Big Blue Diving - Koh Tao - Thailand - News 2016
News 2016

News 2016 (16)

Tuesday, 23 August 2016 12:18

Time To Get The Kids Involved

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Tuesday 23rd August 2016junioropenwaterdiver

Another successful Swim for Sharks this year. Our very own Nick Bufton came first in the men’s section, narrowly being pipped as overall winner by a girl, but we won’t hold that against him! Simon Garrity came in 10th. It was not an easy swim this year big waves and a huge rainstorm made it very difficult for the swimmers. Swimming caps off to them all. Well done guys and for everyone else who participated in the swim, the shark fin head shaving, the Shark Guardian Team where here again selling many t-shirts, vests and sweatshirt all for a fantastic cause.

August is nearly over and soon the kids will be back at school, so if you are still in Thailand and you have the kids with you bring them along and they can do their Junior Open Water Course. The minimum age for the certification is 10 years old and they are able to dive to 12 metres and once they turn 12 they are then able to dive to 18 metres, which is the normal depth limit for an Open Water certification. The course covers exactly the same as the usual course, but still being at school and having brains that are sponges, the theory is super easy for them. All we ask is that they are able to swim 200 metres and can float or tread water for 10 minutes.

Introducing younger divers to the underwater environment will give them a greater understanding of the impact we are having on the oceans and how important it is to respect our seas. It also helps to quash the misconception the media has put into our minds about sharks, movies like Jaws, Sharknado and The Shallows don’t do the poor creatures much justice. Even Shark Week has slowly turned into “when sharks attack!” instead of explaining why this may be happening. Lack of natural food sources caused by over fishing and the disgusting shark fin black market are making them even more vulnerable than ever, and without these apex predators our seas will die, which in turn means we die.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016 10:33

Very Funny Story Today

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Wednesday 10th August 2016engaged

We have a funny story for you today, it was too good not to share.

Once upon a time on a beautiful island in the Gulf of Thailand one of our instructors Reiss was taking a group of divers on a one day Try Scuba Dive, this group consisted of a couple Mike and Kim, and also another lady call Jessica. Mike had mentioned to Reiss that he wanted to pop the question to his girlfriend Kim while diving. Reiss was more than accommodating and was all ready to helping with the romantic gesture. ‘Will You Marry Me?’ was written on a slate and Mike had the ring all ready. Reiss found the perfect spot to kneel everybody down and gave Mike the nod to do his thing. The scene was set, down on one knee he showed the slate then the ring, to her delight she said yes!! But wait, hang on a minute my girlfriend has wearing nail polish on today, oh no! Jessica was delighted to be asked, Kim however was a bit confused! Awkward just a bit, funny hell yes. Luckily Kim saw the funny side and had Mike ask again! Jessica even gave him the ring back so he could give it to the proposed fiancé. Matching wetsuits, matching masks and snorkels it can be easy to get mixed up! HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Mike and Kim who are now successfully engaged. Now that is a story for the groom’s speech!

We also had a celebrity’s daughter learning to dive with us, Carlie Huthart. After a lot of digging and questions she finally dropped her Mums name and we were then in awe. Those British people who read this and are over 20 may remember the Saturday night TV show Gladiators, where athletic competitors took on the Gladiators in various physical games. The Winner in 1994 was a Scouser called Eunice Huthart, and was very famous for her win back in the day. She even went on to BE a Gladiator called Blaze. Eunice became a stunt woman and has been working with Angelina Jolie for years, including Mr and Mrs Smith, Salt, Malificent and a number of other films. Pretty cool hey!

Friday, 29 July 2016 11:48

High Season Begins With Whalesharks

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Friday 29th July 2016whaleshark

We have had some very lucky divers this last week or so with a large number of Whaleshark sightings. Students completing their Open Water and Advanced Courses and a number of fundivers. Southwest Pinnacle and Chumphon Pinnacle have been graced with these harmless and beautiful fish. Yet the very sad truth is that over the next few years these may be some of the last time we may be seeing them.

As of march 2016 the largest fish in the ocean the Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) has been declared endangered and added to the IUCN Rest List of Endangered Animals. The Whale Shark has been listed in a number of international conventions and agreements. The species is included in Annex I (Highly Migratory Species) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Bonn Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) in 1999 and recently the Whale Shark was listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 2002.

This has not made as bigger impact on the species as some would hope and numbers are still dropping rapidly. The IUCN states ‘Directed fisheries and significant bycatch fisheries have targeted areas where high densities of Whale Sharks occur, leading to rapid reductions in catch per unit effort (CPUE) measures. Some bias toward juvenile Whale Shark-dominated aggregations are present in trend data; in the absence of information on other life-stages, these trends are inferred to be representative of population-level declines. While a number of commercial fisheries for the species closed during the 1990–2000s, Whale Shark products remain valuable and the species is still commonly caught in some countries.’

As we are fast approaching our busiest time of the year please be sure to book online using our booking form to avoid disappointment on accommodation spaces.

Saturday, 02 July 2016 14:38

Welcome Back and Farewell

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Saturday 2nd July 2016dm challenge

Well what an interesting week England has had!! Out of the EU, out of the football Euros (no real surprise there though!) England did however smash the Aussies 3-0 in Australia! On the 4th July we will be starting an SSI Instructor Crossover, to celebrate your own Independence Day, a change to increase your employment opportunities and invest in your future as a diving professional. Now that we have Simo back with us you can contact him directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to book, we still have a few more spaces left.

We had another round of Divemasters finish up their professional training and complete their ‘optional’ Challenge. The theme was Underwater and our guests Anouk, Weikeat, Andre, Grant and Sean came dressed in fantastic costumes. With Simo being back on the mike again we were expecting some great insults and abuse and we were not disappointed, except Weikeat who is quite possibly the nicest, most lovely man you could ever meet and he just couldn’t give him abuse, so he laid into the other 4 instead!!

We are also saying goodbye to 2 of our Instructors who have been given an amazing opportunity to work at another dive centre. Mini Ant has taken on the role as Operations Manager and Tim will be his Instructor Trainer & Head Instructor. A sad day for Big Blue but we wish them all the best and good luck for the new challenges. Not to worry though they spend their time out of work in the bar here anyway so we don’t actually get rid of them completely!

Sunday, 26 June 2016 17:06

World Record Attempt Smashed

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Sunday 26th June 2014june26th

What a week it’s been, we are only just recovering from the epic episode of Games of Thrones! And the last one is out today ooooh! Then we had the Guinness Book of World Records here to see us break to record of the most number of people holding wrists for 10 minutes, the chain of over 2800 people went from one end of Sairee Beach all the way to Big Blue Diving and back again. We then had Manou and Phil on the big stage representing Big Blue Diving for this year’s Mr & Mrs Koh Tao, Manou won the Best Rising Star after an amazing effort on her costume from Steph and Sunna. The following night saw our dive staff entertain with ‘Always Look on the Green Side of Life’ show. After weeks of rehearsals and costume making, we had the seal of approval from our very own Superstar Neil Draycott, so it must have been good.

Thank you to everyone who took part and got involved you all did Big Blue proud. Then it was work as usual going out diving and certifying new Open Water Divers.

This week also saw Scuba Junctions’ Natalie Alderton join us to complete her Sidemount Course that she won at the Isla Diver Fundraiser a few weeks back. Jai ‘Meer-cat’ Kennedy took her out on our Tech boat to show her the ropes and was the model student. Well Done Nat and we will see you when you come back to do you full tech courses with us.

Friday, 17 June 2016 13:15

Save Koh Tao Rehearsals In Full Swing

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Friday 17th June 2016rehearsals

Every year around this time the islands coconut grove is turned into the site for the Save Koh Tao Festival. This is directly opposite Big Blue Diving’s entrance. The event see’s big Thai bands coming over to perform over 2 nights, we have the turtle releasing and giant clam placements. The community get together to raise awareness for the need to protect and preserve this beautiful islands conservation. Beach clean ups and underwater clean ups are a big part of the event. Passing on the message that if we come here to work or play we need to respect the natural beauty and leave it how we found it.

This year a Guinness World Record will be attempted with the largest number of people holding hands on Sairee Beach. Giving an underlying message that working together is easier than working alone. Koh Tao is hoping to have over 2000 people take part and well as stewards making sure that the line isn’t broken while the record is been checked. It’s not every day you can say you are in the Guinness Book of World Records now is it?

Big Blue Diving will be up on stage taking part in the Mr and Mr Koh Tao event with our very own Phil and Manou. We will also be performing a different version of a popular Monty Python song with a very important message. Thank you in advance for all of those who have helped in making the costumes, the people who have worked long and hard to come up with show, the rehearsals, the music, the video. Quite a few beers were consumed during the preparation which just made it even more fun.

Tuesday 7th June 2016isla event

Slightly different post today, yes we are a dive school and we want you to come a learn to dive and experience our underwater world, but the big thing that makes us Big Blue is the island and the community that is part of it. And I have to say I have never been so proud to be part of the Koh Tao community. I have never met a more generous and giving and loving group of people anywhere I have worked. Let me explain..

Big blue diving held a fundraiser event for a cause which is very very close to our ours hearts, the theme was pink for Isla Diver and we had 15 incredible prize bundles to be given away. The average cost per bundle was around 30,000 baht. The prizes and the evening was organised by Matt Waters and it went off with a humongous bang. The bar and restaurant was decorated with pink ribbons, we had prizes for the best pink princess (which of course turned out to be male). The night kicked off with a very moving video which was compiled by our Big Blue Movies Boss Wayne, there was not a dry eye in sight. Simon Garrity was our compare for the evening and he managed to keep his jokes in check for the younger children that were present.

All of our staff had come dressed in pink outfits and one particular male dive master who we thought was missing from the night had genuinely been ignored by us because we thought he was a lady that we didn't know, even Erin complimented him/ her on his/her handbag being nicer than hers without realising who it was!

We expected to have around 450 people to join in but were blown away when we counted 600 people from all over the island representing many other dive centres.

In total we have managed to raise an unbelievably staggering 1,500,000 baht, that's 1.5 million baht. For everyone who donated prizes ranging from Similan liveaboards to food and drink vouchers, dive courses, GoPros, clothing, framed prints, nights in luxury villas to say a few. More importantly thank you for everyone who bought raffle tickets, came wearing pink and stayed partying till the very end to make this an event we will never forget.

We all thank you from the bottom of our Big Blue Hearts.

Now if you want to be part of something special Koh Tao is the island to be and we can also teach you to dive.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016 18:05

Catch Up Time...

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11th May 2016sj simon ruth

Sorry it’s been a long time overdue. I won’t make excuses even though there are some.

What has happened since I last wrote…?

Sawadee Pee Mai everyone, Happy Thai New Year. Traditionally celebrated as a water festival, over the years instead of a gentle sprinkle of water for luck and a paste put on your face, the day has become a mass of water pistols firing ice cold water at everyone you can see who is dry. Koh Tao is no exception. The day at Big Blue begins straight away for those not working. And those that are working come back in on the morning long tails to a full on assault from all and sundry. This year we had attacks from evil super soakers who came to the boats to start the carnage, but we were ready....armed with our own water guns and ice water...mwahaha! We were lucky that the sun was out all day which melted most of the ice, unlike last year when it rained nonstop! And everyone was freezing...yes we can get cold in tropical Thailand.

This Songkran has seen the return of a few old Big Blue faces. Big Canadian Paul returned after being away for 6 years, Jo and Kelly have been back to join the festivities along with Deano and Tech Ian. As ever the conversations start as if they had never left in the first place. And a few sore heads the following morning.

We also have a few new SSI Instructors who have just started there internship, we congratulate Simon, Sjoerd (SJ) and Ruth. They passed with flying colours and a very happy Iain and Tim joined in with the celebrations. Now it’s time to go to work shadowing some of our experienced instructors on the logistics of teaching courses before they are unleashed into the diving world to start teach their own underwater babies.

Sunday, 20 March 2016 11:18

DMT's join the 100th dive club in style

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Sunday 20th March 2016poker

Some of our DMTs recently had 100th dive, which is a great achievement in such a short time during their training. To celebrate this dive they decided to have a game of underwater poker.  Complete with table, chair, cards and money they dropped down and posed for a few pictures, they also followed the typical dive community tradition of that 100th dive and the proof is in the picture. Welcome to the 100 club, keep going and let’s see what you can come up with for your 1000th.

Everyone who works here has decided that March would be the best month to go on their holibobs; they thought Europe would be lovely this time of year, so they  booked it, packed it and popped off the to the airport. Meanwhile, here on the beautiful tropical island paradise of Koh Toa the weather is sweltering. The water is clear and no sign of snow or rain to be seen. But with special goodies and treats being brought back they will be forgiven for leaving the rest us to pick up the slack.

Our shop has had another update with nice shiny windows and ac, no more wind blowing the papers everywhere and the dogs are all outside sunning on the beach. No more sleeping in the ice box room for Ernie Dog.  Along with this we have added an extensive retail section ranging from our infamous t-shirts and water coolers to dive masks, dive site maps and a whole plethora of diving nik- naks. Like sweets are to children and tank banger and reels are to divers….happy shopping.DMT's

Thursday, 25 February 2016 18:43

Koh Tao A Slice Of Heaven On Earth

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Thursday 25th February 2016BARACUDAS

People often ask why Koh Tao is so good for diving in the Gulf of Thailand. First of all Koh Panghan and Koh Samui have maybe 2 or 3 dive sites. The vast majority of centres travel to Koh Tao to dive. Divers who go to Koh Samui realise that after their 2 hour boat ride to dive around Koh Tao and then another 2 hour ride back again, it makes more sense just to come straight to Koh Tao where the diving is on our doorstep. Our limited depths and calm conditions make it perfect for training. From your first ever breath under water on a Try Dive in one of our shallow bays to exploring wrecks at 50 metres. We are lucky to have a wide range of sites suitable for beginners and the more experienced divers looking for macro life. Having dive sites located all around Koh Tao it is always possible to find a sheltered bay if the weather is windy or wavy.

Our house reef of Sairee is home to many Saddleback Clownfish, and the dive is like an underwater dot to dot to find the anemones they call home. The 'Nemos' here are much bigger than the ones we regularly see at Twins or Green Rock. Along with a wide variety of nudibranch and colourful reef fish is has everything a shallow site needs. A staff favourite is White Rock, this large spread out site is home to many blue spotted stingrays as well as a Jenkins Ray cleaning station just off the main site. We have seen Whalesharks and turtles there, huge Barracudas feeding at night and stalking their prey during the day. These sites of perfect for Open Water courses. Then we head slightly further away to Chumphon Pinnacle. This stunning location never fails to impress even the most experienced diver. Hughes schools of travelly, snapper and barracudas of all sizes. Another favourite spot of the the Whalshark with more sightings here than any other site around Koh Tao. This is a deeper dive site which allows you to complete the 30 metre dive of your Advanced course and even head off deeper to 40 metres for your Deep Specialty. You will also see our Technical divers here on sidemount or with multiple tanks hanging off them doing decompression dive training.

If scuba diving is not your thing but you still want to explore the ocean then we can leave the tanks behind and submerge below the surface on one single breath, being one with the ocean and surrendering to all which is around you and the silence of no bubbles. Freedivers are a rare breed who have the ability to retrain everything we thought we knew about the bodies abilities whilst underwater. This course will make you see your body and it's power in a whole new light, with relaxation and breathing techniques your journey underwater is on another level completely.

Once back on land and you have dried off, you will want to unwind watching the sun drip into the horizon, chilled music and cold drinks at the North end of Sairee and then getting busier and more of the party scene further towards the South end. Or if it's sport that your into most sporting events can been seen in a many of the sports bars. The island is full of some amazing restaurants. From cheap street stalls to beautifully located restaurants that will have you wanting more.

So what are you waiting for........

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