IDC Day 5 – Punishment while on Vacation…

PADI IDC Theory exams in progress

0700 – Wake-Up
0800 – Breakfast (perhaps one day, haha)
0900 – Classroom (Graded Theory Tests, 1 Graded Presentations)
1200 – lunch
1300 – (remainder of graded presentations, Professional Membership & Divemaster Presentations)
1800 – Complete

People reading the blog and/or Facebook posts were asking, “Do you Ever Work? All you do is diving stuff.”  NOPE, don’t have to worry about work…we took vacation so we could be punished by our Course Director and IDC Staff.  Not really they have been great; it is us who is most critical of ourselves because at this point we expect perfection from ourselves.

How fitting is it to be listening to Eminem’s Survival while writing this blog? This process does feel like “Survival of the Fittest, this…is…DO or DIE” sometimes. Morale was so high at one point a candidate expressed his feeling of achievement regarding his presentation by saying, “my presentation was so bad I got criticized by my McDonald’s wrapper last night!”

So how did the IDC go today? Well the day started with all dive theory tests: Physics, RDP/eRDP, Equipment, Skills & Environment and Physiology. Every did well on the tests with only a little difficulty on physics for some. There is no doubt that the questions are simply designed to mess with a person. I don’t care how knowledgeable an instructor is these tests will find a way to have you wondering if you even know your own name. Double negatives and weird associative logic where you bring a damn bag with air from 40m to 20m. Do they ask how much air you have now…NOPE. They ask how much it has changed from 40m to 20m, here is my answer… who the hell cares…you have air in a bag at 20 meters. After some directed anger at the demented evil examination creators and a convoluted quasi formula at trying to figure out how the hell you get 5/3 without actually just “getting it” …. ah forget it … just watch the video and smile…Happiness…..APPROVED!


After lunch we moved into presentations with everyone doing well and getting a second passing score. Today there were no longer 20+ minute presentations and we all were able to effectively and efficiently deliver a quality presentation.

Once we have finally given in to the PADI methodology and succumbed to their presentation powers of 3’s (equipment, dives sites, continuing education) we will be ok. HIT THE POINTS and move ON! Where is that video again?



Phew…needed that…morale re-established!

Once we we finished the presentations we were finally able to relax a bit and be students again. We learned about professional membership and conducting the Divemaster course.

Finally we received tomorrow’s confined water presentations….because an IDC course day wouldn’t be complete without homework. Thankfully I was able to get mine done early and focus on this blog a bit. I think we are all ready for tomorrow to be over and head out to the ocean!

IDC Day 4 – Good Presentation, But….

PADI IDC July 2014, Osan ROK, Skill circuit 020
© 2014 Camille Lemmens


0700 – Wakeup
0800 – Breakfast
0900 – Pool (Confined Water Presentations, Rescue #7, 800m Swim)
1300 – Rescue Diver Presentation form CD followed by Instructor Candidate Presentations
1800 – done in classroom

So today we had an stressful and eventful day but everyone performed perfectly in every demonstration, skill and presentation… This is what we wish we had heard.

Everyone did do well and learned a great deal of information via constructive criticism. Everyone was very motivated in the morning to knock out Confined Water Presentations. This was the first time that many of us were being evaluated by a Course Director for Confined Water Presentations (we all did our Assistant Instructor Course with an IDC Staff Instructor). Now you would think that this shouldn’t matter however the aura of the CD (more like the oh shit, I better not mess this up because I am getting graded factor) had us all nervous. At each presentation we would quickly huddle for last minute advice or clarity from our fellow instructor candidates and then want to get right to it. Once our presentations were completed we would come to the surface and try to reassure each other that we did great and scored a 4-5 no problem (just trying to make everyone feel better). The CD and the IDC Staff Instructor would step back and confirm what they each witnessed and us candidates would let each other know what we saw and most importantly let each other know if we corrected all of the problems.

Once all candidates were done with their presentations the Course Director and IDC Staff Instructor went over our performances. In our head we each hit every point and didn’t miss a thing…then we heard the words “That was a good presentation, but…” followed by spirit crushing constructive criticism. It wasn’t really spirit crushing, it was very professional and will definitely assist us in the IE. No one LIKES to hear they weren’t perfect but everyone wants to hear how to improve to pass the IE with high marks. Catch 22.

PADI IDC July 2014, Osan ROK, Skill circuit 045
© 2014 Camille Lemmens
As no surprise we had the Rescue #7 to do. Once again we were able to fine tune our skills and give each other feedback of anything that could possibly deduct points during the Instructor Exam. Proper head control, ensuring to seal the mask and WEIGHT BELT (weight belt), Mask (mask) … oh no the flashbacks have begun…

Once Rescue #7 was complete we used a bit of peer pressure to convince fellow candidates that we should knock out the 800m swim. In his defense he did run 5+ miles that morning prior to breakfast…still can’t figure out why anyone runs when we have cars?? Once that was done we crawled out of the pool and each indulged ourselves with some food that we normally wouldn’t. A few got delicious carb packed bread/cheese sticks while others opted for large hoagies (sandwiches) instead of the normal small…but hey we swam 800m (some more because they forgot count).

Now for our personal favorite…Knowledge Development Presentations. This was homework from the previous night. For some of us it was fresh in our heads form a few weeks ago, and other’s hadn’t done these presentations in 7 months. There is something magical that happens, almost like witchcraft, a candidate makes this great plan that spells out a perfect presentation that hits every requirement…then something happens where (despite it being written right in front of your face, on on the screen) the candidate simply forgets to discuss that item. I think there are evil gnomes that live in my computer or note cards that delete and erase key points, then write them back after the presentation is complete, leaving the instructor candidate baffled by him/her not mentioning a topic that is clearly highlighted…

“P” for plenty is a formula used by demolition experts, this however does NOT translate into presentations. The goal apparently is not to see long you can present a single topic for?? Apparently you should be quick and to the point…who would have thought? In our never ending quest to hit EACH and EVERY graded mark me inundate the audice with repetition and massive details. Did you catch you breath? Everyone passed the presentations…but more are to follow, our class cannot get enough Prescriptive Teaching training.

Once the presentations were done (and the Oreo’s gone…thanks Carel) we had our final presentation of the day … more standards, Adventure in Diving. “Knowing Where to Look Without Wasting Time”.

Finally done for the day right? Hahahahahaha NOPE! We each were given new presentations for tomorrow and oh yea … Dive Theory exam tomorrow (graded). Then of course blogging for anyone who is still reading this post… then perhaps some food and sleep….

Hopefully you enjoyed the read…good night.

IDC Day 3 “Happiness Denied”

© 2014 Camille Lemmens


0700 wake up
0800 breakfast
0900 pool (Graded Skills)

Today’s focus was the graded skill circuit! Talk about nervous. I don’t care how good you feel your diving skills are anytime someone is conducting a critical evaluation of your abilities to perform demonstration quality skills there will be some anxiousness. As expected everyone did an excellent job and remembered all aspects of their skill demonstrations.

© 2014 Camille Lemmens


Once the graded skill circuit was completed we moved right into Confined Water Presentation where our Course Director did CESA (Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent) Presentation, Demonstration and Instructor portion for us to see first hand. This was a great aid to see exactly what will give us maximum grades.

As any former IDC candidate can tell you it would be a day in the pool without rescue #7. Day 3’s rescue went even better, now that it is becoming muscle memory we can focus on perfecting each individual sub-tasks and better determine what is the best way to accomplish each little detail that we will be evaluated on. This is also a great place to find out how fellow candidates’ equipment works and is removed effectively.

I am sure that some of you looking at this title you immediately thought that one of our fellow instructor candidates had a problem with skills or some other task. This wasn’t the case, in fact this comes from a fellow instructor candidate, Carel, who said “Happiness Denied” as a response to not being allowed to watch the über motivated PADI actors performs skill demonstrations for a second and third time. While Carel and the all the instructor candidates were eagerly looking for more entertainment others were invoking post-lunch siesta rights…

Allen Sleeping
© 38thParallelDivers

In his defense he has been extremely busy ensuring all the logistics and coordinations are made and in-place for each day’s events like classroom setup, equipment repair and more.

To finish out the day we were given our Knowledge Development Lessons and our Confined Water Presentation topics to complete as homework and be evaluated on first thing in the morning. Ok everyone…it has begun…we will now be evaluated on our actual Instructor skills! Briefing, demonstrating, problem solving, controlling & delivery, debrief…and that’s just for the confined water. Knowledge development is set in a classroom environment and requires Intro, Content, Summary and Overall handling (and many sub tasks, participation, visual aids and more).

Since we are all fairly tech savvy we decided to leverage some collaborative technology in order to provide the best content…we will be using Google Docs to create a shared word processing document that we can each simultaneously work on. Each candidate has his/her own section that can be seen by the entire class in real-time as it is being created. Google Docs also allows for the class to text back and forth to each other as any questions/concerns arise. We will see how this helped everyone out tomorrow. Wish us luck!

On a non-IDC note we just had customized mesh Dive Gear Bags (with the 38th Parallel Divers Logo of course) designed today. We are told they will be ready 18 August 2014, we will post a picture once they are complete with final prices. Anyone interested please let us know (please message us on our Facebook Page).

IDC Day 2

Rescue 7 for IDC Students
0700 wake up
0800 breakfast
0900 pool

Doesn’t sound to stressful at all when I am typing out the initial timeline however after late night studying and blogging from the night before 0700 came faster than I wanted.

Today we immediately hit another skills circuit this time without demonstrations prior to skills. This was another great opportunity to get constructive criticism. Remembering to SLOW DOWN was a common theme throughout the skills for some while over exaggeration was for others. All-in-all our fellow instructor candidates did really well.

We even had to master a new skill (perhaps a distinctive specialty in the future) avoidance of the “Cleaner of Terror”! This insane self-propelled evil robot was trying to kill us all. At one point it either attempted to choke out divers with its cable or suck up our fins. This was a stealthy little bastard that would lie in wait for instructor candidates to be mid skill…then with the speed of a bullet and cat-like prowess it would attack! Finally though it gave up as it did not like the taste of rubber and neoprene.

Once that battle was over watched “Control” workshop. This provided a block of instruction on how to best control students while we were instructing as well as best positioning recommendations during the IE. While the primary focus isn’t the IE, it is obviously extremely critical to pass…without passing there is no teaching. We were reminded several times to remember to be close but not intimidating and NEVER turn your back on students (they might just disappear). Some great points that we will all hopefully remember to implement immediately.

Next came the rescue workshop where we covered several of the skills that would be needed to be demonstrated (possibly) during the IDC/IE. We covered several skills like panicked diver underwater and how to safely get a victim (patient) out of the water without drowning them.

Finally…as no surprise to anyone who has attended an IDC we had to perform rescue number 7 again, this time with a pocket mask. Today’s rescues went MUCH better and we were able to switch buddies to learn each others’ equipment. Once we got the “O.K.” from our instructors we packed up and headed out to lunch.

After the food and coffee coma set in we were given a few moments to prepare for more theory exams, this time we finished off the remaining theory: physiology, skills and environment, Recreational Dive Planner (RDP or eRDP), and equipment. Once again everyone did well (and passed). Once again we were reminded RTFQ and RTFA (read the F***ing answers… read what ALL the choices are).

Because Standards Are Important Everywhere You Go…

Finally confident in our theory knowledge we moved right into some more presentations, this time all about the Instructor Manual and the PADI standards. We were given some great practice questions and went over how to effectively and efficiently search the digital version of the Instructor Manual. This also provided opportunities for us to “what if” our Course Director and his IDC Staff Instructor. This was an important dialog for us because (as most Expat divers in Korea should know by now) Korea dive shops/resorts/instructors live by slightly different rules and regulations. This is especially true of insurance, there are very different requirements. Once this workshop was completed we were finally able to relax and get some food.

Stay tuned for Day 3…

The blog picture was courtesy of our Course Director, Camille Lemmens and his blog post can be found at

IDC Day 1 – It Has Begun!

IDC Day 1 Group

The PADI IDC has begun…technically just the OWSI (Open Water Scuba Instructor) requirements because all of us attending are already certified PADI Assistant Instructors. That being said 3 candidates just finished the AI course so it should be fresh in their heads and 2 of us finished 7 months ago so the repetition is great for us.

It is definitely intimidating to start a course that tells you if you have what it takes to instruct others. I believe most of the stress is self induced (at least for me); our Course Director (CD) has been great in creating a relaxed, professional environment; which is critical for a positive experience.

The morning started off with a good breakfast, some of the candidates got together to talk some smack to relieve the tension before training. Others met up at the end of breakfast just prior to the start of Day 1.

After paperwork and presentations we dove right into the physics practice test which every passed without difficulty. Our CD opened up the class to questions on anything that we wanted to get a better grasp on and we also received the best advice (applicable to all tests):

1.RTFQ – Read The F***ing Question
2.ATFQ – Answer The F***ing Question
3.TTRB – Tick the Right Box (fill in the correct box on the answer sheet)
4.TAB – Tick a Box (no answer will definitely be WRONG)

I know I left out a few so I apologize to my fellow candidates and CD.

After the classroom we went to lunch followed by the pool. In a few moments were were about to be evaluated by a Course Director. But this experience was great, we were able to see perfect skills demonstrated by our Course Director and his IDC Staff Instructor just prior to us having to complete the skills. At the completion of every skill we were provided good feedback and tips for success during real-world instruction as well as some IE specifics.

Once skills were completed we got into Rescue 7. Rescue 7 is one of those skills that cannot be taken lightly; first off if it is needed in a real world situation someone’e life is literally in your hands, secondly there are so many sub-tasks that need to be completed (many in a specific order). Our class was able to get in 2 rescues each which left us feeling good about our improvement from the first rescue and got us all back into the mindset of PADI professionals.

Clean-up, refill tanks and FOOD! However the fun doesn’t stop there, we all had homework assignments to complete as well as any personal studying and visualization for tomorrow’s dives.

Quick write-up on the blog then finally SLEEP, see you all tomorrow!

The blog picture was courtesy of our Course Director, Camille Lemmens and his blog post can be found at, specifically here

New Emergency First Response Instructors (EFRI)

EFRI-Fun 2

This past weekend we headed down to Osan Air Base to attend the Emergency First Response Instructor Training conducted by Aquatic Frontier. This was the second step in our progression toward the PADI IDC/IE & MSDT that begins on 25 July. Our first step was completing the PADI Assistant Instructor (AI) Course.

The weekend was packed with all kinds of training, videos, presentations and exams. We had knowledge reviews, skills assessments and instructor assessments to complete. The simulated scenarios were fun despite being serious. It was great working together with some of our fellow IDC instructor candidates Carel and Mike.

One of the biggest benefits of this course is that you can teach your friends and family (as well as future customers) how to save a life…is there anything better (who knows the life might be yours). These skills are also great for new parents or anyone with children in the house…who wouldn’t want any of their children to know how to help their siblings?

Once all the training was done we were able to decompress with some not so serious photos…


Preparing for the PADI IDC and IE

As some of you know a few of us 38th Parallel Divers are preparing for one of the most exciting recreational scuba courses that PADI offers, the PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) and the Instructor Exam (IE). Needless to say I am, and I am sure that the others planning to attend are, nervous; but in a good way.

Aside from the fact that we are all putting in significant time (having to take about 2 weeks vacation time off) and money (approximately $2000) we are ultimately being rated on our abilities in instructing others in a safe and precise manner. This is without-a-doubt critical to ensure we teach safe and environmentally friendly habits and techniques to students who might in turn instruct students later in their diving career.

We know that we will be tested in 4 major sections:

  • Classroom Instruction
  • Confined Water
  • Open Water
  • Dive Theory & Standards and Procedures

I believe the nervousness comes from wanting to get everything absolutely perfect and on the first try.  While this is something great to strive for it doesn’t always provide the best learning, sometimes getting it a bit incorrect (or less effective) will allow the CD (Course Director) to show us a better or preferred technique.

How have we prepared?

  1. Get in LOTS of diving (real skills in a real environment)
  2. Re-read the PADI Encyclopedia of Diving, take the tests from previous courses
  3. Get to the pool and hit the demonstration skills until you are comfortable doing them slowly, precise and demonstrating key points

Because I am (and I know the other divers are as well) a perfectionist I wanted MORE preparation, more visualization, more understanding of best methods…but how?  I stumbled across Steve Prior’s YouTube Channel; according to his site he is a PADI Platinum Course Director.  The best thing about the videos is that they are FREE!  Steve does also offer Distance Learning IDC Prep (£125 approx $214).  For us this is a bit too much to spend just prior to the IDC; especially since the IDC is entirely designed to prepare instructor candidates for the IE.

Here is one of the free video from Steve Prior (Skills for the new 2014 OW Course):


Our IDC is being taught by Camille Lemmens, a Platinum Course Director, who has a massive amount of experience and knowledge (which is why we reached out to him to come here and instruct us).  

Our IDC starts on 26 July 2014, stay tuned to see what it was like attending our 2014 IDC/IE in South Korea…for now we have to hit the books and keep preparing…wish us good luck!

Fourth of July (Independence Day) 2014

After a long break the 38th Parallel Divers took some time off from tour Korea topside and got back in the water. We went to Namae-ri Dive Resort and dive lots of recreational diving this 3 day weekend. It was great to see our dive buddies again, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and of course Korea. We got to log some dives with divers in training conducting their Open Water course, Advanced Open Water Course and just plain fun diving. We had a great time grilling up some cheese burgers and sausages as well as eating some pasta salad, grilled potatoes, and even pickles and chips (crisps for our British friend).

The water is warming up to a nice temperature (roughly 19 C) down to a depth of 9 meters but from there on down it is brass monkeys (aka COLD)…now that I got in my British slang I hope that our Brit friends will stop beating me up for misuse ;). All jokes aside the thermoclines were a bit chilly at 9m (14 C) and then again at 18m (10-11 C). These temps were a bit chilly in 5mm wet suits and made us miss our dry suits. Wet suits are nice though and do make for easy on/off recreational diving. It was an easy transition from the last dive to getting the burgers on the grill and food in the belly.

Thanks again to everyone that came out and it was great to meet and dive with all of our (hopeful) new followers. We hope to see you on the coast and in the water again soon.

If you would like to see more surface pictures from this weekend check out the BackPackBees Blog post.

Summer Scuba Diving Event … finally back

The 38th Parallel Divers are heading back out into the ocean. I finally got the green light to get back in the water after getting LASIK eye surgery, so we are headed to the Korean East Coast for a 3 day weekend of diving. This weekend will be a mix of training dives and fun dives.

With the updates to PADI’s new course materials (and since we have been out of the water for 2 months) we hit the books to make sure we know the standards and requirements for PADI’s Peak Performance Buoyancy (PPB) and PADI’s AWARE specialties. It was nice to see that there is more acknowledgement of rebreather divers in the new Instructor Guides, this is going to be critical now that more and more manufacturers are making Type “R” (Recreational) rebreathers like the Hollis Explorer. It has been a while since we have dove an entire weekend in ONLY recreational gear, usually we try to get a mix of Tec and Rec especially since getting our PRISM2 technical rebreather. Is is tough to give up the possibility of 2.5hours on a single dive.

The exciting part of diving purely recreational equipment is the decreased time for setup and tear-down…this increases our ability to hang out with new divers, offer (and learn) tips and tricks, and get our BBQ on. We will be celebrating America’s Independence with our friends from around the world. How can it get better you ask? We now stay at the dive resort so we don’t have to hurry with gear cleaning to rush to the hotel to rush to dinner…we relax and clean…and shoot the breeze!

Everyone is truly welcome to join us on the east coast for some great diving, we hope to see you there!

Facebook Event Link
Dates: 4-6 July 2014
Namae-Ri (Local Area)
GPS Directions: 77 Maebangu-gil, Hyeonnam-myeon, Yangyang, Gangwon-do, South Korea

Namae Dive Shop