are keen to support locals pursuing alternative employment opportunities through eco-tourism. Therefore it was a great joy to find 2 local boys in 2009 who wished to learn how to dive. We have taken them under our wing and shown them the treasures which lie beneath the waves.

The twins learn to dive

It was always our hope that Tam & Thoom would feel the same way about as diving as the Blue Guru team and we were not disappointed. They are very keen to learn, wholly attentive to instruction and completely comfortable in the water, maintaining good position and buoyancy. By the time it came to their fourth dive in the Surin Islands both of them were able to hover above the reef and were of no threat to the coral.

It was also wonderful to hear how much they enjoyed the experience and how much they wanted to continue. So, the progression to PADI Open Water Diver training was a natural one. Blue Guru educated Tam & Thoom alongside Pina & Zak from Golden Buddha Resort as they both have advanced english language skills which allowed the translation & transference of important diving knowldege.

Richelieu Rock

It was always going to be an amazing day when the twins would finally take the plunge at Richelieu Rock and we were not disappointed. The twins' Open Water Instructor, Gannon Murphy, guided them down the buoy line for the first time at Richelieu Rock and at the transformation occurred. They had two outsanding dives

The breakthrough season - 2012

At the end of the 2011 season it was clear that Thoom & Tham had the desire to become dive profssionals. Blue Guru had also developed far enough as a business to be able to take them on as team members and to continue their training.

The fact that they were now coming to the shop on a daily basis made a huge difference to the speed of their training. Whereas in previous years they had work & family commitments to take care of, now they were earning a solid wage through Blue Guru and learning at the same time. Consequently, during the 2012 season they managed to both be involved with the running the shop and were able to complete their PADI Advanced Open Water, Emergency First Response and PADI Rescue Diver Course under the supervision of our Thai speaking Instructor Louise & Operational Manager Ilona.

Check out their progress in our Emergency First Response and PADI Rescue Diver facebook albums.

Blue Guru hopes for the future

Blue Guru Diving will happily resume Tam & Thoom's training & employment during the 2013 season with a greater focus on the more technical aspects of recreational diving and a particular bias on improving their English so that they can fully engage in the PADI Divemaster Internship program.

We are so happy that our big aspiration; to train these local boys to work as diving professionals is going according to plan. It has been a complete joy to watch them develop as young men and as divers. We are thrilled to help them earn a good wage in this part of Thailand where they were born and raised, to become guardians of local reefs and to influence fellow boat owners to avoid damaging the reefs. And maybe in time we can hope they reach further, taking on the larger issues in our struggle to protect the marine environment.

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