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Big Blue Diving Resort - Koh Tao - Thailand

July 2010

 
Saturday 31st July 2010-
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How exciting! We are proud to announce 3 more choices of accommodation to go alongside our other multitudinous choices of accommodation already listed on our website in the form of 2 brand spanking new luxurious 1 bedroom Air conditioned units with hot water shower, TV, tea & coffee making facilities & a balcony overlooking Sairee Jungle on 1 side a semi private swimmng pool on the other. And an extremely beautiful Thai style luxurious self contained villa with outdoor lounge, outdoor Bar B Q, own private kitchen, AC & hot water throughout, TV & indoor dining table overlooking the very same semi private swimming pool, hence the term " semi private". An excellent addition to our portfolio of rooms an absolute bargain at less than 2000 Bt per night for the AC units & less than 3000 Bt per night for the villa. Great timing too, bearing in mind there's bugger all accommodation elsewhere at this time of year so if you haven't booked anything yet & are coming soon then I can highly recommend these places. Say hello to the owners from me. I hear they are an absolutely lovely couple!

Cheers to Jenny & her team of underwater cleaners & fish huggers who are out again this morning ridding the ocean of plastic debris & other discarded what nots that us humans are destroying our planet with. Unbelievable amount of trash we find every time we organise these beach & underwater clean ups. Thanks to all who turned up today. Free Big Blue Eco Bag & beer for you all!

Big Blue Tech celebrates the graduation of SSI Instructor Duncan Tyler from his TDI Semi Closed Rebreather course conducted over 2 days with 4 dives. The TDI Drager Dolphin SCR course certifies the student with the ability to purchase this rebreather and dive on it independently. Enjoy the silent world that Cousteau talked about, dive without the noise of your exhaust bubbles in your ears. Get closer to the fish. Breathe warm moist air - no more dry mouth! No matter how deep you go you consume the same amount of gas - no more lugging 15 litre tanks around for longer dives! This course is designed to give you an insight into rebreather diving. During the course you will learn about the history of rebreathers, how they work and most importantly, as your life depends on it, the maintenance and care of the unit before and after dives. Once you’ve tried this you won’t want to go back to open circuit scuba! A useful stepping stone for tec divers looking at closed circuit rebreathers. This was also a great opportunity to test out the new closed circuit rebreather which needed some trim and buoyancy adjustment along with bubble checks. & who makes a better guinea pig than our own Duncan!


Thursday 29th July 2010-b

The Samui ring road, July 31st, 10am-12pm, Koh Samui. Please spread the word to protest the lack of control on oil drilling in the Gulf of Thailand! This month there will be a protest on Samui in light of the problems happening around the world associated with oil drilling and gas exploration. In the last 40 years, over 5,000 wells have been drilled in the Gulf of Thailand. The companies involved have been Chevron, Pearl Oil, Salamander Energy, and NuCoastal. Many long-term residents of the three islands have been complaining for years about decreased visibility and water quality, which is a factor of both activities on land and those in the sea. After the broken well heads in Australia, and more recently in the Gulf of Mexico, it is obvious that wide spread destruction of coastal ecosystems and collapse of tourism industries are a very real threat of oil drilling operations. Recently, the Government of Thailand has conceded a new area for exploration that is only 42km SE of Koh Samui (and not much further to Ang Tong), the closest active drills to Koh Tao are only 65km to the NE. Drilling is coming closer and closer, what does this mean for our overall water quality and visibility when tons of silt and sediment are released from the 5,000 drills? What will happen to our reefs and beaches if there is an oil leak? Will tourists continue to come after hearing about a spill? Who is going to help when things go bad? We only need to look at what is happening in the US to get the answers for these questions, and they are not optimistic answers. Earlier this month, representatives from our island and Samui met with the office of the Prime Minister to voice our opposition to the drilling concessions that are occurring closer and closer to our islands. On July 31st many will join together, all along the ring road on Samui, to show their unity in opposition to what’s currently happening. If you can’t make it to Samui, join us on Koh Tao for the Land and Underwater clean-up, which will be in done on the same day and in support of the protests. The Underwater clean-up will be in Hin Wong and Lighthouse (the area facing the closest drill), and the land clean-up will be along the beach/road starting from Sairee and ending in Mae Haad. If you can’t make it to the islands, share this information, post it on your websites, or write a letter to the Thai Government or the Tourism Authority of Thailand letting them know how you feel as a foreigner/tourist about this issue. Thanks for your support!

Saturday 24th July 2010-
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At last our Big Blue Conservation bags have arrived! In our attempt to rid the island of plastic bags we are proud to introduce you to the wonderful world of the bag! Turtles and other marine life eat the plastic bags which they mistake for jellyfish which leads to them starving to death. Made from recycled materials the bags are perfect for going to the beach with or shopping, making it ideal for your travels and presents for people back home. At only 100 Bt per bag of which 50bt goes back into Koh Tao conservation projects don't it make you want to put your hand in pocket & buy one! Its made eco Jenny feel so environmentally friendly & generous she's even taken to stripping down & wearing nothing but her bag! 100 Bt! Makes you feel good to be Green... and naked!

The last call of duty for 25 Chinese-made tanks will not be as killing machines but to provide a breeding ground for marine life here in the Gulf of Thailand.The T69-2 tanks have been handed over to the Department of Fisheries and will form artificial reefs. They will be dropped into the Gulf of Thailand off Narathiwat and Pattani south of Koh Tao. The tanks will serve as artificial reefs to provide breeding grounds for marine life.The delivery of the tanks was in response to Her Majesty the Queen's artificial coral project initiated to improve marine ecosystems and increase fish stocks in the sea off Thailand, particularly in the southern provinces of Narathiwat and Pattani . The tanks were placed in service for the 16th Tank Battalion in 1987 and decommissioned in 2004. The army purchased them from China in 1987 bought at a 50% discount. But problems arose when the Chinese army stopped manufacturing the tanks and parts became scarce. The Thai army could not afford to repair the tanks.Maintenance works for the tanks stopped six years ago because there were no more parts available, the source said. "What a shame" said Canada with a grin across his face!

SO the weather has gone a bit crap but don't worry it won't last. Its just a little wind & a spot of rain. It will all blow over in a wee while! It better. We've gone from jam packed to dead as door nails! Mind you I'm not entirely surprised. If I'd been sitting on a ferry over to Koh Tao hurling last nights dinner up in a see through plastic bag I might not sign up for diving right away either. Weird that eh! Fingers crossed it won't last. I'll give it 2 days tops! Maybe 4. It'll all be over by Full Moon. 5 days! No more!

Friday 23rd July 2010-
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Check out the new underwater sea scooter called BladeFish - one of the smallest and lightest sea scooters in the world: The top of the range in Diver propulsion vehicles. Able to withstand deep dive durations of a maximum 120 minutes at variable cruising speeds to a maximum depth of 40 metres you too can look like James Bond. Available for rent as part of a fundive or if you fancy you can really get to know how to use these toys by renting them as part of your Advanced Course. Lighter, longer lasting, more durable, easier to recharge & looks cool! If this doesn't impress the ladies then you must be wearing speedos!

It looks like finally the message is getting across & the people of China are actively reducing their consumption of Shark Fin Soup! The soup is considered a delicacy and, because of its priciness, a status symbol in many parts of Asia. But environmentalists have criticized consumption, saying that soaring demand for the fins, mainly from China, has caused a sharp decline in shark populations over the last two decades. Environmental advocates in Hong Kong say that opposition has gathered steam this year amid rising awareness of how many sharks are being killed — 100 million a year — and of how their prized fins are harvested. Usually the fins are cut off a living fish that is then thrown back into the water to die. Citibank’s Hong Kong branch recently learned about this growing sensitivity. This month it ran a special promotion offering Citibank credit card holders 15 percent off a ‘‘shark’s fin and garoupa’’ dinner at Maxim’s Chinese Cuisine outlets. ‘‘An ample quantity of shark’s fin is given,’’ a July 11 newspaper ad assured readers. The promotion drew swift condemnation, with a lively discussion group created on Facebook and an e-mail campaign aimed at Citibank’s marketing manager. And last week, Citibank Hong Kong withdrew the promotion, which was to have run until the end of the month, in response to feedback. Good! Cos as we all know only softcocks eat shark fin soup!

So its peak season coming up in Koh Tao this week. The July Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan is usually the marker for our low season to sudden peak season shifts & with the Full Moon Party coming up on the 28th we're sure we are about to get rammed & we can kind of tell this already by the fact we're pretty much full to bursting already! So if you are on your way over in the next few days & weeks we seriously recommend booking before you get here. Contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a damn good time! Speak to you soon.

Thursday 22nd July 2010-
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A breaching whale has crash-landed on a sailboat in Table Bay, narrowly missing the vessel's occupants and leaving in its wake bits of blubber and thick skin. This picture shows the southern right whale seconds before its massive body landed on the coach roof of the boat, flattening the steel mast and bringing down the rigging before sliding back into the water and disappearing into the distance. "It was quite scary," said Paloma Werner, who had been out sailing with her boyfriend and business partner, Ralph Mothes, of the Cape Town Sailing Academy. "We thought the whale was going to go under the boat and come up on the other side. We thought it would see us." But the boat had its engine turned off. Meredith Thornton, scientist and manager of the Cape Town Mammal Research Institute at the University of Pretoria, said: "Whales don't see much by way of their eyes but by sound in the water." Between the whale's poor eyesight and low visibility in the water, Thornton said the whale, which she believed to be young, probably did not know the boat was in its way. The couple first saw the whale when it was about 100m away. It breached once and, before they knew it, the whale was a mere 10m from their yacht. "There was hardly any wind, so we couldn't get out of the way," said Werner. "We didn't have time to take any evasive action." The yacht, a 10m training boat called Intrepid, is made of steel and did not suffer any structural damage. The whale made of blubber & bone suffered from a belly flop & extreme embarrassment!

Ever thought of becoming an Underwater Paleontologist? Well you should do. There appears there might just be an opening for you if it grabs your fancy! Scientists have examined fossilised remains of a tiny, extinct monkey that were retrieved from an underwater cave in the Dominican Republic. The researchers believe the fossil to be around 3,000 years old, but say the species itself could be very ancient. They also suggests that many ecologically valuable treasures could be discovered by the unusual field of "underwater palaeontology". Dr Alfred Rosenberger from Brooklyn College in New York, US, who led the examination of the creature's bones, explained that the bones, which included a skull that was almost complete, were found by a team of scuba divers who were exploring an underwater cave in the area. "It's miraculous that they even saw it, when they discovered it, they were fearful the bones were exposed, so they moved the material to a little nook to protect it." Having sought official permission to remove the fossil from the cave, Dr Rosenberger returned to with the scuba divers to retrieve it in October of last year. The divers packed the skeleton into tupperware boxes in order to bring it safely to the surface. Underwater archeaology in snack sized box!

Rob Stewart the man behind Shark Water has his girlfriend diving with us at the moment & she was amazed to learn that we actually show Shark Water the Movie to pretty much every Open Water Course after they have completed their course so they know all about how threatened our oceans are. In fact so impressed was she that we are so eco conscious here at Big Blue she has promised to tell Rob how cool & groovy we are & see if he can't come out & say hi. & if he times it right he can be here for Dan & Kymmies wedding which Paul Watson from Sea Shephard said he'd be over for. A celebrity wedding plus Dan & Kymmie!

Wednesday 21st July 2010-f

Chelsea one of our Big Blue Instructors of yesteryear has now started her own fashion label & I reckon she's going to be huge! Swish Suits is an aquatic wetsuit company that produces eco-chic wetsuits for women whose lifestyle demands more than what mainstream wetsuits can provide. Very much of who we are in life went into the designs of our suits. We have based the design of our suits on the F3 theorem: Functionality, Fashion, and Environmentally Friendly. This theorem does not just apply to the suits but also to how we live our lives. Love to Live. Live to Love. Play to Live and Live to Play. As such, we invite you to become a Swish member and to start living the Swish Life! Swish Suits is the brainchild of the three lovely Berg ladies who live their life in the water and were tired of not having functional and fashionable gear. With Swish Suits, we hope to reach all of the ladies in the aquatic world and outfit them in accordance to their lifestyle! Our suits have been developed for a new vision of women in the male-centric field of water sports. Women can be sexy and powerful in the water. Our choice in water apparel is not "or" it is "and" -- functional AND fashionable. Now stop reading this, go don your suit, and Swish about in the water! Check out www.swishsuits.com

"Hi Jim, While it's still fresh in my mind I just wanted to send you a brief email to thank you and your team for a great weekend on Koh Tao. Unfortunately the visibility wasn't so good (no fault of Big Blue!) but never the less I had six fun and exiting dives. The accommodation, while basic, was clean and excellent value for money and your team of instructors and DM's are a credit to the company. A big thank you to Pete, Stephen, Chris and especially Jade. I'll definitely be back down next month and will email you with the dates etc. nearer the time. All the best,Russell Smith."

Despite being our most treasured & gentlest giant on Koh Tao the Whaleshark is classed as vulnerable to extinction & although protected in Thai waters, they are still commonly killed for their fins & meat in several countries surrounding Thailand. It is therefore important that we learn as much about this species now so that we can work to protect it in the future! Did you know that a whaleshark can be identified by their unique spot patterning, much like a human fingerprint, a photograph taken of the specific spot patterning behind the gills above the fin can be used to identify & subsequently monitor these behemoths of the deep! So if you were out at Twins this morning & photographed the Whaleshark that was there this morning send us your photo & we'll upload it on the www.whaleshark.org database & if your shark gets resighted you will get an email letting you know. Thats got to be the biggest pen pal ever!

Monday 19th July 2010-

Big Blue Diving instructors Yvonne Fries and Hele Artal recently completed a BSAC Ocean Diver course conducted over 3 days on Kok Tao Island off the coast of Thailand. This was the first BSAC Ocean Diver Course conducted by the diving school which followed a successful BSAC cross-over program a few days earlier.

The Instructors were thrilled with the differences in theory and commented that they were allowed to teach what really matters in diving and not so much “fluff and sales”. This was also combined with skills that were based on repitition ensuring that the essential foundation skills were mastered before progression of depth could be achieved.

Looking back on the course the Instructors, who are also technical diving instructors, described the course as a challenge that unless the instructor is passionate about teaching divers then it wouldn’t be the course for everyone.

As for the 7 students, they loved their course but without anything to compare it to who knows. Several decided to continue their education and progress on to the BSAC Sports diver course as they found the course work to be challenging and gave them a sense of working for their certification.

The BSAC diving programs reflects diving in realistic conditions ensuring that once the student has completed the course, that they can dive these conditions with safety and enjoyment.

Learning to scuba dive with the BSAC is easy. BSAC adopts a progressive teaching method; breaking down the dive skills into small manageable steps making it very easy for the student to reach the required standard of competence. The theory knowledge is also very easy to understand by using effective teaching aids and issuing you with a comprehensive support materials and student pack.

Theory knowledge lessons are conducted by your Instructor who will use simple small manageable steps. Using simple and understandable terminology makes the theory lessons easy to grasp. On the open water dives; again we use progressive training building-up your open experience and depth experience dives, gradually.

Our BSAC Instructors have been trained to high standards and are highly experience people, Yvonne Fries is a triple certification instructor and won the SSI Most Certifications Issued Award, Helen Artal is also a triple certification instructor and is also one of the first female SSI Technical Diving Instructors in the world.

Big Blue Diving will continue to offer BSAC programs along side their PADI and SSI ones giving our customers more options and choices to chart their diving hobby. But be forwarned it’s not a certification gained easily but when you get your card it’s well worth the effort!

Thursday 15th July 2010-
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"Hi Jim, The Dutch magazine mentioned 'BioNieuws" is intended for professional biologists. The article features Dutch biologists doing fieldwork at exotic destinations. I was one of them and was interviewed by e-mail about my experience at Koh Tao. Hence the article. Do not worry about its contents since it refers to Big Blue Conservation in a positive way. I had a very good time at Big Blue, thanks to Jennifer, who is very dedicated to her job and very professional. There is one negative point that I should mention: I am missing the diving at Koh Tao and the crowds on the boats. I am not used to so many buddies around me. Best wishes, Bert' Cheers Bert glad you had such a good time & well done Jen for doing such a great job.

A FEARLESS singer performed his latest number under the sea — to a SHARK. Environmentalist Andy Brandy Casagrande wrote the ditty to raise awareness of great white shark conservation. He decided the best way to promote it would be to sing it directly to one of the fearsome underwater beasts — without using a cage. Now a video of Andy serenading the shark has been screened at film festivals around the world and gained a cult following. Brave Andy donned his scuba gear and grabbed his acoustic guitar before diving into shark-infested waters to play his tune, aptly named The Great White Shark Song. The quirky lyrics begin with the line: "If I was a great white I wouldn't bite you, but I'd swim right next to you." It adds: "It's my ocean too so please keep it clean, 'cause I can be f****** mean." The footage was recorded off Guadeloupe Island, Mexico, an area infested by great white sharks. Andy said he produced the song to show sharks aren't as fearsome as people think. He said: "It's a very, very exhilarating wait. "When you first see that first white shark approach the boat, it's a feeling you'll never forget. You'll never forget that image for the rest of your life: this big, giant smile coming straight at you. And you realise you're not afraid of that animal at all. It's just beautiful, majestic, come swimming, gliding by. People's perceptions of sharks is based on what you see at movies and on television. And it's really not the case. They're majestic. They're beautiful, they're quiet.People think I was mad to jump in the water holding only my guitar, but I proved my point. I am still here." Personally I think you are still mad Andy, but its for another reason than diving with a shark!

Tonight is the night when the boys from one of the largest dive retail stores in Koh Tao is coming over to little old Big Blue to teach our staff how to give useful & practical advice to our customers when selling equipment. & there I was thinking phrases like "buy this pair of fins it matches your eyes", & "don't buy that mask it makes your bum look big" where all part & parcel of the retail sales pitch! Guess we're all going to learn something new tonight! We better! We're missing out on Happy hour at the bar! Two for the price of 1! How's that for a sales pitch! But 1 fin get the other one for free!

 

Monday 12th July 2010-h

Well after a whole month of watching a bunch of grown men kick around a ball in the hope of getting it in the back of the net its all finally over & now we all know who are the undefeated champions of World Football - New Zealand! The only team to not lose a single match in the whole tournament! Congratulations boys! & to celebrate we're offerring a free dive to the whole of the New Zealand football team! What the hell! I'll offer the Spanish, Dutch & German players free diving too! England, French & Italian players will have to pay double!

So Big Blue Tech have now bought themselves a rather large flatscreen TV that they can play guitar hero on all day! What happened to Canada & Ash & their vigorous daily exercise routines? What happened to break of dawn runs up & down the beach, the mid morning swims, the pumping iron down the gym. The chin ups, squat thrusts & burpees? All gone! to be replaced by a computer game! What has happened to the youth of today? I think we need Andy Cav back! Andy where the devil are you?

There's just no stopping our Big Blue Gals Helen & Yvonne who have now crossed over to become BSAC instructors as well as PADI, SSI, TDI & Tech Instructors! They have now got to be two of the most qualified members of the diving community in South East Asia! No wonder they both won an award at the beginning of the year! Congratulations ladies. Now go out there & kick some PADISSIBSACTDI butty!

Saturday 10th July 2010-
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Paul the octopus, a psychic cephalopod at an aquarium in Germany, has become a World Cup phenomenon after correctly predicting the winners in all six of the German national team's matches. Now staff at Sea Life in Oberhausen, western Germany are preparing for Paul's prediction for Sunday's final between The Netherlands and Spain -- Germany's conquerors. British high street bookmaker William Hill was so impressed by Paul's predictive powers that it has offered even odds that he will pick the winner of the final between Spain and The Netherlands. "Punters are keen to keep on the right side of Paul's tips, so we are giving them the chance to bet that he'll pick the winner before they even know which side he has opted for," William Hill's spokesman Graham Sharpe told CNN. At least one punter was kicking himself for not paying attention to Paul. A man who staked a record €500,000 ($629,430) on Germany winning lost his wager -- the largest World Cup bet ever, according to William Hill.

In our first week of operation fish hugger Jenny has managed to get ourselves published in some Dutch magazine. No idea what it says but I'm sure its extremely flattering & very complimentary. If its not would someone mind emailing us so we can remove from the front page of our website! It says... ‘Ik was keynote speaker op het tweede Asia Pacific Coral Reef Symposium in Thailand. Toen besloot ik hier veldwerk aan te koppelen, wat goed past in mijn onderzoeksplanning’, e-mailt Hoeksema. ‘Thaise duikresorts investeren tegenwoordig in onderzoek naar duurzaam gebruik van de riffen. Dat mag ook wel, want de duikdruk is erg hoog. Daar komt nu de coral bleaching bij. Het laatste lijkt erg, maar de sterfte valt nog wel mee’, schrijft Hoeksema. Hij wil met het veldwerk vooral een indicatie van de soortenrijkdom verkrijgen, daarvoor doethij metingen aan paddenstoelkoralen. Dit om de grenzen van de koraaldriehoek – het centrum an mariene soortenrijkdom – vast te stellen. In november gaat Hoeksema op expeditie naar Oost-Sabah. ‘Voor zover ik weet is er daar nog geen bleaching. We gaan kijken of de duikdrukte gespreid kan worden door te zoeken naar alternatieve duikstekken. Voor onszelf een mogelijkheidom Oost-Sabah te vergelijken met nabijgelegen gebieden in de koraaldriehoek. Ontberingen: Niet echt. Ik verbleef in een niet al te luxe duikresort. Onmisbaar: Onderwatercamera met groothoeklens. www.bigblueconservation.com ’

Big Blue Tech celebrates the graduation of Dean Jenkins from his TDI Intro to Tech course conducted over 3 days by TDI Instructor Ash Dunn off the coast of Thailand on Koh Tao Island. The TDI Intro to Tech course is the perfect course for divers who have heard about technical diving and want to find out more about this exciting branch of advanced recreational diving. This course walks students through the special techniques, planning procedures and skills that set technical diving apart from traditional sport diving. It will show them how to improve their dive planning methods, in-water skills and streamline their existing gear configuration, in a non-threatening and fun learning environment. TDI’s Intro to Tech course is a useful stand-alone course for the diver who wants to become a more skilled, more proficient diver regardless of if he intends to move on to technical diving. The course may also be used as an introduction to the TDI Advanced Nitrox course and the TDI Decompression Procedures course. And finally, it is also a good refresher for certified technical divers who may want to refresh their skills or have them re-evaluated by a TDI technical instructor.

Thursday 8th July 2010-j

Such a beautiful creature but such a sad way to die! The sea was wild, the sky still dark and the fishermen on their small boat were too scared to free the 16-feet-long whale shark caught in their nets 15 kilometres from the shore in Pakistan. "We were afraid our launch would have overturned and we would have drowned," they said. By the time they did manage to wrest it out of the net it was already too late. But the fishermen tied a rope around it and slowly dragged it to the shore, even though they do not think the whale shark is important in terms of profit. “The only use of the fish is its liver,” Nazar, another fishermen,said. “So we took out its liver and will use its oil to rub on our boats.” I am glad to hear the whale sharks are released due to their lack in value (in the Pakistan area at least). Yet, too many sharks are close to extinction due to shark finning brought on by the high demand by Asians for their coveted shark fin soup. It’s a senseless and selfish act, really! Unfortunately most people do not understand how intertwined we are and how much our survival depends on other life forms. Without these predatory animals our marine ecosystem will be thrown out of balance and the oceans will die. It’s already happening now! We must protect these creatures and thus ourselves, through education, advocacy and law. It’s never too late to say no to shark fin soup!

In this day of eco mindedness our very own tree hugger Eco mentalist Jenny & her trusty steed Lynn have created http://bigblueconservation.com/ to keep you updated with news about Big Blue Conservation and our ongoing projects. Join in and support sustaining our wonderful divesites! The main objective of Big Blue Conservation is to do as much as we can to ensure that the island remains undisturbed by the growing tourism and that the marine life is here in Koh Tao for future generations to enjoy. As well as working closely with the Save Koh Tao Group on larger projects such as Buoyancy World and Bio Rock, we are implementing a range of smaller projects such as coral nurseries and a constructed wetland to help clean the islands grey water. Big Blue is focused on conserving the astonishing abundance of life Koh Tao's reefs have to offer, as well as contributing to global research studying the impact of climate change on this beautiful environment. There is hope for the oceans but we must act now. The hope lies in the dedication of people like us at Big Blue to make a difference and give something back to the world we know and love. So come and join in! www.bigblueconservation.com

It's been one month since Project AWARE launched the "Give Sharks a Fighting Chance" petition to demand international protection for critical shark species on the brink. In just a few short weeks nearly 25,000 divers and shark advocates like you have voiced their concern.
Are you in? If you've not yet taken action - your help is needed today. Sign the petition to give threatened sharks species like hammerheads, oceanic whitetip and spiny dogfish a chance to survive.

Tuesday 6th July 2010-
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Well now, as predicted the busy season has well and truly kicked off!! Well, it has for Norwegian customers at least with 2 families comprising of twelve divers all signing up with Multioctolingual Hal for their open water course together!! So it’s all blond hair, blue eyes... looting & pillaging!

The Big Blue Technical diving team are again endeavoring to offer our customers even more in the world of tech!! A greater choice of specialty courses, more cavern trips to Khao Sok { which is awesome and well worth a look see} and lately having procured top secret coordinates for possible shipwreck sites there will be a search mission under way to discover them! If that’s not terribly exciting then I don’t know what is! For those of you who don’t already know, if successful it won’t be the first Big Blue discovered wreck and certainly won’t be the last, it’s always nice to be able to offer something to our customers that other dive schools cannot!

Speaking of Tech…. James “Canada” Thornton Allan is our resident tech guru and as such likes to keep fully trained and on top of his game, so when it was recently discovered that his girlfriend {long term big blue instructor Yvonne Fries} could do more pull ups than him he did what any self respecting man would do…..he signed up for yoga classes! Also solely keeping Speedo sales through the roof in Thailand he really is showing the world that Technical Diving and metrosexuality do walk hand in hand!

At last the temperature of the water is finally beginning to fall! Hooray! This means better conditions for coral restoration and growth and worse conditions for algae which leads to the one thing that we as divers all love….Great visibility! So yes ladies, you may be a little nippier on your dives, and gentleman you may not feel as impressive in the water but hey, what can you do? Bring on the good vis!!

Monday 5th July 2010-
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Well its just a couple of days now before the Peak Season gets truely underway. July & August are the 2 busiest months of the year in Koh Tao succeeding May & June which are the 2 quietest times of the year so we're all anxiously awaiting the oncoming surge of happy holiday makers all looking to take part in some underwater antics. Good job most of rested Instructors are either back now or on their way back. It could start getting a little busy in the next few days. Hope you are ready for it Team! Hope you've booked your accommodation guests!

There's still hope for Ugly & Sausage! Meet Boniface - A brand new recruit with a Russian diving team. The maritime mutt took the plunge with his owner in a specially built wetsuit and breathing mask. Boniface the dachshund was fitted with the suit by his professional diver owner Sergei Gorbunov. He claims whenever he used to go diving without Boniface, the dog would become very upset so he decided to solve the problem by taking him too. A South Korean company agreed to make a purpose-built suit perfect for doggy paddle and now the intrepid divers spend hours under the waves near Vladivostok, Russia. Complete with air tank and plexi-glass mask Boniface has so far worn the suit in a series of trials in deep water pools — with a little encouragement in the form of sausages. "We think the experiment has been a great success, Boniface felt comfortable under the water but maybe or maybe not because we fed him sausages before and after." Boniface will soon be ready to dive in open water with the team at depths of up to 45m! There's hope for Ugly dog yet!

Big Blue Tech celebrates the graduation of Ash Dunn, Rachel Linnart and Jasmin Kollinger from their BSAC Aqualung Equipment Technician Course conducted by BSAC Instructor James Foleher during a 2 day hands on workshop on Koh Tao Island off the east coast of Thailand. The BSAC Equipment Technician Course covers the repair, maintenance and service of all aqualung brand regulators from balanced, un-balanced and environmentally sealed to BCD’s and accessories like high pressure gauges and inflation hoses. The 2 day course gives the students hands on practice and experience using the tools and equipment necessary for servicing these regulators. This certification gives the students the ability to conduct warranty repair, service and authorized access to Aqualung service kits, tools and schematics.

Saturday 3rd July 2010-m

Well its been a hell of a week which is partly why there hasn't been much activity on the Blog these past few days but its all over now & things are returning to normal. Thanks to all for the gazillions of text messages, phone calls, emails, support, thoughts, tears & well wishes. Its been an incredibly emotional week & one which neither myself, my wife nor our unborn baby girl care to ever have to go through again. Special thanks to Roz for stoically holding the fort. To Sonia & Yvonne, Gary & Donna for being best mates. To Canada for sorting the crap out & To Michael for his know how & his ability to speak fluent Thai & most of all to the boys at Fizz. I had no idea New Zealands departure from the World Cup would have this much affect on us all! Shocking!

Last week, scientists cheered the discovery of one of the largest groups of whale sharks ever sighted in the northern Gulf of Mexico -- about 100 animals feeding on the surface over a deepwater feature off Louisiana called the Ewing Bank. This week: Three whale sharks have been seen swimming in heavy oil four miles from the gushing Deepwater Horizon wellhead. "Our worst fears are realized. They are not avoiding the spill area," said Eric Hoffmayer, the University of Southern Mississippi scientist who found the large aggregation last week. "Those animals are going to succumb. Taking mouthfuls of oil is not good. It is not the toxicity that will kill them. It's that oil is going to be sticking to their gills and everything else. Based on all the information I'm getting, they are doing the normal things regardless of the oil. The idea that sharks have these evolved senses that will protect them, well, they haven't evolved to detect oil. Last year we had two sighted off Florida and Alabama that were from Honduras and Belize, that means these oil impacts are not only for the Gulf population, but for the Caribbean and maybe even further. Conditions this year are similar to those that drew the sharks to the area last summer. That's a serious concern. These guys are surface feeders. They swim at the surface with their mouths open. Will they be ingesting oil? Like all sharks, whale sharks do not float to the surface when they die. They are dense animals, they don't have a swim bladder. They have this liver. When they succumb, they are going to sink to the bottom. These animals are in peril.

Big Blue Tech celebrates the graduation of Chris Shaw from his BSAC Dive Leader course conducted over 3 weeks by BSAC Instructor Ash Dunn on Koh Tao Island off the coast of Thailand. The BSAC Dive Leader provides a professional diving certification and ability to work in the diving industry to experienced divers who are looking to improve their personal diving skills and learn more in-depth training and methods. We offer several professional internship courses including the PADI Divemaster Course, SSI DiveCon Course, TDI Technical Divemaster Course and SDI Divemaster Course. The BSAC one is unlike any other professional diving level in many ways, which is what made it an attractive option for Chris. The course focused on Chris’s diving skills and ability with one on one guidance from his instructor. This was essential since the BSAC Dive Leader course includes decompression diving, certification to 50m and oxygen administration. In addition Chris had to perform in limited visibility, at night, on a drift, from a boat and marshaling in combination with mock helicopter rescue drills. The BSAC Dive Leader course is catered to train British divers to supervise diving activities in England but the training and confidence taught through the program in less demanding conditions meant Chris could complete the course in 3 weeks1 month and not 6 months. During the BSAC Dive Leader Course Koh Tao had a few days of rough weather, high seas and wind giving Chris a taste of British diving conditions as he performed the last of his training dives at our deeper dive sites on a twin set. Congratulations Chris. Big Blue's first ever BSAC Dive Leader!

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