Saturday 27th December 2008-
Well Happy New Year again guy and Happy Diving for the New Year. Course today. Our Burmese staff think its amazing. They do this thankless job everyday pumping the tanks. & now in the season to be jolly Canada has really gone out in the name of festive spirit & not only given our Burmese boys a bit of a break from it he's also gone & got a couple of Farangs to step up & do the job & he's even got them to pay for the pleasure. How do you say these Farang are crazy in Burmese?We’re running a Khao Sok Cavern course on January 10th and 14th. This is a first for us to see if it’s a viable business idea. The certification is through ANDI by Bruce Konefe. 3 days, 4 dives course. You must be Advanced with 20 dives. All “cave” gear, certification, cylinders are included. Technical gear also included for those certified. Accommodation and park fee included. Not Included. Transport to and from Khao Sok, Food and Drink, personal dive gear. Max 4 cave virgins per trip.Well blow me! Not sure any of us were expecting the big waves & wind that have belted us about throughout the night. Apparently there were 6 coach loads full of happy holidaymakers coming to Koh Tao from Bangkok for New Year. Not sure how happy they are going to be to be here now!
Great Christmas gossip making the rounds at the moment. You just can't throw a Christmas party anywhere in the world without 2 members of staff playing embarrassing tonsil hockey with each other! & who were our horny little love blossoms this Christmas time? Well it wouldn't have been Darren & Ally or Canada & Yvonne as that wouldn't be good enough gossip. & Dan & Kim can't keep their hands off each other so that's hardly going to be newsworthy. So which 2 members of our Big Blue DM team were caught Christmas tongue cuddling the other night?Congratulations to Fizz Beach Bar & Restaurant who managed to do a 48 Hour Extreme Make Over & were able to open up for Christmas Eve by 7pm (only an hour late) & had the whole of the island out with them! Now that the Tree has been removed from the Dry Bar a massive bar decking area has been made there & the restaurant decking has also expanded somewhat. Fizz is a great place for food & drinks & when it comes to parties its really Fizzing over there!4 Year Anniversary today of the Wave that shook the World. Just wanted to say Cheers to those we choose to think of on this day.
Like to wish you a very Merry Xmas to one & all & hope that Santa buys you all the scuba toys you've ever dreamed of! A titanium strapped D-9 dive computer please Santa. Did you get that wifey? ;) Its dinner at the restaurant then a wine or 2 at the bar & a bit of disco dancing after prezzies round the tree! Ah, a Merry Koh Tao Chrimbo everyone!Today Big Blue Tech celebrates the graduation of Paul Leech who completed his Tec Basics Course. Paul is an avid diver in the Uk and spends much of his time in quarries around England. His interest in the tech course was not about going deeper but having the safety and comfort of technical diving gear in his normal recreational limit. For Paul who wears a drysuit and dives in colder water, having the ability to dive in technical gear will provide him longer dives with now having twice the air as before. Paul had previously completed his Deep Specialty and Enriched Air Nitrox Specialty with us and Drysuit Specialty and Wreck Specialty in England. Bringing his specialty collection to 4, this course is equivalent for a 5th Padi Specialty making him eligible as a Master Scuba Diver, so Paul not only leaves Koh Tao as an entry level technical diver but also as a Master Scuba Diver! Yikes!The Queensland government in an incredible display of ecological insensitivity has proposed a shark fin fishery in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and in marine parks in Queensland waters. The practice of shark finning is the most nonsensical, ecologically destructive, and unethical fishery in the world. Queensland wants to issue licenses to take an unlimited number of sharks in what amounts to an extermination policy against these essential and magnificent creatures. Is a bowl of sharkfin soup worth the irreparable ecological damage we are doing to the world’s oceans? Crikey!
Monday 22nd December 2008
Well the weather outside is .... glorious! & there are an awful lot of extremely happy punters over here at present! Nice calm flat seas, tropical sunshine, fantastic sunsets, great snorkelling straight off the beach & Santa is wondering up & down Sairee in boardies! Don't you love that tropical Christmas feeling! Palm trees instead of mistletoe, sand instead of snow, & scuba instead of Church!I'd very much like to thank all our ex Big Blue Staff at Wicked Diving in Khao Lak for what has been a truly memorable trip over on the west side. Thanks Paul, Marcel, Robyn, Klaus & Filip for great diving, & mirth making & then thanks to all our other ex Big Blue Staff for getting me completely wasted in the bar both before the trip & after the trip. Thanks to Sonia, Ricky, Joachim, Keith, Rick & Fanette for the worst hangover I've had this year!Staff Party tonight. Everyone comes in their fancy frocks & what nots & then there's free food & beverages for all the staff, a Christmas vdo, & then its the Staff Awards. Wonder who's going to be the lucky recipient of this years 'Most flesh squeezed into a single wetsuit' award?
Friday December 19, 2008
So they’re back! P’Kaow and his wife and their son sailed in today on a freshly painted and refurbished Navakid. This time, the Big Blue dolphin at the bow actually looks like one! Our fleet is reunited and ready to conquer the treacherous seas of the Gulf of Thailand. Darren and Ally are back too, enjoying time in Bangkok before setting foot on the rock for the Holiday madness. Message to them: while you’re in Bangkok, can you get me a Whopper please? I’d like to scrub it on my skin to maximize my seduction potential at the Big Blue Christmas party!
I know we keep saying this but it is definitely high season now. No less than 8 bookings are expected to show up today and the weather is bee-eautiful. If you’re coming, make sure you book your accommodation ahead. And sign up for your Christmas dinner while there is still time. The Island’s restaurants are offering the tastiest menus for the occasion and I’m having a hard time making my pick. Hey, as long it’s not Burger King!
Koh Tao is getting busy again and everybody is getting ready for the holidays. Aukotan is running out of Santa hats, the streets and shops are fully decorated and only thing missing here is snow. Not that we really miss it actually. You have snow at home? Good for you! We’ll be spending Christmas in boardies with a Singha or a Chang. Oh and did I mention the visibility was great this morning? Anybody care to join us?
Our G has just become a Master Instructor today! Soon he will be invited to join the Council and train the Padawans as well as the Novices, he is only a step away from the rank of Course Director, the PADI is strong in this one, hmm? If only he can resist his attraction to the Dark SSIde....
Had a very shiny nose
And if you ever met him
You would have to say he smells a bit, tooChristmas is coming, Ugly's getting fat
'Tis the season to wear short sleevesWe've got bars on the beach
We've got rivers of Chang
You can dance on the bartops
End the night with a bang
When you first drink a cold beer on a warm Christmas Eve
You'll realise you're stuck here and you're never going to leave!Oh the weather outside's delightful,
And we know back home its frightful
And since its not going to snow,
Let it glow, let it glow, let it glowOk, ok, stop groaning, Christmas is meant to be cheesy!
Well if you had 4 days & 4 nights to spend on a luxury boat cruising the best dive sites Thailand has to offer submerging in the Similans, exploring the mighty Richelieu Rock, surfing the underwater currents at Koh Tachai, & bathing with the Mantas at Koh Bon & all that with your wife & some of your best mates you'd be excited too! I'm off tomorrow for a few days- Liveaboarding with my lovely wife, & the Director of SSI Thailand & his wife. Don't envy our Divemaster. We're going to be the most demanding customers they've come across this year. Hope we get Marcel!So as of today Thailand has another new Prime Minister & by all accounts he seems to be a popular choice! Born & raised in England Mr Abhisit Vejjajiva will now lead the country out of the doldrums of recent months & get that infamous smile back on the faces of these wonderful people. So all of you who have been hanging out & waiting to see whats going to happen in Thailand now, can get back in line & form an orderly queue & confirm that booking reservation you had earlier. Now that the troubles are over lets get some diving done!Finished adding the photos to the accommodation page on our website now & its made such an incredible difference to the amount of enquiries we are getting every day. Figure I might change my profile picture on our Meet the Team page & see if that makes any difference too!
Christmas is only -10 days for the germans and 11 days for the rest of the world - away and I m getting really excited. The shop looks finally christmasy and our tree muuuucchhh better...all blinky and shiny with a proper star on top!
Our X-mas Movie is almost done as well...everyone tried the best with singing and looking good. so, you see...we are prepared!It' s time again to say 'hello again' to someone...Olaf from Holland is back and he is staying now for one year!! Olaf finished in May this year his DMT Course with us and decided to sell everything at home to live a beautiful life on a beautiful little island. good decision and WELCOME BACK BUDDY!Last night we had a fancy dress party for Silke´s 30th birthday. For those who don't know her, Silke is a non diver who's been hanging around with the crew for a while. The idea was to come dressed as something that starts with an S. James was a very convincing shark, Rich a Spice Girl(!) and Deano came as a cereal killer. The Welshman's spelling skills are not perfect so if anyone knows a good English teacher, please let us know before he starts flirting with cheep!
Looks like monsoon is definitely over, another beautiful day of sunshine on the Rock. Temperatures are rising and bodies are tanning again. Just in time for high season, today being the official start of another few months of madness. The Full Moon rush started this morning as a number of bright color painted travelers swarmed to the island still wearing their party dress. People in the restaurant this morning were exposed to a horrific vision of what can only described as… well, I’m not really sure how to describe it: imagine a man in an old women’s bathing suit, the color being a cross between purple and pink. I thought I’d seen enough horror with the mankini trend we had this year but this was even worse. Yech! By the way, with the Full Moon, the island is fully packed, please book your accommodation ahead because rooms are going really fast and there's just so many pieces we can cut out of Rick’s hammock!
In the immortal words of Sir Cliff Richard- 'Its Christmas time, Mistletoe & large Chang!' After much nagging & moaning about how our Christmas tree aint out yet I got out our Christmas tree! I was under the impression once I'd put the tree up that it would be received with cheers & rupturous applause. I wasn't expecting the barrage of insults & tumultuous abuse I got for my decorative efforts! So much for the season of good cheer! So today the staff chicks are going to have a go at making our tree look a little more festive! & who was it that accused me the other day of not knowing how to get things done properly?Oh dear. Poor old Redvers! In the spirit of Truth or Dare Deano had to breakdance on the beach last night! Most unfortunate as he's now come in to work with a broken toe! How does one break their toe doing the worm? & how come whenever one person injures themselves we end up with another doing exactly the same thing! Wayne has a gangrenous toe, Andy dropped a tank on his toe & now Deano has broken his toe! It's toe much!Congratulations DMT Peter on finishing your DM Course. Peter is a real character. He served 3 tours of duty in Vietnam ( which gives you some indication he aint no spring chicken!) & has cycled to us all the way from New Zealand! & now he's a fully qualified DM he plans on going home for 3 months & then coming back out here in March April time & will do his IDC & then plans on working as an Instructor for a bit! Good on you Peter! & congrats on doing such a fine job on your DM Course! We look forward to your return in a few months!
Tuesday 9th December 2008-
Dan & Kim up the tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G... Sorry Ladies! Looks like Dan has only gone & got himself a girlfriend. As I sit here writing this I can see the happy couple strolling through the resort arms around each other! I can only anticipate the shock waves this knowledge will send around the world but we think its better we tell you now rather than break it to you all over Christmas. Look at it this way at least you can save some money on prezzies now! Unless of course you want to send them to me!First there was Bio Rock & now comes the world’s first underwater sculpture park. Jason de Caires Taylor has gained international recognition for his unique work. His sculptures highlight ecological processes whilst exploring the intricate relationships between modern art and the environment. By using sculptures to create artificial reefs, the artist’s interventions promote hope and recovery, and underline our need to understand and protect the natural world. The sculptures are sited in clear shallow waters to afford easy access by divers, snorkellers and those in glass-bottomed boats. Viewers are invited to discover the beauty of our underwater planet and to appreciate the processes of reef evolution. We'd love to build a sculpture park here too. Anyone interested?Hmmm... accommodation is getting a little hard to find of late! Might need to pop over to Khao Lak & borrow Ricks hammock! I've now sold the last 3000 Bt per night beach bungalow for the rest of the year. The 800 Bt ones were sold out a couple of weeks ago already, the 900 Bt ones are gone now as well & we're really only left with our brand new rooms with hot water, AC, refrigerator, TV , balcony! & that all important flushing toilet! Aah the joys of having a First World WC.
Monday 8th December 2008-
Like to give Oscar & Donna a good luck vibe for their upcoming IDC. They have been slaving away for the last 3 weeks under the watchful eye of IDC Staff Instructor Dive Guru G & are now ready for the next step into Divedom as they hopefully pass their Instructor Exam next week. & then of course the hardest part of the whole IE is the IE Party! G's already booked his morning off after! Good luck guys!Nice to see Canada taking off his techi wrecki hat to get back to the basics of Open Water Confined today! What with the continuous build up of students we've been getting daily we've had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find an Instructor that could teach yesterdays course. & lo & behold, we came up with Canada. Just remember James, its only 1 tank per diver, there's no mixed gases & we'd appreciate it if you didn't take anyone deeper than the obligatory 18 meters... but not in confined!For most of us, water activities are one of those things that will soon or already have become far too cold to enjoy. However, there are those lucky few that can enjoy them year round, (especially if you are lucky enough to live in Koh Tao!) So, some of us might want to check out these waterproof over ear speakers. Not only is it a set of speakers, but it is also a case that will fit your iPod and keep it safe from the water. The cases can fit several of the current and older iPods. It will work underwater up to 300ft. The speakers are designed to be tucked underneath a dive hood or to a mask strap. The case also allows for you to see the screen if you’d like to watch movies while you’re underwater or preparing to be. It will cost you quite a bit though. The set is being sold for a whopping $349.99. That's more than the DM Course costs! Hmm- DM Course or Underwater Ipod? Hmmmm....
Sunday 7th December 2008-
I have got to get me one of these! The Lunocet is a hydrofoil for your feet, a kind of swishing fishtail that will propel you through the water like Aquaman. The device clamps on to the feet, which are kept together, and when you kick, the tail flexes. Instead of just relying on your legs to push the water out of the way and thereby provide propulsion, the Lunocet acts more like an airplane wing and actually provides an airfoil-style "lift" which should enable you to leap from the water and clear the surface like a dolphin. That sounds awesome. Just how fast is it? According to the "LunoFAQS", you can hit 8 mph. That's almost double the speed of Michael Phelps at full tilt. Oh Yeah!It was an excellent turnout at last nights snorkel test & we had people from all over the island come & witness another one of our brave DMT's make an arse of themselves on stage! Congratulations DMT Andy who managed to successfully drink everyone under the table last night at his Divemaster Challenge. Ex Radio DJ mix master Andy Luckman has been with us for the past 6 weeks training to be a Divemaster & now that he's completed it he's addicted & wants more! Can you blame him? Sunshine, underwater nature, beaches, bikinis! Who in their right mind wouldn't want some of this? Sorry Craig!At a time when the rest of the world is sacking their staff left, right & center we are looking to take on more! Yesterday we put an ad out for a Scandi speaker & today we need a Bar DJ, a shop girl, another German Instructor, another Dutchie & whats with all these Spaniards lately? I'm going to need one of them too! Ooh its real busy here. Think I need another holiday. I'm off to Khao Lak to see our buddies over there. Rick, Sonia, Marcel, Paulie, Klaus, Robyn, Filip, Ricky, Anna... save us a seat guys we're coming over!
Saturday 6th December 2008-
So if you check out the news headlines its all doom & gloom for Thailand! Looks like a load of hot wind if you ask us. The emails are relentless, boats to Koh Tao are full, our accommodation is full, all our Instructors are busy & our DM team is full on too! I'm also hearing Samui is getting busy now too. But apparently tourism is down as much as 50% according to some sources. Well people, take it from the horses mouth! Its busy here & rooms are getting hard to find. Highly recommend booking ahead if you are looking at coming over to this beautiful island paradise in the next few days or weeks! Especially around Full Moon which is next week & then Christmas in only 19 sleeps time! Ho ho ho!Getting to that time of the year again when the whole of Scandinavia immigrates to the warm shores of Thailand. The Swedish newspapers are recommending Thailand (well done Swedish newspapers) as this years choice of winter sun destinations & Koh Tao comes 7th on their list of top spots. So looks like we're going to be inundated with foxy blondes & teutonic fellas within the next few weeks so I'm putting out a Situation vacant advert! If you speak Swedish, Danish, Norwegian or Finnish & and are a stunningly attractive, have an infectious personality & are a diving Instructor then please contact us. Interviews with the fellas will be held down the pub! Interviews with the ladies will be held over a candlelit dinner & a movie!Word on the street is that you can only get 15 day tourist visas now! That's initially quite shocking news but when you check it out in a bit more detail it's not actually as bad as it first seems. If you arrive in Thailand via an airport then you get your normal 30 day visa which bearing in mind is the majority of visitors to Thailand. But if you come in Thailand by land then you get stuck with the 15 day visa! So our recommendation then is if you want to stay longer than 30 days then go to your local Thai Consulate or Embassy get your 60 day Tourist visa then after 60 days whizz off to Samui & extend for a further month & a month later off to Malaysia & get another 60 Day tourist visa! Easy. Same same but different!
Friday 5th December 2008
Managed to make it to Chumphon yesterday morning with our divers which made a change & by all accounts well worth the effort! Good viz flat seas & because the fishing fleets don't go out in big waves there was heaps of fish! What's been particularly interesting are all the peculiar looking fishies we've been spotting amidst all the flotsam & jetsam on the surface. Reasonably odd behaviour especially for the well camouflaged pipefish & also for the very appropriately named Sea moth. A very bizarre looking fishy- a swimming moth! Cool!As you may know we take care of a few dogs here at Big Blue. We got Panda & Major that both adore DM Andy! Then there's Massaman who gets taken care of by Na, our restaurant cashier, Uri our Japanese dog & our 2 favourites Sausage & Ugly! Ugly even has her own Facebook Group- the Ugly Dog Appreciation Society with almost 200 Members! And we do have to take care of our dogs of course after all they aint just for Christmas! So thanks on behalf of Ugly, Dan & Deano for bathing her,washing her thoroughly & giving her a nice new clean coat. Not so Ugly now are you Beautiful!Just like to wish the King of Thailand a very Happy Birthday. It's his 81st Birthday today & his 62nd year on the throne making him the longest serving Monarch in the world. & unfortunatley its only his 1st time when he hasn't been able to give his yearly Birthday address ( due to illness) to the people who love & respect him so.Thais talk of their love for him as though he were a cherished member of the family. In his speeches to the nation he likes to joke and tease them. Earlier in his reign when he was younger and traveled a lot, he clearly enjoyed meeting and mixing with people from the poorest rural communities. People often refer to his long life of service to the nation, to his experiments with agriculture and irrigation, many of them carried out on the grounds of his palace in Bangkok. A truely great leader & we all wish him a very happy Birthday & hope that he gets well soon.
Bah humbug! What monsoon? I've been back a week now & it's been nothing but glorious sunshine! Not a drop of rain & nothing but fabulous sunsets everynight. The water is flat, well at Sairee Beach it is at least, & the conditions have never been this good for Open Water Confined. Much better learning to dive in the sea than it is in a swimming pool. Wouldn't you agree?AAah. So nice to see one of our little ones teaching their first Open Water Course! Dan came to us over a year ago as a small spotty little nipper to learn how to dive. He signed up for his Open Water Course then did his Advanced, followed by his Rescue, then hung out a while longer & did his DM with us as well. Then as a maturing male we ended up offering him a job in our DM Team where he rose to the occasion & became a very considerate DM. & now he's grown into a proper man & passed his Instructor Course he's teaching his first Open Water Course today. Bless. Congratulations Dan. We're all very proud!And it looks like the troops are gradually returning. Canada & Yvonne got back yesterday after enjoying themselves with the troubles in Bangkok. & Emily got back this morning after peeling herself off the beach in the Phillipines. All we need now is Rich to return from his visa run & Barry to get off the potty & we'll be one big happy family again! Welcome back peeps!