Wednesday 30th September 2009-
Back from his European tour with his lovely wife, the big boss man (Jim) has returned, and we are all blaming you for bringing the weather back with you. We woke up this morning to a windsurfer’s wet dream. We are picking up the dying tail end of the Typhoon Ketsana, resulting in a bit of wind and 2 metre waves breaking on the beach. Canada couldn’t have timed the arrival of his new tech hoodies any better, as we are all wearing our cosy new sweatshirts today.
Having said that don’t let a bit of wind put you off, we had 2 beautiful dives this morning around the sheltered east side of Koh Tao with nice flat seas.
In the news today, the Bohol Standard which is based in the Philippines reported that a Whaleshark was freed after being accidently caught in a net:
“Children swim near a 22-foot young male butanding (whale shark) accidentally netted in Ubay shore before local authorities freed the marine mammal after documentation.
Witnesses said some children jumped in and swam with the whaleshark which showed apparent playfulness and gentle friendly behavior towards the children.
Specifically trained to respond to incidents involving distressed marine mammals, the responding team immediately went to work and proceeded to gather information regarding the trapped whale shark before it could be released back to sea. “
Tuesday 29th September 2009-
It was good to see the return of our resident German instructor Yvonne, who has been in hospital sick for the least few days. We have kidnapped her motorbike so she can’t leave the house and try to work until she is 100% better!! Sonia also returned back to work with her bad shoulder. Keeping up with her stupidity she learnt the hard way last night that drinking even the smallest amount of alcohol whilst on very strong painkillers is not a very good idea, Muppet! And now with some very impressive news, one of our old DMT’s James Brooks has been selected to be crew with the famous Paul Watson’s conservation warriors Sea Shepherd to the Antarctic. ‘The 6th voyage to defend endangered whales in the Antarctic Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary will depart from Australia in less than 90 days – on December 7, 2009.Starting in December, the illegal whaling fleet will be targeting 935 piked (Minke) whales and another 50 fin whales, and has threatened to add humpbacks to their quota as well. We intend to once again negate their illicit profits. Because of Sea Shepherd interventions, the illegal whalers have suffered losses for three years. We are making steady progress towards our objective of sinking the entire whaling fleet – economically. Thanks to our supporters, every year we get stronger and every year we are able to escalate and improve our tactics of intervention.’ www.seashepherd.org (photo credit Adam Lau/Eric Cheng/Sea Shepherd) Nice one James, our oceans need as much help as possible to protect our marine life. Go make us proud.
Monday 28th September 2009-
Today at Big Blue our 2 new recruits arrived! Anders and Alicia are students from Sweden here for 2 weeks of work experience. Lucky them hey? We have all sorts of weird and wonderful things for them to be doing whilst there here; but most importantly we hope they learn a great deal and have an amazing unforgettable experience. Welcome to Big Blue Anders and Alicia!! Here’s what they had to say about their first day… “Today was the first day here at Big Blue for us. As Marine Biology students from Sweden we are here to gain work experience in the diving industry and its associated marine branch. We will be here for about 2 weeks and we hope to learn a lot about diving and also get a view of how the company runs. When we first came this morning we met Kayleigh who will be looking after us during our stay here. Today we have met almost everyone at Big Blue and all of them are really nice and welcoming. We were shown around and now have more understanding of how things work around here. The coolest thing so far must have been when Christos showed us all the equipment that is needed for technical diving and we learned about how to make sure you get the best air combination in the tanks depending on the depth of the dive planned. To sum up, we had a great day here at Big Blue! Everyone we met has been really friendly, happy and they are all very professional! We can hardly express how grateful we are to Big Blue for letting us come here and learn. We can’t wait for tomorrow!” Thank you ever so much guys! It’s an absolute pleasure having you here!
Sunday 27th September 2009-
Just another day in paradise! It looks like we’re holding off monsoon for just a little bit longer. The diving was great today, there’s been a bit of a breeze and cloud but generally it’s been a nice day! Here’s some staff news in brief… Amanda has been child minding and building not just a sand castle, but a whole settlement, with the twins. SSImon is busy getting ready for his first ITC and Deano is preparing to Staff another IDC. Heather has finished her first Open Water and Advanced course and still loves being an Instructor. Andy, Paul, Jodie, Beccy and Mickey are busy doing their last minute cramming for their Instructor courses starting tomorrow - good luck boys and girls!Unfortunately for us, Rich and his girlfriend Hayley left the rock today, they’ve gone for a quick holiday in sunny old England and are then off to another paradise island. We wish you all the luck in the world guys. Don’t forget to come back and visit! For those of you that have been following ‘Samui watch’ – Yvonne is doing really well; she managed to get out of bed and is slowly rebuilding her strength. Canada is being her Knight in Shining Armour and staying with her by her bedside the whole time. Sonia is having some physio after a check up on her shoulder. Unfortunately Helen might have to join them soon as she has been mysteriously and violently sick this morning – although this might be a false alarm as the symptoms magically disappeared as soon as she stopped looking at Paul’s face. And in random-marine-life-facts-of-the-world news, another new fish has been found scientists in Brazil – the wonderfully named ‘deep-sea jellynose fish’! The fish are bottom-feeders, sucking whatever they can off the sea floor, living at depths between 400 and 700 metres, and like many deep-sea fish, they have gelatinous, scale-free bodies consisting of very little muscle, as there isn’t enough oxygen to feed muscle tissue at those depths. I think with a name and appearance like that, I’d stay as deep in the ocean as I could!
Saturday 26th September 2009-
Bit of a windy day here on Sairee, but the diving’s still lovely, big schools of barracuda at Shark Island this morning, and all kinds of weird and wonderful marine life (octopus, yellow boxfish, flatworms and pipefish to name a few) were found by the divers at Nang Yuan Pinnacle this morning; and there’s a boatload of people currently exploring Japanese Gardens by torchlight to see what nightlife they can find!
Amongst all the dismal news of sharks being threatened, there’s something a bit more positive and interesting come to light – a new species of shark has been found off the coasts of California and Mexico! It’s been around for a while, apparently, but only just been named as the Eastern Pacific Black Ghostshark. It is a bit of an unusual shark, preferring to stay out of the sun and using winglike fins to ‘fly’ thousands of feet deep in the ocean. Also pretty strange about them is that they have retractable clublike sex organs sprouting from their foreheads! Odd place to keep your bits!
Back to Big Blue news…Keith’s celebrating his 44th birthday today – congratulations! You don’t look a day older than 35! He’s celebrating with a night dive; no doubt he’ll be getting the beers in once they’re back! Sonia and Yvonne are still in Samui getting some fast food and hanging out in the hospital. Get better soon girls!
Deano is still heading up Buoyancy World with his hard working team of DMTs, Deano’s missing G terribly, but we’re not sure if he’s missing him more for the late night company than the Save Koh Tao pearls of wisdom. The Khao Lak crew’s getting ready to make their way back out west, and everywhere you turn there’s DMs frantically cramming for the PADI IDC and the SSI ITC. Lara is still waiting for paint to dry, the techies are back from Khao Lak and are busy being techies, and everyone else is pretending to look busy while Jim is still away on holidays. Everything plain sailing really! Now, if only the sun would come out for a few days...
Friday 25th September 2009–
It was a little stormy last night, you’ve got to love a good thunder storm! The lightning looked stunning out over the sea, but thankfully it’d calmed down enough this morning for us to head out to Chumpon for a lovely dive, loads of big tuna and mackerel, schools of batfish and fusiliers and great visibility. We’ve sent the boats out for some East coast diving this afternoon, the fundivers are looking for turtles at King Kong Rock, and the courses are off to Aow Leuk to practice their scuba skills. Brand sparkly new instructor Heather is out as well, finishing her first Open Water course, and she’s being filmed by proud husband ACE Andy, that’ll be a video to keep and show the grandkids! The party last night at Vibe was a resounding success, DJ Luckman on the decks, everyone had a great night. Some people even combined the party time with a bit of education, one of our Welsh instructors decided to get all multilingual and practice his German! One of our other resident Germans is unfortunately not well - poor Yvonne is in hospital in Samui- we’re all thinking of you Yvonne, hope you’re feeling better soon! Outside of our little Koh Tao bubble, it’s fantastic news to hear that the island of Palau is going to create the world’s first sanctuary for sharks – they’ll be banning all commercial shark fishing in a 600,000sq km protected area of water around Palau. It’s estimated that as many as 100 million sharks are killed globally each year, and this has led to 21% of the world’s shark species being classified as a threatened species under the extinction assessment. Many countries have implemented catch limits, quotas and restrictions on fishing and finning, but with this shark sanctuary being set up, it’s hoped that other countries will follow suit and help to enforce the rules. Save our seas!
Thursday 24th September 2009-
We’re all heading down to Vibe tonight as it’s a big farewell shindig for Rick, Fanette and Rich! Rick and Fannette will be leaving us to go and look after Khao Lak, here’s hoping they enjoy the mantas and the liveaboard (jealous, us?!) whilst Rich is off to pastures new with his girlie to explore dive instructing around Egypt – we’ll be sending him off with lots of good luck wishes - not that he needs them because he’s fantastic! Congratulations to Kim, our American freelance Instructor who just completed her SSI Crossover with SSImon, welcome to the SSI team! Big DM Paul and Little Video Beccy are starting their SSI training on 28th, whilst video Jodie and DM Andy are biting their fingernails and furiously completing their Candidate Workbooks as their PADI IDC date (also the 28th September) approaches, we're sure you're going to do us proud, guys! All the cool kids are becoming Instructors, so why aren't you?!
Monday 21st September 2009-
Apologies for the few days of absence but the muppet of a stand-in manager was in hospital for 3 days after a drinking accident, but don’t worry she is back and catching up!! So whats been happening? Big Blue Tech leave Koh Tao island for the main land for 5 days of deep technical diving in Khao Sok National Park. In Khao Sok National Park resides a sunken village and buddhist temple which has become a popular attraction for technical divers since it’s discovery by Big Blue Tech in February of 2009. One diver alone will be equiped with the following.
3 torches, 2 reels, 2 lift bags, 1 o2 at 200 bar, 1 nitrox and 1 twin set. Double bladder wing, spare mask, cutting tools, gloves and pockets. so for 6 of them that’s a lot of stuff!!! Tonight we see 2 more of our DMT’s lose their T at our infamous Dive Master Challenge, good luck to Jen and Keera, and to the one armed Sonia who is celebrating her 21st birthday again, but this time sporting a sling!!! Happy Birthday Sonwan and congrats to the new DMs.
Friday 18th September 2009-
It was a balmy September morning, the sun was shining, waves lapping at the shore, everyone hard at work…then we heard Captain P’Piak’s voice over the radio “whale shark at Chumpon!” ☺ Good thing both Banzai and Navakid were there again so that our divers could have 2 fantastic dives with this majestic creature!
Sairee was introduced to a different type of exercise class this morning when Nick our DMT from California begun Capoeira lessons on the beach. Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian art formed by African slaves and Brazilian Natives combining martial arts with dance. The sparring is marked by fluid acrobatic play, and extensive use of sweeps, kicks, and headbutts. Less frequently used techniques include elbow strikes, slaps, punches, and body throws. So far Nick has recruited Helen, Kelli, Jodie, Lara and Erica. These are soon to be girls not to mess with! Or Ugly for that matter as even he had a go! Looks like it’s that time of year again, Whaleshark time!! Two sightings at Chumphon in one week plus yesterday both MV Banzai and MV Navakid brought some very happy divers back to land after two dives with the giant friendly creature; very happy is kind of an understatement though really. Congratulations must also go to the Open Water students who on dive number three were lucky enough to see one and especially their instructor Dennis as this was also his first time. A swarm of 150,000,000 crabs invaded an island in Northwestern Australia to mate. Each female crab lays around 100,000 eggs in the sand. They hatch at around the same time, so very soon there might be as many as 75 trillion crabs on that island at once! Mmmm that’s a lot of crabs!! Update on Buoyancy World; it is coming together well, G, Deano and Barry along with the DMTs are hammering, welding, sawing, bending, cement mixing, singing and sweating enough to fill a swimming pool- eurgh! If all goes well on the 22nd, all the structures will be lowered into a designated spot near Koh Nang Yuan. Anyone around wanting to help fill our swimming pool of sweat, we need you!
Thursday 10th September 2009-
The construction of Buoyancy World has started!! We are now in the process of building the structures that we are going to sink underwater in 2 weeks time to make a new artificial dive site. These will include statues with habitats for marine life, hoops and other buoyancy training aids for people to practice, a navigation course and permanent lines for simulated emergency ascents. The objective is to make sure that while in training, students don’t damage our natural reefs and learn more about preserving them. 10 dive schools on the island are involved including Big Blue, our contribution being a huge Gheko! So far Captain Koh Tao G has been bending, cutting and welding metal every day in Mae Haad, please can we have as many people to support him in this worthwhile event, come and help build a giant gheko!! Our newest DM Kirsty left yesterday and we were all sad to see her go. In true Koh Tao style (before she had even packed her bags) she was making concrete plans to return asap and become a videographer! Good luck Kirsty! Remember to bring back some crumpets! So out with the old and in with the new, our 2 newest DMT’s have arrived and already had their fair share of lectures, laughs and late night loving! Welcome to the Big Blue team Ashley and John! One of our breastest DM’s Paul is off to pastures greener, to start his ITC! Well, actually he is going to be staying here at Big Blue but we will miss him insulting and drawing on us in the shop! He is going to be Simon’s first candidate for the Instructor Training Course now offered at Big Blue. We wish you all the luck in the world Paul; we know you will be a fantastic instructor. And just for the record, your face makes me sick… Our boss has gone off on holiday this week to the land of thigh-slapping and sausages! His replacement is one of our best and longest standing instructors here at Big Blue, Sonia. All hail Spongeboss!! Have a great 3 weeks Jim and bring us all back presents! Peanut Flips for me please...
Tuesday 8th September 2009-
It’s a week of parties at Big Blue, we kicked off last night with a joint celebration, 4 brand new divemasters were welcomed into the pro world with buckets, shots and lots of ice cold water, congratulations to Steven, Caroline, Kirsty and Las. Yvonne celebrated her birthday by being the special guest at the challenge. Having shouted and stamped her feet about not getting wet she turned up dressed as NEMO wearing a bright orange rain coat. Needless to say she got soaked; Happy Birthday Yvonne!!Good luck to our quiet, shy and retiring videographer Heather who is about to begin her Instructor Examination today, 3 days of intense classroom, pool and open water presentations in front of PADI examiners. Heather has been filming at Big Blue for years; it will be great to see her on the big screen with her new students for a change. The IE Party will be on 10th September. All welcome!Fingers crossed for G who is also going to be in the exam room with Heather completing his exams for his PADI Course Director training. Good Luck G!!“Thank you to all for being part of this awesome experience. Starting from the first day I met Aom on the ferry, my life changed and I plan to carry on diving and loving this wonderful life in diving!” Emma recently finished her Divemaster training with us and is now turning work down left right and center! Well done Emma, it has been a pleasure!
Monday 7th September 2009-
Its been a weekend of weary wevellers! The Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan was on Friday & we've been welcoming the wandering Wilbury's all weekend! Its a little unfortunate to be arriving in Koh Tao right now as the weather is rubbish on this side but don't worry all yee who threw up on the way here & are wondering how on earth you ever going to learn to dive if you get seasick all the time fear not... The other side of Koh Tao right now is mill pond flat, 20+ meter visibility & sunny!?Similar to smoke rings, bubble rings can be blown through pursed lips by letting out short air bursts. Taking a breath of air, a normal breath with a regulator, and filling your cheeks so they are puffed, you need to lie down on your back or float horizontally staying still. Tilt just your head back so you are looking up at the surface. The best depth to try this at is 2-6 meters. Any deeper than 6 meters and it becomes more difficult to do. Start with your mouth closed. You basically want to release a pulse of air about the size and shape of a golf ball, opening your mouth with rounded lips. Attempt saying “PUH” with your cheeks filled with air. Do not do anything with your tongue. Abruptly close your mouth soon after so the air really pops out. Just watch your bubble rise to the surface, as your fellow divers applaud you! :)We have been needing to rent an additional boat in recent days as unfortunately Banzai has been taken ill with a sore propellor! So this week we have mostly been using the big snorkel boat from Blacktip Diving. Its a beauty too. Nice big sturdy boat that rides the big waves well & has a lot of interior space & a nice big dive deck too. It doesn't have a compressor which makes tank pumping a little difficult & its not exactly the fastest boat around Koh Tao but hey its a boat its comfortable & we can still go diving so its A OK in my book! Get better soon Banzai!
Friday 4th September 2009-
It was the fund raiser for Buoyancy World last night at Vibe beach bar. It was one of the largest attendances of the year with what has been estimated at almost 1000 people there all raising cash for the Buoyancy World sculptures that we will be creating later in the month. Buoyancy World is going to be a man made divesite with lots of fun sculptures to swim thru under or over thereby relieving some of Koh Tao's busier divesites. Thanks everyone for your generosity last night especially G & DMT's Harry & Jen who organised all the games!Soups, stews and pies flavoured with chunks of sea turtle meat will soon be illegal across the 700 islands of the Bahamas! Despite opposition from many fishermen, the Bahamas has amended fisheries laws to give full protection to all sea turtles found in the Atlantic archipelago's waters by banning the harvest, possession, purchase and sale of the endangered reptiles, including their eggs. The new rules took effect yesterday. "Young people here have never tasted turtle, but it had continued to be eaten by the older population in some of the outer islands, so we're really happy our work has paid off with this ban; the turtles couldn't do it themselves."Quick word on the weather... it's shite! Big waves, restricted visibility, wet, raining, windy & miserable. Sounds like just the right sort of time to be heading off to the sunny climes of Germany for a couple of weeks. 5 days & then 3 weeks of sausages, beers, leather trousers & thigh slapping to go!
Thursday 3rd September 2009-
Wednesday 2nd September 2009--
Top ten statements that are Misinterpreted by Non Diver:
10- Gone down lately?
9- Can I see Your Log?
8- I think I may be bent.
7- Seen any giant clams.
6- She's naturally buoyant.
5- I had to inflate orally!
4- the entry was very rough!
3- My buddy grabbed my octopus.
2- I got a lot of bottom time.
1-I blew an O-ring.Its another Full Day Trip to Sail Rock today with a boat full on Banzai all enjoying a couple of dives at the world famous Hin Bai or Sail Rock, with breakfast en route & then lunch, Big Blue's world famous Massaman Currry, after the second dive & before our 3rd dive at the lesser known, less visited but equally good Samran Pinnacle. A splendid day out & we've managed to squeeze it in just before all the crap weather that is being forecast over the next few days hits us. Well timed Divemasters!We will be having the last fundraising party for the Buoyancy World Project tomorrow, September 3rd. The party will be at Vibe Bar starting at about 7pm. 100% of all the money raised from food sales will go to purchasing the general bank of materials to be used to construct the structures for the Buoyancy World Project later this month. If you need more informatiion about the Buoyancy world project please go to our website at www.MarineConservationKohTao.com, and download the project proposal or powerpoint presentation. Or ask your neighbourly Frenchman! Thank you for your support and we hope to see you there.
Tuesday 1st September 2009-
Today is officially the end of Peak Season. A time when we can all look back & reminisce about the good old days of last month. That day we broke our record amount of divers out in a day. That time the compressor broke down just before the Full Day. & then a day later when the other compressor broke! & then the time when we had the boat problem & that other time we had the other boat problem! & when we slept those girls in the classroom cos there were no rooms left on Sairee Beach. Ah the good old days! Thank frogs thats all over for another year! Time to start planning on my holidays!'Hello Jim! Maybe you can still the 3 girls from Germany, which stayed at the big blue! It was so exciting and we enjoyed it very much! Thank you for giving us such a nice room! And also thanks to our diving instructor Simon, who was so patient with us and our english knowledge! Maybe we see each other on the "Oktoberfest"! Greetings from Heike (Little miss sunshine),Daniela (Little miss trouble) and Ramona (Little miss scatterbrain) By the way, one of your instructors looks a little bit like Robbie Williams!" Dankeschon Ladies! Don't you mean Duncan looks like Robin Williams not Robbie! Oh yeah & Kisses from Simon!Amanda is looking and probably feeling a little delicate today after celebrating into the early hours of the morning like only 26 year old ladies know how to celebrate their Birthdays- drunk! It was a big celebratory dinner at Farango's Pizzeria in Sairee followed by some loud music at the Big Blue Bar & finally for all those who were still looking for love, a quick cruise around at Lotus Bar! Happy Birthday Mandy!