October

October (44)

Friday, 09 October 2015 10:50

At least Our Staff Can get Out Of Our Pool

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Friday 9th October 2015getting out the pool

Unless you have been on another planet or your from a weird country you may have noticed that the world is going crazy for the Rugby World Cup which is being played in England. We have a large variety of staff from all over the place and the last few weeks have been interesting. Our Saaaf Aflikan instructor was abused for his team losing to Japan of all teams, and unfortunately for some of us English people we also lost a few too many games to get that far through, but with the groups as they were it was always going to be interesting. Lucky we only have one welsh and one kiwi here so it's been ok. But needless to say we haven't heard the end of it!! So now we aren't into it anymore we can all get back to work and the best thing for all of you coming over here is that every single one of our English instructors can get out of our (swimming) pool so no dramas there.

It has been a busy few weeks to say the least, Rick has taken on Jai to be his new Donnie in the Tech shack, Raqel has been holding her breathe below the waves with her freedivers and the rest of us have been teaching people how to blow bubbles. The weather is hot, the sea is (mostly) flat and the beers are cold. What more could you want. Whether it's recreational diving, technical diving or freediving (it's not free you still have to pay!) we can cater to everyone.

Now changing the subject completely. Koh Tao is a great community to live in, and when the Koh Tao Rescue team asked how we could raise some money for them to help with medical supplies and training new volunteers the Flying Trapeze said they would put on a show. There will be raffles and big prizes, games, and drinks and chances to donate to a very good and much need volunteer service. It's not all diving on Koh Tao and our very own Jai Jai Jai Jai Jai Jai Kennedy has been secretly nipping into the tech shack to put on his sexy 'man' tights and has been swinging about like a fairy hoping that a big burly man on the other end will catch him. Now Jai is no stranger to the Trapeze as he wowed us all not so long ago with his antics a inter dive shop trapeze challenge/ DMT social. Getting top marks he has decided to be he face of Big Blue Diving. Now I have abused him a bit for his tight wearing ways, I can talk about it seriously. The Rescue Team on Koh Tao are unbelievable they are all volunteers who will drop what the are doing to go to the aid of someone who has had an accident. Far too many people on holiday are having motorbike accidents and ATV accidents thinking they are Evil Kenival and not thinking about what blind corners and sand could mean. The majority of the call outs are from bikes. So please if you do come to Koh Tao please be careful on the roads if you do rent a bike, and don't learn here if you have never ridden one before. But any way we will all get to see Jai up high, trying to fly and not die or else we'll sigh and have cry....Go Jai!!!

 

Friday, 31 October 2014 07:42

Monsoon? What monsoon!!

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Friday 31st Octobermovember

Monsoon? What monsoon? The weather here right now is amazing, the sea is flat as a ladyboys chest pre surgery and the diving is beautiful. 2 of our boats are off having their yearly facelift, ready for the Christmas crowd, and many of the instructors are preparing for this years Movember. Any excuse to grow facial hair and shaving it into weird and downright scary moustaches’. None of the boys here are shy in the slightest so keep your eyes peeled for some interesting designs. DM Steven will be keeping his Jesus beard as he stores his lunch and snacks there for when he is a bit peckish on a dive.

Its always great to hear what you though during your time with us diving here at Big Blue. Here are a few of our most resent students write up on Trip Advisor.

Dennis R, The Netherlnds 27th October-
Diving at BB- “A perfect mix of Russel Crowes rough looks, Robbie Williams' sweet voice, Jacques Cousteau's diving knowledge and Britney Spears' mental health. Simon (26975;) was an ace instructor for my open water and advanced courses. Loved diving at Big Blue! Thanks Simo!”

Avery B, Canada 25th October-
Great Expectations- “My girlfriend and I came here to do our basic underwater course. We both expected it to be good, but it completely beat our expectations. We ended up forgoing out trip to Koh Samui in order to do the advanced underwater course. Oli was our instructor for the basic and advanced courses, and he was great. He didn't push us too hard, but he didn't baby us either; it was the right balance. The basic course had some great dives, but the best by far were our advanced course dives. Going deep water, diving in night, and diving around a wreck were the highlights of our trip to Thailand. Big Blue could not have been better and Oli was a fantastic instructor.”


We pride ourselves in giving you the best experience both in and out of the water, so thank you for all your kind words.

 

Wednesday, 29 October 2014 09:28

Tech Diving courses starting in November

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Wednesday 29th October

richtoddSad day at Big Blue today as one of our favourite instructors is leaving us after being on Koh Tao for just over 4 years. Rich has been offered a very good diving job which was hard to turn down, but we all know that if it doesn’t work out (which we secretly hope it doesn’t) he will welcomed back with a week of DSDs and a warm Chang. For those who have been to Koh Tao whether it is to learn to dive, just have a holiday or work as a dive professional, it is a very hard place to leave. Apart from the amazing beaches, crystal clear waters, amazing food, great night life, it is the friends you meet once you are here. There are some friendships that have been forged here that will never be broken and leaving after being here for so long is tough. But the invisible bungee cord is attached at the pier and it’s not long till you are pulled back to this amazing little island in the gulf of Thailand. From all of us a Big Blue Diving and Koh Tao we wish you the very best of luck Rich, but choosing Halloween for you leaving do is just going to end in tears!!

If you are interested in doing something a bit different and want to learn about increasing your knowledge of scuba diving Big Blue Tech are starting a number of TDI courses from the 7th November, these include Intro to tech, advanced nitrox and decompression procedures, finishing up with extended range.These courses will give you a greater understanding of what technical diving is all about allowing you to dive deeper than the recreactional limits of 30 metres using a variety of different methods. For more information on our Tech courses send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

Saturday, 25 October 2014 07:31

Win 10 free fundives

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Saturday 25th October

stickers-on-tanksWith only another 60 days left until Christmas is here we thought it would be nice to give you all a chance to win 10 free fundives with us here. Its not a quiz so no need to send your answers to us on a postcard, but we do want you to send us some pictures of yourselves. While you are here we want you to ask us to give you some Big Blue Diving stickers and then your mission is to take a picture of yourself with the stickers stuck in interesting places? so if you are off to India and you can stick one on the Taj Mahal (without being arrested though please- although inside a prison cell would be a good place to put a sticker too) or if you happen to know someone in the celebrity circles stick it to them. Be as imaginative as possible and give us a giggle too, so if you want to win 10 fun dives grab those stickers and get sticking! Email us your pictures to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. we will announce the winner of this competition in the end of November. Good luck!!

The big bossman was in the bar last night for a quiet (ahem) drink with his beloved team. Its funny how the rounds get bigger when the boss is buying the beer! He was treated to a Dirty Dancing treat when Patrick Swayze wannabe instructors Sid Bufton and Matt Waters began lifting our newly certified Open Water ladies. Luckily no injuries occured as there was plenty of safety catchers willing to help the poor damsels if the were dropped by their dance partners! See what we put on just for you Jim, now have a safe trip back to Samui with clear plastic seasick bags and unseasoned boat travellers. Until next time.

Really bad joke of the day-

How many people does it take to circumsise a whale?

Four skin divers :)

 

Friday, 24 October 2014 05:57

Turning Divemasters into Zombies

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Friday 24th Octoberscuba-zombies

Time again to say congratulations to some of our newly graduated Divemasters in the time honoured tradition of a Big Blue Divemaster Challenge. Supposedly dressing up as zombies Jai, Brett, Tania, Mikey and Alex were beaten, abused, whipped, spanked and bitten, they moaned and groaned as any good zombie can, then they decided to leave P'Dangs and come to the bar and join us for a little party. Dave, David, Stefan, Ory and Elle, after getting their acts together decided on a homeless theme. Reminders of an old DM who slept at the petrol station and ate out of bins. The Dive Master course is a very rewarding course that develops a wide range of skills both in and out of the water and what better way to say well done but with a night full of games and frivolity! Well Done to you all.

It is the time of year when the wind direction changes leaving the ocean on Sairee beach looking like a mirror and sunsets that drags people away from their dinner and beer to take pictures. And people wonder why we left our mundane lives to come and live here...... hummmm! We have had a few random days of much needed rain but the diving is still amazing. Perfect conditions for all the types of diving we have to offer whether it be a beginner diving course, freediving or technical diving. So don't just think about it get your ass on that ferry and come play.

 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013 07:11

October 30th 2013

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T-shirt giveaway
t-shirt-giveaway-andyJust a quick post today to get you involved in our latest give-away. It's really really easy- all you have to do is take a photo of yourself or your friend wearing a Big Blue t-shirt somewhere exotic, exciting or unusual in the world, and post it onto our facebook page. The ten best photos will win their owner a free t-shirt from our new range. The more inventive, the better; we've already given two away and the bar has been set high- ex Big Blue instructor Sonia was snapped wearing what looks like a witches hat surrounded by police at this years Oktoberfest in Munich, and divemaster Andy sent us a photo of himself posing with legendary All Black scrum half Justin Marshall, who had autographed it for the Big Blue boss Jim. So no pressure, but the next eight photos need to top that! If you manage to do a base jump whilst riding a unicycle and wearing one of our t-shirts, we may even throw in a keyring.. no expense spared! 

10 things you didn't know about the blue-spotted stingray
stingray1- The latin name is Neotrygon kuhlii. Utterly useless to your everyday life but it'll make you sound clever.
2- It is preyed on by the killer whale and hammer head shark.
3- Their bright colouration serves as a warning for its venomous spines.
4- Mothers give birth to up to seven pups per litter; these pups range from 6 inches (150 mm) to 13 inches (330 mm) long at birth.
5- The venom in its barb contains serotonin, 5' nucleotidase, and phosphodiesterase, which sounds very fancy.
6- They are very popular to buy for display in household aquariums, but people don't realise how big they can grow, until they outgrow the tank. So leave it in it's natural habitat people!
7- They feed on shrimp, small bony fish, mollusks, crabs and other worms... not exactly gourmet food.
8- They kill their prey by pinning them to the bottom of the seafloor with their fins. 
9- They don't have any teeth, and instead have food-crushing plates on the sides of their mouth.
10- We get them on every dive site on Koh Tao, so if you want to see one, come to the Gulf of Thailand and come diving with Big Blue!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013 05:15

October 31st 2013

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Halloween!
halloweenIs it really Halloween again? oh what to do.. You could stay indoors and refuse to answer the door to anyone, or embrace trick or treaters with open arms and poisoned sweets. Or you could get completely into the spirit of things and spend (in some cases) minutes, days or even weeks agonising over a suitable constume to wear at the bar. After all, it's not every day you can be a roller disco murder victim.
Halloween is one of the biggest nights of the year on Koh Tao, and considering we don't have any proper novelty shops, people have to be really inventive with their costumes. It all makes for a great night out, followed by a confusing morning wondering why you're wearing a wig and an eye patch that you're pretty sure you didn't have on when you went out. This year's party is going to be especially big. We have a celebratory send off organised for our new SSI instructors Sofia and Wolfgang, and we have a divemaster challenge for our newly qualified DMTs. All on the same night, at the same bar.. it's going to be messy! We expect most of our dive instructors, divemasters and DMTs to get dressed up, but it's always brilliant when our customers also get into the swing of things and come up with their own creations. How often can you say you've been stood in the bar, and looked over to see Batman & Robin having a chinwag with spongebob squarepants?
So if you're on Koh Tao, come down and have a look, or better still get involved and wow us with your costume, just please don't be offended if you get complimented on your outfit and then have to point out "but i'm not wearing one".. Now if you'll excuse me I have some shopping to do, I need to buy an orthopedic shoe, a monocle, and a one-piece tracksuit with yellow piping.. nothing to do with halloween, I just need a new look.

Parrotfish explorers
parrotfish300x169Researchers in Australia have been busy mapping the movements of parrotfish in order to find more about the size of their territory, and determine how far they wander throughout their lives. It turns out that they expand their range rapidly as juveniles, but this stops when they mature into adults. Researchers focussed on three species of parrotfish, and tracked 75 individual fish during the study. Generally, the diet of a species influences how rapidly its home range has to increase with its body size so that it can find enough food to meet metabolic demands. Yet with parrotfish the researchers found no evidence of a change in diet affecting the way their home range relates to their body size. So effectively, diet doesn't seem to be the driving force in them exploring new territory. The reason for the early wandering seems to stem from the need to find as much food as possible so that they grow quickly, which in turn reduces the amount of predators able to eat them- similar to reptiles.
The reason their territory stops expanding as adults is thought to be because they engage in complex social relations, and it makes sense to keep a potential mate as close as possible, something that would be much harder to achieve with a huge territory. Researchers conclude that "The fact that a fish's social environment can have such a dramatic affect on their home range size opens up endless possibilities for new research." Fascinating stuff, but clearly still a lot more research needs to be undertaken.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013 05:38

October 29th 2013

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The end is nigh!
SSI-instructor-courseWant to know what it takes to become a dive professional? Ask Sofia and Wolfgang. For the last two weeks they've been put through the mill by Big Blue SSI instructor trainer Simon Garrity, so that in two days time they will be fully prepared for their instructor exams. If they are successful, which they will be, they'll be qualified to teach people how to dive and certify them as open water divers, teach advanced adventurer, rescue and speciality courses, and take people out on try dives. Both are already dive professionals and have been working as SSI divemasters, but they decided to take their training one step further so that they can experience how satisfying it can be to train people to become competent fun divers.
But it doesn't end in two days, oh no. They'll be able to celebrate once qualified and relax for a few days, but then it's back to work for more training.
They have both wisely decided to undertake an internship programme with Big Blue- teaching a diving course is one thing, but teaching one with high regard to professional standards, whilst ensuring students' safety at all times is Big Blue's number one priority. Sofia and Wolfgang will shadow a Big Blue instructor and learn the ins and outs of each diving course. When and only when their instructor mentor feels they are 100% ready to teach a course to our standards, then they will be signed off and set free to teach on their own. Instructor training is challenging, but also good fun; i've yet to meet anyone that decided to come to Koh Tao, change their career, become a diving instructor and then decide that it wasn't a good move. In fact everyone that has done it will tell you it was the best decision they ever made. So what are you waiting for? Get in touch with Simon and look forward to going to work for the first time in your life! Contact Simon This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Blink and you'll miss it
Anyone that's lived on Koh Tao for a while will tell you that time just seems to stand still. Hot sunny day after hot sunny day, going diving in the daytime, going out for dinner and a few drinks in the evening, you soon forget what day it is, and don't really care. But then you blink and suddenly three months have gone by.. how did that happen!? Well on a month by month basis, the Island seems the same infrastructure-wise, but then you suddenly notice that a new massage parlour has opened up in Mae Hadd, or a new restaurant is not only open for business in Sairee, but doing a roaring trade. I must have missed the memo. Big Blue is about to open up a new retail shop, and a full on, proper hospital is being built- we must have done something right in the eyes of the Thai Government.
A stones throw away, an airport is currently being built on Koh Phangan... hurrah! When completed sometime in 2014, it will make it even easier to get to Koh Tao from Bangkok. Koh Phangan is only a one hour ferry ride away from Koh Tao, so that's good for us long-term residents, but even better news for holiday makers. All we're missing now is a branston pickle factory and a 10-screen cinema!

Sunday, 27 October 2013 02:57

October 27th 2013

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Sairee beach never had it so good!
beach-cleanupYesterday saw another monthly beach and underwater clean up with an even bigger turnout than last month- 15kg of rubbish was cleared from the beach alone! Organised by Big Blue Conservation's own Lizzie (I've just been on holiday diving in the Similan's and all Big Blue staff hate me for it) May, people clearly care a lot about preserving the dive sites that many of them have only just been introduced to. This is great news. Generally people that have been diving for a while love being underwater, and want to do their bit to keep dive sites pristine, no matter where they go on their fun diving holiday. But to have such a great turnout of people that have just completed their open water or advanced courses with us is really encouraging. It makes us here at Big Blue really proud that we've taught a good course and instilled in our customers the importance of marine conservation, to the point where we're confident that customers will take this knowledge away with them and pass it on wherever they go. So pat yourselves on the back people, you've done us, and yourselves proud. Don't let anyone tell you that you're just underwater bin men and women.. you're turtle preservation units and no mistake. If you're interested in finding out how you can help keep the underwater world in good condition, and would like to participate in future clean ups, contact Lizzie May This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Monsoon!
So, it's that time of year again, monsoon season. We haven't really had much of a monsoon on Koh Tao in the last three years, and who knows if we'll have a proper one this year. Regardless, the intructors and divemasters all over the Island are particularly thankful for a shop on the ladyboy road in Sairee (yes, it's really called that), that is selling knock-off, i mean genuine North Face jackets that will keep us all warm and dry over the next 3-4 weeks. Now I feel I need to make one thing clear. If you live in Europe or North America, or anywhere that is used to experiencing normal seasonal weather, and the temperature of the ocean is 16 degrees centigrade in the summer and zero in the winter, then you won't really see what the fuss is about. The Gulf of Thailand will be around 27-28 degrees centigrade, and you'll still feel like you're getting into a tepid bath. It's only people that live here, who have acclimatised that will be shivering at the end of their dive, and it'll be your job to tell them to take that cup of concrete and harden up! Yes, it's going to rain a lot, and it will be windy, so maybe a good idea to have a towel or something for between dives, but you're used to rain and wind back home anyway, and one does tend to get wet when one goes diving! 
Because of the weather we may be limited to the dive sites we can go to, and the visibility won't be as good as it normally is here. But if you really want to learn how to dive, these are actually good conditions to get you used to what diving might be like in the Atlantic ocean off the East coast of the US, the West coast of Canada or anywhere in the UK- minus the currents. Doing your open water or advanced course during monsson will quite simply make you into a very competent good diver. Anyway, if last year is anything to go by, we will have lots of instructors as busy as ever, moaning that they don't have the time to spend the entire month of November spending all their wages in the bar!

Friday, 25 October 2013 06:45

October 26th 2013

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Serious fun
dmt-specs300x225It's been a busy week for the boys at Big Blue Tech. Ian and James have been teaching our divemaster trainees (DMTs) their SSI deep, wreck, and nitrox specialities, and James is now teaching the TDI advanced wreck course with intern Blake. Great fun to teach, and be taught, the SSI specialities are really useful for recreational divers, and essential for anyone training to beccome a dive professional.. just like our DMTs! Being certified to dive to 40 metres will leave nowhere off-limits to you as a recreational diver. There are't many things more annoying to a fun diver than being told there's a lion fish that lives at 35m on a dive site, but you're unable to go because you are an advanced diver, certified to dive to 30m. The deep speciality provides you with knowledge and experience on diving deeper and staying safe, and goes into more detail on proper ascent practices.
Nitrox is a breathing gas that has a higher percentage of air compared with conventional air in a scuba tank. This also means that you can stay deeper for longer than on normal air, but you need to be trained how to use it safely. The wreck speciality is useful because wrecks are quite simply very cool.. do you need anything more than that!?
The SSI wreck speciality will teach you how to dive safely around a ship wreck and get the most out of any wreck dive. There's nothing like descending down the line and suddenly out of nowhere the HTMS Sattakut appears in front of you, covered in marine life, dying to be photographed!
 
advanced-wreckIf you get the bug for wreck diving, then technical diving may be the next step for you. As hinted in the name of the course, it gives you advanced techniques for navigating around and inside wrecks, and teaches you how do deal with issues you may encounter such as zero visibility, entanglement and entrapment. Pretty serious stuff. You would need to have done some prior technical dive training, but we can provide that for you too!- Intro to tech, advanced nitrox, and decompression procedures. Of all the TDI courses though, advanced wreck is the most fun. Blake, our current intern is really testing himself, but also having a lot of fun along the way. At the end of the course he'll know all the dangers involved with diving wrecks, know how to avoid or minimise them, but crutually, also know how to deal with them. For more information about recreational specialities, contact us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information on technical dive training, including advanced wreck, contact us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

Thailand-eshark-project300x188Shark monitoring project in Thailand
Shark Guardian is asking for help from all Thailand-based dive centres to get their staff and customers involved with a shark surveying roject. From November 2013 until 30th Aptil 2014, they are asking that people undertake the following easy steps:

Step 1: Dive, snorkel and explore the reefs of Thailand
Step 2: Report your shark observations to the eShark database, even if no sharks were observed!
Step 3: If possible, report all your past Thailand dive logs into the eShark database including your shark observations
PLEASE NOTE: No shark sightings is also very important to record!

The information will then be collated and used to raise awareness of declining shark populations in Thailand, to the general public, Thai government and the Department of Marine Coastal Resources (DMCR) of Thailand. Additionally, to help improve protected marine parks with the aim of creating shark sanctuaries. The identification of shark species and areas is also an important step in determining the best method for recovery and protection.
So it would be great if all dive resorts in Koh Tao, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan could get involved and make it easy for their fun divers to record what they do or don't see. For more information have a look at the Thailand eshark project's website here.

 

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