Thursday 30th October 2008-
Awesome news from our morning divers today - the sharks are back at Chumpon! Blacktip reef sharks at 18m all round the pinnacle :)
Lots of people heading across to the West Coast, but we have a few returning to Koh Tao! Tim and Mac are back! Stock up the bar! And get ready to party!
Halloween tomorrow, so it's time to start carving up those pumpkins! In the morning we'll be getting in touch with our inner eco-warrior and doing a beach clean-up, in the evening we have a spooky night dive, and then it'll be party time - don't forget your fancy dress!
Really, what's happened to monsoon?! Don't want to jinx it, but the sun is shining, the dive sites are beautiful - time to escape those recession worries and come to Koh Tao!
We lost our two crazy Dutch boys Bart and Dylan, but joining the Big Blue bubble today is crazy Dutch girlie Mickey to take their place! Doing her rescue course with G didn't put her off, so she won't be heading back to Holland just yet, but staying on to do her DMT.
Monday 27th October 2008-
We got 3 candidates this month on the Instructor Development Course! That'll be DM Dan, Shopbitch Donna, & Freelance Helen the Second. So for the next 3 weeks these guys have got to do enough brown nosing to the Koh Tao IDC Groups Course Directors in order to enter the 2 day Instructor Exam. They got to pass physics & physiology exams, demonstrate all required skills with such perfection & precision that it will actually arouse the examiner, & stand up & lecture their classmates on half times & Tissue compartments & supersatureationalismists!
Just when you thought it was safe to get back out of the water... the Whaleshark is back! & at last Barry was there to enjoy only his second Whaleshark in 5 years! Ridiculous odds that. But then I again I'm so lucky I could fall into a puddle & see a whaleshark! This one is about 5 meters & very friendly! THis morning we spent 2 dives with it & were totally alone with it. Not a single other diveshop there except Big Blue! & people wonder why we were named as THE diveshop to dive with in Koh Tao by that bloke in that paper the other day!
Canada is back. Him & Hannah have been out for the best part of a week doing some really deep diving out there in the middle of the Gulf of Thailand. There are a lot of wrecks in the Gulf here. A lot are war graves from the Second World War. There's a submarine or 2 including the last vessel to be suck in the 2nd WW around these parts the USS Lagarto, now a world famous war grave where over 150 men lost their lives. There's also a couple of fighter planes & lots of transport & cargo vessels. In Canada's treasure trove this week he's brought back with him a teapot, a vase, a plate, a cup, a saucer a 50 year old tea bag & a packet of chocolate hobnobs!
Nice one Helen! Helen has organised another beach clean up today. This morning she's rounded up a bunch of picker uppers who are all spending the morning moseying up & down the beach picking up the remnants of waste products we humans improperly discard. With the recent wind & waves as well that is an awful lot of rubbish! Looking at most of the flotsam & jetsom that has washed up on the beach like plastic buckets, plastic bags, & empty red bull bottles, styrofoam & netting entwined around big bamboo branches, I'd say the biggest cuplrits are quite possibly the fishermen. So they're not only destroying the sharks they're now strewing their litter all over the oceans too! Stinky rotten fush fickers!
Just when you thought the exodus was over suddenly we're caught off guard with another late leaver! James is off soon. & because Dan will be away this week starting the IDC that leaves me with a total of 1 in my DM team- Mireia from Spain. So at this late stage I'm having to scrape something up off the bottom of the barrel & I've managed to bring it in & call it 'Wayne'. Everybody say "Welcome Wayne!"
I'm afraid I have some very sad news for those of you who really know Koh Tao. One of our longest, closest, dearest friends has moved on. Simple Life is no more! Its been closed down & its going to be re opened by different people & in the form of something very similar but totally different. How original! So people for all those of you who spent endless nights & lazy afternoons lounging around or playing pool in the best name & the most original Koh Tao Restaurant & bar there ever was, please stand & raise your glasses to our dear departed friend- To Simple Life. May life always be that easy!
Saturday 25th October 2008-
Well now that Big Blue boat is back its about time we sent our Mothercraft Banzai off to the Beauticians for a while! So Piak has set off to Chumphon for the best part of a month tightening the hatches & practising his Karaoke classics down the local. He's had to drag 'Light Blue' with him as well as we decided after all that work the other day getting her out of the water for a scrape & polish that she actually needed a little more treatment than that. So Banzai & Light Blue & P'Piak are off on a months sojourn at the Chumpon boat yard! & by the time they all come back there'll be looking brand new & irresistable. P'Piak especially!
"Hey Jim, Just wanted to drop you a quick line about my diving in Koh Tao. Despite the worries about my ears, everything was fine... Rich was an absolute legend, and his instructing style and depth of knowledge where fantastic. he also knew a thing or two about the town and pointed us all in the direction of good food and good times - he is a star. The diving wasnt too bad either - 20m visibility and being in the water with a shark! Overall your operation is fantastic and i will be reccomending Big Blue to anyone who will listen...take it easy. Paddy"
So we are in for a severe weather warning Thailand wide! Ooh bugger! That means movie monsoon craziness! Its going to be so wet here for the next few days you may as well either wander around the place naked or live & work in your swimmers! Great thought if you're a guy. Horrendous convulsions if you're a chick!
Friday 24th October 2008-
"I just wanted to say that my wife and I had a great experience taking the Open Water Diving Course. I was only diving because my wife wanted to try it. We took the course with Deano and have only great things to say about him. I am sure you are aware but to state it anyway, he was a professional in the water and class, was patient, helpful and also insightful. He also took the time to meet with us after, share a beer, story, Thai / Koh Tao tip. Because of this, it was tough for us to leave. Had we not booked our flight already we would have taken the advanced course. My wife and are already talking about our next Big Blue trip. We also really enjoyed the resort, dive sites, restaurant, boats, ect. It was truly a great dive experience. -Jay"
Thanks Jay & we'll see you both again soon.
Just in case you haven't heard, read or seen the news, The UK's Sunday Times did an article in their travel supplement entitled 'The 10 best destinations for 2009'. Its basically a sneak preview into the Lonely Planet's annual list of emerging destinations & hip classics! Now 1st on the list is some place in Tasmania, then the Basque Country in France & Spain, then some hotspot in Chile, & 4th is Koh Tao! AND they give us a plug by giving our phone number & website address! How groovy is that! Keep a look out people for Lonely Planets "Blue List"- its the bible on hot spots for 2009 & we're smoking!
Canada & Hannah are off on the Trident Liveaboard for the next 4 days as part of Hannahs Tech Diving Course. Not too many women Tech Divers so Hannah is making a name for herself in the world of deep dark & dirty females! Checking out wrecks that were destroyed during the second world war. The history, the stories, the silence, the isolation, the depth, the darkness & deco stops. Not a bad way to spend 4 days in monsoon!
Thursday 23rd October 2008-
Big Blue has a grand old tradition of humiliating its DMT's in a final challenge before they are signed off as professionals. Similar to american college style 'hazing' previous challenges have seen trainees led into the bar on all fours, spiked collars round theirs necks and leashes held by their mentors. Wearing S&M style peek-a-boo and crotchless wetsuits, they were subjected to a series of lashings, beatings, some light spanking, foot-licking and, of course, drinking unpalatable shots of leftover liquors from the dusty top shelf of the bar. Great fun, what? This legendary DMT Challenge has never been repeated, sadly as were told by the boss that we had gone 'too far'. Since then, we've seen cross dressing Blind Date, 'I'm a DMT Get Me Out Of Here!', Koh Tao Celebrity Hooker Pageants and many, many more. The Big Blue Instructors' evil plans backfired spectacularly at the last challenge, however. Who's bright idea was it to strip ex-army Paul, champion kickboxer Dylan, and personal trainer Bart, down to their skintight jocks and put them through a drunken 'Boot Camp'? Jaws dropped amongst the Big Blue females as the boys were led onto the stage and soon, pools of drool formed around their feet as they were put through their paces. By the time they had finished bench pressing scuba tanks, and performing press-ups over a vodka bucket, the girls were left glassy eyed and lightly panting. Poor old Paul had elected to wear white underpants for the challenge and after they were forced to run through the torrential rain to collect and carry tanks into the sea lets just say he had nothing left to hide. I personally vote that we never exploit men in such a disgraceful fashion again and all subsequent challenges should feature fully clothed males. Please cast your vote below....
Disclaimer: The DMT Challenge is an optional component of the Divemaster Training Program.
Wednesday 22nd October 2008-
Time for a bit of pampering! We've now taken 'Light Blue' out of the water in order to give her a sanding & a polish. & thats no mean feat either. It took about 40 big strong strapping lads all their strength to shift our 10 meter flat bottom boat out of the water & in between bungalows 1 & 2. We had to lug her through the resort then flip her upside down & 3 point turn her into her parking spot. & there she'll sit for the next month while we massage her tender bits & rejuvenate her complexion with a bit of glass fibre moisturising cream! Aah & relax!
After writing about the sale of Shark Fin Products at Tesco lotus outlets in Thailand we contacted Tesco directly to ask for their say in this matter. Here’s their Response.
“I am sorry that you are unhappy with our decision to sell shark fins in our Thailand stores. Please let me assure you that we appreciate your concerns about animal welfare and thank you for taking the time to bring your comments to our attention. Like many other retailers in Thailand, Tesco sells shark fin in its stores as our customers expect to be able to buy it. We know that we need to balance different cultural attitudes, in this case respecting the different traditions and values on this issue that exist in Thailand with the very important issue of sustainability and welfare. This is why we will conduct a review and take expert advice to ensure that we source shark in the most sustainable way possible. I have fully logged your concerns and I can assure you that your own comments, along with any others we receive, will be duly noted. Thank you for letting us know your views. If I can help further, please just let me know."
Frankly I just don't think thats good enough & feel we have been totally fobbed off! Please help us & contact them yourselves. We can’t control local retailers but a major chain who packages and markets their products in english is someone we CAN. Tesco Customer Service .uk> Every letter helps!
So as the season draws to a close & the monsoon winds & rains make their way towards our beautiful island paradise we bid Adieu to one of our most loved members of the team. As you all know Rick has been offered the opportunity to manage our diveshop in Khao Lak & has now left us here to set the wheels in motion over there. So if you heard its monsoon time over here & your looking for a bit of fun & games Big Blue style then go see Rick. & Sonia, Marcel, Filip, Ricky, Anna, Robyn, Paul, Keith, Klaus, Joachim, Takeshi, Naomi, Becky, Tuk. There's a Big Blue Party West Coast style. Might even have to pop over myself! Cheers Rick, thanks for everything good luck & we'll see you & the gang back here again in 6 months!
Sunday 19th October 2008-
Looks like the whalesharks have been here at the one dive site for the past week now & don't look like they are in much of a hurry to leave either. They're having a whale of a time! Unlike Ricky & Anna who can't wait to get off the island & head over to Khao Lak for their new adventure over there with Marcel & the guys. They're on the nightboat tonight so its the last night on the dram eh mate. Cheers Ricky - great job DMing & an equally good job Instructing. Now go out & do an awesome job liveaboarding!
And now that Big Blue boat is back & ready for action its time to send Banzai out for a s**t, shower & a shave. Every year around this time we send our boats out to the shipyard to have them taken out of the water, scrubbed & tickled. Its also a great opportunity to take care of the little broken bits & pieces which need attention. Piaks' crutches, the cd player & of course keeping the boat updated & modern looking! The nice touches. The go fast stripes, the fluffy dice, surround sound speakers, neon lights & beaded seat covers. Its time to pimp up Banzai!
Few injuries here a the moment. We know Amanda hurt herself last week & is having trouble with her ears. & then Helen went over the top of her handlebars the other day & has bruised a rib or 2 which obviously smarts. & now Dan seems to have done something to his knee. Not great timing bearing in mind he wants to start the IDC next week. Still Dan seems to have perked up a little since he's been chatting to that extremely eye catching Californian lady with the nom yai's! Always working is our Dan!
Friday 17th October 2008-
Well the heavens opened this morning! Hopefully it doesn't mark the beginning of Monsoon but it might! Usually the monsoon that hits us on this side is relatively short & sweet bucketing down only for an hour or so, and lasting no longer than a few weeks. The thing I actually hate most about monsoon isn't the lack of sunshine, customers or diveable divesites. It's the bruises on my arse after driving through puddle submerged potholes!
And if Monsoon is just around the corner then I guess its time to get ourselves ready to dive our very own House reef! We really are so lucky to be able to walk straight off our beach & be diving the most beautiful hard corals anywhere in Koh Tao. Some might think I'm exaggerating but show me one thing you can't get in Sairee Reef that you can get in Japanese Gardens, apart from Korean snorkellors in life jackets! Having had a sneaky chat with our Japanese Instructors who are incredible at finding the small & well camouflaged stuff I've been reliably informed that in addition to the mass of large Bommies & other large corals there is a Black frogfish & plenty of seahorses, a pipefish or 2 & more Nemo's than you could shake a stick at! Sounds a little like the Similans! & in our very own back yard!
Well we are drawing ever nearer to the final parting of the near departed. Both Rick & Ricky have finished their last day at work here at Big Blue now. As you may know Rick is off to head up our Khao Lak branch imaginatively called Big Blue Diving Khao Lak. He’ll be working his little butty to the bone as he sells our day trips on the coolest speedboats anywhere on the West coast to the best dive sites the Similan & Surin Islands have to offer. & Ricky is off to work with Marcel on a Liveaboard. The endless days, the sleepless nights, the never ending customer questions, the lack of privacy, the absence of a relationship. You boys sure you know what you’ve let yourself in for?
Canada is teaching Big Blue’s first ever Gas Blender Course to DM James. It’s a reasonably tricky 2 day course & you got to have your wits about you cos there’s quite a lot of mathematics involved. But James is a sharp tool & I’m sure he’ll get the gist of it all pretty quickly. And if Canada can do it then how hard can it be! So between the 2 of them, & gradually Canada will train all of our staff, we’ll be able to pump out at least double the amount of nitrox tanks we were pumping last week. So that’ll be… er six… plus… er… six… equals… er…twelvety!
So according to Caz we've made the National press in the UK. The Sunday Times Travel Supplement no less. Always good to see free publicity & nicer when it comes as a complete surprise! Fantastic Caz. Thanks for letting us know & if you could send us a copy that would be worth at least 2 free dives on your next visit! Apparently we also got a very good write up in the latest edition of Lonely Planet Thailand's Islands & beaches. & yesterday I had a very nice couple of girls from some Israeli something or other magazine, or paper or website who had such a great time with us that they wanted to write about us as well. What can I say. When you're hot you're hot! Cheers Caz.& just for you I've put a photo of you & your celeb boyfriend & girlfriend on todays blog! ;)
Wednesday 15th October 2008-
Congratulations Kirsty on becoming our newest Big Blue DMT to drop the T! & what better way to celebrate your Graduation than by throwing a Come Dancing party! Everyone came in their best disco clobber including DM Dan who came in his Gravesend Saturday night best as Chip from the mighty Chippendales. Would have been very funny too if the ogling Big Blue chicks hadn't looked quite so seriously aroused! Can you still see it now as the photos get passed around! All right ladies thats enough! Roll your tongues back in your mouth please! Congrats Kirsty!
'Hi Jim, I’ve been home for a couple of weeks now and I admit to being a bit lethargic in catching up with e mails. However now that the backlog has finally been shifted, I want to take a moment to say thanks to you, the instructors, Dms and to the boat crews who made my diving trip great. 2 weeks on Tao is never enough, and although the viz was perhaps not the best (soup!) at this time of year I had the best time ever. The variety of fish was amazing and now I can say that I’ve swam with Whale sharks, Bull sharks, turtles, barracudas and a shed load of other cool stuff. The après’ diving was equally spectacular and most nights I ended up as a giggling heap, so I guess I must have enjoyed a bucket or 5. Ok special mention time…..Firstly my AOW instructor the Germinator. You did a great job Yvonne. I still smile at the thought of you yelling “Vot are you dooingk wrong?” when I got lost on a navigation dive (twice, oops!) James the fish. Going out with James guaranteed a good dive. This guy can find the special stuff like no other. Including putting me right onto a whale shark while all the Japanese swam off in the wrong direction. Craig. Another supreme fish hunter. Go diving with Craig and you just know that most of the dive will be spent head down trying to look at something obscure under a ledge 3 inches from the bottom. If it’s there, he will find it. Jade. Wow!!!! The most stunning diver in the ocean. Always a pleasure to follow her, but a world class diver too. Craig’s a lucky guy. Emily. Unfortunately I only dived once with Emily, but it was a goody. She’s one of the best. Donna. What a diamond! Just does everything brilliantly and looks great doing it. One of the nicest people I’ve met. All the other instructors and Dms that I met or shared a drink with. The equipment guys who do a great job, always in the background but so important. The boat crews who are understated but brilliant. Worth mentioning too is the very good value accommodation. Very comfortable place to nurse a hangover.Koh Tao is a wonderful place and I know that I’ll be back Big Blue next year for sure. Till then……..Andy Gemmell"
Thanks Andy. Nice one Team!
Its a 100% confirmation! There are 2 whalesharks at Chumphon Pinnacle. One has a sore round its tail & the other doesn't! And can you believe it we can't even drum up enough people to get a trip out there this afternoon to see them. So c'mon people where the bloody hell are you?
Tuesday 14th October 2008-
Well it appears all may not have been a bed of roses for one of yesterdays whalesharks. Unfortunatley there was a rope tied to the tail of one of them. Very sad really as it was quite clearly a noose so it does look like someone has tried to lassoe it & bring her out of the water. Not sure what has happened tho cos the rope has quite clearly been cut above the noose so there is a survival story there which is great! Hooray Whale shark-1 Bastard Whaleshark hunter-0. Luckily, So- who is one of our Japanese Instructors and not just an adverb, was able to take the noose off the whaleshark & free her from it, & then you could quite clearly see the considerable chaffing the poor creature has been enduring. But now thanks to Dr. So this little whaleshark will hopefully live long & prosper & will also stick around for a while trying to find its samurai in shining armour! Whaleshark - 2 Samurai So-1 Bastard Whaleshark Hunter-0!
Baby Blues back! Much to all of our surprise! Not sure any of us expected her to be ready this quickly! But she is & she looks well swanky! Nice shiny coat. Gleaming railings,& ladder. She actually looks so good it feels a shame to go out diving on her cos she'll get all scuffed up. Mind you if these streams of tumbleweed don't stop rolling through the resort soon we may not need to use her! So 1 boat down. 2 to go! Who's next. Navakid or Banzai?
Full moon party time in Koh Phangan. Not sure how busy its going to be if Koh Tao is anything to go by. But I'm sure there'll still be a big enough party for all the usual Backpacker tastes. Every month it's different tastes & flavours. Germany is a popular one. So is Swedish. The Dutch don't do badly either & lately its been very French & a little Spanish. Sounds like the flavour this month is going to be Israeli! Oh god- Bargain hunters!
Monday 13th October 2008-
So you all owe me a large Chang! Actually you owe me 2! Today we dived with 2 whalesharks at Chumphon Pinnacle. Told you so! Conditions are absolutely perfect for Whalesharks right now & have been for a few days so it was a pretty safe bet really. Lots of plankton & krill in the water brought about by last weeks heavy rains & recent winds & this weeks currents brought about by tomorrows full moon. & right now the viz is fantastic, the water is still & there's a Whaleshark of a party going on all day at Chumpers today. We're going there again this arvo due to popular demand. Do you want to come too?
Our friends at ACE Marine Images have started a whale shark ID database. The hope is to collect as many images as possible of these beautiful creatures in order to learn more about these illusive fish. They are working in conjunction with several leading worldwide databases and environmental groups, including ECOCEAN and Project Aware, to try and track their migratory patterns and breeding habits, which to date little is known of still. Ultimately, it is whale shark conservation that is their priority and we want you to be involved. If you have photos of whale sharks either from around Koh Tao or elsewhere please send them into us or whaleshark@acemarineimages>. Now, before you all go searching through your albums and hard drives for photo's, it needs to be said that we need photo's of specific parts of the whale shark so they can be identified properly. Ideally, we need images taken at right angles to the shark which clearly (or as clearly as possible) include the following areas, top and bottom of the 5th gill slit and the inner trailing edge of the pectoral fin. It is these area's that contain large distinctive spots and include suitable reference points for comparison between images. Ideally the images need to be of the left side although the right side is acceptable, both sides would be fantastic! Include any photo's of scars or other distinguishing marks and if you can a photo of the pelvic fins in order for us to determine sex. With each individual submission we also need to know the location of the sighting, the date and a measured or estimated length. Lastly, we would appreciate a good "normal" photo of each whale shark so we can post those on the site and not have hundreds and hundreds of images of the left and right sides. It is also worth mentioning that each positively ID'd whale shark photo that gets posted in the database on the ACE website will be credited to individual divers. If you like you can also include a quote about your experience for inclusion on the website. Go to the whale shark photo ID page of the ACE site for examples. www.acemarineimages.com
Sunday 12th October 2008-
When its this quiet what else do you expect the ladies on our team to do? Go out on Banzai for the afternoon & do some sunbathing! Yvonne, Sonia, Hannah, & Emily had a lovely afternoon out on the boat the other day dressed down to their skimpies tanning themselves! Which must have been the reason we got busy again when everyone else had tumbleweed rolling through their resorts! Thanks ladies.
The more it is talked about the more people listen! Tesco is to review the sale of shark fin products in its stores. More than half of the world's sharks are under threat of extinction but demand for the delicacy shark fin soup means millions are killed every year. The fins are cut from living sharks that are left to die in the water. And Tesco, the world's third largest retail group, is selling shark fin products in its stores in Thailand where it is considered to have medicinal properties. Ali Hood, Shark Trust director of conservation, said a multinational group that prides itself on its environmental record should withdraw the product. "Sharks now rank amongst the most endangered species on the planet and the demand for shark fins is the root cause of the alarming decline in shark populations. The Trust has asked Tesco to follow the example of Disney who withdrew Shark fin soup from the menu of their Hong Kong theme park." Shame on you both for ever thinking it was a good idea!
Eagle Ray at Southwest Pinnacles this morning! Beautiful creatures & unfortunatley here in Thailand very rare & oddly enough its always alone. We don't get the schools of them like they do in Mexico. The loners have been seen before at Chumphon Pinnacle (of course) there was a baby one that hung out in Japanese Gardens (surprisingly) for a while a few years back & now G saw one at Southwest! Cool. Whalesharks, bull sharks, blacktips, & eagle rays! Dive Koh Tao- Cartilaganous-fish- tastic!
Canada installed the nitrox panel today. Ooh exciting! Now we just need to wait for the right oil to use & get a few more stickers around the place & paint lots of things yellow & green. Then of course we need to buy the nitrox compatible snorkel & mask set & get the fins calibrated & someones gonna have to have the long wait & we need to fit all the regs with the left handed mouth pieces & then & only then will we finally be in business!
It's my favourite time of year! There was a massive downpour this morning. The potholes in the roads flooded immediately the Poonama Canal overflowed within a few minutes & everyone on their way to work looked wetter than those who were actually diving. If what I saw this morning is anything to go by then this Monsoons wet t-shirt competition should be quite a big hit! & who said they didn't want to be here in monsoon. For many red blooded males this is the best time of the year!, eh boys!
So its our party at Vibe tonight. As I said a few days ago, Dave has invited 100 of us staff & customers for a free BarBQ at his Beach bar tonight. Everyone is so excited cos we haven't had a party for at least a few days & there's so much to celebrate! The worlds economy is on the mend. The protestors in Bangkok have resigned. The rains are filling up the islands depleted water supply & I got a day off tomorrow! Life is beautiful people!
Well the sea is flat still today. You'd probably see a ripple for miles if you were to break wind in it! Its gorgeous & it also marks the turn in the weather & the season. Now we enter the most beautiful time of the year just before monsoon. The calm before the storm if you like. Its float bar time on the beach at sunset & glorious conditions for diving. Bet you a large Chang we see a Whaleshark next week!
Day 246 of our staff exodus to other exotic places far & wide! & number 7 of our 9 dearly departeds! Today its Sanna's turn. That Swedish charisma & sassy smile is going to take Indonesia by storm! She's been here since the West coast closed last season & has been our Sub aquatic Scandinavian representative since. Now she's off to Bali to experience more fun & games! Oh to be a dive instructor- diving the 7 oceans of the world, jetting off to all 4 corners; nothing but sunsoaked days & marvellous memories. Good on you Sanna. Have a wonderful time, wish you luck in your new job & thanks for all your hard work & happy smiles.
Another packed Full Day trip out to Sail Rock & Samran Pinnacle. Barry is ultra excited as he's lived here over 5 years & still hasn't dived Samran till today. & by all accounts its been absolutely fantastic today. Everyone had a great time except for poor old Amanda who just can't seem to escape misfortune at the moment with what appears to be now a perforated ear drum. Ouch! Bet that hurts. I said " OUCH I BET THAT HURTS!'
Hope you feel better soon mate!
One more down, still a few to go... We can now count the number of Big Blue instructors on our two hands. Sonia has temporarily left the Rock to live some new exciting adventures on the West Coast. I’ve heard she’s already started teaching an advanced course. That was quick, did you even have time to unpack, Sonwan? She’s gonna be running the evacuation facility for diving injuries in Khao Lak and we are all very proud of her. We also hope she will be back next year because we all miss her company here and of course, her world famous Sponge Bob bikini. The DM team has lost one of its members as well. Craig is going Down Under, kidnapped by Big Blue’s hottest marine biologist. He’s probably gonna go back to his old occupation: fixing engines on cranes and bulldozers. Yeah… that’s gotta be more interesting than diving on wrecks with whalesharks! Those strange things love can do to you… Good luck to Craig and Jade and hope you will come and visit us again.
I'm sure you've read or heard about the goings on in Bangkok & are probably wondering if its safe to travel to Thailand at the moment. Well apparently the protesting against the government is intensifying. The people of the PAD (People’s Alliance for Democracy) are accusing the current government of being a proxy for Thaksin, the former PM now in exile in the UK after being overthrown 2 years ago and accused of corruption. Mind you, the new Prime minister, happens to be Thaksin’s brother-in-law. The PAD want the government to quit and the troubles reached a new high last night as a number of protesters were injured in clashes with police. Meanwhile on the island of Koh Tao, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the fish are swimming, the vis is terrific and its ladies night at Choppers tonight!
Big Blue Tech is in a full effect. Canada’s got a new student who actually wants to know how it feels to go below 40 meters while carrying more gear than a one man band trying to play a Beethoven symphony. The student is no stranger, it’s Hannah and she admitted feeling like an Open Water student again after her first tech confined session. Well, there’s always room for learning and Tech diving is the New Frontier for us Instructors. Hey, as long as it doesn’t require getting the same amount of tattoos as Canada, I might even give it a try myself someday.
It is so incredibly rare, that you would think Siamese twin fish attached at the stomach would never survive. But at eight months old, these two Nile Tilapia fish in Thailand have found the perfect way to cope with life upside down... or the right way up if you're the lucky twin. The bigger fish protects its smaller sibling on the bottom, while it in turn looks for food. Believe it or not: These fish really are conjoined twins. The Nile Tilapia fish is a common freshwater species found in tropical rivers, canals, lakes and ponds but these two were found in a Bangkok aquarium. Isn't that sweet. Buy one get one free!
If you do good things, good things happen! So our Instructors generosity the other evening has been returned enmasse! Our friend Dave from Vibe has just been over to tell me that because we have been such frequent customers & he really appreciates everything we've done there he'd like to return the favour & is inviting all the Big Blue Instructors, Divemasters, DMT's, every Big Blue customer & all our Resort staff to a free Bar-B-Q at Vibe Bar this Friday night! Dave thats awesome! Thanks soo much! You've just proved that Karma really does exist. My name is Earl!
Went out today for a spot of diving & a TV interview for ACE Marine Images who are making a fantastic documentary on Whalesharks in Koh Tao. We went to Southwest Pinnacle & Shark Island. Both divesites are looking absolutely beautiful right now. Viz was way over 20 meters & there's a quite beautiful school of baby yellow tail barracudas at Southwest right now. We didn't see a whaleshark but that was fine. It was just lovely to be submerged in Koh Tao again!
Wow! Not sure any of us expected that! It was Yvonne & Jades Shark lecture last night followed by the movie Shark Water. I think we were expecting maybe 20 people at a push to show up but last night there was nearly 60 people there, all come to listen to Jade our Marine Biologist tell us all about the wonderful world of sharks. It was great, very informative & you could tell some of the facts that came out last night were incredibly shocking. Did you know fishermen kill an estimated 30 million to 100 million sharks every year & about 75 shark species are in danger of becoming extinct. Can you imagine being a shark. Being hooked & pulled out of the water & then having your fins & your tail cut off & then being thrown back into the sea while still alive. This is the horror of the Shark Finning Industry. It must stop. Please help guys. Watch the movie Shark Water, & please tell everybody about the horrors of shark finning so that we can put a stop to this Insanity!
SOS everybody. Save our Sharks!
'It was a great day, great instruction and great to see a whale shark… we learnt a lot and most importantly we learnt in safety! Will be back at Big Blue and Big Blue tech, soon, real soon.- Andy & Fiona Campbell letting us know what they thought of their combined Deep & Nitrox Specialty Course to Sail Rock with Canada the other day! Cheers guys & we'll see you soon for your DM Training!
And as each day passes now, for a while, I shall be rubbing the names off the whiteboard as some of us are heading for pastures new. Todays defector is Hal! Our friendly Norwegian is off to learn another language. Hal will be borrowing G's bicycle, the onion necklace, the stripey sweatshirt & that outrageous accent & taking it all to Paris with him as he tries to impress his long lost love Laleh who he imagines is pining for him while he wastes away his days on the Rock! Ooh L'Amour. Cheers Hal, Thanks for all the weird beards & great Morten Haarket impressions! Bon chance mon ami!
Sunday 5th October 2008-
Not sure quite how many we've seen this year but its got to be close to 1 a week. & our last trip to Sail Rock the other day was just another notch on the bedpost for most of the staff. Think Dan & James must be into their double figures by now for the amount of times they've swum with a Whaleshark this year. & now Clarkey the Godfather of Ace Marine Images is putting together an underwater documentary & has asked myself & Michael to go diving with him on Tuesday as he feels its a little rarer to film us underwater than the whaleshark!
A wonderful night was had by all last night & I'd like to thank all the Instructors who between them raised 20000 Bt in order to throw a party for all the staff the DMT's & customers as well at Koh Tao famous Bowling alley & minigolf course. We only expected 40 to show but there was actually 60 who turned up for the free frolicks & bullocks. Great fun & haven't noticed a hangover today on anyone either but then again Monsieur G is keeping a very low profile today! First time I've ever not seen him at work on his day off!
Didn't take long & Canada is spring cleaning again. Actually its more a case of changing rooms. Today we are taking over the Staff complex storeroom in order to make way for the ever expanding Big Blue Tech Department. We should be receiving our lovely green Nitrox Panel this week & then we'll have Nitrox for free! for all Nitrox divers. We'll be able to sell Nitrox to other dive shops & do Nitrox & Gas Blending courses & of course mix the tanks for the Tech stuff. When you going to have time to do the housework Canada if you're going to be so busy?
It's beautiful out here at the moment. The sun is shining, the sea is flat...great! but the island is like a ghost town. Where are you guys?? but i can't really say I'm bored, because a lot of stuff needs to be organised - and that's something the germanzz are really good at! so, the first thing which will happen on saturday night is our *BigBlue SEND-OFF Bash*. we are all going to have a blast at the bowling place with BBQ, Buckets, Minigolf and Bowling. the whole place is booked only for BigBlue Family&Friends. Main reason is the last rush off Koh Tao for 5 more people from the team...there is Rick, who starts managing BigBlue in Khoa Lak, Ricky, who is working the season over there as well, Sanna, who is off to Bali for work, Hal, who is leaving because of love and of course Sonia, who is doing her divemedic course. The Party starts at 7.30pm and last till late...can't wait to beat everyone at bowling - I'm always winning, I just can't help it!!
Another thing will happen right after. Our *Big SHARK Day* on the 5th + 6th. It starts with a presentation, followed by the movie *sharkwater* and a discussion afterwards. The actual day is monday, when we go for 2 dives in chumpon to see them, and while cruising to sharkbay for some sharksnorkeling, we'll have some yummy lunch on the boat. I can't wait for that whole thing...i just hope, our friends in chumpon are not on a visarun or something?!! please show yourself, bully! Don't make the germanator angry ((:
What else is going on? ahja, of course...G IS BACK!!! not quite back on track, but he is back and that's good!
Canada is back in BigBlue and everyone can tell. Yesterday he had his wreck-wednesday-trip and took 7 people from bigblue with him. Finally Ricky gave him a go and had the best time ever...still in the evening he was talking about his narcosis and wouldn't stop!! nice to see everyone after that day so happy .
Today Canada went out with 8 people doing TechDSDs...except ricky, he had celebrated too hard after the wreck trip and couldnt make it.
they were all very excited about the afternoon in techgear and the longest dive in japanese garden ever!! You Go Guys!
Wednesday 1st October 2008-
So there was a large number of the crew went out to join in the efforts of the Bio Rock Project by tieing up the floats to the Bio Domes to ensure they could be transported to the right location where they were to be sunk. Having successfully transported the 4 semi spherical structures to an old dive site some of you may remember called Waterfall (if my old mans memory serves me correct), they were then lowered on to the oceans bottom 1 by 1 where we hope they will stay being electrically charged- expanding & growing & cultivating lots of baby bio rocks! Cheers for all the help Helen & the team, & thanks for staying away from the dive shop customers so we could give all these guys the time off to do some proper work!
Recently had a clear up in the classrooms getting rid of crap that collects over the months. Last time I had a swoop around was about April when I noticed how many used PADI Open Water Manuals we had. There was at least 4 beer boxes worth with 28 manuals in each box. I gave it to P'Nen who took them to Chumphon for recycling. Now I have another 4 boxes again! People please! If you don't want to keep the manual then don't do the PADI Course. Do the SSI course. I'll lend you the manual & you can give it straight back to me after your course is over! Its equally valid at 100% of all diving destinations around the world! Then we can all go hug a tree!
I'm sure you will all be very pleased to hear that the sun has decided to come out & play again. Its been a while, well only a week I guess but the crap spell of weather we just had really slowed business down a lot! Now that the sun is shining again guys I reckon its time everyone came over to see us! Weather's hot & the water is fine! Get your togs on & jump on in! Last one ins a Ponce!