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September 2008

Tuesday 30th September 2008-

2008-09-30High season, low season, same same but.... different! Some shops close (great, more for us), some Instructors and DM's head off for parts well-known (tried it, didn't like it, stayin here this year thanks) and the island braces itself for a spot of rain. P'Piak starts growing his "Noah' beard again, just in case we need to use Banzai as an ark, Ugly Dog digs up his bones and walks round with a snorkel tucked into his collar, anyone living up a hill or 'off-road' changes from slicks to monster treads and takes advanced mud and gully sliding motorcycle courses from Canada - all a bit excesive if you ask me. In fact, 2 years ago, it hardly rained at all, the weather was mostly fine, the conditions for diving were great there was plenty of accommodation available and you didn't have to queue in 7 - 11. Last year was a little wetter, for about 2 weeks, not too bad at all, really. Of course it hasn't always been so cushty, I remember 7 or 8 years ago the weather was so bad the ferries couldn't make it to Koh Tao and we started to run out of basic essentials like fresh vegetables, gasoline and (gasp) beer! Things came to a head when the island was down to its last bottle of Jack Daniels and the Tip Shop (no 7-11 in those days) finally cleared out all the strange booze that had lain on shelves for years - Advocaat Spritzer anyone? Perhaps a Campari and coke, Chartreuse on the rock? Eventually the Thai Navy were called in to evacuate all but the hard-core islanders and staff.

Some of the BB staff have decided there have been far too many 'Leaving Parties' and those of us who haven't left yet deserve a 'Staying Party'. So, if you're still here, and don't plan on leaving any time soon, get yourself down to Big Blue next Saturday and get messy. Leaving's for losers!

Monday 29th September 2008-

2008-09-29"Dear Jim, Firstly our apologies for taking so long to write this. My wife and I recently stayed at big blue and learnt to dive, doing both our open water then AOW. We would both love to say thank you very much to you and ALL your staff ( yes even Dan :-) ) for making it the most incredible experince ever. Everyone at big blue was fantastic, chilled, friendly and completely professional. Thanks a lot, we'll see you all next year. Ken and Samantha Bordt"
Thanks guys & apologies if you got landed with Dan as your DM.

Craig is back. He's been out for the best part of a week doing some very technical diving. Dropping down to 70 meters to dive on wrecks- how jig is that. Dressing up to look like the Gimp from Pulp Fiction then sticking all these tanks on your back & diving to depths equivalent of a 25 storey building! Thats the sort of diving that really seperates the men from the boys...well at least the Canadians from the men... & the boys!

Good staff is hard to find! Heaven knows I've had enough trouble trying to find a suitable replacement for Nikki in the shop. We've had flyers around town, stuck on walls, noticeboards, windows & on taxis advertising for a new Shop girl or boy needed at Big Blue. And how many people do you think have applied for the position. That would be none, correct! And as time draws on I'm getting more & more desperate. C'mon people give me a hand. I need someone to be the first face people see when they arrive at Big Blue. You need to be able to speak English, good at maths, witty, charming, social, computer literate, presentable & smiley. You work 6 days a week & get free diving. All applicants please send CV with photo attached to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Please note photos of female applicants in bikinis will be looked at first! Photos of male applicants in Speedos will be posted on Barry's 'Just say no to Speedo's' Facebook Group!

Sunday 28th September 2008-

2008-09-28It couldn't have come at a better time! What with the leaders of Thailand being unable to choose a leader & the worlds economy going down faster than a Ladyboy in an elevator its no surprise its all gone quiet here on the Rock. The crap weather doesn't exactly help either. And for Banzai to break down last night at a time when we don't actually require her is just perfect... timing!

Its the time of year when everyone starts looking for a better home to live in. High season has lined our pockets nicely & all the crusty west coast Instructors have left to prepare for the new season over yonder! & despite the housing crisis everywhere here in KT there's never been a better time to move! Simon's moved, lost his cat in the process but he's moved. Barry has as well. I believe he's come back from across the border over there at Chalok Ban Kao. & now Emily has moved into a brand new pad & then when Rick moves over to the West side Dan will take over his abode up there. Its all go go go! Buy! sell! rent! What economic crisis?

I hope you'll all join me in wishing our friendly Frenchman a speedy return to good health. Poor old G must have eaten a dodgy frogs leg cos he's not been at all well this week & after seeing Steve our friendly island matron who gave G a blood test it was decided to send him off to a hospital in Samui for a closer look. Apparently when he got to hospital the doctors suspected it could be something as sinister as Haemorragic Dengue but after an hour in bed & 1 Deep Pan Pizza Hawaiian apparently his temperature dropped & the Doc reckons they'll be able to release him by tomorrow! Its a Pizza miracle! Get well soon G!

Friday 26th Sept, 2008-

2008-09-26BioRock Fever -have you got it?

Yes, the whole island is getting caught up in the new BioRock project. Its all part of our Save-Koh-Tao movement which has really caught a lot of momentum over the last year. I think its due to a number of reasons. First off, we all love this little island. It really is a unique paradise. But equally as important, I think we can actually see realistic ways of saving it. When people talk about saving the planet or saving the rainforest, it seems like such a huge task that requires the co-operation of so many millions of people and so many corrupt governments, it seems almost impossible. But saving one little 21km sq island seems to be a managable task. And such an important one.

Last night we had a celebrity in the marine world give a talk at the upstairs room at Dirty Nellys pub. I've never seen this huge room so packed. People lined the walls and stood in the stairwell just to have a chance to hear Dr. Thomas J Goreau speak about his research on coral reefs and his BioRock project. Dr Goreau has been studying reefs with his father, Thomas F Goreau, since the age of 6 when he first learned to dive. He has been traveling the world for the last 50 years trying to prevent the degradation of coral reefs around the world. Unfortunately he's learned that in most cases his efforts are pushed aside in favor of bigger hotels and more money. So instead he's decided to focus his efforts on a way to regenerate coral reefs in areas that DO care. That is the BioRock project. A natural reef who's growth is speeded up by a mild electric current. In any case, Dr Goreau will be here for 3 nights giving talks each night on different ecological issues and what we all can do. I'm pleased to say that Big Blue staff and DMTs probably had a bigger turn out than any other school I saw there. Even though we don't all plan to be here forever, we want this paradise to be beautiful for generations to come.

If you want to see more about marine conservation on Koh Tao, check out  http://marineconservationk>ohtao.com/
If you want to know more about Dr Goreau and his even more remarkable father, look them up on Wikipedia along with the BioRock.

In other news, another spectacularly sunny day here in paradise. And we're getting ready to send out yet another DiveMaster in to the world. Tom, our latest graduate is finishing off his course today, and will be put through the paces in the bar tonight as one final challenge of his DiveMaster course. Good luck Tom!!

Thursday 25th September 2008-

2008-09-25The slightest motion smarts! Yesterday was our day to join in the Islands effort at building the Bio Rock structure. Four X 3 meter high & 5 meter wide iron dome structures will be put in the sea to the north west of Koh Tao & will be electrically charged to encourage coral growth. It is estimated that the whole structure will be completely covered with coral within 2 years. So in years to come we will be able to show our kids the divesite we created & tell them about the day we all got 3rd degree sunburn for our efforts! Thanks to all our Big Blue Crew who turned upto help especially Dan & Hal, Kirsty & Amanda who were there all day & now look like Big Blue Lobsters.

'Jim - Had a wonderful time!! Simon was my SSI instructor and I was very impressed w/ his demeanor and friendliness and candor in and out of class. I felt 100 confident under his mentorship and would like to return some day to pursue advanced classes with him again. Can you help me out? I totally forgot to pick up my SSI card at the office on the way out! Is there a way to have it mailed to me in the States? Curious, is the Divemaster course 50,000 BHT? And is there a student visa issued with that? Thanks again for your prompt responses to my emails in the past. That was the deciding factor in my decision to invest in Big Blue. Best, Mel.'
-Nice one Simo. Thanks Melvin. & BTW everyone its only 25000 for the DM Course not 50000!

Always nice that with so many people leaving & about to leave how happy I am to welcome back an old face to the team. and with Marcel having gone we now need another full time dedicated Instructor to deal with all our specialty courses, wreck trips & tech diving. & who else could I ask to bring so much chaos & calamity than our old bull in a china shop Canada. Time to stick up the posters in the urinal, the flyers in the toilets, stickers on the windows, & flowers in the dive shop! Its hammertime!

Tuesday 23rd September 2008

2008-09-23While the West Coast of Thailand is inundated with incessant rain, Bangkok swelters in unbearable humidity and the rest of the world is stressing about some banking crisis or something, life is pretty good here thank you very much. Koh Tao is drenched in golden sunshine, there's a cool breeze blowing in off the sea, the water is a pleasant 30 degrees and there are whalesharks passing by every couple of days - and its supposed to be low season!. It is a bit hot away from the beach, though. Luckily, theres no real reason to venture too far, the restaurant and bar are well stocked with snacks, ice creams (I'm eating a cornetto as I type) and icy cold beers (for later, of course, roll on 'beer o'clock'), and most other places deliver if you fancy a change. The girls at Greasy Spoon will quite happily drive down to us in the morning with foil wrapped parcels of heart attack butties, then Zanzibar for lunch, Barry's quite fond of the chocolate mousse. Big Blue pizza is still the best on the island, perfect with a Tiger or two after a hard day's diving, teaching or just sitting round doing Meet and Greet. Occasionally, we even eat Thai food, Som Tam (shredded mango or papaya salad with garlic, cherry tomatoes, peanuts and chillis) or street meat from the cart outside the resort, grilled catfish, spicy pork, all good. Or maybe Massaman from mama down at Pim's kitchen, she also does the best chicken soup I've ever tasted (sory mum). Tukta's Pad Thai alway hits the spot, too. Damn, I'm hungry now, might pop out for snack, or maybe I'll just call for delivery...

Hard life, eh?

Monday 22nd September 2008-

2008-09-22Well done DM Dan for organising what was a very successful clean up the other day around at Chalok Ban Kao with over 470 Kgs of rubbish gathered! I would like to stress that that isn't our own rubbish but the flotsam & jetsam that has worked its way over to our precious island over the last spell of windy weather. & thanks as well to all those who volunteered their services to us. Its always a great success these trips & because its free its always a full of economically aware skinflints! Last month someone found an underwater digital camera. There was no bounty collected this time. Just a pair or 2 of Captain Dam's Y-fronts! Cheers Dan. Job well done volunteers!

Party (again) last night for Sonia who turned twelvety! (She won't divulge her real age to us or you which is 28 by the way!) It was sunset drinks a the bar followed by dinner at Fizz Restaurant & then back to the Bar for more drinking! & why not. Lots to celebrate today. Sonia's ageing, Robyn & Church had their leaving do & all 40 divers who went out yesterday on their Full Day Trip to Sail Rock ended up seeing a Whaleshark at Shark Island on their last dive! With so much going on last night its of little wonder that everyone who was there is very slowly & extremely quietly taking a really really long time to getting around to doing what they are actually here to do today!

'Hi Big Blue, I just wanted to write to say thank you for the awesome time I had while learning to dive with Big Blue. I did my open water cert. course with Ricky and he did a terrific job teaching us, even though we were hungover most days! I had such a good time that I am going to do my advance at home in Canada in the very cold waters of the northern Pacific. Ricky was a very thorough instructor and did a such a great job teaching us all the important details but keeping it fun at the same time. I didn't expect it when I signed up for the course but diving is a part of me now. It has been on my mind ever since I left Koh Tao - I cannot wait to get back there. So, if you can please tell Ricky that I say 'thank you very, very much'. The whole experience with Big Blue was amazing.' Cat Lortie

Sunday 21st September 2008-

2008-09-21Every now & then a book a movie or a person comes along & changes your life in a second! I'm talking about the movie 'Sharkwater'. If you haven't seen it & you give a shit you absolutely have to watch one of the most amazing stories since Bowling for Columbine! If you have been diving with us in Koh Tao & we showed you the sharks at Chumphon Pinnacle & you saw how amazing these creatures are then please help us, help the maker of this movie, help the sharks & most importantly help yourselves & your children. Sharkwater. Tell your friends, watch the movie, check the website, buy the t-shirt, & educate the people everywhere. Get off your arse & help change the world! www.sharkwater.com

Well we've sent Big Blue Boat off to the Doctors today for its yearly short, back & sides! So we're without Baby Blue for a quoted 2 weeks, an expected 4 weeks but a realistic 6 weeks. Which means we'll be working Mummy Blue- Navakid, & Daddy Blue- Banzai to the hull this month! Its always exciting getting the boats back after they've been to the Beauticians & I'm sure Baby Blue will come back smelling of roses once we got rid of the malingering odour of Captain Dams Y-fronts!

Day 2 of the Exodus to Khao Lak! 1st was the Belgian & now its our Netherlandsian! Marcel is off today a little ahead of the official beginning of the season there to do some spring cleaning on the boat & get affairs in order for his Wicked diveshop. Paul came over very briefly & is off as well & so is Robyn & Church! Tho Church is taking a rather large detour on his way to Khao Lak via Austria for a month or 2. So adieu friends, good luck, have a great season & don't forget to write!

Saturday 20th September 2008-

2008-09-20Its not often but every now & then we come across something we have never seen before & consequently don't know the name of. Usually we can ask our Japanese colleagues who know the name of every single fish in every single ocean but even this fish stumped them. Its like a cross between a Batfish & a Trevally, or a Plaice & a baby mola mola but its none of the above. What it is is weird well thats what Emily has decided to call her find- Emily's weird fish! Well its got to be better than calling it a Pomfret, surely!

Auf Weidersehn Madamoiselle! We are about to go thru our yearly exodus of staff as our high season Instructors & DM's now return to the west coast of Thailand Filip our strange Belgium is off today! He was only ever coming for the duration of time that Khao Lak is closed & now that it is about to reopen Filip is off to work on the Liveaboard. But first, in true Filip style He is going off to Israel for a couple of weeks of inexplicable weirdness. Only the Belgiums can truely be that odd! Cheers Filip, its been fun & we wish you luck for the coming season in Khao Lak.

So rumour has it that Koh Tao is getting ready to open an English school from the ages of 4- 12. Thats fantastic news for alot of us longtermers who have been living in this Peter Pan Land for the last 10 years & can't handle the thought of having return to the real world cos our kids need an education! I am absolutely delighted to hear this news & feel the urge to go & make babies with my beautiful wife immediately!

Friday 19th September 2008-

2008-09-19I think we broke a few records yesterday! There was over 10 divers doing their very first dive of their Open Water Course in confined & then G & Jade had 6 Frenchies doing a Try Dive. And what record did we achieve. Well how many divers can say they saw a whaleshark the very first day they went diving? Well as of yesterday I think you'll find that number to be 16! You lucky lucky Barstewards!

Its an underwater clean-up day tomorrow here in Koh Tao with all the dive shops getting together to pick up the trash that has been washing ashore over the last months worth of strong winds. We're all off to Chalok Ban Kao with another 30 or so divers prostituting themselves out in return for a free dive! It should be a great afternoon. The sun is out & the forecast is good. & afterwards there is a free Bar-b-Q at Dirty Nellies for everyone who took part! & who said picking up rubbish was no fun!

Despite the State of Emergency that was imposed & subsequently lifted upon Bangkok recently we're still busy in Koh Tao. The bookings did slow down a little but now they're right back up to normal & in addition to our Koh Tao Diving Resort & we are getting heaps of enquiries for our Liveaboard Cruises we offer in the Similans from November on. Imagine 4 days & 4 nights just cruising through the 9 deserted islands that is the Similans & then diving the world famous Richelieu Rock. Nothing but sun soaked leisure, deserted tropical islands, Sub aquatic encounters, belly bulging feasts & subconscious snoozes. All for less than 20,000 Bt. Interested? Have a look at our updated Liveaboards page on our website for more info!

Thursday 18th September 2008-

2008-09-18Mummy & Daddy Bolton are here enjoying a nice Thailand Vacation & today Baby Bolton is taking out Mumsie for her first Try Dive. Mr. B. who is already a certified diver hasn't been able to persuade Mumsie but our Dan who can sell sand to an eskimo is giving it a shot today. I can't help admire the courage of some of our divers. It takes a brave man who is willing to voluntarily step forward & offer to take their Mum for her 1st dive. Live & learn Dan, live & learn!

Oh dear. Poor Amanda. Not only did she have to be evacuated by helicopter in Nepal for a slipped disc in her neck, she has now been admitted to hospital in Malaysia for 3rd degree burns having spent the day basking in the heat of the Malaya sun. Luckily Auntie Helen is with her so she's in good hands. Of course Amanda is from England & she hasn't seen the sun properly before so how was she supposed to know to slip slop slap every time she goes sun baking? Poor pommie!

The weather has gone Schitz! One minute its wet & windy & looks like its about to bucket down & then the next minute its a beautiful sunny day, calm seas & scantily clad parading Frenchies. The island seems to be very French at the moment! Maybe thats why the weather is being so erratic!

Wednesday, September 17th 2008-

2008-09-17In Western Australia at the world famous Ningaloo Reef you can book a guaranteed dive with a whaleshark for 3000 AUD. The company sends out spotter planes & then when they find one they radio the coordinates to the speedboat which then whizzes over to the whaleshark & drops off the divers. What a lot of money to spend! For the same price you could get a return flight from either Europe or Australia to Bangkok & then to Samui. Catch the catamaran to Koh Tao. Get yourself a nice beach bungalow for a week. Book a dive pack & dive with us to check out the 2 whalesharks that are at Chumphon Pinnacle right now! Now thats money well spent!

"Hey Jim, i just wanted to tell you how amazing my underwater experience with big blue diving was. Since 3 days i am at ko phangag and have a great time here. But i have to say i am really serious in to diving now thinking back often. I made my owd with simon and it was wonderfull. He is a very good instructor practically (serious, calm, funny)and in theory everything was understandable even for foreign speakers. We had so much fun and i was a really lucky guy seeing the whaleshark an 11th on my third dive ever. So i will be back for my aowd in a few weeks. Cu and grettings to simon, g and marcel." Christian
R U writing these yourself Simo?

A few of our chicks have gone down to the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia for a busman's holiday. Helen originally left for a visa run & then told Amanda she might pop in on the Perhentians while she's there so Amanda went too & then Lia went down there as well & now there all having a jolly good gossip & a bit of a knee's up. Oh to be young wild & reckless again!

Tuesday, September 16th 2008

2008-09-16Well, I guess we must be doing something right as it seems like we are the only busy dive shop in Sairee right now. Could it be the three purpose built Big Blue dive boats and the wider choice of divesites we can offer (fundivers get to go where they want ((weather permitting)) and don't get marooned in Mango Bay with the Open Water students), experienced captains and boat boys, and the best on-board selection of cookies? Or perhaps its the high standard of teaching provided by our experienced (old) team of multi-lingual (Hal) instructors? Maybe its the hottest (Dan), fittest (James) and friendliest (Craig) Divemasters we have running the shop and taking care of our fundivers every day? Jim is far too modest to claim any credit as shop manager (yeah, right) but together with his team of German Lilly and the Thai shopgirls, Kate and Nicki, and all the taxi drivers, housekeepers and restaurant staff, everything seems to run as smoothly as one could hope for (for a business in Thailand ;)

New Divemaster Trainees have arrived -
Introducing Han Nah, a former swimsuit model and Economics Instructor from the USA by way of Korea, Han Nah wants to learn to dive and help all the little children of the world.
Sylvana, an exotic blend of English, Swiss and Thai, escaped from the world of advertising to run away to Koh Tao and become a Divemaster, she's fluent in Thai (!), has conversational English skills and gets seasick holding a beer.
Next up are Bart and Dylan from the Netherlands. Bart was a personal trainer (swoon) and Dylan left a promising career as a hand model for High and Mighty to become professional divers.
Lastly we have Chris, a septic tank from the US of A but don't hold that against him. Chris used to sell wine for living, in between collecting bounties down in Tijuana and freelance choreography (he says).
So, welcome all to your Drink More Training (DMT), 'm sure we'll all be getting to know each other well over the next few months....

Sunday, September 14th 2008

2008-09-14Well, it’s another Koh Tao Sunday. While you are all having a lie in at home, we are working here to offer the best diving services we can. Even our little summer (yes, it’s still summer here, blue skies and high temperatures) intern, Lilli, has given up on her weekend breaks and comes to work on this day. The boats went out this morning and came back full of very happy divers who’d got to see sharks in Chumphon and a turtle in Twins. Barry, Deano and Marcel are playing in the water with the DMTs and Robyn finished her course. Nice to be working with a bunch of overachievers!

Jim is really happy today as New Zealand finally won something in Rugby this season. He can be proud to be a Kiwi again, until the All Blacks play France of course. Sorry Aussie mateys, better luck next time. By the way, we heard the Scobster got a great deal on a house because the real estate agent recognized him from his old footy days. On the Rock and Down Under, The Scobby legend lives on.

Tonight, we celebrate Sonia and Yvonne’s birthday in the bar. Yvonne’s birthday was a week ago, Sonia’s is actually in a week but they wanted a joint party so they thought they’d have it halfway. We all know at Big Blue that 2 is better than 1 (right, Dan?), so they can both have two parties, of which one for two. Confused? So will we all be in a few hours. Cheers everyone and see you next week!

Saturday 13th September 2008

2008-09-13Ugly and Sausage (those are our dogs by the way) have been dressed in shirts today. Sausage is wearing a black top with a thai saying “I’m sexy but I don’t want your attention”. Ugly is simply wearing a pink top that goes so well with his fur colour. Not! Promise, it wasn’t our idea, but the restaurant staff who take care of our lovely pets say that they were both shivering yesterday. Can’t blame them, I was freezing my arse off when I got up this morning and it was 24 degrees. Brrrrr!

DM Dan is in Bangkok now to welcome his parents to Thailand, a few days north then they arrive here for 10 days to do a diving course with us. And for our little fun loving Robin, she has her 1st OW course with 2 girls so don your wetsuits and hop into a beautiful new world..... welcome to your 1st day in the pool.

Tonite, we say goodbye to Nora, our lovely German Divemaster. After spending time in China and Thailand she’s off to finish Uni in her homeland. As if she hadn’t learned enough on Koh Tao: how to be a divemaster, how infections DO happen with small mosquito bites and bike burns and for sure, how morphine can make you a little drowsy. Aufweidersehn Nora and don’t stay in Europe too long, I hear the temperature may drop below 24 degrees very soon!
 
Friday 12th September 2008

2008-09-12Does Big Blue have a new uniform? Everybody’s wearing the newest trend in Tao fashion today: a black shirt that reads “Speedo the Athletes Choice” and pictures an overweight tourist bearing the dreaded piece of clothing. Designed by the knight of the well-dressed, the anti budgie-smuggler crusader, Mr “just say no to speedo”, our very own Barry Covill. After Rick waging a war against ATVs, another one of our instructors has taken a stand against the axis of evil ATV-speedos-jetskis. Who said Big Blue was not concerned with the fate of our modern world?

Eco girl Helen is off to Malaysia on a visa trip for a few days with DMT Amanda. They should be able to get a couple of dives in too, before heading back to 'The Rock'. Our little hobbit Charlie has his last night tonight before flying off to bonny Scotland to join forces with his fellows skirt wearing folk. Good luck to you mate, we will see you next year.

So, we seem to be past the windy times here on the rock, looks like the weather is calming down as the full moon approaches so a few quiet days here for the Big Blue crew to regenerate our energy levels ready for that rush of backpackers to shake off their hangovers and start a new underwater experience, the Big Blue way!!

Thursday 11th September 2008-

2008-09-11When the weather goes bad we aren't usually so busy so this is the perfect kind of day for a bit of spring cleaning & interior renovating. The boys have started our yearly service on all our regs & soon we'll take the tanks in for their yearly bill of fitness & then there's the classrooms need to be sorted & tidied & our rooms need a fresh look & the boats need an overhaul & this & that need to be put away & with the help of our very hard working Lili form Saarbrucken who's here training in the tourism industry we're going for an extreme makeover. You go Lil, I'm off to Disneyland for a week! Happy training!

Despite the harsh north westerly wind the driving rain & the rising waves our brave venturers this morning made their way out to Koh Tao's No.1 Divesite- Chumphon Pinnacle & low & behold there was the biggest surprise of the morning awaiting them. Some reckon it was 5 meters others are claiming the creature they saw this morning was as big as 8 meters! Of course I can only be talking about 1 of 2 creatures that could be that big & in these waters. Its either the legendary Whaleshark, a very common visitor around here or it might have been the mythical Giant Sea Dragon which no one has ever seen before! My money is on the Whale Shark. Steve Zissou reckons it was the Giant Sea Dragon!

Its really nice when our guys get compliments from their customers with regards to their professionalism & enthusiasm for the job & its even nicer when customers take the time to thank our boat crew as well who do so much to make our trips a success. I really appreciate that & so do they. & then when you get praise for the quality of our staff from a manager at one of the biggest dive schools in the world then its a real feather in our cap. Today I'd very much like to thank our Boat crew on Navakid boat who by all accounts actually performed a rescue today on said other dive shops customer who very unexpectedly surfaced & then required urgent assistance. Great to know that our Captain P'Kaow & our boys Zaw & Sor were all so quick to react & jumped in & towed the diver to the boat to help get him out of the water. Well done Navakid crew. I believe someone's bought you boys a few beers to share & celebrate. Exellent work fellas!

Wednesday 10th September 2008-

2008-09-10Canada took our interested techies down for a Discover Tech Dive. Its like a Try Dive for people who want to try diving only its a little bit more technical so we call it Try Technical Diving. When you try Diving you wear 1 tank & are asked to clear your regulator 2 ways. In tech diving you wear 2 tanks & clear 2 regulators 1 way. Tech Diving is for the big boys. You need to have a lot of tattoos & have consumed a lot of pies to be recognised as a true techie! Join us on www.bigbluetech.net . Unblemished pussies need not apply!

Had to put Emily & Yvonne in the pool today with their students for their Confined session. Not ideal but looking at the weather today I don't think anyone was too disappointed least of all Emily & Yvonne! Its never the same your first time diving & you have to do it in the pool. In the sea you get to see little Damsels & Sergeant Majors, & every now & then have the cleaner wrasse come pay a visit. But in the pool there are no fish. There are globules of others spittle, strands of hair, used & discarded elastoplasts, & it gets real cold real quick! Bugger off foul weather! Nobody likes you!

Of course when the weather is crap like this it gives us all a good opportunity to try dining somewhere other than on the beach. So tonight I shall be mostly dining at Ari & Jerry's fine Swedish establishment at Sairee crossroads called Victoria. Not the most Swedish name for a Restaurant I have ever heard of but its got to be better than calling it 'Rat's Kitchen' which is what Rat, an old Thai friend of mine, has called his new Restaurant! Located right next to Nit's Hair Studio!

Tuesday 9th September 2008-

2008-09-09Mention the bloody rain & then it just won't stop! We've had a horrible few days here lately. I even caught Man-flu again & we all know how serious that can be! Its been wet, windy, wavey & we've even had to resort to taking the boats back to the pier instead of our usual nice & easy & so convenient routine of longtail pickups/ drop offs at Sairee Beach. But don't fret as all will be well with the weather in another couple of days. I might be better by then too. Depends how much sympathy I get!

Haven't done this before... " Hi Jim, I've just returned to Dublin after a week of diving with Big Blue. I had a brilliant week there. It was my first time diving & I did the PADI open Water course & because I loved it so much I did the Advanced as well. Simon was our Instructor & I wanted to let you know that he was absolutely brilliant. I found him extremely professional, funny which kept us interested in listening to him & we all felt really safe with him which is my priority if I'm learning to dive in the middle of the sea! He is a great ambassador for your company & I recommend a pay rise for Jim! Many thanks, Edel Malone."

The Legend of the Killer Coconut! Due to this wind & the time of year we've sent the monkeys up the palm trees to throw down the coconuts before they start falling & landing on peoples heads & according to myth killing them! The myth comes from widely reported stories that 150 people a year are killed from falling coconuts all around the world! Could this be true. & whose job is it to keep stats on such a fatality? Coconuts are hard & heavy & drop a long way but do they really kill people? I'm going to contact Mythbusters & if that don't work... I'll have a word with the boys at Jackass!

Sunday 7th September 2008-

2008-09-07Enormous congratulations to Andy Cav for getting up on stage last night in his Mankini to participate in the ritual of the the Divemaster Challenge! It takes balls to make a complete plonker of yourself & Andy quite clearly has large Kahunas. Congratulations mate on completing your DM programme with such decorum! & Thanks Marcel for sparing us having to see you in Speedos again.

Apparently the water wells in Koh Tao have dried up! There's no more water left because the weather has been so good for ages we haven't had any rain! Everywhere else in Thailand has swimming pools worth of water but here we've all dried up! So we're having to now import water from the mainland! What a pain in the bum. If you are on your way here maybe you could help. When you come fill your boardies up with water & bring a bottle. I'll have a large Chang, thanks!

Sonia is doing her DMT again! She's training to be a Dive Medic Technician. Any injuries or accidents go see Sonia! Numbness? Tingling? Frothy Sputum? Turn your head to the right & cough please! You name it, Sonia is going to be your man... girl... woman... Dr Scott! She's off to Samui for some intensive training with Kylie from the chamber there & then off to Pattaya for some more training & disco dancing I'm sure! Then when she gets back she's off to work as the main Dive Medic Consultant in Khao Lak. Thats awesome! Its a hell of a job & if anyone can do it, its our Sonia! You go girl! Break a leg!

Saturday 6th September 2008-

2008-09-06In the interests of healthy international relations I went out with the in laws for their first 2 Open Water Dives yesterday with 'Zee Germanator'-Yvonne. I ended up taking Auntie Iris snorkeling & watched ze Germans as zey descended in an orderly manner down zee descent line. I take my hat off to Yvonne for getting such a rowdy rabble to maneuver with such handling & precision & I just love the way they all did exactly as they were told! The Missus could learn a thing or two from the rest of her family! Reckon the German in me could learn a thing or two from the Germanator as well! Ja!

Latest news on the debacle in Bangkok is that the Present Prime Minister who refuses to resign from his post will put a vote to the people & they will decide as to whether he stays or goes. The good news is that he's lifted the State of Emergency he imposed upon Bangkok & the Army have no intention of fighting the protesters so the atmosphere of violence has dissipated & everything seems as normal as its ever been. Thats got to be good news & hopefully the vote will clear this whole political mess up anyway. It better do. The Email enquiries have died right down. We are now getting less than half the amount of enquiries we were getting this time last week! There are a lot of people working in the tourism sector feeling the pinch right now! Ow! Who did that?

Staff photo day! Everyone who could read the time accurately, bar Simon, Hal & Filip, turned up for one legendary photo after another. The boys were doing their hair, the girls were putting on their make up... Even Ugly turned up looking all made up, scabs & scars covered! Thought we'd make the most of having a professional photographer staying with us so I asked Lia to take some picci's. I had no idea how extremely handsome we all are, bar Simon! Fantastic photos Lia. Who else thinks its time Church had a haircut?

Thursday 4th September 2008-

2008-09-04Its the question on everyones lips. Is Thailand safe to travel to right now? & the answer you'll be very pleased to know is yes. The government called a State of Emergency the other day which would under normal circumstances mean barricading yourselves in at night for fear of Stazi-style reprisals but Thailand will never cease to amaze me. Its true there has been a couple of scufuffles but basically you wouldn't know anything had happenend if they hadn't made such a fuss about it all in the news already. If its persistant tuk tuk drivers, traffic jams, the latest movies on Pirate DVD & girls that love you long time that puts you in a State of Emergency then either run or stay where you are. Otherwise peeps, come on over- you'll get a great exchange rate right now!

 

So DM Dan reckons there's now 3 Lionfish at Japanese Gardens. That's ab fab! We like our lionfish round here. A Lionfish is like great sex. It's rare, beautiful, & everyone wants it. And our man Dan found 3 of them. Think he likes his threesomes!

 

Good Luck Yvonne! She is teaching my in laws their Open Water Course today! Zee Germans are invading! That's Bernd, Christian & Vicky. My other inlaws are doing their refresher & then tomorrow will start their Advanced Course & then after that Avi & Xandy reckon they are going to do their Rescue Course as well. Und after zat we shall all take over zee world. Ja! Viel Glueck Guys! Und even more Glueck for you Yvonne!

Wednesday 3rd September 2008

2008-09-03Back to work, jiggedy jig! Feels like I've been away for ages. I've had a fantastic break & have thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of my highly embarrassing stag night in Samui. Thanks boys! I'm still a little worried next time I visit Samui I might find myself on the cover of the Samui Guide in all my lime green splendour, but it won't be anywhere near as embarrassing as it will be for my poor wife! Oh yeah & to all the ladies who came out for Andrea's Hen Night. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to say I had 20 ladies play with my thingy that night!

And I've got to take my hat off to my loverly wife for organising what was the wedding of the year. Janson Bay never looked so beautiful & the monks were awesome & the speeches were funny & it all went down so brilliantly. Didn't start quite so wonderfully however as the wedding dress wasn't finished till an hour after the wedding ceremony started. Nothing like making a dramatic entrance on your wedding day eh darling! & the party at Fizz was wicked! Lots of people. Lots of drinking & dancing & thank you so much everyone for all your presents & cards & hugs & kisses. It was all going so well till that bloody Mexican filled me with Tequilla at 4 in the morning! Gracias amigo. Hope your head hurt too!

& now I'm back I'd like to thank Sonia & Rick for holding down the fort in my absence! I'd like to thank you our customers for continuing to walk through our doors. I'd like to thank Michael, the owner of Big Blue for allowing me this time off now & a bit more time off later for my honeymoon to Namibia, ;) , I'd also like to thank my parents, my dog Jansom Bay, Sjon & Lilly at Fizz, the Big Blue gang, my Swedish Kronies, the sun, Lilli for answering my emails & everyone for their thoughts, well wishes & my loverly sexy wife! Right thats it folks. & now the Wedding is over, I'd like to thank everyone for getting back to work... please!

Tuesday 2nd September 2008

2008-09-02It’s been a while and so many things have happened here I don’t know where to start. We had a great challenge on Friday night for Nora, Donna, Caz, Miriea and Andy. The theme was the “ Drinking Olympics”, one of BBs all-time favorites. The 5 new DMs got dressed up in togas, ancient Greek style and bore lovely crowns of leaves around there head. They had to go through series of sporting events such as bucket sprints, opening ceremony flamming shots and much more! Congratulations to all 5 of you and for those who are not sticking around, safe travels and hope to see you back soon!

And of course, it was Jim and Andrea’s wedding. What an amazing moment! It started in Jansom Bay with a reception for the relatives and close friends from overseas and went on with a party at Fizz. I would have probably picked a cooler to get married myself, seeing Jim sweating in that James Bond suit on Saturday night made feel like I was walking into a sauna. On the dryer side, Andrea was definitely stunning in her wedding dress. Everybody gathered at Fizz to celebrate the happy couple and the next morning at work, we looked more like a zombie convention than a bunch of highly experienced dive professionals!

The weather is beautiful, the seas are flat, the visibility is as good as it gets and the August crowd is slowly moving away. So why not come and pay us a visit?

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