POLICE raided the Takuapa bus station in Phang Nga on Friday and found protected coral reef fish in transit to Bangkok. About 180 coral blooms were rescued and are being brought back to Phuket. A man who was accompanying the blooms ran off. And in Bangkok a man has been arrested and accused of being the mastermind behind a 100 million baht-a-year coral reef fish poaching ring. Police were taken to a house in the sea gypsy village at Rawai where they found 150 protected fish of 18 species in aquarium tanks. More than 100 living coral blooms were also found in the house by officers. The man accused of organising the poaching, had between 100,000 baht and 500,000 baht moving into his bank account each week. The bulk of orders came from Chiang Mai. The fish and the blooms would be sent to buyers by air transport, once sufficient orders had been filled. Police are now tracing the sources of his bank-book income of 100 million in the past year.
Big thanks to none other than Mr John Williams the author of Lonely Planets Diving & Snorkelling Guide to Thailand & the 'go to' guy if you ever want to know anything especially about Liveaboard boats. Here's what he says about our recent Liveaboard acquisiton! - " Looks like our buddies at Big Blue Diving Koh Tao & Khao Lak will be taking over management operations for the MV Pawara. While always a well run boat, we know that Michael, Takeshi, Rick and the rest of the team will make it even better and more... fun than ever. Bent and John look forward to working with them!" -Nice one John! There's our first seal of approval from the Dam Nam man from Siam!
Thanks again to G our Big Blue Representative who has put soo much into Koh Tao & the Save Koh Tao Group. He goes to every meeting, every workshop, every coordinated get together & today he is organising the Sairee Reef & Beach clean up. We got 3 diveboats ready 5 kayaks, & 2 longtails. G is managing events underwater & Deano is managing the boats & the rubbish collection! Its not as easy as you think organising a beach & underwater clean up. It requires organisation, preparation, coordination, a baguette, a beret & an outrageous French accent! C'est bon trevally! Merci Monsieur Guillaume.
Well first off I think we should all bow down with our hats off to Dale who organised last nights premiere showing of the movie The end of the Line a documentary on over fishing. It is a rare movie that will change your life. I am going to stop buying or eating from this day forth Atlantic Cod, halibut, sea bass, tuna, hake & scallops! It not only made me feel sick it made me feel ashamed, despondent & anxious, increasingly disenchanted with our politicians & above all, guilty! Great job Dale. There must have been over 100 people show up! Imagine if all of them choose not to eat fish anymore! & they tell 100 people. And so on. And so on. Till we got no cows left cos we've eaten them all! Oh dear. Mankind. We're so screwed! We are slowly killing ourselves! Time for a happy movie! Anyone want to watch Top Gun next?
Its that time of the month- the Koh Tao underwater clean up. This Saturday our save the world from Rubbish representative Guillaume with his trusty side kick Kayleigh will be tackling the beach in the morning with a big Beach clean up & then in the afternoon we will have about another 30 divers all coming out with us to pick up the rubbish that we can find on Sairee Reef. Everyone welcome & then there'll be another free Barbecue at Vibe Beach bar after, for all participants. Be green. Drink Beer & Eat Sausages!
So while some of us are toiling away on the beaches & in the water, socialising at night, educating by day, Canada & his team of Hill Billies are in the deepest darkest densest part of the Khao Sok National Marine Park strumming on their banjo's (tech diving) & delving through their nether regions (Cave Diving). They've been gone 4 days now & we've not heard a squeak from any of them which obviously means they are having an absolute blast or... they're on a new Reality Thai TV equivalent of the Blair Witch Project!
Not sure what happened there but quite literally overnight our email inquiries have quadrupled. Many thanks one & all for writing in with your questions & such & I will try & get to them as quick as I can but wow looking at some of them this might take a while. So if you happen to be one of those waiting here's a couple of answers to some of the same questions. Monsoon starts mid November & finishes by Christmas. Yes it's still good up till then. Yes you can still go diving during monsoon. Yes we have our own Liveaboard in the Similans next season. Yes we are open on Christmas Day & New Years Day for afternoon diving. And 'No'. Simon isn't enjoying the football right now after his team's dreadful start to the beginning of the season! But Barry & Jim are!
Whaleshark at Southwest Pinnacle was spotted yesterday afternoon so we sent Banzai out this morning to see if we could treat our customers to something really special- spending the morning diving with them. Unfortunately we failed as the Whale Shark was obviously hiding under a rock somewhere cos we didn't see it. We did however see a large school or 2 of Fusiliers & Barracuda's & a couple of Cuttlefish & an ink squirting octopii! Would have seen a few sharks in years gone by if Mankind hadn't brought them to the brink of extinction!
Rumour has it the staff at Crystal Dive have been working out, pumping iron & then going home early to study in preparation for tonight's big match between ourselves & the guys at Crystal. Its competition night at Vibe Bar & Massive Dave has laid on a tug of war, a potato sack race, a general knowledge quiz, an egg & spoon race, a muscle man competition & an all you can eat Barbecue. Should be a breeze for us. Big Paul just got back off his visa run so we'll win the All you can eat, the muscle man, the general knowledge, & the tug of war. Not sure there's a potato sack big enough for Paul but we've got the rest covered!
Canada & his team at Big Blue Tech are off tonight for another 4 days & nights of adventure in the Khao Sok National Park. Descending through the murky depths of the lake, delvng into unexplored cavern systems – The Final Frontier. These are the voyages of Big Blue Tech, its continuing mission to explore a strange new world, to seek out new life and new civilizations and to boldly go where no one has gone before.
Hats off to DMT Dale who has done an outstanding job & has got himself a copy of the movie 'The end of the line' sent to him directly from the film distributors themselves! Which means this Tuesday at the Big Blue Cinemaplex we shall be screening the Thailand Premiere of this amazing documentary portraying the plight of the Blue Fin Tuna in our oceans due to over fishing & deep sea trawling. Nice one Dale. Now Dale, would you mind writing a letter to James Cameron as I'd really like to see the new Sci fi movie Avatar next!
Just beautiful! Our new Big Blue Brochures have been printed & we have a few thousand in stock ready to be handed out & distributed around the place. The touts are all armed & ready for action. So are the Instructors & Divemasters. In fact we are all very excited. The brochures really look great. Thanks Canada for the design & layout, thanks Tetsu & Lia for the photos & thanks Sanna, Dan & Oskar for the posing. You all look great. Except you Dan. Your mask makes your bum look big!
Hot on the heals of Simon & his bid to become our SSI Instructor Trainer is everyone's favourite Frenchman G who will be launching his bid to become our very own Big Blue PADI Course Director. Simo will be able to start his SSI ITC within the next couple of weeks & G can get cracking on his PADI CDC at the beginning of next year. So its the SSI ITC ASAP & G's PADI CDC TBA! TTFN!
Congratulations to 3 of our new Advanced Nitrox divers, Andy, Panos & Jean Louis. The course is designed to train the divers in the benefits, hazards and proper procedures for utilizing Enriched air nitrox through to 100% oxygen for dives not requiring decompression. It's exciting stuff & both Panos & Andy will be continuing this Advanced technical diving when they set off for the depths of the Khao Sok National Park next week to complete their TDI Cavern Course. Technical diving. Not for the faint of heart this tech & cave diving thing but thats alright for these boys. After all Andy was trained by the Royal Marines & served a stint or 2 in Afghanistan. & Panos Iosifoglo is... from... SPARTA! Hoo!
How's this for a free dive- coming face to face with a 50ft female humpback whale. Imagine diving along side one of these great giants of our seas. As we know whales come in all shapes & sizes & one photographed recently measured over 50 feet & is estimated to weigh about 50 tonnes. It is allegedly the smallest man a whale has ever been photographed next to. Or is that the largest whale a man has ever been photographed next to?
Well Simo has his nose in the books right now as he is studying for the big exam! Simon is soon going to be our SSI Instructor Certifier which is the PADI equivalent of the Course Director. So before too long we will be able to train all those interested in becomming SSI Instructors. Which is becomming increasingly more popular. & of course because Big Blue Diving is one of the largest SSI Dive centers in the world old Simo could find himself pretty busy over the next few weeks, months & years! Good luck Simo. Hope you pass the Fizzix Eggsam!
A few months ago one of the islands dive boats actually sank here on Sairee Reef. It was I believe a case of schoolboy error when the Captain forgot to turn on the bilge pump one stormy night & came to work the next morning to find his boat 6 feet under...water! Anyway its since been delicately lifted & towed to the deeper depths of Japanese Gardens to become for the moment a Koh Tao Wreck Dive! Not quite the type of wreck Canada & his Team at Big Blue Tech are used to diving but Yvonne & her group of Advanced Divers they all thought it was pretty cool! Deep Dive at Chumphon followed by a wreck Dive at Japanese! Sounds pretty cool to me too!
Thai fishermen have been issued a warning against dropping broken trawl nets in the sea, saying the net could kill marine animals, particularly the Ridley's turtle. Swallowing a small piece of net could be very dangerous for marine animals, while larger pieces could trap them & cause drowning. The warning came after a 2 year old Ridley's turtle was found stranded on a beach in Phuket with severe injuries caused by being trapped in a large broken piece of trawl net. The turtle was believed to have been trapped in the net for several days & its front leg was missing presumably cut off as it struggled to free itself. Wounds were also detected on its front right leg & head! Save the turtle! Stop trawling!
"Hi Jim, as I've recently ran out of log space in the little yellow logbook I got doing my OW/AOW/Nitrox with you guys in 2008, I thought I should send you guys a little thank you note for a great introduction to the world of diving. The classes were fun, yet efficient (managed to transition to no-vis and cold water easily), the diving was great and I certainly left Big Blue with a strong urge to dive more and the skills to do it. So send my thanks to Rick, Panos & Celine if they're still around.- Dominic Couture" You're the man Dominic! & Rick & Panos. & yes Celine you are the gal! Cheers for writing in Dominic & see you next year for another logbook!
Its been a while since we had any new ones & then 4 come along all at once! I'd like to welcome Nick & Taylor from Californ-I-A & Harry & Guy from Witshi-R-E! The boys have all signed up for their Divemaster Courses so will be swimming & sweating & studying & partying & demonstrating & correcting & listening & lecturing & diving & drinking till the cows come home! Which at Big Blue is an average of about 8 weeks! Welcome to your Divemaster Courses boys! These are going to be the best days of your lives!
"Hi Jim, I left Koh Tao today and Im already up in Bangkok. Sorry I didn't say goodbye, couldn't find you this morning. Just to say thanks for everything, I've had a wonderful time on Koh Tao and at Big Blue. A very warm reception coming back after 4 months and its been great seeing everyone again. Also, thanks for helping me out last week with accommodation and diving, had an excellent week! :) Hopefully will drop into Big Blue next Summer! Cheers, Simon" You're welcome mate it was nice to see you again & appreciate you dropping me a line. See you next year!
K-I-S-S-I-N-G... Thats what we like a woman who knows what she wants & aint afraid to go out & get it! Latest news on the on again off again relationship of the year is that they are on again! Well they were a couple of nights ago but apparently things have changed since then & now they are off again untill the next time she has a drink. So this time tomorrow they're bound to be back together! Must be true love! Congratulations Lara & Deano you make a beautiful couple... yesterday... & in another couple of days time... probably!
Tuesday 18th August 2009-
What an enormous success our Free dorm rooms are proving to be! 3 bunk beds or 6 beds all with their own individual light, Air conditioning, hot water shower, fridge & individual lockers & all of which is for FREE on the days you dive or 200 Bt per bed on the days you don't dive. What a bargain! Especially for the single travellers who are looking to meet people, go places & do things! PADI loves these rooms!
Well Rick has been a busy little chap organising the new Liveaboard Big Blue will be operating in the Similan Islands next season. & the bookings are already starting to pour in as the season advances. Come November the 1st Rick will be standing on the end of the pier as he waves goodbye to his first Liveaboard voyage of the season to the Similans & Koh Bon, Koh Tachai, & Richelieu Rock. Waving with 1 hand & wiping away an emotional tear with the other. Its like sending your baby off for the 1st day of school.
Simon is back & he's brought more hair back with him than he had when he left. Hippy Simon! & he's also brought his better half Jodie back with him as well. & other better half , Hairless Keith! & as soon as Hippy & Hairless are back they are working! Simon is straight into an SSI Stress & Rescue Course & Keith is taking a posse of excited Open Water Divers off for their first Advanced Dives this afternoon. Welcome back boys. Time to get you working again & lose some of the pies you've been eating while you've been away!
Friday August 14th 2009-
Not a bad day for marine life yesterday. 1 of our boats got to dive with the whale shark at White Rock. 1 of our boats managed to squeeze in a snorkel with a pod of pilot whales just off Sairee Reef beleive it or not! & Our Full Day Trip managed to spend a bit of time with another mobular ray! Not a bad day! Not as good as being able to find a guitar shark, a dolphin & a manta ray but not bad!
Thursday August 13th 2009-
Right on time! Whaleshark at White Rock! Perfect timing for all our Full Moon Party people who were diving this morning with it! Not bad is it. Only 2 dives out in the open ocean & then wham dive 3 with a Whaleshark! Jacques Cousteau would be turning in his grave after he spent 20 years searching for what was then the elusive whaleshark. Still Jacques never dived with Big Blue though I bet he wished he had! Could have saved himself a few years of cold water skin winkle!
It is known as the ultimate 80s fashion piece for men and has graced many an embarrassing holiday snap, but it could be the end of an era for the humble Speedo 'Hurrah!' The Alton Towers Resort in the UK has declared a war on the minute swimwear, in a bid to maintain Britain's modesty and prevent embarrassment among fellow members of the public. 'We feel this small brief style is not appropriate for a family venue so we are advising male bathers to wear more protective swimwear such as shorts.' The decision is somewhat contrary to the stance taken by many resorts, particularly in France, & funnily enough at the Andaman Club in Burma when you do your visa runs here, because Speedos are considered more sanitary than their more modern counterparts, the boardshort!
Well despite the madness of the last few days (congratulations on handling all that Amanda), we are still able to organise a Full Day Trip to Sail Rock today. & the weather is gorgeous at the moment & so is the diving so it should be a fantastic day out. Fried Breakfast followed by 3 dives in the Gulf of Thailands best dive sites & then the worlds best Massaman Chicken Curry! Don't give the leftovers to Rick tho! Last time we did that he put it in an empty water bottle but after a couple of hours the curry exploded in his bag! Messy Massaman!
Monday, August 10th 2009
Well, the Full Moon rush is actually happening. People are flocking from Koh Phangan every day, Kayleigh is running around Sairee Beach every morning to find some more rooms to accommodate all our customers, Jim and the DMs are hunting for any extra piece of diving equipment they can get their hands on, the restaurant and bar are packed all day (and night) long. And all our customers get a room to sleep in, dive gear to swim underwater and they can even order food and drinks when not on the boat, all served with a smile. Well done everyone, let’s keep up the good work!
Congratulations Toby! After 5 weeks of hard work assisting, leading, passing exams and other extra-curricular activities, he is a now a professional Divemaster. Now, as you know, this always ends with a challenge. Toby proved to us last night that he was not only a great diver by performing a boozy check or doing press ups with a tank, he also reminded the crowd that he was a great German by giving us a great demonstration on how to dance to David Hasselhoff hits!
Now Emily, let’s watch what we say to our students, shall we? This morning, when getting off the longtail after the dives, one of Emily’s students felt disappointed that everybody else had picked up a bag, any bag, two if they felt strong (you know the story…) and he had nothing to carry. So Emily cleverly suggested that he picked her up, without hesitation, the young lad hastily grabbed his instructor and carried her on his shoulder. At this time, we are still trying to find out with rinse tank he dropped her in!
Whaleshark! About time too! Must be something to do with the moon, the tide change, the fact that everyone else is coming to Koh Tao so why not Whalesharks aswell? And the visibility at Southwest Pinnacle this morning is wide open so anyone who went diving saw the Whaleshark this morning poncing around at Southwest. Well anyone who didn't dive with Big Blue saw it! We were at Chumphon! Doh!
Andy Griggs! What a nice surprise. & then Alex Daluisio! Not 1 but 2 of our olde Instructors from days of yesteryear or 2 ago has popped back to say hi & whats cooking? In fact there are a few old faces hanging around at the moment. We got Graphic Designer Caz & China Nora, Hoang from Holland, & then there's Keith Blues Bros Angles on his way too. Just one big happy magnet around here! See you all at beer o'clock!
In an effort to help the world last a little bit longer & decrease our own demand for water & its consequential plastic waste we are proud to present you with a water 'Cooler Jacket'. These ingenius environmental contraptions have a thermal sheet in side which keeps your ice cold bottle of water ice cold all day! & if you buy one of these then you can fill up your water everyday you stay with us for free! Free Water! Save money!Reduce plastic bottle waste! & keep your water cold all day even when you are on the boat! Go green! Save Water! Yours now for only 400 Bt!