Monday 25th August 2008
It’s a pretty amazing sight and rarely seen by non-Japanese so thank very much for letting me tag along.
Yesterday was the islands graduation day for brand new PADI instructors who have just finished their IDC/ IE.
Congratulations to Robyn, Charlie, Anna and Jade, 4 former Divemasters who all did there DMT’s together with us here last year. Well done and we all hope you have sore heads this morning!
Aew Leuk is full of surprises at the moment, the large stonefish has become a tourist attraction amongst our fundivers, along with a rare snake eel and seahorse, good find Church.
God help Big Blue right now!! Jim has left to celebrate his stag do and has taken most of the boys with him. Leaving the girls behind to run the show.
So for the next few days we will now be known as Big Pink!! We will be running wet t-shirt competition’s and jelly wrestling on the beach, so the boys who have been left behind, fancy being the judges?!
Another beautiful day on Koh Tao! Hal's beard grows in magnificence in preparation for Weird Beard Wednesday. We give a very warm welcome to our newly returned friend Simon recently recovered from a nasty broken elbow, welcome back me ole' salt!
Recently qualified and devilishly good looking instructor Charlie begins his first baby steps into the teaching world assisting his good friend Richard on a Rescue course, and he’s mighty glad to be out the classroom and back on the boats!
Koh Samui breaths a sigh of relief at the imminent return of the Big Blue stag party that has recently been paying a cultural visit sampling the island ambiance. What goes on on tour stays on tour, hey boys!
Wow!!! Night dive in Green Rock. Was the first time for everyone last night but boy was it worth it! Most of the Divemaster team and the DMTs joined in the fun for an event that we won’t forget for while. Church, him again, says he found the strangest looking crab he’d ever seen. Any pics to show us, Churchy boy? However, the most memorable feature was the strong current and the heavy surf, full moon style, on the surface after the dive. What a ride swimming back to the boat! Anybody say “Adventure dive”?
It was also DMT Sabrina and Mr. Swap’s last dive on Koh Tao for a while and a great prelude to the Divemaster challenge. Sabrina showed us her ability to perform skills like a proper Divemaster should and her air consumption was by far surpassed by her booze consumption. Way to go, babyface! Everyone took part in the celebration and as usual, the bar counter was crowded with dancers. Looks like Anna needed to get the IDC pressure off her chest because she was grooving like there was no tomorrow! Swapey “volunteered” to join in the fun. Sabrina, Swapey, so long and safe travels to both of you. Hope to see you soon on the Rock.
A lot of celebrations coming this week: First, I would like to wish a very Happy Birthday to two of our finest former DMTs, Hannah and Laura. Dinner and drinks tonight at Fizz for anyone interested. By the way, Fizz are blowing their first candle tomorrow night. And Thursday is the IE party for all the new instructors. Good luck on the examination to Robyn, Jade, Anna and Charlie. Get’em girls! Then the boys are all off to Samui for the boss’s stag. Might need a week off after that… In August, right! No break for us, the painted people hardly recovered from their full moon experience are swarming to the island as I write this. Nurse, please, I need some electrolytes!!!
Its another outstandingly beautiful day in paradise. The sun is singing, the birds are shining, there's not a breath of water, & the wind is crystal clear. Hmmm... & to top it all off as I look out my office window I can see a very attractive young lady hanging out on her balcony in just a towel! It really is another outstandingly beautiful day in paradise! Especially on the balcony of Bungalow 3!
So the last couple of days have been a nice rest (for those of us who aren't preparing a beach wedding) & now we are about to get inundated with the Party crowd. That means big groups of people all arriving at the same time all looking for the same thing & all haggling to get a cheaper price than the one they got from the guy they just spoke to. Great. Its going to get really busy. Better order a crate of Chang Extra Strength for the shop girls!
Nudibranchs are colorful little animals. They come in lots of different shapes and sizes. Nudibranchs are usually small. They can grow from less than half an inch to almost two feet. Spotted nudibranchs and clown nudibranchs grow up to eight centimeters long, but the sea lemon can, very rarely, grow up to twenty inches long. Nudibranchs eat sponges & are shell-less mollusks & are also called sea slugs. Some nudibranchs are yellow, some are orange and some are yellow with dark brown blotches, but the one Church found today was a Papal purple! & he's got the photo to prove it! Hallelujah. Great find Church! Even Team Japan were impressed!
Well Craig is obviously buttering up the ladies in the right way. I've never had so many people come up to me after a Full Day Trip telling me how great they thought their Divemaster was. I get it a lot. 'Compliments to the lads on a great job!' 'I dunno if you know but you have a great team here at Big Blue!' 'Your Dm's were excellent & I was really impressed with their professionalism'. 'Your DM was great can we borrow him for the night!'. You know the usual bag of compliments! Well done Fellas. Good work Craig. Thanks for the compliments customers!
Just been given a very alarming piece of news from our man in Germany! Klaus, just got in to Bangkok on his way to his new job on the Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia & told me that at his local swimming pool in Ingolstadt, you are not allowed to wear board shorts in the pool & are only allowed to wear speedos! Apparently boardies absorb too much water so there's a water wastage, & cos most chaps like to use their boardies as shorts as well they bring a lot of dirt & germs into the pool. The funny thing is if you go on a visa run here in Thailand & go to the Andaman club- a nice posh hotel on a private island in Burma, then to swim in their pool you are only allowed to wear speedos too! Gut im Himmel Klausie! What is the world coming to!
The infamous Full Moon parties on Koh Pha-ngan contain little more than the smoking of marijuana, says Justice Minister Suwat Liptapanlop. He recently attended a Full Moon party on the island's Hat Rin Beach, & admitted that tourists were discovered smoking the drug at the party, but said that this was because they may be 'unaware of Thai legislation'. His comments come amid a storm of controversy over the parties, which some politicians have accused of being rife with sex and drugs. Mr. Suwat said that officials would be increasingly strict in cracking down on drugs at the parties, and would carry out more thorough investigations. Despite allegations that the Full Moon parties violate Thai cultural moves, the Koh Pha-ngan tourism industry is anxious to maintain the parties, which bring in welcome tourist revenue. According to Mr. Chanchoti Phiriyasathit, president of the Koh Pha-ngan Tourism Promotion Association, the rumours of the parties being rife with sex and drugs are untrue. Telling reporters yesterday that most countries did not regard smoking marijuana as an offence, he said that signposts had been placed on the island warning tourists that they faced legal action if they smoked the drug.
You have been warned!
Well the weather is fantastic. Clear blue skies, flat calm seas, tequilla sunsets, gin clear waters, & gentle cooling breezes. Perfect conditions in which to get a sunburn. There's an awful lot of lobster coloured farang out and about at the moment. Thais think its hysterical , how we strive for the perfect tan & then walk around looking like we're embarrassed all day! Thais prefer to keep out of the sun as much as possible in order to have a paler shade of skin. They feel it makes them look more beautiful. Michael Jackson obviously isn't big over here!
I'd like to thank Hal for introducing us to the new & very exciting world of Weird Beard Wednesdays! Hal came into work on Wednesday sporting a very weird beard. I guess he was going for the 3 Musketeers kind of look but it looked more like someone had drawn a T-junction on his chin! Anyway it was a fabulous effort & it will take a lot to surpass such creative genius but I reckon those virile enough to take on the challenge will give it a damn good try. Meanwhile Hal is continuing to cultivate his growth & will be in next Wednesday sporting another impressive tuft of Norwegian weirdness!
Redvers is back! & not a moment to soon. In fact he was actually 5 minutes late. Our Open Water Courses start every day at 4pm. Its a perfect time to start as it means you can start your course the day you arrive on the island. Its a break the ice session! Meet your Instructor, meet the other guys on your course talk about what we are going to do for the next few days & then watch a movie. Possibly not the most exciting movie you've ever seen but I promise you its better than Undersiege 2! Then by 6pm its all over! & its time to sit at the bar & watch the sunset. Welcome back Deano. Isn't it nice to be back?
Very sad news today for all you old Big Bluers is that the best cook Big Blue has ever had has very sadly passed away last night. P' Deng has not been well for a few weeks now & died last night in her sleep in hospital. She has been working behind the scenes in the kitchen for the last 7 years & made the best Massaman Curry, the freshest Chicken & Pasta Salad, the finest Peneng Curry, the Scobby special, the macaroni chicken. This lady was awesome in the kitchen & was the sweetest lady, the hardest worker & also the hottest! We shall miss you P'Deng. Our thoughts & wishes to those you leave behind.
On a slightly happier note. Congratulations to Na & JJ. You might know Na as the very lovely lady who sits behind the cash register in the restaurant. & JJ is another onion necklace bearer. You've probably seen him riding around on his bicycle & wearing his stripey shirt.They held a very pretty beach wedding on Sairee last night & Jim Ari, James & G managed to get quite sloshed on the free grog. JJ looked like he'd done quite well out of it too! Congratulations guys. It was a lovely wedding. And a good little warm up for mine & my Missus beach wedding in a couple of weeks time! Gulp.
Top 10 reasons I love living in koh tao:
1. I get to ride a big dirt bike to work everyday.
2. I spend the majority of my day barefoot
3. My office is on the beach, or underwater.
4. House on the beach for $300/mo.
5. Thai food for $2 a meal.
6. Hour massages for $5.
7. Bars sell alcohol by the buckets.
8. My job REQUIRES me to be surrounded by beautiful women in bikinis.
9. Its sunny almost all year round.
10. I get to play with sharks any time I want.
Oooh it was gorgeous! I mean really. It was gorgeous! It was bright blue & wobbly & when we got in we got all wet!& when we went under it we saw so many cool & amazing creatures! I saw about 7 or 8 little grey reef sharks, a small school of large Spanish Mackerel, & then after we came back up then went down a second time we sat in some underwater craters surrounded by masses of very beady eyed & cautious Yellow Margin Triggerfishes. Then we progressed through some beautiful arches & swimthru's. It was funtastic. I enjoyed it so much I thought I might even go again later in the week! Whoa easy tiger! You're not on holiday you know!
Well its our quarterly staff equipment room clean out! Not much fun but always necessary as these rooms do tend to fill up with what we call in the business- ' a load of crap'. So the troops piled in & took everything they owned out! then we were left with an assortment of neoprene rags, silicon skirts, & unusable rubber slippers! We dumped all this mish mash of varied flavours into a nice big tupperware container & have given ourselves a week to claim whatever you wish to claim as your own! If anything is left then we'll be donating it to Helens Biorock Fundraiser! Should be able to raise at least enough money for 1 electically charged polyp out of all that pulp!
Ever been on holiday on a liveaboard boat? 4 days & nights cruising around the world famous Similan & Surin Islands! Nothing but sleeping, eating & diving! Scenery so spectacular your socks will actually fall off & your eye balls will pop out! Food so fantastic, the sides of your mouth will be drooling, & the noises from your belly will sound like music! Marine life so vast & extraordinary your friends won't believe you've seen it unless they see you in a photo alongside it! Sleep so satisfyingly deep you actually do feel beautiful when you finally wake up! Can you imagine a holiday that could possibly rival that, let alone beat it? Apart from a 4 day 4 night experience with Big Blue Diving Koh Tao of course! That goes without saying!
Hear me now! A while ago I told you we were looking to fill a few gaps here & there within the staff! Well we plugged 1 gap by bringing Canada in to work again spearheading Big Blue Tech, & then Marcel came in to concentrate on improving our Specialty courses & our Divemasters in training programme, & then the final job we needed filling was for the new Manager of our Big Blue Diving Khao Lak office. & now we have filled it! We have found what I firmly believe is the best candidate for the job. So boys & girls, ladies & gents, please join me in congratulating my homeboy Rick as the new Manager of our Westside Massive! "Boyakasha"! Innit!
Friday 8th August 2008-
... and breathe! Wow what a rush. Been busier than a man chopping down a tree with a herring! Haven't even had a minute to fill you in on the daily gossip for the last few days cos to be honest we've all been running around like headless chickens. It was like a boat arrived a day with a nation of Western European refugees & immigrants with their back packs & jandals all looking for shelter, & diving! We've had the Irish, the Dutch & now the Germans. Problem is of course when that many people all arrive pretty much at the same time all with the same agenda the island is bound to run out of things like cheap accommodation. So we've been hunting around trying to find out where rooms are available & have managed to gather a few scrag ends & broom cupboards so don't worry people! Book your diving with us we still got room!
We got another intern arrived today! Welcome Lilli from Germany. Lilli is going to be working here for the next 3 months learning how to administer, run, arrange logistics, manage, direct, order, control, oversee, govern, do admin, do paperwork, register, meet & greet, issue receipts, conduct operations, dispense, mete out, give out, hand out, deal out, dole out, dish out & process all aspects of Big Blue Diving. Good luck Lilli, if you need any help I'll be down the pub!
So we've got some good news from Wales. As we know Deano hasn't been able to put his arm around his favourite sheep lately but thats all about to change! He won't be needing to have his dislocated shoulder operated on. Hurrah! However his Taffy M.D. does feel that perhaps he needs his head looking at! The Welsh Medicine man felt that if the shoulder were to keep dislocating then they'd obviously need to chop his arm off & Doctor Boyo feels that might interfere with his drinking habits so we don't want to do that! So thats great news Deano. Very happy for you mate. Now go out & celebrate. Go have a sing-a-long down the local with your friend Flossy!
Tuesday 5th August 2008-
Ooh its filling up. Hope you lot have all booked ahead! People who read their Lonely Planets & what nots don't realise is, that it isn't low season here. Actually its quite the opposite! July & August are regarded as Peak Season & we're just a few days shy off reaching the summit. The Apex of our Peak Season is the Full Moon Party this month, & this year it is going to be huge! Take heed people. If you are arriving in Koh Tao anytime between now & the end of August then book ahead! Or it'll be a night under the stars in your Jimjams for you!
G is staffing the IDC this month. It makes him look big & strong & it has a lot more effect on the ladies than his normal 'Amburger' banter. Mind you nothing has more effect on the ladies than a nice bottle of wine and some saucisons on a full day trip. You going to be wining & saucisonsing on the IDC aswell G?
In Thailand we drive on the correct side of the road. That would of course be the left! The right side of the road is the incorrect side. Everyone knows that. Its like you don't get your right ear pierced cos then you look like a ponce! Right ear right queer! (Not that there's anything wrong with that). So if you drive on the left you avoid accidents. But if you are French & if you drive on the right side you might end up knocking over the very beautiful Mrs Donaldson & causing her some pain & you some rather heavy medical expenses. C'est non tresbian! C'est tres merde!
Sunday 3rd August 2008-
There are a number of Divemasters lining up this week to climb that next rung of the ladder to become Instructors. We've even lost DM Anna who has decided to leave us to study for her IDC & then is off after for the West Coast to do some instructing over there. So good luck Anna. & then there is Robyn as well who's starting her IDC, & then is off to run a dive shop over there as well & of course our young Scottish friend in a skirt Charlie Valentine who's planning on becoming an Instructor before he hits puberty! & how can any one forget the quite stunning Jade from New Caledonia who is here to do her Instructor training & has come with her whole family. all 15 of them!
Good luck Anna, Robyn, Charlie & Jade. Go Kick Ass Girls!
And if Anna has left that means we are one person short in our DM Team. So Church, Dan, James meet Craig! Craig has done his DM Course with us, just like all you guys did funnily enough! He knows how we operate here, our logistics, the staff, the rules, the boats, the people, the divesites & more importantly is a grease monkey as he can fix outboard engines! So Craig welcome my Canadian friend. Put your dive gear over there please, you won't be needing it, & come have a go at fixing 'Dark Blues' Engine, so we can finally get 2 longtails working at the same time! Wouldn't that be nice!
Another day another Whaleshark! I beleive we had a 100% Whaleshark sighting hit rate yesterday. Meaning everyone who went diving with Big Blue yesterday saw a whaleshark! Even the Belgian again! It was high 5's for everyone yesterday! Do you think Whalesharks get as excited about seeing humans as we do about seeing them? "Woo yeah, dived with humans today! Do you know how rare it is to dive with humans! Some whalesharks dive for 20 years before they see their first human!"
Friday 1st August 2008-
Well the big news in Thailand today is that the former Prime Minister, current owner of Manchester City FC, Thaksin Shinawatra's wife has been found guilty of tax evasion & has been sentenced to 3 years in prison! Fantastic. That's great news because it shows that the legal system in Thailand is no longer corrupt & even the wealthy & influential can't escape justice anymore by paying their way out! Till she paid 5 million Baht so she wouldn't have to go to prison! I just love Thailand!
We got some fellas renting out Big Blue boat today for their own private Charter. They are off to Chumphon after a nice lazy breakfast. Then morning tea during the surface interval. Second dive at Green Rock when all the morning boats have already left & then on to Nang Yuan Island for lunch! Have a spot of snorkelling in the afternoon & then off for the last dive of the day with a Whale shark at White Rock! Hmmm. Not a bad way to spend the day! Nice one DM James!
Thailand is well known for its tolerance of the ladyboy. In Thai they are called a Katoey! Sex-change surgery has become a speciality of the Thai health industry, and it is relatively inexpensive; patients come here from all over the world for the operation. So we really shouldn't be too surprised when a school here in Thailand introduced a very controversial idea! Between the girls' toilet and the boys', there is one signposted with a half-man, half-woman figure in blue and red. This is the transsexual toilet. Its called a Katoeylet!