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Big Blue Diving Resort - Koh Tao - Thailand

May 2009

Sunday 31st May 2009-

2009-05-31Another day of diving here at Big Blue and wouldn’t you know it….Another whale shark!! Reports came in today that a rather large whale shark had been spotted at Chumpon Pinnacle. Luckily enough, our rather large friend hung around long enough that we managed to send one of our dive boats out to see it!! Did you know that an average whale shark weighs nearly 12,000 kilos, which is roughly the same amount of Deano’s tab at Vibe last night after buying a round for the entire bar!! Good job, Deano!! Great time last night for Dean and Ricky’s Birthday Bash at Vibe Bar…From what I can remember.

Congratulations to Big Blue’s newest batch of recently signed off Divemasters – Duncan Tyler and Lara Roberts. Duncan may have set a new record in how quickly he completed his Divemaster Training program and Lara, well, she and her mentor were very much on again, off again, on again, off again, on again and off again…..while picking a date for her to finish her course. After last night, it looks like they sorted everything out, again. Congratulations to the both of you…..Lara and Duncan that is.

Wreck diving in Japanese Gardens!! That’s right…..It looks like Japanese Gardens is home to a newly sunken wreck for all to explore!! A small boat recently sank on Sairee Beach and it was brought back up and moved to Japanese Gardens where it had the misfortune of sinking again!! A buoy has been attached and it looks like it may be there to stay so… come in, sign up and go diving on a new wreck!! Sounds like a great afternoon to me…


Saturday 30th May 2009

2009-05-30The Giant Clams have been strategically placed between some staghorn coral and some compact hard corals at a secret location somewhere in Japanese Gardens after narrowly avoiding further consumption in one of Big Paul's Clamato Juice Ceasar Bloody Mary concoctions. Luckily, said clams activated their anti-personnel devices and spat clam juice in his eye as he reached into the bucket - bleugh!

DMT Duncan finally lost his 'T' yesterday after almost 6 months of training here. Duncan left his Family's olive oil import/export business (I know it was you 'Fredo) and came to Koh Tao to....well, to loaf about and drink G&T's it seems - and good on him. His final DM day was only marred by the record-breaking beer fine total he amassed. A few examples - 08:51 fined 1 beer, shop door left open. 09:50 1 beer, not taking job seriously. 11:23 1 beer, didn't get beer fine between 11:00 -11:23. 11:24 1 beer, arguing about beer fines. And so on....

Thursday 28th May 2009-

2009-05-28I'd very much like to thank Sao our Receptionist at our Big Blue Guesthouse for stopping a couple of innocent Burmese workers from devouring 2 large clams yesterday that had been stolen from the clam growing farm the Save Koh Tao Group have built over in Aow Leuk on the other side of the island. So having saved the clams we have now put them in a bucket of sea water overnight & this afternoon Simon & a handful of excited Divemasters in Training are going to go & plant these clams back underwater at a secret location around Nang Yuan. Once they are wedged into a firm spot they should start growing & it won't be too long till they are as big as a Canadian! Paul or Canada. Take your pick they are both huge!

Another day, another Whaleshark! So off we go again for another afternoon trip Double diving this afternoon with the Whaleshark! And just when I thought it was nigh on impossible to come up with any more interesting facts regarding whalesharks I have gone & completely pulled one out of the bag! I mean we all know these are the biggest fish in the sea & eat the smallest fish blah blah, said it all before. But did you know this! Whalesharks can't play tennis or tie shoelaces! And you thought you knew it all!

So I've had a lot of email recently from prospective visitors to Koh Tao and asking about swine flu in Koh Tao! C'mon! Are you serious? Well ok! Some of us have had a rasher but we've had some oinkment for it. We've had it for a bout a Wee wee wee wee eek! Recent arrivals to Koh Tao have come wearing pigtails but we had them all hambulanced out of here! We did try to contact the local government agencies but all we got was crackling! & then Banzai ran out of petrol on its way home from Sail Rock. I asked P'Piak “Why didn’t you fill up earlier?” He said “Too risky – swine ‘flu”. “You moron" I said "Its Mexico not Texaco”.

Wednesday 27th May 2009-

2009-05-27Scuba Diving! It may not sound like much of a fitness activity but scuba diving cranks up the calorie burn, requires cardiovascular strength, upper body brawn, demands the power of a good leg-kick, challenges your core muscles, and envelopes you in deep relaxation all at once. You burn off about 600 calories per hour during scuba. This is not so much due to athletic activity as to the bodies energy created to keep our core temperature stabilized. Additional calorie expenditure happens while kicking through currents, and lugging your dive gear around. The tanks can weight from 30 to 50 lbs. Once underwater, they feel like nothing, but getting back on & off the boat counts! Yes, fitness takes many forms and although none of us here at Big Blue have any current modelling contracts we're sure it's just a matter of days!

Nice to see ex DMT Hugo from Holland hasn't been wasting away the hours while slaving away at his job as a welder back home! Hugo used to be employed at one of the worlds largest & most popular private luxury yacht manufacturers & claims to have worked on boats owned by the likes of Roman Abramovich, the Russian oil Biilionaire & the owner of Chelsea Football Club. But times are hard & the rich are being as badly effected by the current economic crisis as anyone! So now, instead of ordering multi million dollar yachts they ask Hugo to make large metal stick men in sporting poses! Check out Hugo's Stickman Diver! Anyone else think it looks like ex DMT Daniella?

Right so where are we right now? Well Kate went to Chumphon for some shopping & is 2 days late coming back! Aom went to Samui shopping & came back 2 days earlier! Andy's entertaining his folks! Jim's about to entertain his folks. G's inbetween IDC's. Deano's about to start the next IDC. Amanada is in England, Yvonne is in Germany, Anna is in Sweden! Helen just got back from Malaysia, Rich is back from Bali! Robyn & Church & Takeshi & Naomi just went there! Hannah is going next week! Paul saw a whaleshark. Oli saw a whaleshark! Lara & Duncan saw a whaleshark & are getting tattoed! Canada has lots of tattoos. Corey has none! Simon stopped smoking this month. Barry & Sonia are celebrating 1 year together... as non smokers. Emily is a good girl & has never smoked! Soren is sick. So is Tim & so is Oskar! All 3 of them smoke! And if anyone asks... the answer is quite firmly, ' No! Alain is not drunk!'

Monday 25th May 2009-

2009-05-25Whaleshark at Chumphon Pinnacle again! Actually it was the same one that was seen yesterday afternoon at Chumphon Pinnacle as well! Only today it was seen by more people! Which now brings our Whaleshark versus Giant Moray sitings this year to Whaleshark - a manly, proud & macho 34, against the Giant Moray- a femininely poncey single figured 6! And just because everyone wants to go diving with a Whaleshark we have organised a last minute trip to Chumphon this afternoon as well & in the space of just half an hour have signed up almost 20 divers to go out Whaleshark spotting! Thats 20 divers paying minimum 700 Bt per dive, 2 dives, thats 28000 Bt raised just from 1 diveshop alone in only 30 minutes! And we didn't have to chop a fin off or harm or kill a single fish to do so! I think the Japanese & Norwegian & Icelandic fisherman & governments could learn something here!

Acupuncturist & Chiropractic & Divemaster James is back from his 6 months working aboard the Loveboat, or some other luxury Caribbean Cruise Ship. But he's home now & looking to make his skills & services available to all those interested. So for 3-4 hours everyday James is offering acupuncture & chiropractic treatment to all of our Big Blue Divers & staff for a FREE introductory offer! Needless to say James has been flat out pinning, poking, prodding, jabbing, twisting & adjusting since he started! But he says he draws the line at massages & rubbings so don't ask him for a happy ending!

Conservationists fear a falling shark population is prompting Asian chefs to look for manta and devil rays to help meet the voracious demand for shark fin soup. Found in coastal waters throughout the world, rays present an easy target as they swim slowly near the surface with their huge wings. So far, they have escaped commercial exploitation and have been hunted only by small numbers of subsistence fishermen, who traditionally catch them using harpoons. But the growing demand for the manta ray is turning ray fishing into an export operation. In the eastern Indonesian port of Lamakera, catches of manta have rocketed from a few hundred to about 1,500 a year. Mantas and mobulas are being used as shark fin soup filler! Christ what is the world coming to! Depleting our oceans of such magnificence!

Saturday 23rd May 2009-

2009-05-23Members of the Save Koh Tao Group organised a very interesting Seminar this morning with Assistant Professor Dr Anond Snidvongs Director of South East Asia START Regional center on the Impacts of Future Climate Change to Koh Tao in the Surat Thani Province. In a nutshell we were shown figures for temperature, rainfall, wind speed & sea levels as taken since 1979 till today 2009 & then a prediction of the future & its impact in Koh Tao! In an even smaller nutshell... we're all doomed at this current level so you may as well all come over to Koh Tao now because in 30 years the rising sea levels, pollutants being put into the water, tourist development & overfishing will have shattered Koh Tao completely! There is good news however. Because we know this is what could happen we do have time to change things! Be green! Save Koh Tao.

Canada & his Band of Merry Men & women are back from their trip to the Khao Sok National Marine Park having done a spot of cave diving! Congratulations all you new Cave Divers - 8 in total! & even more congratulations for being the team to first dive the legendary Sunken Village! Years ago when the Ratchaprapa Dam was built the local villages had to be moved or resettled. Some villages were left where they stood & are now as deep as 60- 70 meters below the lakes surface. & with the aid of a wise old man, an information kiosk, & a GPS Canada & his techies have located one of the villages! Unfortunately they ran out of time & couldn't investigate too much further. But they will be back! So if you are a tech diver & are interested in being a part of the next exciting installment of The Adventures of Canada & the Sunken Village then sign up now. Next trip departs on the 5th June! Trip after that departs on the 18th June so hurry as there are only 4 spaces left!

Weather at the moment... well right now its beautiful flat seas in the mornings. Just a nice gentle sea breeze to cool you down while sunbathing in your skimpies. The afternoons however can pick up on the wind front blowing everything off the balconey, & your Y-fronts off the washing line. Although having said that this afternoon is loverly! Time to make my way to the bar, have a large beer, chat with happy people & then watch a video on this mornings excellent dives! Yes the weather right now is just fine! Perfect time for a Thai holiday!

Friday 22nd May 2009-

2009-05-22Time to mousse up your hair, put on your platform shoes get out your drainpipe jeans & dab on a touch of Old Spice! Its School Disco night at Vibe Beach Bar tonight with none other than our very own DJ Andy Luckman on the wheels of steel! If you are lucky enough to be hanging out on the beach this arvo you might get a glimpse of Andy himself all dressed up in his old school uniform promoting tonights razzmatazz! And if you are really lucky he might even get one of our Big Blue girls dressed in their old school uniform too! That'll be nice! Party starts at 9pm! Free shot if you come in school uniform and or with an 80's haircut! 100 lines & a beating if you don't!

"Hi Jim, I just wanted to write and say thank you and to say what a great stay I had with Big Blue. My room was great and the diving was just brilliant. My open water instructors Soren & Kelly was lovely and my two fun diving DMT's Duncan and Lara were also great, i had a some very good dives with them which of course was topped off by seeing the Whale Shark on my last day. I am now hooked on diving and will be returning to Koh Tao at the end of June to do my Advanced with you guys and who knows what else. I will certainly be recommending you guys, thanks and see you soon. I was just reading your blog and spotted that a production company is making a program about you that's great news. I work in tv myself and was wondering which production company it is that's approached you. Thanks. Caroline " You are more than welcome Caroline & we look forward to seeing you back here soon! Might even get you on the telly for a rival Production Company!

Lets talk about Free Diving. As in Apnea. Not free diving! That would be outrageous! I mean breath hold diving! Now there are a lot of myths about the sport of freediving, especially among scuba divers. . It’s insanely dangerous. Only super fit people can do it. Some believe you have to be a Jedi Master to do it. If you hold your breath for more than five minutes your brain cells will start dying. Well you should know that is all a load of cods wallop! In fact Free Diving is a form of meditation and relaxation which very often leads to a positive change in one’s awareness of oneself and the surrounding environment. Freediving very often leads to a better physical and mental condition for those who practice it, not only because of the activity itself but also because of the change in lifestyle very often associated with it. That’s also the main reason why it is getting more and more popular. Its a modern lifestyle for people who love to be underwater. And it just may be something we might start offering here! Hmmm. Interested?

Thursday 21st May-

2009-05-21" Hey Jim- Thanks for letting us use your boat and staff for the Salvage trip the other day. Its too bad we didn't find it, but hopefully it will turn up sooner of later. Thanks also for all of the other things you guys have been helping out with, this last month it has seemed like every event is mostly Big Blue people. G is doing a great job and I am glad he is coming to all the meetings and getting the word around so effectively. Thanks again for all you help.
Chad. Save Koh Tao Group."
Cheers Chad, thanks for the email & well done Eco Warrior G! You are officially the Man! Aint no one can touch you!

Well our weird little Belgium is back a little earlier than anticipated, and bearing an uncanny resemblance to Gerard Depardieu too! Unfortunately for Alan he managed to crack his nose a treat while attempting to surf & spent the next few days in & out of hospital trying to get his nose fixed! Having then had enough of Bali he made his way to one of the Gilli islands where he kept bumping into ex girlfriends! Then he couldn't get his visa for Thailand sorted so had to go to Malaysia first. Poor chap. Didn't much of a holiday... but he's got a hell of a hooter!

Greetings from The Ocean Project!
With the newly official World Oceans Day coming up June 8th, The Ocean Project encourages Partners to launch a "Wear Blue and Tell Two" campaign to celebrate. Participation is easy: wear blue in honor of the ocean, and tell people two things they likely don't know about the ocean and ways they can take action. Recent research indicates that the public is looking to zoos, aquariums, and museums (ZAMs) to learn more about ocean issues and how they can help; through this campaign, we hope to help our Partners find new ways to meet this need.

Tuesday 19th May 2009-

2009-05-19Cave Diving in Khao Sok. 66 millions years ago the Khao Sok landscape in Thailand was formed. The limestone was forced upwards when the Indian land-plate crashed into the Eurasian plate. The ice age never affected Khao Sok much. The ice never reached this far south in Asia, leaving the landscape and the rivers as they where. When the ice melted again, more water than ever floated into the rivers of Khao Sok, making the flora even richer than it was before. Nowadays Khao Sok not only offers an amazing tropical rainforest experience but since the building of the Ratchaprapaw Dam it also harbours some of Thailand's most awesome underwater caves. & if you were to go cave diving right now you'd find for yourself 1 large Canadian & a gaggle of very excited Big Blue Cavers!

Well the weather is delightful. Its not too hot, but its hot enough to turn a white skinned European a tender shade of salmon pink. Its not windy or wavy so the seasickness bags are still wrapped up in storage. & its not too busy so there's enough space to swing a cat on the boats & in the restaurants, should you be so inclined. In fact the weather is so very nice at the moment that half our Instructors have gone off for a jolly to Sail Rock seeing as it aint too busy! That doesn't mean the rest of us are jealous. It just means we hope they come back salmon pink & swinging seasick cats!

Has anyone else noticed this? In 2007 it was the Chinese year of the Chicken and Bird Flu Pandemic devastates parts of Asia. In 2008 it was the Chinese year of the Horse & Equine Influenza decimates Australian racing. In 2009 the Chinese year of the Pig & we get hit with Swine Flu Pandemic which kills hundreds of pigs around the globe. Has anyone else noticed this? It gets worse........ next year......2010... its Chinese year of the Cock!

Monday 18th May 2009-

2009-05-18Baby whaleshark again this morning this time at White Rock! We've had them all weekend too but obviously they are getting so mundane recently that they weren't deemed to be worth writing about on the blog over the last couple of days! (subtle dig!) Anyway this one seen today is just a baby measuring less than 3 meters! Oooh how cute! And nice to see that Kate our shopgirl extraordinaire was out on the boat this morning too so she finally got to dive with her first whaleshark! Apparently it was the best time she has ever had in a swimsuit! Although I remember that time she got on the bar in her swimmers over Songkran & she looked like she was having a pretty good time then too!

Nothing more annoying than going looking for something that just aint there! Well that's kind of how Canada & his team of Tech Divers felt on Saturday after scouring the sea for last month's sunken nightboat! Unfortunately it seems the coordinates we were given are incorrect as there is most definitely nothing there & the fish finders couldn't find anything in the vicinity either! So where is it? Well we're going to have to hold you in suspenders I'm afraid as Canada & his band of merry men are off cave diving but they will be back here trudging the depths for this elusive bloody nightboat before you can count to infinity! Watch this space!

We've bought you a beer! And had the dogs shampooed! We've saved you a spot on the beach! We've blown up the inflatable whaleshark. We've gotcha a house on the cliffs. And we've got the urine out of the pool! We've got the gecko shit off the walls. And Bill's on his way down to open the front gate! Your taxi is waiting! And your penang is about to be served. And we're ready to give you the time of your lives! So where the Bloody hell are you?

Friday 15th May 2009-

2009-05-15"Hey Jim, I just wanted to send you a quick message to say thanks to you and your staff for an amazing experience over the last couple of days. My instructor Oli was absolutely fantastic, really friendly and professional and made me feel completely comfortable. You probably hear this all the time but I always think it's nice to give good feedback when you have a good experience. I'll be recommending Big Blue to other travellers and will definitely be back again in the future. Thanks again, Caroline." Thanks Caroline & good job Oli! I knew the inflatable Whaleshark would do the trick!

Congratulations our Japanese Team who have just finished a very busy but extremely successful Golden Week. 20 days of 4 dives a day in groups of over 50 per trip! 10 Full Day Trips in 14 days. 60 dives with 18 whalesharks, 2 DMT's 3 Divemasters, 8 Instructors & 1 legless Captain! Not bad eh! & you know what really really really impresses me about the choreography of the whole Golden Week period? Not 1 night dive! So anyway, last night was time for a little celebration for our Team from Japan who went to have a good ole fashion knees up onboard Banzai to thank everyone for a job well done! Everyone turned up including Ricky & Anna & of course Amanda who wouldn't miss out on a Japanese collective for all the tea in China...or Utah! or Rio!

Another day, another Whaleshark! Think we're on 12 days & 15 whalesharks & we haven't even finished the day yet! We got another boat out there right now aswell which gives us the potential of actually having 16 whalesharks in 12 days! Which gives us an average of 4 whalesharks every 3 days or a Whaleshark and a quarter every day! On those statistics that would mean we see more whalesharks every day than good looking Frenchman! Mind you I guess that's the same the world over!

Thursday 14th May 2009-

2009-05-14Its like a Mills & Boon Story! Its a very sad day if you believe in love! Dan's love of his life is leaving the island today. Both Kymmie & Hannah are off today & heading back to Blightey for a few months. They've had a bit of a rough ride lately what with Hannah & her leg & Kymmie & her everything! Hannah has been running the Big Blue Bar for a few months already & Kymmie has been helping the girls in the shop & finding rooms. They are going to both be sorely missed around here. Reckon the Bangkok Samui Hospital might miss them more though! Good luck ladies & look forward to seeing you both back here in September!

Well that's it! That's everyone now. & he did it teaching his first PADI Advanced Course! This morning Oli joined the same status as the rest of us who've all done it with a Whaleshark! Diving with the largest fish in the sea. Being that close to something so grand & special, something that roams the open oceans from Australia to Belize, from the Phillipines to Hawaii. A creature we actually know so little about. There aint no feeling like it. Its better than buying a Toyota any day! & to think Oli is planning on giving all this up to go join the Swiss Army!?? Large fish or multifunctional pen knive? Hmmm. I think that boy has too many holes in his cheese!

Welcome Back Rich! Looking nice & brown having returned from his Busman's holiday to Bali & the Gilli Islands! Sounds like he's seen everything you can hope to see while he's been away. He's been diving with turtles, Manta Rays & even got a large Sunfish in while he was diving the wreck at Tulumben! Lucky Barsteward! Mind you he hasn't seen a Whaleshark nor has he seen a Mobular Ray or the black tips at Twins, or the 15cm Seahorse or the bull sharks or grey reefs either. There's no place like home!

Wednesday 13th May, 2009-

2009-05-13SOS! It's 2099, and across south-east Asia, a hundred million people are on the march, looking for food. The productivity of the ocean... is plummeting right now. The fish they once relied on is gone. Communities are breaking down; economies destroyed. That is what we can expect, says the new WWF report, if the world's richest coral reef is destroyed. And that, it says, could happen this century unless fast action is taken. The international conservation group WWF warns that 40% of reefs in the Coral Triangle have already been lost. The world's most important coral region is in danger of being wiped out! The area is shared between Indonesia and five other south-east Asian nations and is thought to contain 75% of the world's coral species. It is likened to the Amazon rainforest in terms of its biodiversity, & if we lose it we will all die too! SOS! Save our seas!

Its a very big day for some today! Well done Paul! After a season in Micronesia, another in the Similans & coming to the end of his first season in Koh Tao DM Paul has finally broken his cherry! Today at Southwest Pinnacle Paul dived not once but twice with a 6 meter whaleshark! Infact there was another 1 at Sail Rock & another one at Chumphon Pinnacle as well! Thats 3 whalesharks here around Koh Tao right now! There are even reports coming in that there were actually 2 whalesharks at Southwest this morning but that is incorrect. There was only 1 whaleshark... & 1 very large happy Canadian whaleshark looky-likey!

There has been a lot of interest in helping us out with the night boat salvage trip on the 16th, which is great.So now we will be going out on both the 16th and 17th, and all interested divers can come along to help document, photograph the site and recover anything of value from the wreck. The current plan for the 2 days is as follows: Saturday- Canada & his team of Tech Divers will go out in the early morning to locate and mark the site with a buoy, and also to evaluate the conditions and depth at the site and any possible hazards that need to be addressed. Then we will send out another boat in the afternoon with the tech team and about 15 divers who want to join in. On Sunday we will be going back out again, this time to recover the rest of the items and get good information about the condition of the wreck/site. Nobody has been there yet, and we do not know the actual bottom depth or the conditions at the site so if it turns out to be more than 50-60 meters don't worry; there are plans to tow the wreck closer to the island to make it more accessible and maximize its use and value to the Dive community. DO you want to come? Then drop by Big Blue & sign up! You must be a minimum Deep Diver or Rescue certification with 30+ dives.

Tuesday 12th May 2009-

2009-05-12At last Big Blue has said goodbye to all the Japanese customers as golden week comes to an end, don’t worry Amanda they will be back!! We haven’t set foot on Banzai in nearly 3 weeks so it will be nice to see P’Piak our one-legged captain again, and be allowed to go to Sail Rock again.

Another seahorse was found at Twins yesterday, after all the Whalesharks and Mobula rays and strange sharks its nice to see the small stuff again, we like seahorses!

The Khao Lak mass exodus is nearly over and the monsoon is in full swing, Robyn and Church returned to surprise Canada on his birthday, they are enjoying a few days back on the island before a well earned vacation in Bali, good to have you guys back. And church get a haircut Cory is getting jealous of your bunches.

Tonight we have a divemaster challenge for recently graduated Tina, Klaus and Laura, after weeks of hard work shadowing our divemaster team and assisting instructors with their drinking, I mean teaching, they have just one more test to pass!! Come along tonight to the big blue bar to see how they will do, we all know DMT stands for Drink More Training.

Sharks. Of the hundreds of species of sharks, there are only four kinds of shark known to be dangerous to humans - great whites, tiger sharks, bull sharks and oceanic whitetip sharks. There have been no recorded fatal shark attacks in Thailand on scuba divers or swimmers. The shark divers are most likely to encounter in Thailand is the grey reef shark, which grows quite large - up to 2 metres - but is harmless. Snorkellers will often see baby sharks on shallow reefs as these are shark nurseries - Shark Bay here on Koh Tao is an excellent example. The prospect of being attacked by a shark while in the water in Thailand is incredibly small. There are plenty of other things more dangerous to worry about, like rip tides if swimming on the beach or having a motorbike accident. And there is zero chance of being attacked by a great white shark while in Thailand, so please stop worrying ladies. Just because you scuba dive doesn't mean you are going to get eaten by a shark!

 Monday 11th May 2009-

2009-05-11Well we seem to be seeing all sorts of new surprises around here lately. It all started with the Brydes Whales followed shortly after by their mates the Minkes & then we've had a bumper season of Whalesharks & then Simo saw the Devil Ray cum Manta Ray the other day, which we now believe was actually a Mobular Ray, & Sarah went off & found a whole posse of sharks having a jolly in the shallows at Twins & then at Sail Rock Dan & Kymmie reckon they came across a Sandtiger shark! Not bad eh? Rays, sharks, & whales! As long as we don't send DM Paul out again lets see if we can't get a school of Hammerheads, a pod of dolphins & a Mola Mola as well!

As you may recall Barry & Kymmie got the Big Blue Dance Troupe to get together last month for a very professionally choreographed rendition of all those classic Grease numbers of yesteryear. The whole thing went down a huge success last month at the Koh Tao Festival & we even got a letter from the Mayor of Koh Tao, the Orbitor, (from Star Wars- Empire Strikes Back) thanking us for our efforts. Well tonight we're watching 'The Making of Grease - the Big Blue Musical' at Dirty Nelly's. Free food, & private dancing lessons with Barry 'Footloose' Coville for everyone who turns up in their Disco trousers.

What would you say was the oceans most fearsome predator? The uneducated amongst us would say the shark! And of course they'd be wrong. Those with a little more about them might say it was the Jellyfish! But again they'd be incorrect as well. And the scholars amongst would say that the most fearsome predator in the oceans today is the French! Just ask the poor sea cucumber which got knelt on yesterday by our klutzy Beret boy! Serves you right G if it took you all afternoon to get the sticky bits off you, even if it was an accident! Cucumber pervert!

Sunday 10th May 2009-

2009-05-10Not too much going on a the moment. So perfect time to catch up so far on what's been happening here lately! So where do I start... well... let me see... erm well. Amanda sneezed, Barry went for a run, Corey climbed up a mountain, & came down a Donna (an Italian woman!) Emily got back, Alain left, Rich is on his way. we just found out Yvonne used to represent Germany at Squash, & Sonia represented England at ballet not Rugby. Deano got stung... between the legs. Simo saw a Manta Ray, Pauls friends saw a whaleshark. Paul didn't. Nor did Ollie. Kelli fell over, Rick rode off, Andy is on his way. Our Japanese team went Chicken Oriental. Dan & Kymmmie have been going mental, & in these times of low tourism & high boredom never could a truer statement be made -Canada is a terribble spellar & G can touch pretty much anything he likes... now!

The bells are ringing, the red carpet is out, the white doves are being released & soon there'll be a speech made. Anyone would think the King was coming, so what is all this in aid of? Well everyone's favorite roley poley Canadian turns 30 today! Sorry I must be more specific bearing in mind both our Big Blue Canadians are a little bit roley poley! Our roley poley ink stained Canadian! It's James 30th Birthday today so everyone has been invited to join the festivities at Moove tonight. Dress code Red & white in respect of the national colours of Canadia so if you are wearing red & white, or have your genitalia covered by a maple leaf come along! Happy Birthday James!

So the best job in the world has gone to Mr Ben Southall, an adventurer from England, who has already travelled the world on various fundraising expeditions. He worked as a tour guide in Africa after graduating from university with a science degree and then came back to the UK where he has spent the past few years working as a charity events manager and fundraiser. The 34 year old introduced himself, in his one-minute video pitch for the Queensland job, by saying: “Hi, I’m Ben, otherwise known as the adventurous, crazy, energetic one.” He describes himself as a dynamic, gregarious and hardworking go-getter. He has ridden an ostrich and his interests include scuba diving, bungee jumping, mountain biking and photography. In his spare time, he also manages a music festival and keeps fit running marathons and climbing. “The most important thing to me in life is to have an exciting job that makes me happy, puts smiles on peoples’ faces and achieves challenging goals.” I couldn't agree with you more Ben. So when you've finished over there give me a shout & we'll offer you next years best job in the world! a Big Blue Diving Instructor!

Saturday 9th May 2009-

2009-05-09I knew it! Koh Dorado was not as silly an idea for a TV program as we first thought! A large television production company in the UK have written in. They are currently developing a docudrama for a UK broadcaster and are interested in hanging out at Big Blue for a month & recording capturing & airing the shenanigans & goings on in the life of a diving school. They thought they’d get in touch to see if this was something ourselves at Big Blue might potentially be interested in? Ha... well der... Does the Pope shit in the woods? Does a bear kiss runways! You betcha your Ass! Dive with Big Blue people. We'll make you famous!

Everybody with a booked last minute ticket to Thailand; can I have your ATTENTION please! Local fisherman made a remarkable discovery recently. According to our informants there are 8 containers full of human remains dumped at several diving hot-spots in the Gulf of Thailand. Nobody seems to know where these body’s originate from. Mafia, Khmer Rouge, human traffickers... According to witnesses these containers were dumped overboard at least 2 decades ago. Fisherman have dredged human bones for years. On top of that according to the local fisherman it’s one of their favorite fishing destinations. In other words: ‘Diving in Thailand is getting exciting again.’ Finally something else than manta rays and bloody boring whalesharks !

Well its been a quiet couple of day recently. Despite the excellent diving & the presence of Whalesharks & yesterdays Manta Ray, the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan is on tonight. All the backpackers from far & wide travel to Koh Phangan for a night of partying- buckets of booze & loud music & disco dancing! Which explains why Koh Tao is quite so quiet right now. But not to worry Emily is back from the UK with her pasty white tan & has promised to do some sunbathing out the front later. That always draws a crowd! Welcome back Emily. Now put your bikini on & get to work!

 Friday 8th May 2009-

2009-05-08Ok thats it! Spread the word! We have now converted all our 5 downstairs Air con Rooms into 6 bed dormitories which we will be able to offer for free! Yes you heard right! Free Accommodation.Yes Free Accommodation for anyone doing their Open Water Course with us in one of our brand new dormitory rooms & each room comes with hot water shower, bath! & Air Conditioning! We'll make a room for the boys, a room for the ladies, a couple of mixed dorm rooms & hey what the hell... we're in Thailand. We'll make a room for the ladyboys too! We might even have a member of our staff interested in taking up digs in that particular room eh Boyo?

Whaleshark at Chumphon again this morning. What can I say about the biggest fish in the sea that I haven't at some point over the last 2 years said already! I've told you they were big, they were spotty, that they were the biggest fish in the sea & that they eat the smallest fish in the sea. I've told that we see them more & more these days than we ever have before. I've told you it costs 3000 Aussie dollars to dive with a whaleshark in Ningaloo, but only 10 AUD to dive with one here in Koh Tao. I've even told you about the largest one ever photographed measuring at 20 meters & the smallest one measuring at just 30 cm's. But did I tell you about the size of the whalesharks sexual organs? Well that one I'll save till later. After all we're bound to see him again tomorrow... for the 8th day on the trot!

I don't care what anyone says. According to the encyclopedia Brittanica & Wikipedia the Devil Ray & the Manta Ray are the same fish! Which means that this morning at Southwest Pinnacle Simon & his Advanced Course were lucky enough to be the only 3 people on Koh Tao who danced with a Manta ray! How about that people. We have Manta Rays & Whalesharks around Koh Tao right now! Doesn't that make you want to put on your neoprene & get moist? It does me! I'm finding myself reaching for my speedo before I even finished writing the end of this...

Thursday 7th May 2009-

2009-05-07At the risk of sounding boring- "WHALESHARK"... again! So whats that our 10th different Whaleshark in less than a month? & this one is a beauty. Its not the same one that was seen yesterday at Green Rock, the one DM Paul didn't see. & luckily for everyone Paul decided not to go off for a Fundive with his friends this morning either so everyone got to see this new whaleshark too! Nice one Paul. Very thoughtful of you mate. Luckily our ACE Videographers were there though so we have the recorded data we need to be able to enter this new Whaleshark to the whaleshark database at ECOCEAN. And if you have any photos of the whalesharks you have seen while diving with us this last month or 2 you can upload them on www.whaleshark.org

Aw c'mon guys use a bin! A high-seas mission departs from San Francisco next month to map and explore a sinister and shifting 21st-century continent: one twice the size of Texas and created from six million tonnes of discarded plastic. The toxic soup of refuse was discovered in 1997 at the centre of the North Pacific gyre (a vortex or circular ocean current usually avoided as these high-pressure systems — also known as the doldrums — lack the winds and currents to benefit sailors). There are bottle caps, plastic bags and polystyrene floating with tiny plastic chips; when worn down by sunlight and waves, discarded plastic disintegrates into smaller pieces. Suspended under the surface, these tiny fragments outnumber plankton by six to one. The fragments act as sponges for heavy metals and pollutants until mistaken for food by small fish. The toxins then become more concentrated as they move up the food chain through larger fish, birds and marine mammals. In June the 151ft brigantine Kaisei (Japanese for Planet Ocean) & a decommissioned fishing trawler armed with specialised nets will set sail & try collecting the plastic while minimising the catch of sea life. With a crew of 30, the expedition, will use unmanned aircraft and robotic surface explorers to map the extent and depth of the plastic continent while collecting 40 tonnes of the refuse for trial recycling.

Bitterly disappointed to meet Mrs Canada today & find out she has no tattoo's at all on her. Not a Maple Leaf or an I heart Canada to be seen anywhere. Still she is here for at least another week or so, so I'm sure we'll get someone to doodle on her before she's off. Meanwhile this afternoon she is off for a spot of Discover Scuba Diving with her ink stained son. This may well be Canada's first ever time at taking someone for a Discover Scuba Dive. Not really Canada's bag the DSD. Hope he doesn't give her his usual military training by putting a twin set on her back, or making her run up & down the beach carrying a scuba cylinder chanting. 'I don't know but I've been told, James Thornton Allen is turning 30 years old'!

Wednesday 6th May 2009-

2009-05-06Another oh so popular Full Day trip to Sail Rock & another Whale Shark. Actually 2! One was about 6 meters & the other was only 4 meters! & as I write this we are getting breaking news right now that there is another Whale shark, this time a large one ( size unspecified - but you can bet your arse its bigger than you or me!) right now at Green Rock! So the troops who aren't working this afternoon have chartered themselves a longtail & are off to go snorkeling with it! But for all of you cursing & cussing at our good fortune, don't fret. DM Paul is going out on the longtail so the Whale shark is bound to have gone by the time he gets there!

It was a couple of weeks ago, when we had that really bad weather, & one of the cargo nightboats ended up sinking. Thankfully all the crew were easily able to jump ship & were rescued. Now Big Blue Diving has been nominated by the Save Koh Tao Group & has been invited to go dive the wreck & check it out for salvage opportunities & to check the state in which it is in. Of course it is lieing in relatively deep water so this kind of diving falls under the realm of Big Blue Tech so Canada & his team of Tech divers will be first in to tie the descent line to it & check for danger signs, explosive materials & make it safe for the rest of us to go down & dive on! Its going to be a great experience & we will be the first to dive on Koh Tao's most recent wreck!. Not bad eh! Anyone fancy joining us? Men with small kahuna's need not apply!

I'd just like to voice my support to the new government of Thailand! Ooh controversial, especially in these heady times of political uncertainty, but hey, the man deserves credit where credit is due! The Government has now launched a plastic bag initiative! It will reduce plastic bags in Thailand by 10% this year alone! & after cigarette butts being the most amount of litter found on beaches around the world next is the plastic bag with estimates of over 40000 tonnes of plastic bags washing up on Thai shores everyday. Well done Thailand. You've just single handedly cleared the beaches of 4000 tonnes of plastic bags of rubbish every day! Lets see if we can't reduce that figure even more or even better get other countries to match what we do here in Thailand! Save our Seas people! Say no to plastic bags!

Monday 4th May 2009- May the Fourth be with you!

2009-05-04How do these precariously placed boulders get to be on top of smaller precariously placed boulders all over Koh Tao? Its a question we get asked every day we're out on the boat, & the answer is not entirely known! One story is that millions of years ago these boulders were buried beneath the ground but over years of erosion & glacial movements they have become exposed. Another theory is a huge flood altered the earths landscape. Strong water currents flowing back & forth destroyed existing formations & created new ones with bizarre shapes as well as caves, coves & gigantic boulders. After the water subsided everything remained as you see it today! But my favourite is the theory that during the Second World War the Japanese used the island as target practise & these boulders you see now are just remnants of exploded rock! Can you imagine pointing your guns at a poor defenseless island & just battering the crap out of it. Must have been so much fun!

In this time of economic hardship, medical turmoil & social unrest its nice to know that the world of scuba diving is as busy as ever. Those Divemasters in training who've been with us for the last couple of months & have been looking for work have all found work here in Koh Tao. Well done Colin, recently certified Irish DM & congratulations Emma, our recently certified Swedish speaking Yankee who have both got regular work guiding people around dive sites here. So if they can become a professional diver & then get paid for it then why can't you? Contact us & ask about doing your Divemaster Internship. It'll change your life! Just ask my Mum!

Well thanks to Clare Ace VDOgrapher supreme ( after our Heather Speilberg) we now have a flipping great video promo for all of you who are interested in coming out with us to the Khao Sok National Marine Park for a spot of Cave diving! Unfortunatley we won't be able to squeeze you in till June at the moment. We knew it was going to be popular when Canada set this up but we had no idea it was going to be pre-booked a month in advance every time! So I'm afraid the 8 spaces we had for May are all gone, and there'll also be 2 certified Cave divers coming along as well, and as I say if you want to book in for June then you better let us know quick smart! If you're not sure then just watch the video! That will make you make your mind up for you! You can view the video here

Sunday 3rd May 2009-

2009-05-03Happy Birthday Simon! Bless him. He so badly wanted to keep it quiet & not have anyone know that he was going to be turning 35 today but good ol' Jodie, the wife, decided to tell the whole island! So there's going to be a few sunset bevvies after work today, & then everyone is heading off to a dinner & an aperitif at Fizz & then afterward's we'll all be going to Vibe for a beer or 2 via the Big Blue Bar for one of Spaz's legendary Birthday buckets! Happy Birthday Simo!

If you choose to get to Koh Tao by flying down from Bangkok to Samui then sit on the left side of the plane so that you can look out the window on your way down because you fly right over Koh Tao! From 12000 meters up I'd be impressed if you could actually tell which buildings make up Big Blue Diving, but for sure you will be able to see Sairee Beach & if you look really really closely you'll be able to tell exactly where we are by looking for all the best looking girls with the least amount of clothes on! That's Big Blue Diving! See you soon!

Members of the Cigarette Butt Advisory Group plan to recommend that filtered cigarette butts should have new requirements for disposal. They say the toxic waste in the butts harms wildlife and the environment. "It is toxic at rather low concentrations, even one butt in a liter of water can kill the fish in a period of 96 hours." A cigarette butt is a combination of a plastic filter and the remnants of a smoked cigarette. The filter is non-biodegradable, and the tobacco remnant is toxic until it biodegrades into the environment. What remains in the filter are residues, tars, and particulates. Cigarette butts are the number one littered substance in the world, with several years as the number one single item picked up on beach cleanup days the world over. So put it in the bin! Or how about this for a revolutionary idea... Stop smoking!

Saturday 2nd May 2009-

2009-05-02Thanks to all those who assisted us last night moving the half tonne broken compressor we have on Banzai back on land. It needed at least 8 of us to shift that bloody thing & it took us nearly 2 hours to swap it for another compressor that we were able to put on Banzai as a replacement in less than 30 minutes! Special thanks to Duncan & Andy L who we had to drag from the bar to help us out & to Kuma the strongest man on Koh Tao ( & BTW a professional Sumo Wrestler!) & to all our Burmese staff who ended up missing out on dinner, & to our kitchen staff who had to make dinner for those that missed out! A good team effort there guys & we really appreciate everyone's help. Hope those on Banzai today apprecaite just how late into the night we had to make everyone work just so that they could dive with the Whaleshark today!

A survey of scuba divers shows they'd pay more money to see healthy marine life than they pay for their diving at present. The group Oceana says the survey shows divers would pay more money beyond normal dive costs to see healthy corals, sharks and sea turtles. As part of the study, scuba divers were asked the maximum amount of money they were willing to pay. Of the scuba divers surveyed, 76 percent were willing to pay more for an increased likelihood of swimming with a sea turtle in the wild and 71-percent were willing to pay more to see sharks. This clearly shows that marine wildlife and marine habitats have a value. Not just the typical ones that we think of in terms of fisheries but also those that are a benefit to divers. When analyzing the market for the U.S. shark fishery - now valued at $19 million - sharks are worth more alive as part of the ecotourism industry than dead as part of the fishing industry. Hmmm. Now how do we convert the fishing Industry into the Dive Industry?

Well we are all getting very excited at the imminent arrival of Mommy Canada! Its been an unbelievably long time since Canada & his Mum, sorry Mom, last saw each other- 5 years in fact- so you can imagine how extremely excited young Canada, better start calling him James,is! He's off to Bangkok tonight & will meet his Mum off the plane & then bring her down here to introduce her to all of us! We are all very excited to meet her too. She's got to be some kind of lady to have brought Canada, sorry James, into this world. Bet she's hard as nails! Probably got more tattoo's down her forearms than James has! Welcome to Thailand Mrs C! We're very pleased to meet you & hope you have a great holiday!

Friday 1st May 2009-

2009-05-01Time for a bit of wonderful news! For the 1st time ever there is a report coming out from Australia stating that the population of Whalesharks around the world is increasing! This is of course fantastic news & its very much because of 'citizen-science', that ordinary people around the world can make a real contribution to serious research and conservation by updating their whaleshark encounters with online photo identification technology like ECOCEAN. Prior to the 1980s there had been only 350 confirmed sightings of the giant fish. Now there are over 500 sitings of different Whalesharks around the world every year. & after Ningaloo Reef on Australia's west coast where do you think the most amount of sitings are recorded? Here of course- Koh Tao!

Congratulations Ollie & Olaf! Big Blue's 2 newest Instructors are going to be having pretty sore heads today after celebrating last night having finished their Instructor Exams with flying colours! The IE takes only 2 days & to be honest is pretty easy, but it follows a 2-3 week fairly intensive Instructor Development Course Training where you need to show that you can stand up & give a lecture, demonstrate skills in shallow water & then identify problems with students in deeper water or the ocean! So well done boys. Its about time we had some decent Instructors around the place! ;)

Barry's back! He's been sunning himself for the last 3 weeks in the UK (yes he's actually browner now than he was when he left!) Sounds like he's had a fantastic time too! After all, he's been Rocking with the Gods of Heavy Metal none other than AC DC, & Rolling with the boys from the best football team in North London- yes that's right Tottenham Hotspurs, Barry has returned & as reliable as ever he's brought with him my crumpets! Good man Baz! Glad you had a great holiday & hope you're looking forward to some underwater fun & frolicks!

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