The mandarin fish is one of the most beautiful fish in the ocean and their special mating display can be seen right here in both Bunaken and Lembeh waters!
• Scientific Name: Synchiropus Splendidus
• Found: Indo-Pacific Ocean (Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia)
• Size: 1 -2 Inches
• Diet: Carnivore – feed on small worms, protozoans and small crustaceans
• Habitat: Broken coral rubble beds or under dead coral
• Depth: 1 – 18 metres
We are seeing alot of Robust ghost pipefish in Lembeh at the moment so we thought that we would tell you what they are.
Ghost pipefish belong to the family Solenostomidae. They are closely related to Seahorses and Pipefish, are from the same order and share the long tube like snout. They live in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate waters from Indian to Western Pacific oceans.
Spending most of its time in a head down position, they tend to make their homes in shallow areas or close to coastal reefs that are current swept and therefore have a steady stream of food. In many regions Ghostpipefish are only seasonal visitors, settling on the reef for only a few months each year to breed.
If you ask any Rescue Diver they will tell you that its the most challenging course they have done. The training provided by rescue certification is not so much about actually rescuing people but more about increasing your own comfort level in the water, it therefore teaches divers how to be better divers.
To feel comfortable helping others is to really feel comfortable with yourself in the water. You could achieve this comfort level over time with hundreds of dives, but taking a good rescue diver course will get you there much sooner.
Took too long but now only 2 days
Despite these obvious advantages, why are most divers not Rescue Divers? We have been running dive operations in Indonesia (Bunaken & Lembeh Straits) for over 12 years. I have often questioned guests about why they are not yet a rescue diver and the most common reason is that it takes too long.
True, traditionally it would take 4-5 days to do the rescue course: there is a book to read, a video to watch and an exam. There are also water skills to teach and assessments to be done in the open water, and the theory and water skills are integrated so you can’t run the water skills until you have done certain theory topics.
However, now you can do all the theory with PADI Rescue Course Online via eLearning from the comfort of your own home before you leave for your holiday, and the water skills and assessments will take just 1-2 days. So now there is no reason to avoid this course!
We run this course in both Bunaken and Lembeh, and can add a few specialities for your Master Scuba Diver certification.
Structure of the Course
Students will complete 12 Open Water Training Exercises which emphasize a divers ability to be flexible and adapt to personal and environmental conditions. In the end, all 12 exercises will be practiced in real-life scenarios.
Course topics include:
By the end of the course you will have expanded your knowledge of diving, increased your level of diving skill and be more aware of what is happening in the diving environment. Most importantly, rescue training can help you to save lives and increase safety by preparing you to properly respond to diving emergencies.
As a prerequisite, you must be CPR / First Aid certified. You can do a fist aid course through PADI called Emergency First Responder (EFR) that covers the same material, but you can get any first aid course (eg Red Cross or St John’s Ambulance) as long as it covers artificial ventilation and chest compression.
I came across this great interview recently with HUGH FEARNLEY-WHITTINGSTALL where he displays a common sense approach to recreational diving and how, if we think that a dive is boring, its probably because we aren’t looking close enough.
Hugh is a “Celebrity Chef” from the UK and is author and star of the River Cottage TV series, and he is a passionate campaigner for sustainability, both above and below the water. His recent “fish fight” campaign challenged the assumption that imposing catch quotas on British fishermen may not be the best solution to over-fishing, resulting as it does in a terrible waste of fish thrown overboard as “discard”.
Unsurprisingly, Hugh is a passionate diver, and one the episodes featured him diving in the Maldives, where he had gone to show the benefits of catching tuna by pole and line.
When and where did you learn to dive?
I originally learned when I was working at the River Café in London in about 1989. One of the waitresses was a member of the BSAC-run Cormorant Dive Club, and I diligently attended what seemed like interminable pool sessions in Swiss Cottage.
Are you saying you didn’t enjoy the experience?
No, not at all, it was just that it took months before I did a proper dive. Eventually we did a club trip to Hurghada. I couldn’t believe the colours under water, and the brilliant psychedelic appearance of the fish and corals. It was literally mind-blowing.
But what astounded me most was that some of the other divers moaned about their dive and said it was “rubbish”, because they hadn’t seen any sharks or something huge!
Was that because they were much more experienced?
Obviously I was inexperienced, but I remember seeing a Napoleon wrasse, and all this fantastic colour. I made a promise to myself that day – that no matter what kind of a dive I ever had, I would never, ever complain about it. It always seems to me to be supremely ungrateful that any human being should think that they somehow have some sort of divine right to see something “special” on a dive.
Have you kept that promise?
I think so. Someone once told me that if I’m bored on a dive, I should just swim up to a rock or a piece of coral and stare at what’s a few inches in front of me. And sure enough, there’s always something happening, something moving or growing there that I might not have noticed if I hadn’t pressed my face close to it.
Did you ever get beyond your BSAC Novice qualification?
Well, I have a confession to make; I never quite got my certificate signed off. And for about 10 years, every time I went on a diving holiday I had a battle to convince the dive centres that I was certified.
I always took my BSAC temporary card and my log-book, and usually it worked, though a couple of times they made me do a resort course, which was a real pain.
Then, about 10 years ago in Seychelles, I decided I needed to sort it out properly, so I took a PADI Advanced course at the Underwater Centre on Mahé. That golden PADI card shines like a beacon in my wallet, something that I’m much more proud of than my driving licence!
Do you know how many dives you’ve done?
Certainly two, maybe three hundred. I’ve dived every year for over 20 years. I’ve been lucky enough to dive in places like Seychelles, Mexico, the Red Sea, Madeira, Maldives, the Bahamas and South Africa.
Ever been scared under water?
Yes, in Stoney Cove, when I lost my regulator and couldn’t find it. I panicked and shot to the surface, blindly forgetting all my training. Luckily I wasn’t very deep, but I had to force myself to go back into the water, or else I might have been put off for good.
And once, somewhere near Durdle Door [Dorset], I got separated from my buddy. It was around Easter and the water wasn’t warm or clear and I felt really frightened for a while until I spotted his bubbles.
Oh, and in Kenya I had to share air with my divemaster when he took me off on a long swim at the end of a dive.
Are you interested in diving kit?
Do you own any?
I own everything, but I couldn’t tell you who made it without looking at it. My computer
is at least 10 years old, a Uwatec. I love it. I have two prescription masks, ‘cos I’m quite short-sighted. I bought a spare, and I acquired some contact lenses so that I could use a full-face mask for the filming we did in the Maldives.
Part of that programme was about the way we mistreat the marine environment. Is that something you worry about when you dive?
Yes, and it comes back to what I said about what we think we have “a right” to see when we dive.
If we don’t see the fish we want, or we come across something ugly under water, then maybe it’s because of what human beings have done.
Man-made problems may just be what you see when you dive. And that’s why I don’t think we have any special right to “demand” that we see a shark, or whatever it is we expect to find.
Do you have a diving wish-list – or something you’ve always wanted to see under water?
It used to be a manta ray, and that’s what I got to see in the Maldives at Lankan. And my first-ever encounter with mantas was caught on camera, which was great, and why I probably sounded ridiculous on-screen, but I was beside myself with excitement.
I went back into the water later without the cameras and had well over an hour with the mantas. There’s only one way to describe what it felt like; just such a pure privilege. As for a fantasy underwater sighting, it would have to be a giant squid fighting with a sperm whale. Not very likely.
Is there a marine creature that you might find frightening?
I’d love to see a really big shark, and I might find it frightening.
Stephen Fry once described you as having “the silliest hair in Europe”. Has it ever been a nuisance under water?
Wearing a two piece semi-dry, it did tend to get pushed forward and get trapped under the mask seal, but I’ve recently had it cut!
In November 2010 PADI announced the new PADI Divemaster course, however the new materials were not available in Indonesia until July 2011. Since then, Two Fish Divers have taught the new course to about 10 students in Bunaken & Lembeh, and we think that the new DM course is a great improvement.
What Has Changed
In summary, PADI have toughened the prerequisites, increased in-water training by 50%, and completely overhauled the dive theory part of the Divemaster Theory.
Slightly Tougher Prerequisites
Candidates must now have 40 logged dives to start the DM course (used to be 20). They will therefore get more out of their course by being more experienced divers before the course begins.
Additionally, the Deep Diver and Search & Recovery Diver specialty courses are highly recommended. Candidates with these specialty ratings can drop these two Practical Application Skills (see below), however we prefer to cover these anyway to make sure that candidates have up-to-date training.
Increased In-water Training
One of the biggest changes come in the water where PADI has increased the amount of in-water training by 50% including:
These workshops and assessments give the candidates the training and experience they need in order to carry out their functions after certification.
Overhaul of Dive Theory
Overall, the Divemaster Theory emphasizes the supervisory and leadership aspects of being a Divemaster. It has not changed much under the new DM course except that there is now a greater focus on awareness of the environment.
However, the dive theory part of the Divemaster Theory (physics, physiology, etc) has undergone an overhaul.
Under the old DM course, the most intense part of the course was the dive theory as candidates did the same dive theory as an instructor. Under the new DM course, the dive theory is now an “intermediate step” between whats required for the Rescue Diver and that required for an instructor. The dive theory is now a review of the theory from the prerequisite courses (OW, AOW and Rescue), and this is what it should be!
What about the exams? Now there are 2 exams, and they are written in less-technical language to “better assess comprehension of all the knowledge development topics”.
Divemaster Course Online
This was introduced at the same time as the new DM course. It is a great alternative to using the PADI Divemaster manual and DVD. It means that you can do all your DM Theory before you get to us in Bunaken or Lembeh, and more time can be spent on the skill development and practical applications.
Note that the DM exam is not included in the online program as its designed to be administered by us when you are here.
Revised PADI Divemaster Materials
The biggest change has been with the PADI Divemaster Manual itself, which increased from 200 to 300 pages. PADI says it “includes new course information and functions as an additional study tool for the DM exam. Each chapter now includes a case study based on real scenarios that illustrate sound judgement and other leadership skills.”
The Divemaster DVD also gets an upgrade, with new footage, plus video of the 20 scuba skills to “demonstration quality”.
Other revised material include the Divemaster slates that were revised to match the course content.
We think that the new format of the PADI Divemaster Course is alot more fun since candidates spend alot more time on the dive boats. If you are interested, there are a number of options to choose from, have a look at the the PADI Divemaster options with Two Fish Divers for more information.
Hope to see you in Bunaken or Lembeh!