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Big Blue Diving Resort - Koh Tao - Thailand

News 2015

Swim For Sharks 2015

 

group shots4s30th August 2015

This year’s Swim for Sharks was another amazing success. First of all we would like to thank Rachel for organising the event, Shark Guardians who came to give a presentation and show their support, Scotty for roasting us up two pigs on a spit for the meal at the after party, but mostly for the kids who came down to show their support and the swimmers and snorkelers who participate in the swim. The money raised will go to Shark Guardians and Sea Shepherd.

The day started with the young children who came to swim in the pool and play games and have their faces painted, there were also giant sharks made out of sand on the beach (which actually survived all night until the tide came in).

The swim around Koh Nang Yuan is 3.6km or 3600 metres, just to put that into some perspective that’s 72 lengths of an Olympic size pool or 144 lengths of your typical 25m swimming pool in most leisure centres, or 300 lengths of our Big Blue confined pool!  We couldn’t have asked for better conditions, the sea around Koh Nang Yuan was completely flat. A small current around by Green Rock on to the final leg of the swim pushed the swimmers in the last few metres. The competitors who raced went off first, then the snorkelers followed by the fun swimmers.
 
Our very own Nick Bufton had decided that beating his personal best of 54 minutes was his main goal, not surprising as his main competitor was one of Mojos DMTs from New Zealand’s National Swim team who just missed out on qualifiers to The Rio Olympics and decided to go travelling instead! Nick lost obviously but he smashed his PB by 6 minutes, coming in at 48 minutes 45 seconds, only 3 minutes behind the professional Kiwi swimmer. Needless to say we are all extremely proud of him and his efforts for this fantastic event as we are for everyone else who took part.(Far too many names to write).

Koh Taos infamous Trigger fish claimed a few victims along the route stopping to nibble and head-butt the swimmers as they swam over them. FACT more people have been attacked by Trigger Fish than a shark on Koh Tao, probably because there are no more sharks left on Koh Tao as they have been over fished and served up in soups and in restaurants around Samui!

The evening event was just as fun seeing the traditional charity head shaving. Poor Jai Kennedy had his whole head shaved and now he looks like the end of a dirty cotton bud. But the money raised from just last night’s antics came to 75,000 baht and that not with what was raised for the actual swim and t-shirt sales.  
So again a massive Sharky fin thank you to everyone involved.

 

Evolution At Its Stinkiest

 

10th August 2015salps

We have all been pretty slammed with work over the busy July as it is always our busiest time of the year, what with everyone being on their summer holidays. So apologies for not keeping the latest news updated, just not enough hours in the day for me to do it but I’m back now.

This time of year we tend to get some small jelly fish looking things wash up on the beach which then as the tide starts to go out they are left behind and the sun cooks leaving the beach stinking.

They are not jellyfish at all but are called Salps, and unbelievably interesting and important they are…
Salps are part of a group called tunicates, members of this group have a kind of primitive backbone, which jellies lack and no stinging cells. The animals can also "give birth" to long chains of clones, and recent research finds that they may actually be a weapon against global warming.

Part of their life cycle involves asexual budding, where one salp creates a chain of hermaphroditic clones that stay connected, (imagine that, what shall I be today? male? Female? Na lets be both!!!) The chains in some species can get up to 15 meters long. Sometimes, the salp chain comes out in shapes; one species creates a wheel of salps, while another species organizes its chains into a double helix.

Eventually, the salp chains break apart. All the individuals that are released turn into females containing one egg. Males from a previous generation of salps will fertilize the females, producing an embryo. The "mother" then develops testes and goes on to fertilize the eggs of other nearby salps, all while the embryo continues to grow inside of it. That embryo eventually pops out and grows up to create another chain of clones.
Salps' cloning tendencies also let them take advantage of algae blooms. The animals gorge themselves on the algae and pump out chains of salp babies. All that eating also produces large fecal pellets that sink rapidly, as much as a thousand meters a day.

This is a salp's secret weapon against climate change. The algae that they eat uses carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to grow and we produce a lot of it! The salps then eat the algae and all that carbon. When the animals produce their pellets, that carbon sinks to the bottom of the ocean where it's essentially removed from the carbon cycle.

Essentially, salps repackage carbon into big pieces that sink very quickly into the ocean, it's natures unique way of trying to balance out how much CO2 is in the atmosphere.
So as stinky as they are and they feel like squishy crushed grapes when you walk on them after they have been washed up, these little critters are vital to our planet and seeing the swarms of them just goes to show how much we have polluted our planet.

 

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