Marcel has taken Sonia & Sanna away for a couple of days of private lessons. Thats what I like about the SSI Crossover Course. Its so much more personal! He'll whisper sweet nothings in their ears, he'll buy them lunch, watch a movie with them, & take them out in the afternoon for a bit of recreational playtime in the sun & sea. Tonight he'll probably have dinner with them over a glass of sparkling Singha. He'll do this for 2 days sometimes 3, leading them on that bit further & then when he feels he has shown them all he can he'll release his new SSI swans out into the real world supporting them everystep of the way. The SSI Crossover Course with Marcel... it leaves PADI panting!!Divemaster Dan reckons he has found 2 very new & welcome members to Koh Tao's already wide & varied marine life! The Indo Pacific Lionfish! Pretty much everything about this fish says, "Don't touch!". The venom of the lionfish, delivered via an array of up to 18 needle-like dorsal fins, is purely defensive. The Lionfish is also called the dragon fish, scorpion fish & Rambo Fish because it relies on camouflage and lightning-fast reflexes to capture prey. Good find Dan! Did you manage to locate the Rambo Fishes dynamite keg?As you know we at Big Blue like to keep on top of recent trends & fashion statements & it appears that this years bronze brown is actually pale white! There is a new report out stating that sunscreen is damaging our reefs! Even minute amounts of sunscreen can greatly increase the effect of dormant viruses in corals and cause bleaching. Since about 25% of the sunscreen applied washes into the sea within the first 20 minutes of swimming, very large amounts can be present in some of the more popular diving/snorkeling area's around the world. So don't slip slop slap if you are getting in the sea. Put on your fisherman trousers, your longsleeved shirt & silly sunhat! That's this summers look!The Hard Corals, Hydrocorals: Fire & Lace Corals, Mushroom Corals,Soft Corals,Stoloniferans, Gorgonians, Sea Pens, Zoanthids: Polyps and Colonial Anemones all think it's a great look too!
Man that was awesome! Possibly not so awesome if you were out on the boat this morning but for us sitting in the restaurant when that storm kicked in it was aawesome! In almost 9 years of living in Koh Tao that was the biggest storm I've ever experienced here. Actually anywhere. That was a proper mini cyclone. Fizz beach lounge lost a few roof tiles, so did we, & then the laundry line on the roof of our AC building broke because the support gave & went numchucking its way over to our water tanks & sliced off the faucet so gallons of water immediatley flooded out. Awesome! Just hope those poor bastards on the Full Day trip feel the same way!Congratulations Filip! He's finally, after all these years, gone and broken his cherry! Yesterday Filip dived with a whaleshark for the 1st time. Its always a great feeling to dive with one of these magnificent creatures. And for these magnificent creatures its also very nice for them to dive with a Belgium! Its so rare theses 2 species encounter! Unlike the Austrians! Church had 4 dives with a whaleshark yesterday! He reckons out of the 16 hours he was awake for yesterday he spent more time with a whaleshark than anyone else all day! Yeah alright Church! If you 2 are going to get quite so close maybe you ought to get a room!Big big thankyou for everyone who came to our fundraiser for the Biorock. Special thanks to Helen & Dan & an enormous bout of gratitude to Gary Hawkes of Scuba Schools International Thailand who very kindly donated the showpiece of the raffle a very nice Vypertec Nitrox Dive Computer, worth 18000 Bt. & I'm so pleased Caz, who together with Donna & Mer did such a great job going round & collecting money for the Raffle, won the computer. Our target was to raise only 10000 bt & together we pulled in 17400 Bt! Fantastic. This Bio Rocks!
Do you remember the days when sex was safe & diving was dangerous. According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s probably shouldn't have survived, because our baby cots were covered with brightly coloured lead-based paint which was regularly chewed and licked. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles or latches on doors or cabinets, and it was fine to play with pans. When we rode our bikes, we wore no helmets, just flip-flops and fluorescent 'spokey dokeys' on our wheels. As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or airbags and riding in the front passenger seat - or the boot - was a treat. We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle, and it tasted the same. We ate chips, bread and butter pudding, and drank fizzy juice with sugar in it, but were never overweight because we were always outside playing. We shared one drink with four friends - from one bottle or can - and no one actually died from it. We would spend several hours building go-carts out of scraps, then go top speed down the hill, only to find out we'd forgotten the brakes. After running into a patch of stinging nettles a few times, we learned to solve the problem. We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back before dark. No one was able to reach us and no one minded. We didn't have Playstations or Xboxes - no video games at all. No 99 channels on TV, no videotape films, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no DVDs, no internet chatrooms. We had friends - we went outside and found them. We played French skipping and rounders, and sometimes that ball really hurt! We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones, but there were no law suits. We played Knock Down Ginger and were actually afraid of the owners catching us. We walked to friends' homes. We also, believe it or not, walked to school; we didn't rely on Mummy or Daddy to drive us to school, as it was just round the corner. We made up games with sticks and tennis balls. We rode bikes in packs of seven and wore our coats by only the hood. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of they actually sided with the law.And something else to put a smile on your face...
The majority of students in universities today were born in 1986. The Uptown Girl they know is by Westlife not Billy Joel. They have never heard of Rick Astley, Bananarama, Neneh Cherry or Belinda Carlisle. For them, there has always been only one Germany and one Vietnam. AIDS has existed since they were born. CDs have existed since they were born. Michael Jackson has always been white. To them, John Travolta has always been round in shape and they can't imagine how this fat guy could ever have been a god of dance. They believe that Charlie's Angels and Mission Impossible are films from the past ten years. They can never imagine life before computers. They'll never have pretended to be the A-Team, the Dukes of Hazzard or the Famous Five. They can't believe a black and white television ever existed. And they will never understand how we could leave the house without a mobile phone.The Full Moon Party always makes me feel so old! Huh! The youth of today! Welcome to Koh Tao Full Moon Party People!
Sunday 20th July 2008
I've been walking around all morning with a smile on my face cos I just found out someone else has a worse middle name than I do! And the funny thing is I've known this person ages & only just found out today, & I'm still smiling! Redvers! Brilliant. What god awful deed did you do Deano that invited such wrath from your own folks! Redvers! Genius name. You got to give it to the Welsh. They've got a wicked sense of humour!Well we're pretty busy & with all these injuries going on at Big Blue with Instructors & DM's falling over so often I have decided to bring in someone slightly healthier & more reliable than our present batch of unreliable unhealthy Instructors! & I think its about time too! Especially with this particular person because she's been with us so long but never officially worked for us. Well today Yvonne got her Staff T-shirts! Pretty much a done deal after that! Nice one Yvonne! Its wonderful to have you on the team at last! Ja!In Byron Bay Australia, one very lucky grey nurse shark was rescued from a slow and agonising death after divers found it with a fishing gaff embedded in it's throat. Three divers had to descend 14 metres to lasso the injured fish which was fortunately very docile from her injury. She was then maneuvered in to a perspex triangle tube and hauled on board, before being contained in a 4000-litre tank and flipped on her back to induce a deep sleep. A Sea World veterinarian then removed the hooked instrument from her gullet during a two-hour operation. Before being released back in to the water she was tagged and given antibiotics & she is now believed to be in good health. Aah what a sweet story. Redvers! Ha! Sorry!
Saturday 19th July 2008
So the Beijing Olympics starts soon & you can really tell too cos it seems most Beijingers are here in Koh Tao. Oodles of them lining up to do their Open Water Diver courses to take away as they are all off to the Full Moon Party tonight & then coming back tomorrow! Since China has started to be a little less bolshy the Chinese people are really going out & having some fun. Its good to see too! Just wish they could swim before they learn to dive though!Guys please! Don't be a monkey! We do not give free anything to anyone (especially not in peak season). We sell quality diving courses & give excellent customer service. If a shop that tells you they'll give you something for nothing do you honestly believe it or do you start to hear alarm bells! Don't fall for it! You are all way too pretty & intelligent to be sucker punched like that! & then if you do end up on the other side of the island cos you got 'tempted' & realised it was all a big con I hope you don't expect a free Taxi! Petrol doesn't grow on trees you know! Even in paradise!Hydro Physio is a company based in England that has developed an underwater treadmill for exercise enthusiasts, as well as those in rehabilitation or training.
Using hydrotherapy treatment, this product combines water exercising with the benefits of using a treadmill. How silly is that! Dah! Haven't you ever heard of swimming pools in England!
Friday 18th July 2008
One Red Hot & Dutch man came back to us today! Welcome back Marcel. He's been, he's gone, he came back then left & now he's here again before he's off at the end of the season for a while before he leaves to return later! Marcel is an SSI Instructor Trainer & PADI Instructor & is here to whip our DM Training into shape. We pride ourselves on our DM Courses here & enjoy a good reputation for them as well so our present DMT's are in for a real treat... if they like windmills, weak lager, orange clothes, porn, weed, wooden shoes & tulips!Thought we'd grab the opportunity while its quiet to educate ourselves a little more. And isn't Steve a lucky boy! Steve Reid Koh Tao's number 1 Diving Doctor is here teaching 7 of our lovely ladies doing their Divemaster course with us how to provide first aid & Oxygen in the unlikely event a diver in distress needs it. Does that mean you have to practise mouth to mouth 7 times Steve? Or do you just get the girls to do it to each other?
Excuse me I think I need a cold shower!For the last 3 years, the local community have been testing the applicability of BioRock technology on Koh Tao. We have observed dramatic improvements in coral health and biodiversity, and fish abundance in the area on and around the BioRock. Now with this success the Save Koh Tao Group and the local community of Dive Schools and businesses have decided to construct a larger BioRock that will act to improve the health of our reefs and reduce the damages caused by SCUBA diving on natural areas. The construction is set for September 2008, and fundraising efforts are already underway. We have an electrolyte box in our dive shop. All proceeds are going to this project so thanks Big Bluers we're raising about 1500 Bt per month & we haven't even started trying to raise money yet! Great job Barry!
Thursday 17th July 2008
Koh Tao is closed today. Its that time of the month when everything in Koh tao turns into a slow limbo. Like Sundays in Eastbourne! The helter skelter mad rush of the pre Full Moon Party has now turned into a slow gentle draft of wishy washy confused wanderers wondering where everyone went! Don't worry. Give it a couple of days & they'll all be back! With mates! For now everyone enjoy the peace. Aah... Serenity.Thanks to Greenfins for giving us a lecture last night on how to help save the reef. Pretty important for us as divers to get involved with reef protection especially as there are reports circulating the press at the moment that Scuba Diving tourism is responsible for alot of reef damage around the world. I can believe that scuba tourism has had some effect on the worlds reefs but I think saying a lot might be going a bit far. Divers are very aware of the damage they can cause if their buoyancy aint right! Anyway Greenfins are out assessing us this afternoon on the boat to see what kind of harmful footprint we are placing on Koh Tao. Ooh scarey! Its a little like being audited or having the health Inspector round. Sure everything will be right tho cos we got Hells Bells our Eco bitch on the case!Finding Nemo! Despite the content of the movie public demand for clownfish as pets tripled. Protection activists regard this as a catastrophe as the species is already facing the threat of extinction due to a reduction of its natural habitat (coral reefs). It is also feared that people may have attempted to send fish back into the open sea by flushing them down the toilet as demonstrated in the film; unfortunately, they will not be able to survive the the sewage system. Funny that as they feed mostly on copepods and mysids, the undigested excrement from their host anemones! Aah cute.
Wednesday 16th July 2008
Apparently things happen in 3's! So we should have realised when Deano dislocated his shoulder last week that there was more to follow! Simo has broken his arm & Swappey came in this morning with a broken collarbone! Bunch of unco's! I think they'll all be Ok but I'm sure they are all ina lot of pain! Actually apparently Simo has fractured his Ulna! I thought 'Ulna' was the expletive one uses when one sits on something pointy! Hope you all get better boys!So we lose some & we win some! Welcome back Dan from your 2 week sojourn around the Aegean islands & I'm catching wind that our favourite flying Dutchman has just touched down in BKK & will be back with us soon. How exciting. & to top it all off today is Ricks Birthday so everyone is off to Victoria tonight to tuck in to some rare Hawaiian delcacies of Swedish meatballs & smoked Salmon! Welcome back Dan & Marcel & Happy ??th Bday Rick!Just going to top all this good news off with a bit of even better news. I am sooooo happy about this one! I'm sure you all know Mo, our fantastic Equipment boy from Burma. Well he just won the Thai lottery! Luckily for me he's not going to quit his job as its not a million but its enough! He's just won himself a years salary & if you know Mo it couldn't have happened to a better man! Congratulations Mo. Just think of all that large Chang you can buy your boss now!
Tuesday 15th July 2008
A very sad scene at Chumphon the last few days, as huge fishing nets have been dropped over half of the dive site. Most of the net was cut and many fish were rescued yesterday by divers but today there were still lots of fusiliers and rabbit fish still stuck. Well done those of you who did save the life of those poor little fishies!.While on the subject of protecting the underwater world Big Blue is being joined by Greenfins tomorrow evening at 6pm to talk about a very important subject that we believe strongly in; Reef Conservation.
We will also be offering a free dive to those of you who participate so anybody interested in protecting our reef and fish come down and join us.
Sunday, July 13th 2008
There are 2 particular beasts who visit Koh Tao from time to time, and both returned yesterday.They are both seasonal and come in only when the tides are right.
The first of the two beasts is yet another Whaleshark.Well, the truth is it may be the same one we’ve been seeing for the past few days, but some people are insisting it’s a bit bigger, so it may be yet another one.I think one of the most common questions people ask about Koh Tao is “when is Whaleshark season?”I used to have an answer.It was always kind of accepted that around February and around November was the best time to see them.At least that’s what I’d been told – I never read it anywhere.But after having worked here for 4 years I’ve come to one conclusion:The Whalesharks come when they feel like it.Last year we had so many sightings that I started keeping a record in my log book of every time one was spotted around Koh Tao. With the help of other dive shops I compiled a pretty complete list.There were 32 sightings last year, with at least 2 in each month.The longest we ever went without seeing one was 17 days.I haven’t tracked this year so far, but I think it was 5 weeks since the last sighting until these recent ones.But overall Koh Tao is a pretty consistent good bet for finding Whalesharks – just if they feel like dropping by.
The other beast that returned was the BeerRaft.BeerRafting is a Big Blue tradition which dates back to sometime around the middle ages.The idea is simple: when the tide is high enough at 5pm, we all grab beers and go drink in the water.A pyramid system of buying beers used to be a fun game to throw in to the mix.In this system the first 2 rafters would buy their own beers.Any person then joining would have to buy their own beer, PLUS beers for anyone else in the water.Heaven help you if you were number 16 to get in.But once everyone was in and finished with their beers, it was up to the first 2 to buy a round.However, by that time, theoretically everyone has had anywhere upwards of 15 beers and probably cant stand anyway. The name BeerRaft came from the fact that we used to have a cheap plastic raft that could perfectly hold 21 beer bottles. It was like a little table we’d congregate around.Nowadays, the actual raft has been abandoned in favor of using BCDs, which end up being the most perfect aquatic armchair – a use I’m sure the inventors of this piece of scuba gear never imagined. Last night marked the return of the high evening tides and our first BeerRaft of ’08. It started with 4 people and grew to about 20 by dark. I can’t show the photos from late night as they’re just too incriminating.
So come join us for a BeerRaft anytime in the next few months. As long as the tide is up, we’ll be out there. But as for the Whalesharks, you’ll just have to come by and try your luck.
1-day Introduction, 4-6 persons 3000 bath.
2.5-day intense course, 4 persons 8000 bath.
2.5-day intense 4-6 persons 6000 bath
Then you can have crazy photos like this to impres the chicks too!
So as we wake up his morning to a simply stunning day in paradise during this strange rainy season, we here of yet another sighting of the big blue fish with white spots, this time at Twins. Amazing what you see even when you are snorkeling.So congratulations to our newbie DMT on completing her motorbike stunt speciality certification. Welcome to the club Kirsty, hope you heel well and the 17 stitches you have will do the job. You see everyone, wear a crash helmet when you drive, safety 1st or you could just stay in the ocean and play with fishies, far more appealing and far more safer i think.So as i have just been strolling down Sairee beach with my stunt buddy, we see many tourist from all walks of life topping up their tans and getting themselves ready for the party tonight hosted by our friends at Goodtime Adventures (nice plug there) with a BBQ and dress code. With coconuts and limbo games in mind, i'm sure there will be enough racks of ribs on the go for everyone to sink thier teeth into so why not join the fun.
Its been clear for ages & now I think its high time we are going t o do something about it. We need more rooms. I don't quite know how we are going to afford them or where we are going to put them. We got no room either side of us or behind us so the only place we can expand out towards is the sea. And I read somewhere that some stupidly rich sheikh in Dubai was making the first Underwater Hotel & that he was looking for more destinations in which to build a chain of underwater hotels around the world. Well I'd like to put our names in the hat please Mr Stupidly Rich Sheikh, build your underwater hotel here at Big Blue. We got reefs of room!Double diving at Chumphon Pinnacle this afternoon. Always a winner that trip. It's a full boat, of course, with lots of shark hunters & shark virgins alike. Of course there's every chance of a whaleshark this afternoon as well cos Filip isn't on the trip! Good luck people. Keep your eyes out for Black tips, Grey Reefs & Bull Sharks & the most dangerous of all - the Titan trigger shark!Oops Deano you daft donkey! Very annoying news for Deano today is he's gone and dislocated his shoulder again. After hopping aboard Banzai Deano somehow managed to let his arm slip out its socket. But luckily Deano is first aid trained & has also seen Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon so knew just what to do. He smacked his shoulder with some ferocity hard against a tree till it miraculously found its way back in. & then he defeated the bad guys & made off with some hot chick into the sunset, after he'd signed his students log books!
Happy Independance Day to our American Friends!
I am sitting with a gun to my head by a kiwi who is making me write this entry. I'm a little shakey and a little nervous, having to follow Simo's entry yesterday.Not only do we have celebs from Neighbors staying with us, but yesterday our very own Lord of the Rings star, Gollum, returned from the garlic crunching baguette bashing land armed with fine wine, cheese and saucicons, oh and a big shiny tight ring stuffed down his blue and white striped trousers. Good to have you back G, we have a special dish on the menu for you, 'amburgers!!!The Diving right now is superb, the visibility is 20+ metres, turtles and whaleshark sightingsand the sharks are definatley back at Chumphon Pinacle again. It makes waking up at 6am in the morning almost pleasurable, just the thought of seeing the sharks up close, and even more so the possibility of the whaleshark sneaking up behind you.
Well, where to start? Cigarette smoking is a terrible addiction and the Big Blue team collectively agreed to give them up for good over a few beers at Dragon Bar. After almost an entire day of abstinence myself, Nora, Hal and Laleh made a healthy, informed, democratic decision to get back on nicotine as soon as possible - it took about 30 seconds. Not everyone crumbled like a Rich Tea biscuit held just that bit too long in a cup of tea, take Jimbo, for instance, he came off ciggies at the same time as us, not because he wanted to, you understand, but just to annoy us, just to show us how easily he could do it, thereby downgrading our own struggle. Sneaky mucker, don't you think? (Thanks Irvine ;)) And now, we move to to the forfeit. Don't ask me what I have to do, I can't talk about it, rest assured it involves a journey through the seven circles of hell, an ordeal so diabolical I can't believe I suggested it in the first place - ah well, I fully intend to welch (or 'Welsh', get it?) on the bet, they can't make me do it, can they? Maybe Jim can....bugger.DMT News
Caz is starstruck at the moment because we've got Brett (Fitzy) and EJ (Jenae)from Neighbours diving with us, she's too shy to speak to them and has resorted to taking sneaky photos of them through the shop window and then running away blushing. Caz was hoping to spend the whole afternoon on the boat with them today, doing surface cover of all things, and has just found out they cancelled!Mer is unhappy now because we have a new 'Mer' started her DMT here - real name 'Mercedes' (with a 'th'), from Bar'th'elona, guess we'll have to mangle her Dutch name now, apparently, if you mispronounce Margo it sounds like 'Dirty Bitch', in Dutch! Fantastic! We have another Barcelona girl started too, Mireia, and she is currently having her name mangled into 'Maria' 'Marina' etc she's kind of hot, even Ali Pancake Man went crazy over her and started throwing plastic chairs at her boyfriend.Kirsty claims she hardly had any booze last night at Lotus Bar despite missing the boat for her Deep Specialty this morning. Belgian Instructor Filip was incandescent with rage, as only a Belgian can be. I definitely saw a raised eyebrow and a muscle twitched in his cheek - watch out Kirsty he's gonna blow!So in a final tribute to the scotsman -
Choose perfect sunsets, gentle sea breezes, white sandy beaches, clear blue water and girls in bikinis.Choose Big Blue Diving (with extra cheeeeese ;)S
Tuesday 1st July 2008-
My sincerest apologies to all of you who have been trying to make contact with us by internet over the past few days. Although a tropical island paradise Koh Tao does have its occasions of unreliability. Which is why we don’t have big name chain hotels here! Power supply is expensive & unreliable, phone connections & signals can be too, & of course that effects our internet connection. So this week we have been mostly having no connection & I’m sure for those of you trying to contact us it must be extremely frustrating. So for that I apologise but I promise you it’s frustrating the pants off me too! But it’s still better than having big name chain hotels here! So roll on unreliability!Another day in paradise. The sun well & truly has its hat on today! It looks a little freaky as there is a beautiful rainbow ring all around it. Like something out of Star Wars! In fact if you look down the beach & see all the people looking up at the sun! Drive through town even the locals are looking up & pointing for others to look up. It feels a little sci-fi! We’ve all seen the halo around the sun before but it always looks like a bright ring. Today there is a very visible perfectly circular rainbow ring right around the sun. Looks like a rainbow sombrero!Nice to see, well hear, there was a Whaleshark at Chumphon this morning. Would have been nice to see as well but for some reason the only people who did see it today were the Captain & the boatboys! Sorry about that divers but we hope we will be able to rectify the problem when we head out tomorrow afternoon for 2 dives at Chumpers! Don’t forget for all you lucky divers who have seen a whale shark before how extremely lucky you have been. Did you know Jacques Cousteau dived for 20 years before he saw his first Whaleshark! Don’t worry Filip. Only another 14 years to go!