Saturday 28th November 2010-
Word is out that its nigh on impossible at the moment to go diving in the Similans right now without seeing a Manta Ray! Apparently every Liveaboard trip & every speedboat and at every divesite there are Mantas to be seen! Its a Manta Ray frenzy! Thats awesome news & you have the opportunity right now to go diving with these guys too! Next trip to the Similans on board our very own luxury cruiser the MV Pawara is off on Monday night the 29th November for 4 days & 4 nights of Manta action. & we're practically giving cabins away. 10% discount if you go alone! 20% discount if you are 2 or more people! & FREE equipment rental! Sign up! Sign up! Not too many spaces still available!
In the past few decades alone, 20% of the oceans' coral reefs have been destroyed, with a further 20% badly degraded or under serious threat of collapse, while tropical forests equivalent in size to the UK are cut down every two years. These statistics, and the many more just like them, impact on everyone, for the very simple reason that we will all end up footing the bill. Just ask a Chinese fruit farmer who now has to pay people to pollinate apple trees because there are no longer enough bees to do the job for free. What has the world come to. Doesn't it make you fear for your childrens future.
So as the weather in Europe sinks into a cold depression the Gap Year students come hiking over to Asia to get themselves a qualification that will enable them to gain employment & life experience over their contemporary's upon their return. & what a bloody good idea too! Wouldn't you like to gain a qualification that enables you to get employment while travelling the world. Here at Big Blue we are offerring the whole Open Water to Divemaster package including Underwater videography training & Marine & coastal Resources management recognised by Universities in the UK as the first rung in the ladder on your Marine Biology degree. How's that for kick starting the rest of your life! Beats the heck out of protesting on the streets of London wouldn't you say!
Tuesday 23rd November 2010-
Running out of Christmas present ideas for your better half? This year there are heaps of innovative though rather useless scuba toys out there. The pick of the bunch being this all in one high heel stiletto fin! Never in my entire life have I seen anything quite so pointless! Available at all good Scuba retail fashion dealers! At least you know what to buy your Missus for Christmas now eh boys!
So Manta Ray season has kicked off early this year over on the West Coast with everyone on recent Liveaboard trips having spent at least one of their 14 dives over their 4 day 4 night stint with these underwater gliders! A dream come true for any diver & an experience very few people can ever say they've had. Memories to last a lifetime & all for the very special price of just over 20000 Bt! Have you Manta Rayed?
Need to get fit? Just think of the amount of calories you lose while scuba diving. Swimming with fins is like water-based weight-training – firming the front of the thighs as you kick down and the back of the thighs as you kick up. Surprisingly good for burning energy. Someone weighing approximately 70kg (11st) burns 13 calories a minute while scuba diving, so a 45-minute dive would use 585 calories. What about your cardiorespiratory fitness: According to the British Thoracic Society, scuba divers tend to have larger-than-average lungs and an increased vital capacity (the maximum volume of air exhaled after inhalation). How's your upper-body strength: The back, shoulders and arms all get a certain amount of work lugging around equipment, and clambering in & out of boats. Want to look sexy? Go diving!
Monday 22nd November 2010-
Very dismayed to hear from our friends on the West coast of Thailand servicing the Liveaboard & daytrip market to the Similans & Surin Islands that having returned from their 4 day trip in search of Mantas & sharks returned to the main pier only to find a fishing boat offloading their boat consisting of 2 Guitar sharks, 3 Leopard sharks a Manta ray and a beautiful Eagle ray. How unbelievably sad that is. But as another colleague pointed out there isn't much point in dwelling on it if you are only going to go out & eat a seafood dinner. The rays and sharks are by -catch from more expensive better eating spieces. That's it from me. No more meat & no more Fish! From here on in I'm going to be a Vaginatarian!
Situation vacant! Now that low season is over, now that the rains have stopped the winds have died the viz has cleared & the customers are coming back its high time we brought our 4 person Divemaster team back to 4 persons! Since Tom Foxy left us at the beginning of the month we've been operating our not very busy Dive center with just Steven, Jade & Greg and now its time to put the feelers out & employ Number 4! Think you've got what it takes? Fancy living in Paradise & getting paid for it? Like hanging out all day with scantily clad bikini babes or muscle toned boardie boys, (whatever grabs your fancy)? Then send us your CV's. No jokers please! We got heaps of them already!
Congratulations Becca who has just passed her PADI Instructor Development Course with Course Directors G, & Tim the PADI Man. By all acoounts Becca went through with flying colours & breezed every part of the training programme & the 3 day exam at the end of it. Of course she should have done too having done her Divemaster Course with us here at Big Blue. & this week Becca will be signing on with our very own SSI Instructor Trainer Simon to do her SSI Crossover course so she'll then be a very qualified, highly employable dual certifying Instructor who speaks fluent German! Sounds like a bit of a catch! I think we could do with one of them around here this season! Fingers crossed Becca!
Sunday 21st November 2010-
Good old Eco Green Queen Jenny is hard at it again organising yet another beach clean up today. & she is also organising a Reef assessment dive in a few days time to check out the state of our house reef here at Sairee Beach after all the fishing boats came in to shelter from all the crap weather we had a few weeks ago. Unfortunately 70% of the fishing boats docked in Sairee Bay didn't use a mooring line so just flung their anchors overboard & drifted till they hit something solid & tied on. Very disappointing practise but its ok cos Jenny is coming with her plasters & band aids & is going to make the whole place better again! Nothing a bit of savlon & a bit of tlc can't fix eh Jenny!
Its that time of the year again when our Mother ship takes her leave for her yearly physical & hops it off to the mainland to be given a good once over! Banzai shouldn't be away more than 3 weeks as she really only needs a short back & sides, a little off the top & a colour rinse & she'll be looking as right as rain in no time. Well 3 weeks to be exact! Meanwhile, Navakid & Big Blue will be working their wellies off to cope with the crowds from this weekends Full Moon Party. Then it won't be too long & we'll have ourselves another boat to go with our existing fleet since we've donated Big Blue to Canada & his posse of Mary men who've renamed it Big Black! So it'll be Banzai, Navakid, Big Blue & ... well I've always wanted to call my boat Steve! Scuba Steve!
Getting a serious amount of bookings coming in already over the Christmas & New Year period. We've filled up our luxury private villas. We got no more beachside bungalows left. All our 200 Bt & 400 Bt rooms are gone as are our 800 Bt & 1200 Bt rooms. Its getting harder to book bungalows at other resorts as well as it seems everyone is getting bookings. Its going to be a very busy Chrimbo! Have you booked your Diving & Accommodation package yet?
Friday 19th November 2010-
Fishermen in the southern province of Kien Giang, Vietnam, on November 12 caught a big fish in a net. As the fish was much bigger than usual, fishermen were very confused. They pulled it to a wharf in Ha Tien town. The case was reported to relevant agencies. Experts examined the fish and confirmed that it was a whale shark, which is 4.7m long, 2m belly diameter and nearly two tons in weight. The fish died before it was brought to the shore. Kien Giang’s fishermen caught a whale shark in 2006 but it was only a ton in weight. Kien Giang authorities met to seek solutions to deal with the fish in the way that doesn’t harm the environment. In August 2010, a fishing boat in the central province of Binh Dinh caught a whale shark weighing over a ton. In September 2010, a fishing boat in Bac Lieu province caught a 4-ton whale shark in a net. The whale shark is a slow-moving filter feeding shark, the largest living fish species. The Vietnamese Fishermen are a bunch of morons!
Answering to the call of the man who pays their salaries its nice to see the eventual return from the Similans of the majority of our Big Blue Instructors. Erik, Beccy, Simon, Jody & Jenny & about half a dozen of our Divemasters in Training have all returned just in time for the onslaught of our festive high season! Its the Full Moon Party next week in Koh Phangan this weekend & its going to be a big one so its good to get all our staff back just in time from their strenuous diving holiday to do some serious scuba teaching.
Big Blue Conservation is now and official member of the Shark Alliance! As a result of the fantastic work Big Blue did to raise money and awareness through the Swim for Sharks 2010 event, the Shark Alliance has awarded us with member status. The Shark Alliance is a global, not-for-profit coalition of non-governmental organizations dedicated to restoring and conserving shark populations by improving shark conservation policies. We, as members, are now part of a high caliber group of NGOs, professionals and volunteers who are working together to achieve a common objective. We have access to specialists of a number of functions (science, policy, communications, public relations, campaign strategy and coordination) dedicated to shark conservation and management, and access to additional capacity to strengthen our own organisation’s profile and influence. Go the BBC at www.bigblueconservation.com
Thursday 18th November 2010-
The Shark Fin Crisis. Sharks kill fewer than 5 humans on average each year while humans kill 100 million sharks annually. You are more likely to be killed by a lightening strike, Bee sting or falling coconut. Over 100 Million sharks will be killed primarily for Shark Fin soup. That's over 11400 an hour. Shark finning is the practice of catching a shark, slicing off its fins & dumping the still living shark back into the ocean. Shark Fins are tasteless & contain high levels of toxic Methyl-Mercury. The Oceans are the most important eco system on the planet containing life that absorbs most of the carbon dioxide converting it to 70% of the oxygen we breathe. Destroying shark populations is destroying our oceans & our life support system. So make your decision. Save our sharks!
We're just getting news in from our Dive center over in the Similans that they've just spotted their first Manta Ray of the season! French SSI & PADI Dive Instructor Pierre Peepee formerly an Instructor from Big Blue Diving Koh Tao & Dobby from the Harry Potter movies, Pierre has been able to relay the message live from North Point dive site that he was able to spend at least 5 minutes at the end of his dive on the safety stop diving with this 3 meter long angel of the oceans. Nice! Christmas has come early for you Pierre, n'est pas?
Still getting lots of concerned punters ringing, writing & texting to check the weather here after all the crap we had last week. Well folks I can assure you that the weather right now rocks Big Time! Sunny, windless, flat seas & no rain! Not even a cloud in the sky. Absolutely perfect. So nice in fact we even made it out to Koh Tao's number 1 divesite this morning at Chumphon Pinnacle. Didn't see an awful lot but we made it, & there wasn't even a drop of rain.Not even a speckle!
Tuesday 16th November 2010-
Whatever you hear don't believe what you are being told by the booking agents in Bangkok! Don't believe them if they tell you there are no more boats to Koh Tao. Don't believe them if they tell you the weather is awful & the waves are too big that boats aren't crossing from the mainland to Koh Tao. & most of all don't believe them when they tell you that Koh Tao is closed for monsoon! Its absolute balderdash! We are very much open, enjoying fabulous sunshine flat seas clearing visibility! Book your bus & boat with Lomprayah www.lomprayah.com . And Bangkok, stop spreading your bollocks about!
Meanwhile it seems at least half the staff are still on their Monsoon holidays over in Khao Lak cruising the 9 Similan Islands & the Top 3 dive sites in Thailand over at the Surin Islands. They are Richelieu Rock, for the Whalesharks & Guitar Sharks, Koh Tachai for the Leopard Sharks & Koh Bon for the Manta Rays. 4 days, 4 nights, 4 daily meals, & 4 dives a day. With prices atarting at less than 20000 Bt per person that aint a bad deal, even on a Dive Instructor's salary. No wonder I've got no bloody staff left!
Canada practically wet his pants yesterday at the sight of Big Black Boat , formally known as Big Blue Boat, returning to Koh Tao having just had its new overhaul for Canada & his team at Big Blue Tech. With the overwhelming success of the Tech Diving Industry here at Big Blue we have decided to give the boys their own boat so they can go out & do their Advanced Tech Diving expeditions with a lot more freedom now. Her ongoing mission: To go out & explore new wrecks. to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life forms and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before! Altogether now... da da dana-na-na na...
Sunday 14th November 2010-
The Grounds team here at Big Blue have been busy over the last couple of days repairing all the water damage we incurred throughout the Resort. All the rain pouring down in the hills through the Poonama Canal, sorry, Big Blue Wetlands quickly became a raging River & consequently over flowing into the carpark up the entrance of our Resort upto the top of the path flowing over & down through the path towards the dive shop & eventually out to sea. The end result are these unsightly gulley's revealing all the buried electrictiy cables & water pipes all the way through the resort. Looks like a bombs gone off here! So the boys are filling the World War 1 trenches with sand today, just in case you were wondering what the hell happened here!
And its been a busy week for everyone's favourite personal fitness Trainer Kymmie. This week Kymmie opened her much talked about new business called Impact Fitness, an Air conditioned mirrored studio. 'Circuit style training' to allow chaps & "The Ladies" of different abilitites to train together. Challenge yourself & increase your fitness at a pace you are comfortable with. Circuit training is the most time effective way to improve fitness & weight loss. & Kymmie is the most effective qualified Instructor to be trained by. See you at 11.30am tomorrow Kymmie for half an hour of 'Lunchtime abs!'
Saturday 13th November 2010-
Well thank God that's over! We've just been splattered! It quite literally has not stopped raining here for the best part of the whole of last week but now its nothing but blue seas & sunny skies. Shame there isn't anyone here to witness it! After all the fuss about how much rain there's been down the southern past of Thailand the holidaymakers, backpackers & travellers have all cancelled or postponed their trip to 'The Rock", wise choice, & now we're all sitting on our hands playing 'Stranger'!
Jims come back from Samui to see he's had a bit of a staffing exodus! It seems Beccy, Eric, Tom, Lara, Jenny, Simo & Jodie are all off diving on various Liveaboards cruising the Similans & Surin Islands looking for leopard Sharks & Manta Rays. Emily is staffing a PADI IDC with the world renowned Frenchman PADI Course Director Guillaume Fargues & Sonia's hopped it to Bali for a spot of diving & yoga. Aint nothing like a busman's holiday!
Forecast for the following week. Its going to be an Asian chilly/ European sweaty week with an all time high of 29 degrees & a low of 28 degrees. There'a a mild wind reaching a max speed of 14 knots on Monday & barely a whisper throughout the rest of the week tho wave height doesn't even break a meter in height. We are expecting rain again but the good news is its only forecast for night time & its not even a quarter of what we've just had this last week reaching an all time high tomorrow night of just 8 mm of rain. But during the days its all clear for the earlier part of the week & then by Wednesday we have 50% cloud cover & it goes upto 90% but with no rain. windguru.com Awesome. Monsoons over. Lets go diving!
Sunday 7th November 2010-
Now being a Dad (still feels great to say that!), I'm used to getting up at all sorts of crazy times of the night to answer to the wailing needs of my little one, & as Manager of Big Blue Diving ( feels nice to say that too) I'm used to answering the phone at all sorts of strange hours from all the far corners of the world, so this morning at 8am when my phone rose me from my slumber I really shouldn't have been too surprised! What did surprise me however was to have the PADI Area Manager of Australia ringing me to congratulate me on the amazing job Big Blue Conservation has been doing to raise money for Charities like the Save the Shark Foundation & Project Aware, & also raising volunteers to help Save Koh Tao with the implementation of the Sairee Wetland, formerly known as the Poonama Canal. Completely stumped speechless & still wiping drool from my mouth & sleep from my eyes I thanked PADI for their recognition rolled over & went back to sleep with a big smile across my face & warm feeling in my belly! Cheers Eco Jen. You really are doing an awesome job! www.bigblueconservation.com
Its Christmas Time & there's no need to be afraid... well there might be if you haven't booked your accommodation already! I can feel it in my bones its going to be a crazy busy Christmas & as per usual there aint going to be any more rooms available on Sairee Beach. So if you plan n being here this Christmas & New Year then I highly recommend pulling your finger out & booking something real soon. Here's a nice place www.baansawainam.com
As you may have heard we've had some pretty crappy weather recently with all the wind & rain but fear not it looks like it's all turning for the better. Weather forecast is for flat seas & a dramatic drop in winds & though there is rain forecast it aint the mental movie monsoon madness we had last week. Phew! Monsoons over folks! Everyone back to work!
Saturday 6th November 2010-
Big Blue's very own Green Queen has been doing an awesome job raising money to Save the World & last year won an award from SSI for Big Blue for being the most environmentally active Dive Center in South East Asia & this week we are getting a plug with PADI on their website. " Swim and Shave for Sharks, October 2010 - Fins attached to tanks and shark swimming caps were seen around the island of Koh Tao, Thailand when Big Blue Diving hosted a shark swim to raise awareness for sharks. Staff from five dive schools swam the 3 km distance around the island. After the swim the fun and games began as divers shaved their heads into 'fins" to raise over 5000 Baht for Project AWARE. They also collected 200 more signatures for Project AWARE's Help Give Sharks A Fighting Chance Petition. Jennifer Matthews, event organiser and conservation manager at Big Blue said,”We hope that this event will encourage others to support shark campaigns and to show how big an impact a small diving community can have for worldwide conservation.” Great team effort guys and we love the hairdo's!" Nice one Jen! Cheers PADI! Save our sharks... save the world!
"Hi guys - I guess this goes to Jim? Thanks for the great time Eric Voss and I had last week with you! Please say hello to Angel, I have some photos on my site from our trip and a few good ones of Angel. I added a link to your site and high recommendations - here at : http://www.fink.jp Cheers, see you next year! Mike" Cheers Mike. Glad you had such a good time with us & look forward to your imminent return.
Friday 5th November 2010-
Its true. Whatever you heard it was absolutely true! The weather was unbelievably horrible! There was wind gusts up to 40 knots! Palm trees were blown over, coconuts were falling left right & center! More than 50 Milliliters of rain fell in less than 24 hours! The waves reached 4 meters in height! For the first time this year most shops cancelled their scheduled dive trips. The boats from the mainland didn't run for 3 days! The island started running out of supplies! Fresh greens weren't quite so fresh. Dairy products were at an all time low & heaven forbid the island almost ran out of cigarettes & alcohol. Its over now though! Everything back to normal. Sunshine, flat seas & no wind! It truely was monsoon madness though! I absolutely loved it! Closed the shop went home & snuggled with my wife & daughter while watching a Tom Cruise movie! Got to lur-ve Monsoon!
Thanks once again for the opportunity to dive with Big Blue again, it was a dream come true for me. The shop has diversified and grown a lot since I did DMT in 2008. Well done on the eco project and all the changes and improvements; Tech,SSI, BSAC etc. As always there is a genuine atmosphere and a feeling that Big Blue has a whole lot of heart... Cheers, James Brook, Sea Shepherd Conservationist aboard the Steve Irwin patrolling the Antartic.
Your welcome James, thanks for coming, for saving the whales & for giving us a very intelligent, inspirational & thought provoking lecture into the workings of Sea Shepherd. A very eye opening experience I'm sure. Come again!
I learnt something new today. Something extremely sad. It appears while the sea turtles come in their hundreds to the desolate beaches in Costa Rica to lay their eggs in the sand the local people are collecting these shells in their 1000's & taking them off to sell leaving the beaches completely devoid of any eggs for the future. & if that isn't enough every night the shrimp boats are out in their hundreds. Their nets ensnarl and drown hundreds, thousands?, of turtles every night, they wash up on the beach and in order to eliminate the smell they have people who go out on the beaches every morning and bury the dead turtles. This is the world we live in. :(