PADI, diving and Instructor Development (IDC)

PADI, diving and Instructor Development (IDC)

Camille's Samui Info blog: Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 1st February, 2011 []

Posted: 31 Jan 2011 04:16 PM PST

Daily weather update for tropical island destination Koh Samui in Thailand by long term resident Camille Lemmens

PADI, diving and Instructor Development (IDC) around Thailand: Laplight, local dive site at Malapascua, Philippines []

Posted: 31 Jan 2011 02:19 AM PST

Diving Laplight, a local dive site at Malapascua in the, Philippines with PADI Course Director Camille Lemmens

Laplight, local dive site at Malapascua, Philippines

Posted: 31 Jan 2011 02:18 AM PST

Laplight, local dive site at Malapascua, Philippines

During the day off of the current IDC, I took the advantage of jumping on a local dive for a fun dive. The site is called Laplight and is in between two local sites (Lapus Lapus and Lighthouse) and is one of the few sites around Malapascua where there's hard coral.
After the IDC I will go on an early morning dive for a look at the Thresher sharks, what the island is famous for!

Dog or sealed faced puffer


Magnificent Chromodoris

A tiny, juvenile lion fish

Star feather, a christmas tree family member

Stay tuned for more updates on my Philippines dive adventures.


Camille's Thailand Hotel recommendations: Salad Buri Resort & Spa, Haad Salad, Koh Phangan []

Posted: 31 Jan 2011 01:21 AM PST

Review of Salad Buri Resort & Spa on tropical island destination Koh Phangan in Thailand by long term resident Camille Lemmens
Dance Manila

Dance Manila

Polecats February Schedule!

Posted: 30 Jan 2011 11:02 PM PST

NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

Link to NFL Gridiron Gab

Seven Major Offseason Questions Surrounding the Bears

Posted: 30 Jan 2011 08:29 PM PST

Coming within a touchdown of a Super Bowl appearance and with their core players locked up for the immediate future, the Bears are in about as good of position roster-wise as any contender next year.

But as the loss to the Packers proved, the team needs help to get over the hump. With a talented young roster and All-Pro quarterback, the Packers will be good for years to come. The up-and-coming Lions finished the year with 4 straight wins and will be dangerous next year.

While a potential lockout will impact player movement at some point this offseason, the draft will go on as scheduled. What will the Bears do to strengthen their roster? Here's our best guess at answers to the most important offseason questions facing Lovie and Jerry Angelo.

1. Who gets an extension?

The biggest decisions as far as expiring contracts go will focus on starters Danieal Manning and Olin Kreutz. With Chris Harris and Major Wright in tow, Manning is expendable. Besides, he'll probably command more money on the open market than the Bears will want to spend on their 3rd safety.

Kreutz has been a cornerstone of the franchise for over a decade. Lovie Smith and Mike Tice would like to have him back, especially facing the prospects of another year of uncertainty across the line. Look for #57 to bring his leadership and stability back to the Bears for the remainder of his NFL career.

While he still has a year left on his contract, Matt Forte's strong season earned him an early extension. He's one of the top 10 backs in the league and will be financially rewarded accordingly. Greg Olsen has one more year on his contract, and I suspect the Bears want to see more from him before they decide to extend.

Of course the most important extension decision revolves around Lovie, whose contract expires after next season. Jerry Angelo has said publicly he intends to stay with Lovie, and Lovie's said publicly he loves the Bears…so look for the lovefest to continue for years to come.

2. How will Cutler respond to an offseason of questioning and criticism?

Cutler was ridiculed by just about everyone who wasn't a Bears fan, coach or player for not finishing the Packers game. But after surviving the physical beating he endured on the field this year, Cutler proved his worth to the people who matter most.

His confidence won't be shaken by outside influences. With another year to perfect Martz's offense, a solidified line and potential new playmaking receiver, Cutler could land in the 2012 Pro Bowl.

3. Can the Bears effectively makeover their offensive line?

Without a doubt, the biggest question mark going into the offseason is the starting front five.

Jemarcus Webb has the best all-around tools (and upside) of any current Bear linemen and he'll man one side of the line. Chris Williams doesn't have the body/skills to battle the big uglies inside – just ask the Packers' mammoth defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins. They'd be best served moving him back outside to compete with Frank Omiyale for the starting spot opposite Webb.

Regardless of whether Kreutz returns, the Bears must bolster their interior line, either through the draft or free agency. Roberto Garza is solid, not spectacular. Lance Louis has the physical tools and mean streak you want in an interior lineman and will probably get another look this offseason.

A guard or center like Mike Pouncey of Florida will warrant a close look in the draft.

4. Will the Bears find a true #1 receiver?

Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett and Devin Hester are all nice complimentary players. But none of them has stepped up and become Cutler's go-to guy…you know, the dude everyone in the stadium knows #6 will look to in those crucial 3rd and longs.

I'll admit, after whispers that the Cardinals' brass could make all-world receiver Larry Fitzgerald available for the right price, I've dreamt of a scenario where the Bears make a move. But after shipping their last two first-round picks to the Broncos in the Cutler deal, Angelo can't afford to part with any more first rounders, especially with multiple needs across the roster.

The free agent market holds some intriguing possibilities:  Vincent Jackson, Sidney Rice and Santonio Holmes are the best available (although Rice and Holmes will probably resign with their respective teams).

As far as the draft, two SEC standouts – Julio Jones from Bama and AJ Green from Georgia likely won't be around when the Bears pick at #29. Any other receiver would be a stretch with that pick…especially for a guy that would need to step in immediately.

A trade for a proven WR (not named Fitzgerald) seems to be the best chance for a quick upgrade.

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Titans to Speak to O-Line Coach Mike Munchak About Head Coaching Job

Posted: 30 Jan 2011 07:33 PM PST

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reports via twitter that the Titans are scheduled to interview offensive line coach Mike Munchak Monday for their head coaching job. Schefter writes that linebacker coach Dave McGinnis and offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger are also scheduled to interview for the job.

Munchak is considered the frontrunner to be named the team’s new head coach. Owner Bud Adams reportedly views him as a “link to the glory days of the Houston Oilers.” A first-round pick (8th overall) out of Penn State by the Houston Oilers in 1982, Munchak played 159 games for the Oilers, earning nine trips to the Pro Bowl in a career that resulted in his induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

No Word on the Interest of Gregg Williams for the Titans Coaching Job

Posted: 30 Jan 2011 07:27 PM PST

Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ name likely will surface as a possible candidate for the Titans’ coaching job because of his ties to the organization according to Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. But it’s unclear whether Williams would be interested in returning to the franchise where he spent more than a decade as an assistant.

Williams worked for the Titans/Houston Oilers from 1990 to 2000, mostly under Jeff Fisher, who unexpectedly parted ways with the Titans on Thursday after 16 years on the job, citing differences with management.

Williams has long described Fisher as his closest friend in the business, so it’s unknown whether he would want to be the coach to replace him. No doubt, Williams would pick Fisher’s brain before considering any such move.

Although Williams has not been identified as an official candidate for the Titans job, he does have relationships with Titans owner Bud Adams and some of the current coaching staff and was coordinator for the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV.

But Williams, who served as head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 2001-03, has repeatedly insisted that it would take a special opportunity for him to leave New Orleans for another head coaching job. And he recently pulled himself out of consideration for the Denver Broncos’ vacancy.

Williams has also stressed the importance of a stable quarterback situation. The Titans have a lot of uncertainty there after announcing they plan to release quarterback Vince Young in March.

Packers Teammates Work Things Over Concerning Super Bowl Team Picture

Posted: 30 Jan 2011 06:52 PM PST

Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports in a continuing saga that began when injured reserve players Barnett and TE Jermichael Finley objected to not being part of the team photo, Rodgers stuck his two cents in Saturday and basically said that some injured reserve players would feel more a part of the team if they were around more.

He never said who he was referring to specificially, but Barnett saw the comments and immediately fired off several retorts on Twitter, including one that said, “It's easy to speak about others when you are not in their position.. Talk about ‘union’ ha."

Barnett later deleted the messages and apologized.

Asked if he was bothered that the topic was lingering, McCarthy said: Not really. It's a non-issue. It's a non-issue with me. I know it's a non-issue with our football team. I know Aaron and Nick spoke yesterday, so it's not an issue.”

McCarthy said he doesn’t know why Rodgers felt it necessary to say what he did.

“I don't share that viewpoint,” McCarthy said. “Once again, it's a non-issue. Frankly, we're really ready to get to Dallas. Everybody is. It's been a good week of preparation.”

Bears VP Tim McCaskey Passes Away from Cancer

Posted: 30 Jan 2011 06:44 PM PST

The Chicago Tribune reports the Bears have announced the passing of team Vice President Tim McCaskey, who had been battling cancer for the past 17 months,

“Tim, first and foremost , was a fan — as passionate, loyal, critical, analytical, committed and devoted a Bears fan as there ever was,” said the McCaskey family. “The tenacity and dignity with which he fought this dreaded disease is an inspiration to all of us.”

Tim was the second oldest of Ed and Virginia McCaskey’s 11 children. He was named to his vice president position in 1993 after a four-year, part-time affiliation with the club.

Eagles Plan on Putting the Franchise Tag on QB Mike Vick

Posted: 30 Jan 2011 05:50 PM PST

Michael Vick

A league source revealed on Sunday that the Philadelphia Eagles are planning on placing a franchise tag on Michael Vick sometime next month, making sure that he will be back for the 2011 season. This is huge for the Eagles as they will have more than enough time to work out a long-term contact with Vick, and not risk losing him to another team. Along with Vick being placed under the franchise tag, the Eagles have announced that they are taking offers for Kevin Kolb.

Vick is currently in Hawaii, attending the fourth Pro Bowl of his career, and is coming off of the best season in his career. Finishing the season with, 3,018 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, and a QB rating of 100.2. Also leading the Eagles to the playoffs, and losing in the first round to the Green Bay Packers. The Eagles organization is putting all of their faith into Vick, in hopes that he will continue to dominate late in his career.

With Kolb now officially on the trading block, it should be interesting to see what kind of offers the Eagles receive. Reid is going to be looking for draft picks, as the Eagles need to fill holes in almost every postion. Kolb can not be traded until a new CBA has been signed, which creates a potential problem for the Eagles as well as other teams.

Vick and the Eagles will be looking to sign a long-term deal at some point before next season. If the deal falls through and the Eagles and Vick can’t reach an agreement, that is why the franchise tag is in place.

Winning is Only Thing Bears QB Cutler Can Seek Do In Storm of Perceptions

Posted: 30 Jan 2011 03:07 PM PST

Suddenly, in Chicago, Steve Bartman isn't looked upon with the same level of scathing disdain as he was a week ago  Now, it appears that Jay Cutler has supplanted Bartman as persona non grata in the Windy City after Chicago lost the NFC Championship, the Halas Trophy, and a berth in Super Bowl XLV on home soil.

Two weeks ago,  Cutler was king as he joined Otto Graham as the only other quarterback in the history of the playoffs to throw and run for two touchdowns in a playoff game.  Leading the Bears past the Seattle and into the NFC Championship against arch rival Green Bay, the returns on the trade that landed Cutler from Denver were beginning to pay off.  Cutler was beginning to erase the quarterback ghosts of  the past.  After all, Bears fans have been aching for a start quarterback to come along and allow them to forget the likes of Shane Matthews, Steve Stenstrom, Cade McNown, Jonathan Quinn and Moses Moreno.

Yuck.  In fact, double yuck.

But as we've seen in the past, all it takes is a week for your luck to change just that fast, because in the blink of an eye Cutler has gone from hero to heel after sitting out a majority of the second half in last Sunday's NFC Championship loss against Green Bay with some degree of a knee injury.  How could this be?   How badly was Cutler hurt?  What was the severity of his injury?  Was it so painful that he couldn't gut it out?  Why can't he go back out there?  Why does he look it's no big deal?  How come he's not in the face of Lovie Smith and the coaching staff, demanding to go back into the game?  These were just a sampling of questions racing through the minds of Bears fans and football fans alike as we watched the surreal moment of the Bears going it without their starting quarterback and eventually turning to third stringer Caleb Hanie.

His absence in the most critical time of need for the Bears drew the ire from former and current NFL players (Maurice Jones-Drew, Darnell Dockett, Derrick Brooks to name a few).  Cutler's guts, leadership and toughness have all come under heavy fire, without a hose in sight to douse the flames of criticism without knowing the true seriousness of Cutler's injury.  Speaking of flames, photos surfaced after the game of Bears fans burning Cutler jerseys in the parking lot.  Cavaliers fans would be proud.

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SportsGabNetwork’s “Road to the Big Game” with Chrysler – Nashville and Birmingham

Posted: 30 Jan 2011 02:03 PM PST

Nashville's Historic Ryman Auditorium

The AT&T Building in Nashville

Last week we had a chance to head out on a memorable road trip thanks to the good folks at Chrysler, who were showing off the slick new Chrysler 200, which we got to drive all week.  We started in Chicago, where we took in the NFC Title Game between the Packers and Bears.  Then Monday, and took our “Blogger Game on Road Trip Campaign” over to St.Louis, hitting a great stop known as “The Old Station,” a collection of old time America located on Elm Street in Williamsville on historic Route 66.

Then Tuesday it was over to Nashville, were we stayed on Broadway, a great stop for music and shops as well.  Little did we know we were there just two days before and Titans and Jeff Fisher parted ways.  Wednesday we made our way to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, but before that we made a stop in Birmingham, where we took in another excellent rib stop – Dreamland!

For more info on the Blogger Game On Road Trip that will end in Dallas with Super Bowl XLV in two weeks, check them out on Facebook at

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that my time, travel and accommodations have been compensated by Chrysler Corp. for my participation in the Blogger Game on Road Trip campaign. Although I have a material connection to Chrysler Corp., any publicy stated opinions of Chrysler Corp. and their products remain my own.

The NFL is not sponsoring or affiliated with me, my trip or my postings.

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