Saturday 28th November 2009-
The Maserati of Instructors, the Bazzarati aka Barry 'The Shed' Coville is off to Khao Lak tomorrow to join Rick & his team over in the Similans & Surin Islands operating the gorgeous Pawara Liveaboard & the 2 daytrip speedboats! So everyone is off to Vibe tonight to toast the high flying 'Shed' & his daring do's a bon voyage & a see you in 6 months! Cheers Bazza & have a great season.
Here's something new I learnt today! Why do hammerhead sharks have such a famously strange-shaped head? One hypothesis is that having eyes on either side of such a wide 'hammer' allows the sharks to see better. But even this idea divides scientific opinion, as researchers argue over whether the hammerhead design makes it more or less difficult to see. The mystery may now be solved by a study showing that a hammerhead gives sharks outstanding binocular vision and an ability to see through 360 degrees. Binocular vision occurs when the fields of two eyes overlap, allowing the accurate perception of depth and distance. It is especially important for predators which need to judge the distance to their prey. Which explains why you'll see so many drunk boys ogling the ladies at Lotus bar with what appears to be eyes at the side of their heads!
Weather report is absolutely glorious. The sea is flat, there's no wind, no rain, but there is some fantastic visibility & there's mountains of fish... nope sorry oceans of fish... buckets of fish... nope schools of fish. Fish everywhere. So many fish you can shake a stick at them. Not that you'd want to. That'd kind of defeat the purpose of what you're trying to see! Anyway. Flat seas as far as the eye can see. & heaps of fish as far as the visibility will allow!
Wednesday 23rd November 2009-
Call me paranoid but I can't help feeling like I've been deserted! Seems like forever since Canada & Yvonne left for their romp around Thailand. & now Paul left for Canada, Beccy is on her way to the Uk, Jodie is in Chiang Mai, Heather & Andy left for Florida, Duncan is in England, Amanda is in Dubai, Emily went to the Similans, Barry is in Samui, G is in Samui, Pierre is in Samui! Then soon Simo is planning on heading north to see the Missus in Chiang Mai, & Dennis is off to Germany & Spaz is off to Sweden. Then there's our 'newlyweds' Deano & Sonia who are both injured & can't dive, & Erik who has an ear infection, so they're all holidaying too. That leaves me, Andy Hat, Irish Colin, Helen, Kelli & Christos. Perfect. Small round at beer o'clock!
Monsoon is over! Despite the look of fear & gloom on our exciteable Frenchmans face when he saw the weather forecast on Windguru yesterday, the 4 meter waves have dropped to just 1 meter, there is no 40 knot winds but a mere draft, as if someone left the back door open. There is no torrential downpour. Au contraire Monsieur Guillaume. Today is a beautiful Koh Tao day & the forecast for the next week is for even more sunshine, even flatter seas, even less wind & even drier days! Il fait belle jour n'est pas!
Sunday 22nd November 2009-
Dear Big Blue, My wife and I started our open water with you on 23rd october and completed on the 26th, and would like to say how impressed we were at the way in which the course was organized and conducted. This wouldn't have been easy for us unless we hadn't had the support and hard work of our dive instructor 'Deano'. He made it fun and enjoyable yet ensured safety at all times. Since we completed our course we have done other dives and they haven't been a scratch on 'Deano's' professionalism. We would like to thank big blue and especially deano for helping us seenjoy the experience so much, we will be recommending you to everyone we meet. Yours with thanks, Mike and Carley.
Cheers guys. Sure you meant Deano? ; )
So despite President Obama's mission to Asia to rid the world of muppets the Japanese still sent out 5 boats from their whaling fleet to Antarctica yesterday. As we’re all aware, Japan’s research claims are a giant joke. With well over 9,000 minke whales killed in 22 years and no useful data produced, Japan’s so-called research in the Antarctic is an international embarrassment. But don't worry cos this year we have our own ex DMT James out on the Sea Shepherd working to disrupt the murderous plans of the Japanese. Keep your eyes out for him on Animal Planets Whale Wars! Compulsory viewing & probably the best programme on the telly! Whales Good. Japanese whaling Fleet Bad!
SSImon started his second Instructor Training Course for 2 new soon to be SSI Instructors yesterday. Its going to be a couple of weeks of early mornings, late nights, plenty of diving, demonstrating, & doing it all again till it becomes second nature. It takes about 2 weeks to do. Costs half the price of the PADI Instructor Course & there's so much worldwide demand for SSI Instructors now that the qualification now comes with a job offer somewhere in the world. Not a bad thing to train up & become especially in this time of global recession. Beat the economic downturn! Become an SSI Instructor & make the beach your office!
Saturday 21st November 2009-
All hail our new Emergency First Response Instructor Trainers G & Deano. The boys had to spend an afternoon learning how to use, demonstrate & evaluate each other & other members on the course til they were blue in the face! So needless to say our boys with so much experience and training breezed the whole thing. So now we are proud to say that if you want to become an Instructor in First Aid training then come see our boys. Dr. Deano & EFRIT G!
Emily has obviously been working herself too hard. After all, that little break she had lying by the side of the pool in Bangkok at the beginning of the month must have worn her out. So it was a very good job that 2 of her Open Water students insisted they have her as their Advanced Instructor on our Liveaboard in the Similans! So the poor exhausted Emily had to traipse all the way over to Khao Lak to depart last night on the very luxurious MV Pawara for 4 days & nights of diving, eating, reading, sleeping & topless tanning on the sundeck! Poor thing. Hope she doesn't have to work too hard! Licky butch!
Weather report for this weekend ... big waves, strong winds, bugger all rain. Its even sunny! Its just a horrible journey over made all the worse by the seethrough vomit bags that get manually distributed to each passenger as they board the boat. So word of warning to all travellers - take seasickness pills & come by Seatran Discovery rather than the Catamaran. Its still a bouncy trip over but at least you won't feel like you've just come out of a spin cycle in the tumble dryer! Bon voyage!
Wednesday 18th November 2009-
"Hi Jim!!! Missed you when we came over to visit, you were on 3 weeks holidays!!! We had a great time, ended up having Emily as a instructor for our SSI Open Water course and two of us loved it so much (the other one gave up on the early mornings) we did half our Advanced Course as we had to fly out the next day so we couldn't complete it. Emily was great, even though she FAILED to find us the yellow box fish as she had promised haha. We managed to catch up with a Whale Shark at Chumpon on the 3rd dive which was awesome and then took Emily and Deano out to Hippos for a dinner and some boozing afterwards. The rooms were probably the best we had in Thailand, nice and basic but clean, tidy and functioning which is exactly what we needed and wanted. Overall we got great service, great accommodation and you have some great staff! I would recommend anyone to come see you and I never have anything nice to say about anything so take it as a really big compliment. Anyway, enough ass kissing... The reason for the email is that I loved it so much I'M COMING BACK!!!" Cheers Simon, & this time I'll be here! See you soon!
Congratulations Donna on getting that dream job. Donna is off to sun herself & dive & rock climb & just generally lead a dream lifestyle on the idyllic Kadidiri Island, part of the Togean Islands in Indonesia. If you dreamt of an Indonesia with a riot of blue, gold and green, blissful beaches, plentiful coral and a place to live the life of a lotus eater then this archipelago of beautiful coral and volcanic isles in the middle of Teluk Tomini, could be just what the Doctor ordered! The undisturbed jungle shelters a variety of wildlife. The islands’ reefs support a rich diversity of marine life, and the people of the seven or so ethnic groups sharing this place are hospitable. Although the islands are difficult to reach, and the facilities are basic, many travellers fall in love with the Togeans and their lifestyle – and often end up staying a lot longer than they anticipated. Donna, it sounds amazing. Good luck have a great time & hippy daving!
Quick weather report! We were forecast heaps of rain & some strong winds today but its been a little slow coming. We have had a couple of solid downpours which lasted less than an hour each but its certainly not windy or wavey so its still all good for the diving. Don't mind the downpours either. Its actually quite refreshing!
Tuesday 17th November 2009-
Due to an unfortunate event with one of our charters on our Liveaboard MV Pawara departing from Khao Lak, the November 20th trip is open for bookings and is undersold. So we are going to offer a last-minute price of 20% off. The Pawara is adequately booked throughout the season, so we expect this to be a rare opportunity for customers to enjoy the Pawara at a discounted rate.
Master Cabin - Normally 33800, now 27040,
Deluxe Cabin - Normally 31800, now 25440
Standard Cabin - Normally 29800, now 23840
Please call 077 456 772 for bookings, or check our website www.bigbluediving.com for up to date availability. Be quick there's only 3 days left!
A super-fast, space-age powerboat which scythes through waves and smashed the round-the-world record is set to be unleashed on Japanese whalers next month, activists said on Friday. The tri-hulled, kevlar-and-carbon vessel, which can manage speeds up to 50 knots (57 miles/93 kilometres per hour), will chase the controversial boats during their annual hunt in seas south of Australia. The futuristic "Ady Gil", formerly known as "Earthrace", jetted round the world in just under 61 days last year, two weeks faster than the previous record circumnavigation. Campaign spokesman Paul Watson said the boat will pursue the Japanese harpoon boats and stop them spearing whales killed in their hundreds in waters off Antarctica each year. The Ady Gil will be our interceptor. It will be able to latch on to a harpoon boat and prevent it killing any whales. It should be able to run rings around them." Watson said the boat, bankrolled to the tune of one million dollars by Hollywood businessman Ady Gil, will accompany the "Steve Irwin" ship during the three-month campaign from early December. Excellent. Sounds like compulsory viewing of the next season of Whale Wars!
4 very big Bull Sharks at Chumphon again this morning. All our divers got very excited! Well you would do I guess. After all you are less than 20 meters away from 4 of the biggest Bull sharks you will ever see in your life! And you survive to tell the story. I'd be pretty excited too. Just after I'd wet myself. Chumphon Pinnacle! Diving it every morning still!
Monday 16th November 2009-
What a pleasant surprise! Rick is back! He's managed to tear himself away from his office in Khao Lak to come over here & take care of a little business but he's only here for about 24 hours! Sounds like the little sleepy village just north of Phuket, known as has completely exploded this year. Its become so famous people only refer to it as KL now! The Liveaboard is proving a massive success with lots of bookings coming in regularly & the trips are filling up very fast. The speedboat too is becoming extremely popular for our daytrippers to the Similans, so busy that we are getting another one to reduce the amount of divers per boat! Busy busy busy! I don't think Rick has come over to do some business at all! I reckon he's escaped!
Newly certified DM Curt is off to France today to teach skiing. Not bad! DMing in the Summer in Thailand, skiing in the winter in the French Alps. Obviously its not all bikinis & steam showers. There's a lot of suntanned bodies & apres skiing to take care of too. Then there's all that nature. The marine life, & all those European birds! Poor Curt. Remember when it all gets on top of you, just lie back & think of England! Congratulations Curt & see you next summer!
Its been amazing how many bookings we have been getting in the last few days for accommodation around Christmas & New Year. Its now becoming so full up that I know for sure that there will be people sleeping on the beaches, in the bar, or in the classrooms. If you want to avoid being one of those sleeping under a starry starry night, a bar stool or a classroom chair then I suggest you book your accommodation before you get here & if I was you I'd do it pretty damn quick! Koh Tao is going to be a very lively place this Festivus!
Sunday 15th November 2009-
Absolutely nothing to do with diving, Koh Tao or the marine world but...New Zealand have reached the World Cup finals for the second time in their history with victory over Bahrain in their qualifying play-off second leg. The All Whites have booked their place in next year's football extravaganza in South Africa & the country is pumped with pride & emotion! & a little bit of fear! Roll on South Africa 2010! New Zealand win the World Cup!
Congratulations to Rick & his team at Big Blue Khao Lak who saw off their first full Liveaboard boat of the season. 20 very lucky divers all off for a jolly around the Similan & Surin Islands in pursuit of Manta Rays, Whalesharks, turtles, ghostpipefish, seahorses, & maybe the odd guitar shark or two! Such a fantastic holiday we are all sitting here in Koh Tao being extremely jealous & envious of Rick, Fanette, Panos, Kayleigh & next week when Barry gets back from India he will be going to work over there too. Lacky Bustards!
The weather here in Koh Tao is still gorgeous! No monsoon conditions for ages, (though I immediately regret saying that!). Still no wind, no rain. The viz is still quite good & its still pretty busy here. We are having to put our monsoon movie collection & the board games back in the box & guess we'll get them all back out again when the weather does kick in! But for now its diving diving, diving. And a couple of beers to wash it all down with! Why don't you come & join us!
Saturday 14th November 2009-
So slowly & surely & very very steadily my wandering troops are returning. Last week Sonia & Emily came back though their ailments have prevented them from going diving so they've been a fat lot of good! But now both Helen is back from a month in the UK & Kelli has come all the way back from Taiwan. Both look pasty white, quite ill, & a little podgy! Must have a good holiday ladies & thanks for bringing me back my crumpets Helen even if they were beaten & battered bits of bread by the time you delivered them to me. Very thoughtful! Welcome home!
Our friend Claire at Responsible Travel has asked us if we can help ARKive (www.arkive.org) who are calling on divers and underwater photographers for their help in gathering images of all the world’s threatened marine animals and plants. ARKive promotes conservation and builds environmental awareness through wildlife photographs, films and sound clips. The aim is to produce a global, centralized record of all 16,928 species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This will provide an invaluable conservation tool - a quick, easy and free online source of information for anyone keen to learn more or to help with conservation efforts. Threatened marine species make up just ten percent of the current material held in ARKive, reflecting just how hard these films and photographs are to collect, so the divers underwater images are urgently needed to help fill the watery gaps in the rapidly growing library. (There you go Claire, how was that?)
DMT challenge last night for Christy & Curt who participated in a Battle of the Sexs. Christy won by beating Curt in the best chat up line category. With the "Im not wearing any panties. Can I get into your line!" Always a winner a line like that coming from a pretty girl! So sorry Curt. You didn't stand a chance! Congratulations guys on successfully completing your Divemaster Training, we hope you dived heaps, you loved every minute of it & then you learnt alot. Now go out there Divemaster!
Thursday 12th November 2009-
Well the weather outside is completely unbelievable. Especially for this time of the year when it is supposed to be howling winds & buckets of rain! Right now the sea is mirror still. You can see the reflection of the clouds on the surface of the water. Visibility especially here on Sairee Reef is 10-15 meters, & there's fish everywhere. & word is spreading that the weather is good here & the island is getting busier & busier everyday. Must suck for all those who thought they were leaving us for the monsoon. The weather hasn't been this good since the summer!
A very big congratulations to the team at ACE Marine Videos, the same team that produce our daily videos. We are delighted to announce that on Saturday night, 7 November 2009, the documentary, "Lost and Found", about the submarine USS Lagarto was awarded three Emmys. It picked up up 5 nominations, including one for outstanding cinematography, and went home with 3 awards. "We are proud to have been involved in such a spectacular and significant film and could not even have imagined that our underwater footage could have helped to bring about such acclaim." says a very proud Chris Clarke the owner of ACE Marine Images. Well done guys. First the Emmy's & next it will be the Oscars!
Wednesday 11th November 2009-
So with the opening of the Surat Thani airport on the mainland the Seatran Ferry company with boats to Koh Tao daily is moving from their present departure point at Chumphon to a departure point nearer to the airport so that they can now take customers from Chumphon & from Surat Thani, which is great news! So now the Seatran Discovery will be departing from pretty much half way between Surat & Chumphon and at the closest point to Koh Tao. So ferry times to Koh Tao will only take an hour now which cuts down the journey time in half! Great for all those who get a little queezy on the journey over!
Time to mention & help out 2 old Big Blue staff who went their own way & created for themselves their perfect dream by opening up their own diveshop called Liquid Motion in Samoa. Vanessa Machadinho-Cooper & her husband Ian Cooper both old Big Blue Staff recently had their dreams shattered when the tsunami came through Samoa last month. Their whole dive shop has been completely destroyed. So if anyone remembers Vanessa or Ian or feels like giving to help 2 people going through some hard times out then please log into http://www.facebook.com/l/15995;www.liquidmotion.ws & give a small donation. Every little helps! Good luck guys!
A pregnant shark at a New Zealand aquarium was bitten by another shark, unexpectedly releasing four baby sharks. Stunned visitors saw the injured shark and alerted staff that they had also seen things float from the gaping wound. The babies were removed from the tank to prevent stingrays and other sharks from eating them. When staff also moved the mother they found a further four sharks inside her. The mother's wound was stitched by a vet at Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World in Auckland. All eight baby sharks survived.It is common for sharks to take chunks out of each other, even in the wild, but noone has ever heard of anything like this. The unusual delivery had probably saved the baby sharks' lives. If the mother had given birth naturally, most likely at night, the babies would have been eaten by adult sharks and stingrays before staff could rescue them!
Tuesday 10th November 2009-
Since DM Andy Hat, as the Thais affectionately call him, has re structured our retail section in our dive shop he has sold heaps of equipment! I don't know how he does it! But if you buy a mask you need a snorkel & if you are going to spend a couple thousand Baht on a mask & snorkel you should seriously consider a defogger so your mask doesn't steam up underwater & if you've gone to that much trouble you should really purchase a decent pair of fins & booties so you can go snorkelling when you want & hey if we've got the right colour Big Blue mask strap then buy that too! Aah so thats how he does it! Just talk a lot of bollocks!
Well last weeks atrocious weather has obviously put off the majority of people coming to Koh Tao. The Ferries & catamarans are now so empty that most companies are actually only running one boat a day from Chumphon. So if any of you are planning on coming over in the next few days you might just want to check with your ferry companies to see when they are running their boats. Or even better tell everyone how very quiet & completely beautiful Koh Tao is & bring them over & ask them to tell their mates so we can start filling the ferries back up again & running back on normal schedules!
Khao Sok National Park is slowly becoming a popular diving destination for those who want to escape from the hustle and bustle of popular destinations and would like to experience something completely unique with fresh water diving in caves and caverns. Additionally, Khao Sok is the opposite of Koh Tao with respect to weather. When it’s terrible on Koh Tao it’s perfect in Khao Sok. This means we have more options now for training and completing courses with the added benefit of giving our customers more of what they want; diving options! The recent launch of Big Blue Khao Sok and future developments for a permanent facility, blending station boat and accommodation shows this recent push and interest in the region. Although Big Blue is not the only dive operator traveling to the region, we’re pretty sure we’ll be the only one setting up shop!
Monday 9th November 2009-
Unbeleivable! Its like a complete about face. After the last few days you wouldn't beleive what the weather is like now! Its absolutely gorgeous! Its completely flat seas. There's over 10 meter clarity on Sairee Reef & at Chumphon Pinnacle this morning the viz has also increased which means we can see the sharks again! & the best part about diving at Chumpon Pinnacle right now is that it is completley deserted! Apart form us & the sharks there aint no one there! Just another reason to choose to dive with Big Blue- definitely the best dive shop on Koh Tao!
Nice to see after I'd put the Instructor SOS call out that they've started to come back in their dribs & drabs! Well Sonia & Emily did at least which is a start though ladies it would be more helpful if you could do some diving. Unfortunately both ladies are out of action having injured themselves sunbathing by the swimming pool in Bangkok. Its a hard life. So today we've had Jodie doing her first German Course & brilliantly I might add, & it looks like Beccy is going to get herself a course today as well. Good. Well deserved! Nice to see our reserve staff coming off the bench & playing a bit for the first team!
Sunday 8th November 2009-
A Russian armoured-car builder is boasting that its latest vehicle has seats covered with “whale-penis leather”. The $1 million Dartz Prombron Monaco Red Diamond Edition armoured car has been developed by the same company that built armoured vehicles for Tsar Nicholas, Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky.The company says the whale-penis leather is the same as that used by Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis on the yacht Christina O which was rumoured to have had some of the barstools on the yacht, the world’s most expensive at the time, covered in the controversial leather. The leather is not the only tacky accessory on the world’s most expensive SUV. The bulletproof windows are gold-plated, the exhaust is made of tungsten, the gauges are encrusted with diamonds and rubies and the exterior has a Kevlar coating, which makes it “rocket grenade-proof”. And for those wondering just how may whales may need to be harvested to outfit this ridiculous contraption, the answer is not many. The penis of the Blue Whale, for example, can grow up to 2.4 metres! Lucky bugger!
Where the hell is everyone? Not guests but staff! There hardly seems to be anyone around. Well I guess Bazza is excused after all he's in India! Helen has gone to the Uk so she won't be here in time to start todays course! Kelli is in Taiwan on a Visa run. Canada & Yvonne are galavanting around Chiang Mai. Sonia & Emily are sunbathing topless by some hotel pool, G is off staffing another IDC, Simo is doing an SSI Instructor crossover & Deano is off injured after another motorbike stunt went wrong! So Paul, Heather. I guess its just the 3 of us! & the 17 freelance Instructors we are using right now!
Well the wind has died down completely today but unfortunately has been replaced with buckets of rain! Still the rain sinks the sediments in the water that have been stirred up by the wind & the huge waves we've had recently, which means the visibility should open up again. Though its pretty dark with all this rain & cloud cover so we might need torches to see if the viz is better! Oh the joys of diving in a Thai monsoon!
Friday 6th November 2009-
Time to welcome a couple new staff or 3! After all DM Andy has left us for what could be quite a while to go back to Britains sunny climes, Amanda is over in Khao Lak till Christmas probably & DM Paul is now pretty much a full time Instructor! So to fill the gaps we are very happy to welcome DJ Andy Luckman to the team & Irish man DM Colin Farrell pinched from another Koh Tao Diveshop rather than a famous Hollywood studio! Nice to have you both on board Andy & Colin & congratulations Paul on the Instructortoriall promotion!
As of Oct. 25th, low-cost airline Nokair has been flying between Bangkok and Suratthani. For the first three months, the fare is only Bt555 one-way or Bt1,000 roundtrip. The new air route, aimed at increasing tourist traffic to Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, will have two roundtrip flights daily. The flight from Bangkok will come from the Don Muang airport. The new air route will provide tourists bound for Samui or Koh Phangan a chance to make a side trip to some of the province’s many other attractions & instead of a long ten-hour bus ride from Bangkok, budget travelers can get to Samui or Phangan in just a few hours.
Its all getting very exciting as we await the grand opening of the Big Blue bar which has been under renovation for the last few weeks. Spaz is off on a European vacation shortly which leaves an opening for a new bar staff & I believe I know just the person to run the place! It might surprise many of you but I think you will all agree the new person who is going to run that bar is going to be just what the doctor ordered! & their name is... oops sorry I better wait till Ari tells you all. You'll never guess but you all know them! Watch this space!
Thursday 5th November 2009-
Its just a few days before the maiden voyage of our brand new Liveaboard the MV Prawara, which heads out on the 7th November for 4 days & 4 nights, 14 dives, 17 meals & heaps of memories! Rick & his team at Big Blue Diving in Khao Lak are organising a launch party tomorrow night on board the newest & best managed boat in the Similans. All the VIP's from the world of Scuba diving in Thailand will be there. All the Big Blue Khao Lak staff will be there & there will be a press & people there! In fact you'll find it pretty hard to find anyone who won't be there! After all its a Big Blue party & we all know how Rick likes to party!
With the Alpha UWCP, talk with someone 15,000 miles away while diving a tropical reef or in your pool! This complete and sophisticated communication diving system can do it. This new underwater communication unit is integrated with a speaker and microphone and comes installed on the Neptune Space full face mask. This unit is wired with a 40 meter cable and can be modified to most any request. A quick release waterproof rubber connection allows the diver to separate from the cable at any given moment. The cable ends with a quick water resistance bayonet connection, plugged into an impact and water resistant compact box. This compact box is placed in a special custom made buoy with a unique top pocket to provide a firm attachment to the box. The water resistant surface box contains an electronic interface which can be connected by Bluetooth to a cellular phone. The device works with a 9v alkaline battery, & at 1790USD is a complete waste of money!
Weather forecast for the next few days is muuuch better than it has been for the past few days. Two days ago it was 3 meter waves & everyone was seasick, yesterday it was 2 meter waves & only half the people were seasick & today we are predicted for only 1 meter waves so our Chucker Charlies should be down to a minimum & then by Sunday the forecast tells us the wave height is only going to be a half meter maximum! Just in time for the ferries & catamarans to stock up on there see through vomit bags.