Tuesday 31st March 31 2009-
Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaleshark! At Sail Rock, second trip in a row. Not bad, eh? Helen finally got to see her first big fish, thank god for us, no more moaning and complaining on her part every time we see one. And guess who else was there? Scobby! Our favorite Aussie is here on holiday and started with a whole day of boozing with Spaz at the end of which he called Jim telling him he was lost and couldn’t remember where he was staying. Only thing he could make out was that he was on his back, looking at the stars! The next day, he “rested” and thought it might be a good idea to get wet again. Well, good on ya matey! No diving for a year and the first thing he sees when he jumps in the water is a whaleshark. I got to say, Scobby is still the luckiest man on the planet. And I can already hear people saying as they read this: “wait a minute, hasn’t he always been on holiday, what’s the difference now?”. Well, he hasn’t changed at all, apart from those few extra kilos from eating steaks every day. I’m guessing he’s not missing the Big Blue restaurant’s Scobby Special Steak too much!
From the 24th to the 29th of March Big Blue Tech were in Khao Sok conducting a Cavern Diver course for 4 people. Those who joined the trip came from a variety of destinations. One person in particular came from South West Australia, Ian, who flew all the way up to Thailand just for the course. He left enough room for a couple of nights on Koh Tao and quickly rushed back to far edge of the world. Also joining us was Trevor from Sai Ree Cottage who combined this event with the completion of his technical diver course conducted by Matt Rolph. And last but not least was “Dive Medic Cum Dive Instructor” Sonia Scott who came from Khao Lak (west coast of Thailand) for a completely different type of diving. For those who want to join us on the next cavern course check www.bigbluetech.net. At the moment the 18th trip is full and we’ll be staying on site to accommodate a second course.
Happy Birthday Emily, Happy Birthday Andy! We’re all off to Vibe tonight for another fantastic night of free barbecue, acoustic set by Steve Whelan and DJ Tim behind the decks. We’ll give you a full report tomorrow if we can remember any of it, right Cory!
Friday 27th March 2009-
Another evening of mutual humiliation & self degradation last night! & not a choked chicken to be seen anywhere! Last night the starring attractions were Ian, Simon & Cory, our newly certified Divemasters. After 6 weeks of pure misery & pain, public humiliation & much cross dressing these 3 have been so well conditioned they actually voluntarily step up to the plate when self degradation is needed. & so great to see all our other DMT's showing their support. Hey if you embarrass one of us you embarass us all! Well ok then! Its a Can-can on the bar for everyone then!
Earth Hour was first celebrated two years ago in Sydney, Australia, when 2.2 million people and thousands of businesses turned out their lights, allowing the message about climate change to shine brightly. In March 2008, Earth Hour went global. More than 400 cities, thousands of businesses and over 50 million people around the world turned off their lights for one hour to demonstrate their commitment to slowing the effects of climate change. The movement captured the public’s imagination with lights going out at some of the world’s most iconic landmarks including the Sydney Opera House, Bangkok’s Wat Arun Buddhist temple, the Coliseum in Rome, Stockholm’s Royal Castle, London’s City Hall, New York’s Empire State Building, Sears Tower in Chicago and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Other symbols going dark this year includ Cola-Cola’s famous billboard in Times Square and the Google homepage as well as the Big Blue Beach Bar & Restaurant! Save the Cheerleader! Save the world!
How romantic! Kelli took a couple of Israeli divers out yesterday for their first taste of diving underwater. Now we do this a lot obviously but we don't often get proposals underwater! We do get them but not often. So congratulations Tzlil & Eli who are to be married in the not too distant future. So love is in the air folks. Wonder who's going to be next to get hitched. Could it be Soren & Emma? Oskar & Eveline?? Deano & Lara??? Dan & Kymmie???? Michael & Pim?????
Thursday 26th March 2009-
Lia Barrett our undiscovered soon to be extremely famous, Professional photographer is back with us for a week or so to take more action shots of life in Koh Tao, or more importantly for marketing purposes, the lifestyle you can expect to enjoy when you stay here with us at the Big Blue Dive Resort. & today we're going to be having another staff photo. Lia has already been taking a few underwater shots for us already & has some new great whaleshark snaps aswell. & this morning I've seen her wandering around the resort taking a few unposed shots of everyday life. I can't wait to see all the 1000's of photos I'm going to be left with when she's gone so that I can go plastering them up all over the website! Hoep there's some nudie shots!
Scuba diving has attracted the attention of many enthusiasts all over the globe. It is a very fulfilling and enjoyable activity. Some people are even making careers out of their passion for scuba diving. The world has sensationalized scuba diving in such a way that it is helping to preserve the environment and is greatly contributing to the awareness regarding the environmental issues that are associated with our aquatic resources. One of the major issues that are continuously being discussed in the scuba diving arena is the conservation of air under water. An emerging scuba apparatus design is called a rebreather, which can help people address the concern about rapid air consumption. It functions in such a way that the exhaled air by the diver is stripped of carbon dioxide and is re-circulated to the air chamber. This way, one can enjoy the deep seas much longer. If you are an 'Air Pig" then this is the only way forward! Oink, oink, bubble bubble!
Police arrested four fishermen who accidentally killed a diver with explosives. Police officials in the Phu Cu District in the central province of Binh Dinh in Vietnam told the Coast Guard heard an explosion and caught the fishermen who tried to escape. The fishermen told police they saw bubbles and movement under the surface and thought it was a large fish. One of the fishermen tossed dynamite into the water and after it exploded the group jumped into the water but instead of finding a fish, they found the body of the dead diver. Dynamite fishing, which severely damages coral reefs, is illegal in Vietnam but a common practice. Head of the Phu Cu District police department, said the fishermen would be charged with killing the diver and destroying aquatic resources with the illegal use of explosives! Feed them to the sharks!
Wednesday 25th March 2009-
Hi Jim, I just want to say thanks for a terrific Open water course! Me and my girlfriend Maire just did our last dive today and we are very happy! Our instructors Soren and Craig have made an excellent job, I must say. We have singed up for the advanced course today and we start tomorrow with Soren as our instructor. I´m already looking forward to it. Again, many thanx! Adam & Marie.
Your welcome guys. So glad you are enjoying your diving with us. Guess it helps having a whaleshark in the water!
So Canada & his gang of merry cavers left last night for Khao Sok for Big Blue's second caving expedition. They are going to be spending the next 4 days & nights learning the correct procedure to take when diving in caves. Do you have what it takes? For the average diver, the answer to this question is a resounding No. Many experts estimate that less than one percent of the recreational diving population possesses the knowledge, skills, attitude and judgement needed to cave dive as safely as possible. Could you be among this group? Although there are few formal prerequisites for Cave Diver training, other than Advanced Diver certification, the fact remains that students who complete training successfully typically have the following in common, small brains & large Kahunas!
British scientists will release a school of five robot fish next year off the northern Spanish port of Gijon. Shaped like carp, the robotic fish will be used to search for potential pollutants in the sea. The robot fish, which cost about $29,000 a piece, will be operated with Wi-Fi technology and use chemical sensors to find biohazards in the water. One major difference in these robot fish versus earlier models is they aren’t operated by remote control, but are able to run autonomously without human guidance. They have batteries which last five to eight hours. If the robot fish are a success, plans are in place to embed the fish in seas, lakes and rivers across the world. Computer scientists at the University of Essex in the U.K. developed the self-guided robot fish, seen here swimming in the aquarium. The designers say it is the smartest such robot yet created—the fish uses artificial intelligence and built-in sensors to avoid obstacles and respond to environmental changes.
Tuesday 24th March 2009-
There we go that's much more like it! Now we're back on top of our game! Whaleshark at White Rock & on a night dive! How's that! Even Jacques Cousteau never got to dive with a whale shark on a night dive! Must have scared the heebee-jeebies out of some of you! Apparently its very rare to see a whaleshark at night. Like most intelligent creatures, whalesharks would rather be down the pub with their mates at night! Congratulations all those that saw the whaleshark. High 5's all those that didn't kak themselves!
Congratulations Big Blue! We are now the proud parents of 1000's of little anemonefish! Our Japanese Team have been charting, logging, planning, & data tracking the developments of a large number of soft anemone corals & the family of Anemonefish that inhabit these corals, located just underneath our boats moored up on Sairee Beach! And because of all this research we can actually calculate to within 10-20 minutes exactly when the eggs will hatch! What happens is Mrs Anemonefish lays her from 100-1,000 eggs depending on how hard she's been working. Mr Anemonefish then passes over the eggs and fertilizes them. The male looks after the eggs, fanning them with his fins and eating any eggs that are infertile or damaged by fungus. & then last night all 1000 of these eggs hatched & we were there to see it! Our first 1000 Anemonefish!And of course being hermaphrodite, we'll have to call them Billy the Fish 1, Billy the Fish 2, Billy the Fish 3 etc in case we run out of asexual names... like G !
Weather report! Well we'll start by saying its hot. The sun is out & has increased the air temperature to a staggering 40 degrees centigrade! Choice of fashion this season seems to be skin, sweat & tattoos! There are some people walking up & down the beach with rubber band sized swimsuits, but I'm not sure its catching on. Strangely the girls are being cheered & the guys are being jeered! Water temperature at the waters edge seems to be similar to that of this mornings hot cup of cocoa though its a surprisingly muggy 30 degrees at the dive sites so there are some extremely brave individuals flapping around underwater without a wetsuit! Forecast is that there may be another day or 2 or 3 or more of pretty much the same thing with intermittent spells of extreme sunshine & heat! 'Hotter than Balls' I believe is the correct meteorological terminology!
Monday 23rd March 2009-
Well we've got to take our hats off to all those involved with the Big Blue Grease Lightening rendition. The whole thing went down a tremendous storm & it was quite literally the talk of the Koh Tao Festival. The boys had rhythm, the girls looked fab & Cory & Pete looked excellent together. What chemistry. I think we might have started something here! Reckon there will be a few more shops coming up with a few skits of their own next year. Once again massive thanks to Barry Kymmie & Lara for getting the whole thing together. Maximum R-E-S-P-E-K-T!
Lovely to see Sonia & Paul come over from the west coast to say hi & join us in Koh Tao for the Festival. Great to see them both even if it was a little bit whistle stop! Got here yesterday afternoon left already this morning! But here to give one of the best prizes of the night - a 2 person cabin for a 3 day 3 night liveaboard trip to the Similan Islands with Wicked Diving. Sorry second best prize. Best prize was of course the free Divemaster course at Big Blue Diving worth 25000 Baht!
The broken handed Dan will be the first face you meet from Big Blue if you are going to be arriving here in the next few weeks. Dan fractured his hand last week so can't dive for at least 4 weeks & so will now be prostituting himself out in the dive shop by helping out in his free time with the meeting the greeting, the accommodation enquiries, accounts enquiries, Diving, courses, entertainments, bookings enquiries. The lot! The rest of us can sit idly by while Dan goes about doing his job & everyone else's too. So if there is anything you need ladies & gentlemen when you are here this month just give a little tinkle & Dan will come running.
Sunday 22nd March 2009-
Apparently 'Grease' is the word! The whole island is buzzing! Word has finally got out that Barry & the gang are really going to be up on stage tonight at the Koh Tao festival singing & dancing to the tunes of Summer Nights & Go grease Lightening! Peter is our John Travolta & Cory looks resplendant as Olivia Neutron Bomb! Then we got Barry, Dan, Tim & Duncan are our boys & the girls are Emma, Laura, Becky, & Hanna. Its all being choreographed by the very experienced & professional Kymmie & Laura has just gone completely to town on the stage set. It looks fantastic & its on stage tonight at 7pm so come one come all & lets go have a good laugh at Big Blue's expense! "You are supreme the chicks'll cream for grease lightning, Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go grease lightening!'
I knew our spell of bad luck & missing things couldn't last forever! Congratulations to all our divers who broke their Whaleshark cherry yesterday & dived with the largest fish in the sea- the Whaleshark. 5 or 6 meters, depending on whether you ask a guy or a gal, this particular whale shark was witnessed at South West Pinnacle so chances are it will remain in these parts for another few days at least. After all it is whale shark season & they have been known to hang out as long as 3 weeks on some occasions and with their mates! "Step up! step up! Get your lovely whalesharks! 2 for a pound!"
Mother's Day is the one special day of the year when sons and daughters take a moment to thank mom for all the hard work and care she's put into raising her children. So for those of you, like me, who forgot Mother's Day, the situation doesn't bode well. Luckily I have a very understanding mother who realizes that her son who has spent the last 38 years forgetting Mothers Day isn't suddenly going to start remembering while poncing around on a tropical island in the middle of the Gulf of Thailand! Happy Mothers Day Mums!
Saturday 21st March 2009-
Save Koh Tao today. Boys, girls, men & Women, Thai & Farang, are all getting together today to do one thing. Raise everyones awareness of the problems we face in Paradise. We are amazingly lucky to be living here in Koh Tao & if we don't take care of this place then we won't be amazingly lucky for much longer! The tourist footprint has left a very large mark in recent years & its up to us as a community to make things right & ensure that the footprint we've made already doesn't get any bigger. Save Koh Tao & give generously. All donations will go towards planting trees & plants to strengthen the soil & reduce erosion. Money will also go towards generating a means & ways to treat our waste water. & we are also raising money to promote, maintain & increase our Biorock project & to launch our new Buoyancy World Project. Rock on Koh Tao! We love it!!
And to ensure we do our bit underwater as well as ontop, G has organised a big Sairee Beach Clean up with over 50 divers this afternoon including 10 divers from the Royal Thai Navy who are all here to help pick up the rubbish underwater. Amazing the consistency of the rubbish found. In addition to the usual empty beer bottles & odd bits of clothing we'll find batteries, plates, cups, knives & forks, & biscuit tins. Two years ago in Maehaad we came across an Armitage Shanks porcelain toilet bowl, & last year we came up with a DVD player. In fact last time we did Rocky Bay Yvonne came across a 2 CV car! Its amazing what crap you'll find when you are actually looking for it!
Had a lot of rain in the early mornings recently. Its lovely too... for us. Though I imagine the tired & weary travellers who have just come all the way down overnight on an 8 hour busride from Bangkok aren't feeling quite so lovely as they realise their bags are going to get soaked getting off the boats. But good news is people that its just morning showers & its all gone by lunchtime. Highly refreshing actually & the island could do with a good downpour at that time of day. As long as its fine & sunny for the festival! & your bags are waterproof!
Friday 20th March 2009-
Congratulations Craig for reaching the dizzying heights of PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor! For the last 3-4 weeks Craig has been sitting his Instructor Development Course learning how to teach scuba, how to demonstrate skills, & how to pose like an Instructor, Zoolander style- Tilt one of your shoulders towards the camera, make sure your face is looking directly at the camera, elongate the neck, pucker your lips, and suck in your cheeks some. Squint your eyes just a bit, as if there is a strong wind or sand blowing at you, spread the chest wide & breathe in the gut & say 'Hi' in a manly manner. All essential skills for a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor. Congratulations Craig. Now go out there & show us your 'Blue Steel'!
So the Save Koh Tao Festival is almost upon us & the island is clubbing together to get everything ready in time. One of the biggest occasions on the Koh Tao Calendar with over 1 million baht being raised with raffles & prize drawers etc. We are donating a free Divemaster Course, & there are IDC's & liveaboard spaces to be won as well. There'll be a Mr & Mrs Koh Tao beauty pageant & there will be a turtle release with the 44 Miss Thailand entrants all in their bikinis, as nature intended, there will be a beach clean up, a concert, & Big Blue are actually going to be doing a quick 10 minute skit of Grease choreographed by Kymmie, performed by BB boys & girls & created by Barry with Lara in charge of costume, make up & set design. Should be a lot of fun. Save Koh Tao people & donate to a good cause!
Whale Shark at South West Pinnacle yesterday! Same one that has been swimming around the South of the island I guess. The Whale shark usually follows pretty much the same path when travelling through these parts. Usually we get wind of it when it comes up past Koh Samui through the Angthong Marine Park or at Sail Rock. Then it heads off to South West Pinnacle. This is where it does one of 2 things. It either heads straight up the West side of Koh Tao via, White Rock upto Green Rock & then onto Chumphon Pinnacle, or it goes from South West to Shark Island then up the east coast of Koh Tao over to Hin Wong & onto Chumphon Pinnacle. Either way it loves to hang out at Chumphon for a few days, sometimes a few weeks. You see! Everyone loves Chumphon!
19th March 2009-
Well there was another Whaleshark spotted yesterday & the day before at Shark Island. Another 5 meter one apparently. Not that we'd know as we went twice & missed it both times. & then there was a 2 meter Tiger shark seen at Green Rock yesterday as well. Yup. missed that one too! Looks like we're on a roll! Missed the Minke Whales, the Brydes Whales, the Whaleshark, the pods of dolphins & now the Tiger Shark. Bugger! Still mustn't grumble yet. After all this is just the beginning of this Summer's visitors.
The 'Plong Sai Yai Canadian' or 'Large Canadian Grotto' in Thai, is a cave filled with fresh water in the area of the Khao Sok National Park here in Thailand. It is an easy fresh water scuba cave dive. Cave Diving! The thought conjures images of delving into the dark depths of Cocklebiddy Cave on Australia’s Nullabor Plain or the sink holes of Mt Gambier. For the vast majority of sport divers this prospect is either too dangerous or simply not enjoyable. However, there is one scuba dive in a fresh water cave dive that is easy and doesn't require any complex training. This is the Plong Sai Yai Canadian in Khao Sok. 'Canada's Grotto' as us local's call it, is a limestone cave filled with fresh water. Many years ago it would have been above the water table, enabling stalactites and stalagmites to form. Then the water table rose, filling the cave with fresh water & oversized Canadians! Next trip departing on the 24th. & there's still 1 seat left. Going... going...
So DM Paul has done well by combining his Koh Samui Visa run with the hosting of the Miss Thailand Beauty Competition for Miss Universe being held in Samui today. Apparently the 44 final contestants have all arrived in Samui for the Final showdown to see who will be crowned Miss Thailand 2009. & Paul is going to there stuffing his face with Big Macs while soaking in the ambience of having 44 of Thailands most beautiful women parading themselves infront of him! You got to be pretty multi-talented to get a job working as a DM for Big Blue these days!
Wednesday 18th March 2009-
Tis the season to be... avoiding Triggerfish! They are after all known to nest and guard their eggs during periods of the full moon especially March, April & August & September. Triggerfish may be gregarious or unimposing, but during mating season (and during the full moon) the females of at least two species the Titan Trigger & the Yellow Margin Trigger can become extremely territorial in guarding their nests and thus aggressive, inflicting painful bites. The strong jaws each carry eight long, protruding, and chisel-like teeth in an outer row, backed by an inner row of six teeth. Usually the fish “bites and runs,” but some triggerfish have been reported to bite and not release. According to one knowledgeable Divemaster "It is common to have to strike the fish in some manner to get it to release. In the Gilbert Islands, a release technique is to bite the fish on the top of the head." So if you find yourself with a triggerfish stuck to the end of your fin, bite it in the head! Apparently this works for sharks, crocodiles & alligators too! Though offically no one has lived to tell the tale!
Big Blue Bar held their first official Striptease last night! Luckily for everyone it was a very PG striptease with Simo, Cory, Duncan & Rich revealing everything above the waistline! There was a little apprehension as to whether the boys would be putting on the Borat Lime Green Mankini's in celebration of St Patricks Day but luckily the Mankini's haven't come back from the wash yet. Still you got to feel sorry for Kymmie who was looking rather excited at the thought of having a plethora of lime green handsome hunks strip for her on her Birthday. Happy St.Patricks Day Ireland. Happy Birthday Kymmie. Happy you kept your drawers on boys!
Nice to see Alain, pronounced Elaine, continuing the tradition of Weird Beard Wednesdays! I think it must be some sort of Multilingual side effect; the irresistible urge to shave a weird & wacky design into ones chin beard! Last year our cunning linguist Hal held the mantle of Weekly Weird Beard Contender & could interpret Weird Beard Wednesdays into 7 languages. Unfortunatley Elaine can say weird beard Wednesday in 5 languages only but does have one hell of a weird beard today! Kind of looks like George Michael after a hot & sweaty session with Edward Scissorhands!
Tuesday 17th March 2009-
Koh Samui... for some its the crystal clear azure waters of the Gulf of Thailand. The sound of the gentle lapping waves. The coconut palm lined beaches. The varied and delicious local food, the lush tropical vegetation, the choices of many waterfalls, idyllic beaches, numerous Buddhist temples, sightseeing around the island on motorbike or car, trekking around inside the island by foot or by bicycle. Or maybe its the shopping or the golf, or the jet skis or the wide varieties of massage on offer. Or maybe for some its the chance to go to the cinema & grab a Big Mac meal at McDonalds. Ah a tropical island paradise. A Big Mac & a movie!
A baby whale shark has been found in waters off the eastern Philippines, raising hopes that the world’s first breeding ground for the creature may have been discovered, the World Wide Fund for Nature reports. The whale shark, measuring just 38 centimetres, was found in shallow water off Donsol in the Philippine province of Sorsogon. Local fishermen had tied a line to its tail and anchored it on a local beach so it would not escape. Whale sharks, which can grow up to 12.2 metres long, are the largest fish on the planet. Donsol is known for its large adult whale-shark population but it is not known to be a breeding ground. After it was examined by biologists the whale shark was taken to deep water and released. In spite of all the research being done worldwide on whale sharks, to this date no one knows where they breed or give birth. “The pup was so small, it was probably born here. For many years, scientists thought Donsol was merely one of many feeding grounds along the global network of marine highways where whale sharks cruised. This new discovery is the first indication that this coastline may actually be a birthing site." Isn't that cute!
Hi Jim, back in the cold and damp of the UK and recovering from the jet-lag, but thought it appropriate to say "Thank you" for all that Big Blue represents to me and my family. I read the BB blog very regularly as one way of staying in touch with what Amanda is up to and the overwhelming feeling I get is always the same, that BB is not just a business venture but is one big happy family! I was pleasantly surprised to find that your blog is entirely accurate in real life. The last three weeks I spent on Koh Tao were fantastic, not just because I was catching up with Amanda after so long, but because I was also treated as if I was part of the family. For that I am really grateful, to you and to everyone involved with Big Blue! Next time I e-mail I will revert to a bit of 007 banter but this one is a sincere sentiment ..... Thank you! Kind regards, Don Bond.
Saturday 14th March 2009-
Living on a small tropical island like Koh Tao means every now & then when something major needs to be done to the islands power supply or water supply certain parts of the island shut down for a few hours. It doesn't happen too often & we do try & notify everyone staying with us when it does happen but sometimes people for one reason or another just don't get the message relayed & then end up in the most awkward situations. Just ask the girl in Bungalow 5 who looks like she's just seen a monster who made a mess on her head!
'Four Little Indian boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.' What on earth is happening to our DM team. They are dropping like flies! As you know Andy ended up in hospital in Samui having the doctors trying to photograph his innards! And then last night Amanda came down with a spell of 'overworked, dehydrated, no sleep & overknackeredness' Knackeredness & had to be admitted to the island doctor. Whats going on! Who keeps bumping off my DM's! I bet its one of our almost ready to be signed off DMT's.
Each year Koh Tao is host to the Underwater world Festival. This year, the festival will run for two days and two nights, march 21st/22nd with local and international bands, dancing, entertainment, food, games, history and educational booths, and day time activities such as volleyball and water jousting. The money raised from the festival goes towards social and environmental projects on the island conducted through the Save Koh Tao group. Last year's profits went to the construction of a new school building, and funded part of the Koh Tao Biorock 2008 Project. Big Blue Diving will be actively participating in this event. We will run a reef and beach clean up on the 21st on Sairee Beach. On the 22nd, we will be on stage with a choregraphy by some of our staff and DMTs. And finally, we have two "volunteer" contestants for the Mr. and Mrs. Save Koh Tao pageants! So please have a look at the following link: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/event.php?eid=57483605527 Hope to see you there.
Friday 13th March 2009-
An activity that only a decade ago was widely considered to be beyond the scope and purpose of recreational diving, technical diving has now come in from the cold to play a leading role in the development of practices that have opened up a whole new world of exciting underwater discoveries and possibilities. Although still regarded as a niche component of the recreational diving market, the demand for technical diving training is growing rapidly, especially here in Koh Tao. & now it appears Cave diving might take off in a big way too! Both technical diving & Cave Diving still arouse alot of curiosity especially form those who wonder what it is that drives otherwise seemingly sensible people to want to commit themselves to a challenging activity fraught with risk? Apparently its the chicks!
When you spend your life in the water, I guess you tend to develop a good intuition for its subtleties. One of the most important things Professional divers have to be able to learn is how to blow bubble rings. Its a tricky skill but once mastered is worthy of all the ooh's & aah's divers who have never seen it give it. Even dolphins have been known to go ooh aah & have even been observed creating their own bubble rings by exhaling air carefully in the middle of the vortices caused by the motion of their fins through the water. This neat demonstration of fluid mechanics, is not only fun to do but it also looks good and really ups your underwater street cred!
So Dan comes out of hospital today with his titanium hand, but only to be replaced by DM Andy who seems to have gone into hospital with some form of a nasty kind of stomach problem. Sounds delightful! & meanwhile Helen is on a visa run with Kelli, Canada is in Pattaya learning how to give a good servicing, & G is still on this IDC with Craig! On top of that we have boats load of customers, a whole truckload of Freelance Instructors with a gazillion questions, the History Channel TV crew, a broken longtail, I can't find the Nitrox exams, Ugly doesn't seem to be very well, the neighbours are complaining that every time it rains they have to close their Restaurant because of all the water run off from our AC Building, & I haven't had a large Chang for 10 weeks or a cigarette for 4 months! No wonder I'm bald!
Thursday 12th March 2009-
Yvonne is back from her very exciting Liveaboard trip aboard the Manta Queen, cruising the 9 beautiful islands of the Similans & then the Surin Islands as well. Nothing but eating, sleeping, sunbathing, reading & diving! Sounds like heaven. Wake up have pre-breakfast & then a dive then breakfast & then a dive, then lunch, then a dive, then afternoon tea then a dive & then dinner a few beers to round off your day. Sunshine, scantilly clad females, & scuba diving. Throw in a bit of slap & tickle & you've got yourself the ideal holiday! Ja!
Our painted Canadian is up in Pattaya this week getting qualified to service & fix compressors. A very useful skill to have under your belt especially if you want to be working in Scuba Diving. Just a shame you have to go all the way up to Pattaya to learn how to do it! But once certified Canada will be able to give our 5 compressors a fortnightly going over thereby insuring our compressors don't break down about the time they usually do... the day after the Full Moon Party! All we need now is someone to become an outboard engine mechanic who can service our ferry boats outboard engines & stop them from breaking down every full moon & we might be getting somewhere. Anyone know how to fix friggin' outboards?
Got to love those Full Moon rushes! 100's of people all arriving on the island all at the same time looking somewhat accusingly at us because we have run out of rooms. Sorry guys but I only have what I have. & there's only a certain amount of rooms on Sairee Beach & when they go you need to dig a little deeper in the pockets to afford the AC rooms in Sairee Village or the posh bungalows along the beach. But its really not my fault if you didn't book ahead! & I know you've been partying hard for the last couple of days & I know you are hot & I know you are tired, but losing it with the locals isn't what I'd call the best way of finding accommodation. Everybody be cool. We'll do everything we can to help you, just be cool!
Wednesday 11th March 2009-
Whaleshark at Hin Wong Pinnacle! About time too! It must have been at least a week since we saw our last whaleshark. & what great timing too! This Friday Big Blue & Ace Marine Images will be taking out a camera crew from the History Channel to do some diving at Chumphon Pinnacle in the hope of seeing a Whaleshark. Not quite sure what its got to do with the History Channel, but hey who am I to argue. If a well respected TV Documentary company want to come out & dive on our boat then who am I to stand in their way? Still I wish it had been National Geographic or Discovery. Bet the whaleshark does to. It might possibly feel a little threatened if it knew it was being filmed on the History Channel!
Not quite sure what the fascination of wearing Speedo's actually is. It seems to me that prancing around in your smalls is something that should only be done at home & without the presence of mirrors. Why some men insist on walking around the beach, the resort, through the town & in some restaurants with nothing but their 'Budgy smugglers' is beyond me. & how come some nationalities seem to be so good at it! Well don't worry ladies here at Big Blue we are a No Speedo zone. You might catch the odd Instructor wandering around in their Mankini from time to time but you'll never catch us in our speedo!
The first Full Moon Party either went off in 1987 or 1988, no-one is really sure; and it was someone's birthday. It was such a good party that the same crew met up again at Paradise Bungalows and partied under the next Full Moon. From there on the party grew to be a mecca for travellers in the 90s and then became the global dance music festival that it is today, attracting thousands of visitors from every walk of life. There are now over 10 major sound systems on the beach playing everything from psy-trance to drum and bass with each one representing a different genre. Crowd sizes vary from around 8,000 in low season getting up to 30,000 in the high season. The expected number to arrive on Koh Tao over the next couple of days will be somewhere in the region of 10000 people! Hope you've all booked!
Tuesday 10th March 2009-
So what does one do in Koh Tao when they aren't diving? How about snorkelling! At Thian Og Bay or known locally as Shark Bay, or Rocky Bay you can even dive with Sharks! Heaps of them! Are they big? Up to two meters. Are they dangerous? No, not under normal circumstances. Will my heart beat faster when I see one? Why else would one want to snorkel with sharks? These are Black tip, and White tip reef sharks. They look just like the real thing, but are essentially harmless. Much of the coral here was severely damaged a few years back, and is in the early stages of recovery. That does make it an ideal opportunity to spot cruising sharks especially in the deeper water in the middle of the bay. The rocks at either side of the bay also give some excellent snorkeling. Popular with longer term farang residents as well as the Thais themselves, Rocky Bay can sometimes get busy, but I've yet to see it crowded... other than with sharks!
Unbelievably tragic news emerging from Phuket, which I'm sure most of you have already seen or read about in the news about our friends at Dive Asia in Phuket who had their brand new Liveaboard topple over in an unexpected storm causing the boat to sink with what is believed to be 6 customers & 1 staff still on board. I have ahd a few emails from you checking to see we are all Ok as we do have staff working in the Similans & as you know Yvonne is out there now & I'm very relieved to let you know everyone we know is safe & sound. For our friends at Dive Asia & for the friends & families of those missing our hearts & thoughts go out to you. A truely tragic event.
Unlucky to our Big Blue Volleyball team who failed to retain the cup after last year's heroic win. This year we were beaten in the semis by the semi professional boys from Bans. Of course I don't want to make excuses but if Instructor Dan had been able to play that night instead of hanging around the Doctors clinic with a broken hand we might actually have won! Yes Dan has broken his hand & is in hospital having a Titanium rod inserted. He broke his hand doing some sort of synchronised motorbike dance with his mate from home Steven. Pair of synchronised Ponces! Hope you feel better soon Dan!
Sunday 8th March 2009-
Gentleman if there is one reason to do your diving with us here at Big Blue then it really must be in part, due to the amount of extremely attractive barely dressed young ladies wondering around the place. We all know of course how drop dead gorgeous our lovely team of female Instructors DM's are. And you can't miss our bevvy of beauties in our DMT's & then of course the very many stunners we have who learn to dive with us. Take for example Jarah Mariano who did her Open Water Course with Yvonne a few weeks ago. Now a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model. Just one of our many Big Blue Honeys. Congratulations Minnie! You look amazing!
I recently asked one of our newly certified DMT's to write something about their course: The DM course…" For me one word sums it up “exceptional” I have had an outstanding experience during the past 11 weeks, I would without any hesitation recommend this course anyone with any interest in diving. Whether with plans of becoming a working professional or just as self advancement this experience will give them a real insight not only into the workings of a well run dive operation but also into themselves. All of the staff at Big Blue from the boat boys to the mentors have earned both my respect and an enormous amount of gratitude, never was any question to stupid to be answered and never was a request for help turned down. To the instructors I assisted on open waters a huge thanks, it was a privilege to see new divers take their first breaths underwater in the hands of people whom genuinely care but at the same time who can look in six directions at once whilst holding the reg in one student and the weight belt of another, should I go on and do my IDC it will be in large part due to those assist’s again thank you. To the DMT’s I shared the “board” with, a salute, a cold beer and good luck to each and everyone of you, from lectures to skill circuits and from stress test’s to my DM challenge. To the Mentors and instructors in general, you’re the “best” the results of your guidance are the best testimonial you will ever have or need, whether newly qualified divers or cocky new DM’s they got the best. Not sure I can really ever tell my friends back home I hade a French mentor without being called gay but thanks “G” it was cool! Finally to the Dm’s… the “grunt’s” of the diving world without whom the boats would stay tied up and the tanks, weights and regs would all be in the wrong place, I take my hat off and will always owe you all a beer. Again big thanks to all it was the time of my life…" Thanks a lot Andy & Fiona, look forward to seeing you both again soon.
I'd just like to thank Instructor Rich & DMT Hannah for nominating themselves as this years representatives for Big Blue Divings Mr & Mrs Save Koh Tao. Last year we had Darren Hasselhoff Buckland as our Mr Macho Man & Heather came as the always beautiful Miss Koh Tao. Of course neither of them one but if I remember correctly we did win the Best male Beer Drinker & female beer drinker- Ally won both! This year we will be dressing our Big Blue Models in recycable materials. Hannah will be dressed in Sea Weed & Rich will be wearing his boxers inside out & back to front! The original in recycable!
Saturday 7th March 2009-
'Every time you see him, The Hammer's just so hype, He's dope on the floor & he's magic on the mike! You can't touch this. Break it down. Stop. Its G time!' Congratulations Monsieur G Hammer (or MG Hammer) for winning last nights Pop Idol at the Big Blue Bar. An unprecedented turn out & surely one of the most memorable nights on Koh Tao. G sang & danced his way to the finals as if he was MC Hammer himself! A fantastically gutsy performance which brought the place down. & a very worthy winner. 'Its Hammer, go Hammer, MC Hammer, Yo, Hammer & the rest can go & play!" Well Done MC G!... can't touch this...But you can download it!
I got given a very fascinating breakdown of how Andy, a recent Divemaster in training, now Jedi Divemaster, spent his DM training with us over the last couple of months. Andy spent 62 days learning how to be a Divemaster. In that time he did 154 training dives with us, & since certifying has done an additional 24 dives to gain experience. Coming to a total number of dives of 178 or just under 3 dives a day on average for the grand old sum of just 140 baht per dive. Of that 62 days training he has spent just over 5 days total underwater & only 1/2 a day total having sex! Last I heard Andy was sleeping in the spare room!
Friday 6th March 2009-
Inviting all non divers, divers and professionals. What are you waiting for? Do you dream of living the dive life but haven't taken the plunge? Want to spend your days diving instead of sweating it out in an office? If so, now's the time to jumpstart your career as a PADI Professional by entering the 2009 Go PRO Challenge Contest. To enter simply complete a Professional-level PADI certification (Divemaster or above) before 30 September 2009. Then, submit a home video (or captioned photo) describing “Why I Became a PADI Pro.” Submit the winning home video or photo and you’ll win the $10,000 US prize. The PADI Pro who submits the most passionate testament to living the dive life as a PADI Pro will win the contest and the $10,000 US. A First Runner-up Prize of $1,500 will also be awarded. & if you mention how great it was to do your course with us at Big Blue we'll throw in a large Chang & a Big Blue takeaway pizza! Hmmm almost better than the PADI prize!
Its Pop Idol at Big Blue Bar tonight. Always a favourite when you get the Instructors & DM's up on stage to embarrass themselves silly. Last time we hosted the Big Blue Pop Idol we had Canada singing a very heartfelt rendition of Bright Eyes & what could be funnier than that! Maybe a duet! Dan & Kymmie with Rene & Renate's famous classic 'Save your love my darling save your love' Or how about Corey with his version of Percy Sledge's absolute classic Ballad " When a man loves an 'older' woman".
So the number of tourists coming through the main international airport in Bangkok is down 20% from last January. The worlds economic problems has led to the massive decline in tourists from Japan down 32%; UK down 9%; US Down 13%; China down 36%; Germany down 8%; Korea down 53%; France down 4% and Russia down 33%. The continent of Africa down 21%; Oceania down 19%. The Americas fell 13%! Europe was down 12%. Big declines were registered in Spain 33%, Sweden 17%, Belgium 14%, Norway 14% and Ireland 12%. In comparison one country has increased the amount of tourists coming in to Thailand up 90% from last year. Which means we are now going to be seeing a whole new wave of tourists coming to Koh Tao to learn to dive. So in order to avoid our own economic crisis we shall be focusing our advertising towards the fastest growing new tourist to Thailand ... The United Arab Emiratesianish, up an unbelievable 90%!
Thursday 5th March 2009-
One of the very first things you'll notice when you arrive in Koh Tao at this time of the year is the overwhelming sound of Cicada's. These not so little bugs spend up to 17years under ground as nymphs till one day they shed their skin & become the noisiest bugs in the world. In fact the sound carried by a male cicada can travel up to a mile. They actually make the loudest sound in the insect world. & when 1 starts they're all at it! But before you get too annoyed remember the noise is made to attract a mate & you know how much noise some people can make, like Yvonne, when they're looking for their mate, so why can't Cicada's be that noisy too?
Australian Geographic magazine is sponsoring an unusual competition - the construction of an underwater house where aquanauts may stay for weeks without leaving. The first underwater mission was successfully completed by a trained aquanaut and lasted for 13 days. The 8 by 10 foot under-sea home is constructed from metal parts and maintains healthy air pressure and oxygen levels to recreate living conditions in the atmosphere. The special chambers supply oxygen to the room, and filter out the carbon dioxide produced from breathing. Last but not least, this sea house has a supply of food in the fridge and is equipped with a bathroom. Sounds like our Fan rooms last Monsoon season!
Introducing Big Blue Diving's Noodle run! (Thanks Andy:)) For you certified divers out there who don't want to get up at the crack of dawn but would like a bit of a later start then I think we have just the thing for you! 10am departures! We'll do our first dive wherever the best viz & conditions are & then we'll have a Pot Noodle (hence the imaginative marketing name- the Noodle Run) for lunch during our surface interval & then a second dive wherever the wind takes us. Should be back on land by 3pm just in time for pre-beer o'clock!
Wednesday 4th March 2009-
Twas the week before Full Moon & all through Koh Tao not a creature was stirring except for a ... Big Blue DM! Looks like Amanda has been doing what is needed to keep up good international relations. After all we are about to be inundated with our friends from Japan who shall be descending on us for Golden Week later in the month, so what better way to keep the Japanese end up. And who could do a better job than our Saintly Amanda. Sorry... Our not so Saintly Amanda! More like our 'Yuta Saintly' Amanda (nudge nudge wink wink).
Glorious weather we've been having. There was a couple of days where we had a spot of rain but it never lasts long. Just stays long enough for a beer in the bar & then its all over, unless you want another beer in which case it rains again! The sea is flat, the water is clear, the cicada's are singing & the beach is awash with bikini strewn lovelies. Have I died & gone to heaven. Bugger. No I haven't... I got a meeting at 6 with the Instructors. Aw shucks & in my head it was all going so well!
So in South Africa the most amazing events are happening right now as we read this. Each winter, cool ocean currents drive millions of sardines northwards along the eastern coast of South Africa. These immense shoals, squeezed into this narrow cold-water corridor, provide an incredible feeding opportunity for the predators that live in and around these waters. Thousands of sharks and dolphins, as well as elusive Bryde's whales, Minke Whales & Gannett birds are feasting on a banquet of sardines. And for those of you who got the heads up from me earlier in the year & are there right now enjoying this most amazing live action scene we only have 4 words for you - You Lucky Lucky B@#%*@#^'s!
Tuesday 3rd March 2009-
Big Blue Diving is the only Dive center in Thailand who can certify you as a PADI Cavern Diver. We can only take a handful of people each trip & since our next trip is now actually over booked we've had to run a concurrent trip! So having filled up the last couple of spaces we need another 3 people to fill up the overspill! Who'd have thought putting on all that kit & clambering around through dark flooded caves while underwater could be so much fun!
I have just finished reading 'The Swarm' by Frank Schatzing. It has to be the very best book I have ever read! In it whales begin sinking ships. Toxic, eyeless crabs poison Long Island's water supply. The North Sea shelf collapses, killing thousands in Europe. Around the world, countries are beginning to feel the effects of the ocean's revenge as the seas and their inhabitants begin a violent revolution against mankind. In this riveting novel, full of twists, turns, and cliffhangers, a team of scientists discovers a strange, intelligent life force that takes form in marine animals, using them to wreak havoc on humanity for our ecological abuses. Soon a struggle between good and evil is in full swing, with both human and suboceanic forces battling for control of the waters. At stake is the survival of the Earth's fragile ecology, and ultimately, the survival of the human race itself. This gripping, scientifically realistic, and utterly imaginative thriller, will keep you in tense anticipation until the last suspenseful page is turned. Read it now- Frank Schatzing's book- The Swarm.
So after the success of last nights sunset & night dive at Chumphon Pinnacle & todays rip roaring Shark Safari trip with Yvonne, the team are now organising a dawn run to Chumphon to be there descending on the dive site as the sun comes up! At that time of day there are always heaps more sharks, way less divers (if any) & a chance to see Chumphon in all its naked splendor, standing tall & proud! What else would you expect at that time of the morning!
Monday 2nd March 2009-
Today, we organize a trip that is a first in Koh Tao history: 2 dives on Chumphon Pinnacle. One at sunset, one at night. Imagine the sun coming down on thousands of barracudas, fusiliers, rabbitfishes and malabar groupers. And just there, out of the blue (or is it the black?) comes the largest of all fishes… aahh, just imagine!
Shark day tomorrow with Yvonne. Nehh?! This follows Hailey’s awesome presentation from last week and the projection of Rob Stewart’s Sharkwater. Yvonne is our in-house Shark specialty instructor and she’s gonna spend the morning delivering even more sharkish knowledge to a group of lucky students. In the afternoon, the whole group gets to go looking for sharks at Rocky Bay while Canada gets to stay home and do the dishes. In the end, they receive a certification and a nice looking Shark Diver specialty card. The idea of this course is to broaden people’s knowledge about one of the world’s oldest and unfortunately most misunderstood creatures. After all, in Canada’s own words, Yvonne is a very misunderstood instructor and that’s why she has to talk so loud!
Craig started his IDC today with G staffing it. 13 candidates for Koh Tao IDC group on this session, who said anything about a crisis? Yvonne is on her way to Khao Lak for a week to work on a liveaboard. Canada is doing a compressor repair course soon. Deano is missing his parents. And Cory has just been casted for the Koh Tao version of the “Graduate” to take Dustin Hoffman’s old part. So here’s to you Mrs. Robbinson…
By the way, did I mention that France defeated Wales in rugby on Friday?
Sunday 1st March 2009-
Well its gone a little quieter over recent days. In fact the last week of February has felt a little like monsoon without the inclement weather. After all its nothing but sun every day, flat seas, great viz a whale shark at Sail Rock, Minke Whales at Chumphon & Brydes whales at Southwest. And this is usually a very busy time of the year for tourism too. Oh dear I do hope that doesn't mean the economic crisis has finally hit us here in Koh Tao as well. I guess if it has then I can get some time to do some diving at last! Ah the power of positive thinking! Hold on Whales I'm coming!
G is going to be taking Emmanuelle diving today. Sadly Emmanuelle, a lovely french filly, had a very nasty accident a few years ago which has left her in a wheel chair for the rest of her life. But with drive, enthusiasm, & an ability to make a positive out of every negative Emmanuelle is travelling the world & is here to dive! & she's come to the right place. So today our Dashing Frenchman will be showing Isabelle what an unforgettable experience she can have; the extra dimension diving offers to a physically challenged individual is awesome. Whenever we dive we take for granted the sights, sounds and sensations of being underwater. For many physically handicapped divers, some or all of these sensations are heightened and diving provides a unique opportunity to move freely, weightlessly and without restriction. Enjoy your day G! Enjoy the experience Emmanuelle!
The next time you think you are having a bad day... Fire authorities in California found a corpse in a burned out section of forest while assessing the damage done by a forest fire. The deceased male was dressed in a full wet suit, complete with SCUBA tanks on his back, flippers, and face mask. A post-mortem revealed that the person died not from burns, but from massive internal injuries. Dental records provided a positive identification. Investigators then set about to determine how a fully clad diver ended up in the middle of a forest fire. It was revealed that, on the day of the fire, the person went for a diving trip off the coast some 20 miles away from the forest. The firefighters, seeking to control the fire as quickly as possible, called in a fleet of helicopters with very large dip buckets. Water was dipped from the ocean then flown to the forest fire and emptied. You guessed it. One minute our diver was making like Flipper in the Pacific, the next he was doing the breast stroke in a fire dip bucket 300 feet in the air. Apparently he extinguished exactly 5'-10" of the fire. Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed!