Big Blue Diving - Koh Tao - Thailand - Jim Donaldson

Jim Donaldson

Friday, 07 December 2018 15:00

Demand for SSI Instructors increases

Just been looking at our Instructor Training stats for 2018. Due to the increased demand for SSI Instructors all over the world, and that we have the leading SSI Instructor Trainer actually in charge of Big Blue Pro itself we've really boomed this year. Might have something to do with our SSI Instructor Trainer Simon Garrity refraining from wearing ladies clothes as much or it might have something to do with the SSI Training program developing faster & and better than the competition! Recently, SSI changed their Diver Master program making it more dynamic and focusing on dive safety, customer service including sales training while still keeping its high standards requiring the highest pass mark of any dive agency. This has clearly helped push the Instructor Training programs with the highest Crossovers, Instructor Training Courses and Instructor Upgrade programs ever run at Big Blue. The ITC also changed focusing more on the dive business and the dive industry as a whole. Once again SSI has set itself apart from other agencies by keeping the high passing grade of 90% or more. With all the above kept in mind we have had such a high demand for instructors coming though the ITCs. Dive centers all around the world are asking for SSI instructors due to the fact they are more aware of the dive business and what it takes to make a profit. Since the changes made to SSI pro levels we have 100% success rate at finding our new instructors work straight after they finish there internship. And we start Divemaster courses everyday so if you are serious about looking at scuba diving as a career then jump in! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wednesday, 05 December 2018 09:05

Where are they now- Deano Jenkins

In an industry full to bursting with enormous ego’s and Vaseline, where rare breeds of both man & fish become one entity, there comes along every couple of hours or so, someone so ordinary we bring them under our fold, and nurture them and polish them into being the most perfect specimens of Scuba Instructors. Improved and renewed and updated overtime these polished pieces leave the comfort of their homes to carry on their dreams of travelling the world & encountering marvels few will ever experience. But have these Top Guns continued on their road to Scuba Stardom or are we about to find out that perhaps an unannounced enema with the Thai Bum Gun might just what they need to get them back on track!
It’s time to play Top Gun or Bum Gun!
Deano Jenkins-
When poor Mr & Mrs Jenkins realized they’d brought a Ginger into the world they must have felt then that it was time to get the bum gun out, but credit where credits due, the young Welsh couple stuck with their Orangutan Taff and gave him the confidence to go out into the big wide world and cover people in phlegm during a normal conversation, count up to 12 on his fingers, clothe sheep & teach people to dive!
Deano worked at Big Blue Diving as an Instructor from about 2006 to about 2014 earning himself a very stand up reputation both within PADI & SSI and was awarded Instructor with the most SSI certs in the world in around 2012. Such were the dizzying heights to which Deano soared it was only ever going to go one way once this Top Gun left the nurturing loving care of his colleagues hairy, tattooed arms here at Big Blue.
Deano spent his next few years exploring the incredible dive sites of the Sipadans & the Similans, living the life the majority of the world’s population can only dream about. Cruising out on overnight liveaboards diving with mantas & whalesharks, through crystal clear waters and past deserted islands the life of a this Scuba Diver wasn’t all sun drenched plums and Brazilian bikinis. Deano was after more.
Then along comes the Philisi, one of the most talked about of Thailand Liveaboards to ever cruise the Similan & Surin Islands. Operated & owned by legendary Diving Dutchie Steve Wessel, who also owns and operates the Junk Liveaboard, the MV Philisi is something so big and glamourous that even celebrities have to think twice about whether they’re worthy enough. So WTF is up when Deano gets given the honor of managing, delegating, steering, diving & entertaining, as Cruise Director of this way over the top glamour show!
What do you reckon guys? Is Deano going to Top Gun the Philisi sky high, into another dimension of time and space or, do you reckon we need to get the bum gun out and spray water up his spacial dimension for some time? 

Tuesday, 20 November 2018 14:46

Divemaster Training on Koh Tao

Koh Tao is a very popular choice for those wishing to undertake their Divemaster training or ‘DMT’, and with over 90 dive centers to choose from finding the one most suitable for you has never been harder, and that's not even thinking about the dive centers on our neigboring islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan!
 
Here we will look at my Top 10 reasons why there’s no one better than Big Blue if you want to do your Divemaster training here in SE Asia:
 
1.    Take as long as you like – The DMT can be done in just 4 weeks if you’re in a hurry, but when time isn’t an issue then it’s no problem to spend as long as you like getting to know the dive sites before getting signed off as one of our new Divemasters – after all, with over 25 sites to learn why hurry when you can dive as much as you like during your training!
2.    Large, comfortable boats made for divers – With two large diving boats (rather than the usual small ex-fishing boats favoured by most of our rivals) you can really enjoy the travel time before and between dives with over 90% of the boat covered – essential in the heat (and rains) of Thailand. Also their size and weight makes them a lot more stable in rough seas – take note those of you who get seasick…
3.    More dive sites to learn – With no restrictions on where we can send our boats and regular trips to Sail Rock and Samran Pinnacle when conditions allow us, you’ll get more dive sites than those diving at the smaller dive centres – the bonus of diving at a well-established dive centre with 27 years of experience in these waters.
4.    Separate boats for the certified divers – In my opinion absolutely THE most important factor to consider when committing to at least a month of diving around Koh Tao is whether you’ll have to go to the same beginner dive sites every day, after all Koh Tao has a lot more first time divers than those already certified. If we had just one boat it would mean precisely that, and we do feel sorry for those out there missing out on so many excellent but challenging dive sites around the island. What’s that, Big Blue have three boats and can go wherever we want, regardless of how unsuitable it is for new divers? Where do I sign up!
5.    Make yourself very employable on Koh Tao – directly linked to the previous reason, if you’re planning to look for Divemaster work after your training has finished then do you want to know just a handful of dive sites, or do you want to know them all? Our fresh new DMs generally know more of underwater Koh Tao than 90% of the other DMs on the island that have trained elsewhere!
6.    Learn from the best – Divemasters don’t often stay in the job for too long, as the pull of earning lots as an instructor usually kicks in after a few months of long hours and little pay. At Big Blue however we have a team of DMs with thousands of Koh Tao dives between them (DM Steph alone has over 3000) so when you want to know what that obscure nudibranch is, what to expect when exploring off-site or just how to organize a boat as efficiently as possible then experience wins out every time.
7.    Beachfront location = great atmosphere – With limited space on the beaches, not all of the dive centres on Koh Tao are blessed with what we’re enjoying every single day – sunset facing beachfront classrooms, dorms, bar, restaurant, coffee shop and training pool. We defy anyone to not instantly relax when they see what we’re so lucky to have available to us, and of course the atmosphere around the resort reflects this. Come join us one evening for a sunset drink and see for yourself, you may never leave!
8.    Diving 365 – High season? Diving. Monsoon season? Diving. Christmas Day? Diving. Martin Luther King Day? You get the idea! As one of Koh Tao’s only dive centres that are diving every single day of the year, rain or shine, you can be sure that if you want to really get as many dives as possible during your DMT experience then Big Blue is the place for you.
9.    Fill the tanks on the boat – Now this is one that a lot of potential DMTs don’t think about when shopping around for the dive centre most suitable for them, but it’s something that can really suck when diving every day – moving full and empty tanks to and from the dive boats. Tanks are heavy, so inevitably who gets the job of moving all the cylinders needed for the dive trip: that’s right, it’s the lucky DMTs. At Big Blue however we have our compressors on the boats, so all the tanks we need are sitting there filled and waiting for us when we get there – no need to move them back and forward every day!
10.    Try something else too! –  Big Blue Diving is the only Dive center on Koh Tao offering Tech Diving, Freediving & Photography & VDOgraphy courses in addition to its recreational & professional diver training programme. With Big Blue Pro, Conservation, Tech & Freediving Big Blue Diving is the leader in Diver education and if you are interested in becomming a serious diving professional then why wouldn't you learn from the best!

Tuesday, 20 November 2018 10:11

How to get make the most out of Koh Tao

1- When travelling down from Bangkok or anywhere else, relax! Trains and buses are often late and there's nothing you can do about it. Blowing your top contradicts the very reason you went on holiday in the first place!
2- English is widely spoken on Koh Tao, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, and the travel companies will make things easy for you, so don't panic that you haven't become fluent in Thai in the last few days before your holiday!
3- Travel light. Do you really need the hair dryer, curling tongs and 8 pairs of tights for a tropical country, especially as you are a man!?
4- In busy season it's highly recommended that you book ahead, but in low season you'll have no problems finding accommodation here.
5- Eat the local food! Why did you come to Thailand to eat McDonalds? Koh Tao has incredible local food everywhere, and don't be afraid to try the street food, it's amazing.
6- Ice is made in factories from filtered water, but don't drink tap water.. ever.
7- Banana pancakes and vodka redbull buckets are not really part of a balanced diet. The latter also really does not go well with diving.
8- Laughing gas baloons are actually illegal here, and even if that doesn't stop you, it's a really really really bad idea to do it after diving.
9- Be respectful of Thai culture. You're a visitor remember, so please take off your shoes in shops, and cover up when asked to. Speedos are not considered acceptable in Europe, so why Asia!?
10- Don't bother renting a motorbike. Even taking pictures of it before renting is no guarantee that they won't try and charge you silly money for damage you didn't do, and there's nothing like a good bike crash to completely ruin your holiday. Everything is walkable, and if you do want to explore other parts of the Island, take a taxi or hire a kayak.
11- Go diving! Why else are you here!? Learning to dive is amazingly satisfying and fun. If you don't have the time, do a try-dive. If you're already qualified, you can see the best dive sites we have such as Chumphon pinnacle and sail rock.

Saturday, 17 November 2018 16:09

BSAC Marine Conservation course

Whether you're just beginning your new hobby as a scuba diver, or you've been fun diving for a long time, how do you fancy learning more about the underwater realm that you love exploring? Big Blue Conservation is about to begin another BSAC marine conservation course on the 8th October. This amazing 3 day course educates divers in marine biology and ecology, and provides an excellent background to the dangers currently facing coral reefs, such as the effects of overfishing, shark finning, climate change and bad diving techniques. You'll understand how individual processes such as ocean chemistry and plate tectonics interact to shape the oceans and enable life to thrive. You'll gain practical experience on how to improve your buoyancy and air consumption (read Big Blue Instructor training's blog from yesterday to read why this is important), and learn practical conservation skills so that you can contribute to reef conservation projects. The course only costs 7,000 Thai Baht (4,000 for Divemaster trainees). Sign up in the Big Blue shop, or drop Rachel an email at Big Blue Conservation to secure your place.

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