Sunday 30th November 2008
I'm back, & I have had a wonderful time with my very lovely wife (still feels weird to call her that!) over there in Indonesia. If anyone is interested Bali is wonderful Lombok was beautiful & the Gilli Islands were spectacular. We dived, ate, read & sunbathed & even managed to turn a weird shade of skin colour- apparently it's a tan! (Surprised me too!) Even bumped into Sanna underwater who is now working over in the Gilli Islands! A wonderful 3 weeks of bliss, romance & excessive spending. & all made the better knowing that Big Blue was being extremely well looked after by Barry on lead vocals, G on drums & Yvonne on keyboard. Thanks guys!Now the question everyone wants to know the answer to is how much longer are these protestors in Bangkok going to keep the airport there closed for! Unfortunately it doesn't really seem to be drawing to any quick conclusion & I got to be honest with you people, we are really feeling the effects! We've had a lot of bookings that aren't able to get here now & we haven't had a single new booking since all this kicked off. Still getting a squillion emails every day though but unfortunatley they are all asking the same questions- do we know when the airport will be re opened. Well the answer is no but we do have some solutions for you. Fly into Phuket, Pattaya, Krabi, or Kuala Lumpa & then get a connecting flight to Koh Samui. These airports are protester free!Meanwhile the sun is out but I'm afraid the waves over here are huge! If you want my advice I'd take the Seatran Ferry over to Koh Tao right now. There hasn't been a night boat for a few days & the Lomprayah catamaran makes you feel like you are in a marble on a plate being carried by an amputee riding a bicycle! A wee bit wobbly! Seatran it is then!
Thursday 27th November 2008.
Morning from a sunny Sairee! We’re back onto another of our favourite topics – the weather!
The sun has returned, and we’re all getting a bit confused with this monsoon malarkey.
Anyhow, let’s not worry where the rain went, we like this kind of weather! Not only is it time for some sunbathing, it’s beer float time!
It’s all go at Big Blue, we’ve got a load of fundivers out at White Rock and Twins, which are fast becoming two of our favourite sites, and they’re getting nicer as the days go by, better visibility and plenty to see. Simon and Deano are out with the DMTs doing a skills circuit, Rich is introducing new students to their Open Water course, Barry is meeting and greeting, Helen’s organising beach clean-ups and DM Wayne is refreshing, everyone’s just busy busy busy!!
All of us here at Big Blue want to say a huge ‘Thankyou!’ to Barry for doing such an awesomely stellar job of holding the fort whilst Jim’s been away. Barry, Yvonne and G have been working so hard running the show, and we’d have been lost without them. So get them all a beer when you see them next!
Yvonne will have to wait for her beer though, she’s off to Bangkok for a week with Canada for a very well-deserved break. Shopping, Starbucks, the new James Bond film…nope, we’re not at all jealous! Enjoy!!
So as Yvonne and Canada escape the Rock, Jim is on his way to Koh Tao - he’ll be back tomorrow to make sure we’ve all been behaving ourselves whilst he’s been away! Which we have…honestly!! Um, yeah, back to that beer float!!
Wednesday 26th November 2008.
Remember that monsoon we lost? Well, it’s back with a vengeance! However, the visibility’s clearing up, and there’s lots to see - fundiver Jen and DM Andy have found some more lionfish just south of White Rock! (much to instructor Dan’s chagrin as he wanted to be the only lionfish discoverer on the island!) We love these fish, they can be dangerous if you touch their spines, but stay at a safe distance and they’re really beautiful to look at!
Just ‘cause it’s raining doesn’t mean we’re not having fun! Our hard-working instructors, DMs and DMTs had a bit of a break this morning, someone cracked up the volume of the music in the shop, and they were all dancing along to YMCA, a little bit of in-house entertainment for everyone!
Despite the problems at Bangkok Airport, we’re still going strong, the weather’s improving every day and our spirits are running high. We’re looking forward to welcoming the beginning of the high season that’s fast approaching, so don’t be put off by the airport news, get on the overnight train instead…or a bus…or a taxi….or a friendly elephant!!! You choose!
It’s been a crazy two weeks trying to tell the difference between DMT Amanda and her twin sister, one of them’s going back to Bangkok today, and we’re not even sure which one!! So have a safe trip Jessica…..or Amanda, or is it Jessica????
Jim’ll be here soon after his well-deserved break, and we can’t wait to see him donning his Captain Kirk uniform and taking his rightful place back at the helm. He’s been well missed and we’re looking forward to him taking the reins once again!
Monday, 24th November 2008-
Amanda and Donna are back from the West Coast after a well deserved break and they’re already straight into the action. Amanda did a skill circuit with Deano and G yesterday along with 6 other DMTs and she’s helping in the shop again. What would we do without her?
because of a stomach infection but she's fully recovered and ready to
kick some Course Director butt!
Latest news… DARREN AND ALLY ARE COMING BACK FOR CHRISTMAS!!!!! Now that’s a proper present for the Holidays!
Saturday 22nd November 2008 Year of the Scuba Diver
Most Male Flesh Squeezed into a Wetsuit - Now that Poppa Bear Andy has returned to the UK who will waddle up to the plate and attempt to eat this coveted accolade?
Shopgirl Tantrum of the Year Award goes to.....? Ow! Sorry Tor....
Outstanding Customer Service - Can you think of anyone who's devotion to service has taken him/her above and beyond the normal level of service one would expect. Anybody tried to please more than one customer at the same time? Or perhaps someone who has gone the extra mile to ensure a customer 'gets home safely'?Weird Beard of the Year - Speaks for itself somehowRestaurant Price Increase of the Year Award - Which menu item makes you laugh most every time you decide not to buy it?
James 'Canada' Thornton Allen will compere the extravaganza and the worlds media are sendind representatives, so put on your best cargo shorts and come on down!
Whalesharks are back at Chumpon Pinnacle although you still have to be lucky to see 'em. How you can miss a 7 metre fish is still a mystery to me but I still managed on Tuesday. The students were very understanding (at least to my face).DMT numbers have gone up again. Please welcome Collin from Ireland. He did his Rescue course with Hal in March and now he's back on the Rock. Despite being disappointed that our pocket-size viking wasn't there anymore when he cam he back he decided to go for another round with Big Blue
There is a bit of a mystery occurring on Koh Tao. It appears that someone has stolen the monsoon. It was here 7 days ago and now has just vanished. I’m sure it will be back soon, but if anybody does see it please let us know.Things are very busy at Big Blue today. Helen, and Rich are currently teaching Open Water courses. G is out there Advancing and Canada is First Aiding followed after with a spot of Rescue.
Dan are newest Instructor received his teaching status today, this means he can now go out and teach all you soon to be scuba divers. Ladies……… please form an orderly cue!Banzai arrived back from Chumphon this morning supporting a beautiful fresh coat of paint. Every year the boats (all 3 of them) take it in turns to go over to the main land to have any breakages that occurred over the year repaired. The boats are then cleaned and repainted ready for the next year. In the next few days it will be the turn of Navakid to make its way for a good scrub and some well deserved pampering. So welcome back Capt P-Piak and Japanese Inst Asuka.Amanda, aka DMT, shop girl, organizer and anything else that requires doing has gone off to the Similan Islands with her twin sister for a very well earned rest. Once again I’m not jealous at all, happy diving.
Saturday 15th November 2008Good afternoon from a sunny Koh Tao! Sairee’s got the sun today, all the flood waters have dried up (Shame, we were going to re-create the fun of Laos and go tubing through the streets!).Instead, we’re getting out the suncream and upping our vitamin D levels. Everyone else is relaxing and having fun, some of them recovering from the IE bash, Dirty Nelly’s sure knows how to throw a party!
Well, there’s relaxation for those of us who aren’t working! Everyone else is go, go, go - the Full Moon Party contingent has arrived and we are BUSY! Lots of eager students ready to get addicted to diving!
Even though it’s monsoon, people are still heading to the Rock…Oskar’s back! If you don’t know him, he’s the guy in the tech gear in the toilets Ok, that’s not entirely true, he’s the guy on the poster in the toilets. Ex-Big Blue DM, he’s going to be starting the IDC, welcome back!
We’re also welcoming Dan back to the DM team too! He’s been missed whilst he’s had his head buried in books. This time it wasn’t a trashy novel (apparently he’s read all of those on the island) but the Instructor manual! All that reading was well worth it, he aced his exams and is ready to be let loose on students! Two weeks without him and now he seems to have a new glow about him … the Instructor Aura. It’s kinda blue with a touch of red and a PADI Logo.The DMT contingent is on full force with Andy, Mickey, Mirko, James and Peter forcing their way through PADI Manuals and exams. Should you come to Big Blue in the next month or so you will have one of these lovely people assisting your course and making sure you are looked after. Be nice to them (buy them a beer) and they will … drink the beer with an appreciative nod of the head.
Thursday 13th November 2008Good morning sea lovers, Big Blue signing in. Wow what a last few days we have had on Koh Tao. So much has been going on!Where do we start?!
Well I guess the Monsoon rain is as good place as any. Since Monday evening the heavens opened continuously through to Tuesday evening with approximately 150mm of rain falling. All rather exciting really. Unfortunately the drains didn’t quite see it that way, nor the rivers come to that. Yes our motorbike park being quite a low place and by a river slowly started to disappear. At one point Canada our Tec/Wreck Inst was advertising Wreck Specialty Course Dives in this location. Fortunately for us and not for him the water level soon receded and the motorbike park reappeared.Another brave diver has decided to enroll in the DMT program and brave he is. I am not referring to our DMT program being scary, no no. Our newest member is a war veteran and has seen combat action. I will call him Sir for the whole course. Not only is that something, but there is more to this character……. Yes, he cycled all the way from Singapore to be with us (I’m sure a boat came in to the equation somewhere on the journey), now that’s what I call an eager beaver. Welcome Peter we all look forward to your stay with us here.
Today is the final day of the Instructors Examinations for Dan and Helen. So far they have flown through the course with flying colours. This morning they are in the swimming pool completing the confined water section of the exams. Once they have completed this, and we are waiting by the phones, a closing ceremony will be followed by a few well deserved drinks and some back patting. Well done also to G and Deano. They both staffed on this course which was of great help to Dan and Helen.
The beautiful Emily is off on her holidays today (so jealous). A very well deserved break for this hard working Inst, so we wish her and her boyfriend a wonderful holiday, oh and yer, can you bring me back a t-shirt or something?Talking of hard working people Amanda DMT is super excited. Her twin sister is arriving tomorrow so Amanda’s off to Bangkok to meet her and do some sight-seeing, I think this probably means shopping. Have a great time girls!NEWS FLASH………
Dan and Helen are now Instructors. A massive congratulations to you guys!!
Wednesday 12th November 2008
Well, for all of us umming and ahhing over whether monsoon was here or not, yesterday we had a definitive answer in the form of several hours of torrential rain and a lot of flooding! Koh Tao is a tad waterlogged, with some of the roads turning into rivers the island’s starting to resemble Venice,However, the divers came back yesterday morning to report that once they’d dropped down through the layer of silt on the surface, the visibility was 20-25metres, always good!
The sun hasn’t abandoned us yet though, just now it’s making up for yesterday and we’ve had a bit of glorious sunshine, enough time to sit outside and top up any fading tans before the weather changes on us again!Sitting in the bar of an evening watching the videos of new Open Water students is always great fun and a good way to end the course, but one of the latest videos drew in one of the biggest crowds we’ve seen in a while – the videographer’s visit coincided with DMT Andy’s 100th dive, traditionally done wearing your birthday suit. Not one to mess with tradition, with just a hat to protect his modesty, Andy proved that there’s more than just fish to see at Twins!
Like lambs to the slaughter, DMTs are flocking to Big Blue. No, really, the programme’s awesome, and the more the merrier! So we’ve added Mirko from Italy, an international Casanova who moonlights as a restaurant manager; and James from Tasmania, who’s trying to adjust to life without groupies after spending the last few months travelling around Europe with his band.Welcome to Big Blue!It’s Loi Krathong tonight, the Thai ‘Festival of Lights’, so we’ll be either watching or joining in with the Thai staff as they float their Krathongs off into the Gulf of Thailand, can’t think of a better way to end a day of diving than relaxing on a beach under the stars, in fact, we’re off to do just that…
Deano and G are both having a bit of a break from their IDC staffing, but they’re still working hard! Our resident Welshman is assisting on a rescue course with Hannah; and our French bloke is thinking up ingenious EFR scenarios to help his students to practice their first aid, involving DM Andy sprawled out on the deck covered in tomato ketchup – got to make things realistic!Brilliant diving again at Chumpon this morning, more sharks, we like to keep our fun divers happy! 20 metre visibility, better to dodge the rain and get underwater!
Remembrance Sunday today, so before we all head out for our roast dinners and watch the gorgeous Koh Tao sunset, some of us will observe the 2 minute silence – wear your poppy with pride!