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June 2010

Sunday 20th June 2010-a

Environmental activists from the Sea Shepherd group say they have "liberated" some 800 bluefin tuna. They say the fish had been caught by what they described as poachers and were being towed by two fishing vessels off the coast of Libya. Five scuba divers on Thursday cut open a circular holding net filled with fish below legal weight and caught after the fishing season closed, Sea Shepherd said in a media release on Friday. The operation was carried out 68 kilometres off the coast of north Africa in waters claimed by Libya. The net was being towed by two boats, the Italian vessel Cesare Rustico and the Libyan vessel Tagreft, it said. "Sea Shepherd is convinced that this catch was caught after June 14 and they hold the position that this operation by these two vessels was illegal," the statement said. Activists on the Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin rejected claims by the captain of the Libyan vessel that the fish had been caught three days earlier. Bluefin tuna have become a major source of controversy. Highly prized in Japan for consumption in sushi, their numbers have fallen dangerously low in the Mediterranean and east Atlantic, say green groups... & anyone with even an ounce of common sense!

As we draw ever closer to the end of low season & the beginning of what is the Koh Tao peak season from July till the end of September, I think its about time we used the recall system & summon up all our fellow friends & work colleagues who are all off in countries far & wide to return to work. Its like sending out the bat signal. Come on Simon, Jodie, Barry, Deano, Erik, Beccy, Heather, Dan, Kymmie, & Duncan. Come to Daddy! We got work to do!

Its another exciting night of soccer! Tonight the Mighty All Whites from New Zealand take on the minnows of the northern hemisphere & the reigning World Cup Holders Italy. After so many calamitous matches from the European countries its about time a country like New Zealand stepped forward & really showed the world how to play soccer properly! Pick it up & run with it boys!

Friday 18th June 2010-
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Governments ignored scientific evidence and advice in favor of short-term economic interests at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), March 2010. They failed to give eight threatened shark species the trade protections they deserve. Each year, tens of millions of sharks are killed by Earth’s most dangerous predators – humans. Too many of them fall victim to the cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning – the act of removing shark fins and discarding the often still alive shark overboard. Despite set-backs, sharks have received recent, historical national protections in Europe, Maldives and Palau. Together, we will make a difference for these critical species. Sign the petition, express your outrage at the recent CITES failures. Your signature, together with thousands of divers and advocates worldwide, will demand government parties to CITES heed science and protect fragile ocean ecosystems. Thanks to your support, together we’re giving sharks a fighting chance.

Happy Birthday Helen! Helen turns 45 today! & is celebrating by having a day at the Koh Tao Spa & then we're all meeting her for leisurely drinks at Choppers to watch the Germany game followed by dinner at Whitening & then back to Choppers to watch the England game at silly o'clock in the morning! Should be a great night. Most of us have got her the usual consortium of goodies for her Birthday but this year Dan really went to town & in his absence has organised a massive showing of his movie which you can see here on You Tube 28 Slices Later at the Big Screen Cinema. What a guy. Good on you Dan. Cheers for that. Great acting by the way. You make Vinnie Jones look like a right amateur! Happy Birthday Hells!

Missing! 1 Frenchman. Looks a little like he just stepped out of a Harry Potter Movie wearing a French Football shirt, a beret, a basket of baguettes, a red crevatte and a squeaky black bicycle. Answers to the name of Dobby! Last seen crying at the bar watching the telly at 4am this morning. If found please return to Big Blue Diving. We're all dieing to take the pissoir out of him!

Thursday 17th June 2010-c

Picture a harpoon ship cutting through the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Suddenly, the harpooner spots a mother whale and her calf. The ocean quiet is shattered by the blasts of exploding-tip harpoons hitting the whales. The whale pair struggles to free themselves from the harpoon lines, but a gunman fires down from the deck, finally ending their suffering. It can take as “little” as 20 minutes to a couple of hours of agony for these magnificent creatures to die. If countries like Japan, Norway and Iceland -- now supported by the USA -- get their way at the next International Whaling Commission meeting, this horrific scene will see itself played out over and over again. For 35 years, Greenpeace has been the whales' greatest defender. They will not allow this newest threat to their existence to come to pass. The international ban on commercial whaling must not be overturned but they cannot ensure this without your support. Greenpeace is gearing up for one of the biggest battles the war against whaling has ever seen. Please make your most generous donation today to help Greenpeace in our fight for the whales. This is an "all hands on deck" moment!

Fancy an Introduction to Technical Diving? Many divers find all the adventure they need in recreational dives to 40 meters or less. Or maybe you linger at the top of the wall, looking down into the inky abyss? Does the idea of penetrating a wreck, with only your lights and a guideline to lead you give you goose bumps? Do you think you’ll never be happy unless you’re flying past a pinnacle at 10 knots on a scooter? Technical diving is about having fun, just like any other pastime. But, like anything worth doing, it requires perseverance and hard work. The Intro to Technical diving is designed for the diver eager to learn some basic technical diving skills which can help improve their recreational diving ability. Intro to Tech isn’t about flexing your muscles or pulling the birds! Its showcasing your latest equipment, & working to develop skills that will improve your dive, and thus propel you into a world of exploration. If this sounds like your cup of tea & you fancy spending some seriously close time with a rotund Canadian then please feel free to contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Well its a dramatic change in the weather today. I guess its about time really. Up untill now the weather has been fantastic. We have still been having the same kind of weather we expect to get in April. But as of this morning its an about face & today we are embracing the rain we have been expecting since May! Not a moment too soon. There's an awful lot of dried up plants around Koh Tao right now who could do with a good drink. And after last nights shocking performance there's a few Spaniards looking like they could do with a drink or two too!

Wednesday 16th June 2010-

Not that we are living in a fascist state or anything like that but the staff were all summoned to Choppers bar last night to watch New Zealand's first game in the World Cup football for the first time in 28 years under threat of instant dismissal! The threat of instant termination obviously worked as 30 Instructors, Divemasters & DMT's all turned up to watch the Mighty whites surprise the world by scoring a draw in the dying seconds of the game! How cool was that? How unexpected? & how excited did Jim get? Find out this Sunday when the kiwis do even better against the existing World Cup holders!

Canada is organising another jolly! This time he's rustled up just over a dozen people for a couple of nights of fun & games camping & diving over at the Angthong Marine Park. The actual aim of the mission is to seek out new holes & crevasses to explore & penetrate & to go boldly go where no man has gone before. Canada & Dive Medic Matt will be leading the troops & then Helen & Ash will be in charge of cooking & Captain Dam is in charge of entertainments! Sound like a blast? You bet your ass! We're off on Sunday! Sign up in the shop now or drop me a line on email if you want to be a part of the Big Blue Expeditionary Force to the world famous Angthong Marine Park!

Despite the fact its low season, & despite the trouble the Red Shirts caused, & the fact there's been an economic crisis the world over, & that the Thai Baht is now pretty strong compared to the Euro & the US Dollar, & that there is a World Cup on & most people are staying where they are untill their teams have been knocked out, & at least one of our boats seems to be on the blink at any one time, & that we only have a handful of Instructors here as most are away on holiday its really been a very pleasant & relatively busy low season! What a delightful surprise. Bit like NZ football!

Saturday 12th June 2010-
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Legendary underwater explorer and filmmaker Jacques-Yves Cousteau was born 100 years ago, on June 11, 1910. To mark the centenary of his birth, National Geographic Books is publishing a memoir by his eldest son, Jean-Michel, the noted French environmentalist, educator and film producer, who has spent most of his adult life nurturing the work of his famous father. In My Father, The Captain, Jean-Michel Cousteau takes an open and intimate look at the life he shared with his father, and the legend he has taken it upon himself to carry. In so doing, he hopes to shed new and meaningful light on the life and work of a man who inspired millions to reconsider our relationship with the sea and its creatures-and, in the process, to understand a little more about himself and his family as well. "Captain Cousteau was a complicated man," the younger Cousteau writes. "He was a man of many different personalities, many different moods. But this is how it is with all great men, yes? We know the public mask, but it is the private face that reveals a man's true character. It is the man we know when the cameras are not filming." My Father, The Captain is shot-through with new material and fresh insights into the life and mind of a man who helped to jump-start a global conservation effort that continues to flourish. Jean-Michel Cousteau and his collaborator, New York Times best-selling author Daniel Paisner, offer an intimate reappraisal of the many touchstone moments Jean-Michel shared with his father, as well as the seminal moments from his father's life that
have become part of the Cousteau family lore and legend.

"Hi there, I never got chance to say thankyou to everyone at big blue for a great week, and a special thank you to the lady with the pink hair she was great - visiting me, getting some things and helping me pack etc also please can you apologise to Greg for me as I did not turn up to meet him on Thursday morning." Not surprising Sarah. We heard you got really sick. I think Greg will find it in his heart to forgive you! And Joy the pink haired lady sends her love. Do hope you are feeling better & will come back & see us again soon.

Just a few comments from our very successful Sunset Dive at Chumphon followed by chocolate cake then a night dive at Green Rock followed by a Singha beer-
" Doesn't get much better than this! Sign me up for the next one" Lisa S. " Great sunset & night dive. First one & certainly not the last. Awesome time. Thanks fellas" Jeff. "Awesome you should do that at least every second day." Lukas. "What a great bunch of blokes you are for organising cake & beer & making diving perfect at last!. I loved it!" Shannon. & heaps more comments Cheers guys. Glad you liked it. When should we do the next one?

Saturday 11th June 2010-
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How about this for a publicity stunt! Skinny dippers left passers-by goggle-eyed after stripping off for the world record attempt - at nude snorkelling. Swimmers bared their beach bums on Australia's Nelly Bay, on Magnetic Island, near the Great Barrier Reef. Designed to celebrate World Oceans Day organisers had expected 100 people to take part but the attempt only attracted 23 people. Sounds like a pretty easy record to break next year people! Better start working those butt muscles ladies! Big Blue is going butt naked snorkelling next year & you are all invited to join us! Save the seas! Snorkel naked!

Well after a blustery few days of strong winds a bit of rain & some rather unpleasant surface conditions, the weather has turned again. Today is a beautiful day. Bright & sunny, flat & calm, blue & clear! In fact looks like a wonderful day to learn how to dive! Just wish everyone else thought so too. Tis very quiet on ol' Koh Tao!

In case you hadn't realised the World Cup kicks off today & all the staff from all their different countries are sporting their national colours of pride! Well Pierre is at least, & Dennis has laid his towel out in front of the telly (guess which country he's from!). Its going to be a very exciting month & if this World Cup is going to be anything like the last world Cup then its probably going to be a fairly quiet month as well on the work front. Still no need to get our knickers in a twist its going to be lots of fun & late night drinking & we're all really looking forward to seeing how well New Zealand will do this time after an absence of 28 years! Go the Blacks! Pick up the ball & drive!

Tuesday 8th June 2010-g

WHALE sharks are being slaughtered and sold in a back-street Hong Kong shark fin market. The fins of the gentle giants are sold for $300 each and used as window displays in shark fin shops in Hong Kong's Sheung Wan market district. Hong Kong's Sharkfin and Marine Products Association secretary Charlie Lim said Australians sent Aboriginal people's heads to museums and therefore the Chinese should be allowed to have whale shark fins on display in shops. Hunting the animals is legal in much of Asia. Whale shark expert Brad Norman said he was "shocked" by the number of fins on display. The founder of marine research charity Ecocean said his investigations had also revealed that up to 1000 whale sharks were killed each year in China. To think these gentle beings are mutilated and left in agony to drown in their own blood, just to end up in a window display in Hong Kong, tears out my heart." On Hong Kong Island's Des Voeux Rd - known to locals as "dried seafood street" - tens of thousands of dried shark fins, used in shark fin soup that is sold for up to $40 a bowl. Dozens of giant whale shark fins, some more than 1m in length and distinguishable by their pattern of dots, were also mounted in windows or packaged for sale. A spokesman for the Hong Kong Government's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said selling whale shark fins was not illegal and fin shops were doing nothing wrong! What the FARK!

Not massively busy here in Koh Tao right now which means its the perfect time to organise a little something special for all our existing divers. So tomorrow our DM's have organised a sunset & night dive interspersed with lashings of chocolate cake! Dusk dive will be at Chumphon Pinnacle. Our night dive will be at Green Rock. & our chocolate cake will be served in the surface interval followed by a lovely warm cup of tea served by our very own Tea's maid Mr Foxy in a pinaforte! Now if that doesn't sell the trip nothing will!

Big Blue Tech intern James Foleher successfully completed his BSAC Open Water Instructor Crossover Course yesterday after a completing a 4 day work shop with academic and water presentations and additional skills not included in other instructor courses. The BSAC instructor cross-over course includes oxygen administration (which is standard at the Dive Leader level) and decompression diving theory. Since James is already a technical diver and an oxygen provider instructor he didn’t need to attend those workshops. James started the crossover as an experienced PADI IDC Staff Instructor who’s majority of teaching and experience comes from working in England. The course concluded with a skill circuit in the swimming pool which was used to test James’s skills and give him the chance to demonstrate his teaching quality. In addition to his graduation, BSAC National Instructor Les Skelton awarded James with Merit which means performance above the passing grade! Good job James!

Friday 4th June 2010-h

Oh...My...God - Conservationists fear a falling shark population is prompting Asian chefs to look for manta and devil rays to help meet the voracious demand for shark fin soup. The growing demand for the manta ray is turning ray fishing into an export operation. Mantas and mobulas are being used as shark fin soup filler, The cartilage was being mixed with low-grade shark fins in cheap versions of the soup. With a life span thought to be well over 50 years, the fish reach sexual maturity only in their teens, at which time they produce one pup every one to three years. While the rays, which are distantly related to sharks, are ending up in Hong Kong’s restaurants, their gills are also being used in traditional Chinese medicines. They are dried, ground to a powder and used in traditional Asian medicines. Reaching sizes of up to 7m from wing tip to wing tip, the manta’s branchial gill plates, which filter plankton from seawater, constitute a tiny portion of a body that can weigh up to 2½ tonnes. The plates can fetch up to £200 on the street in China. Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine claim that gill rakers — called peng yu sai — reduce toxins in the body by purifying the blood. A world without Manta's! What is the world coming to?

Big Blue Tech have released new designs to our existing online shop of technical diving clothing. One popular addition has been the “Team Chick” shirt which has been designed specifically for female technical divers. Designed by Helen Artal and Yvonne Fries who are not only female, we think, they are also female SSI Technical Diving Instructors. The new shirt features our famous twin set design with a pink theme, flowers and the slogan “We Go Down”, which of course conjures up a very beautiful image! I just can't look at Helen & Yvonne in the same light again! Or from the same angle!

Another Full Moon party has been & gone meaning we got really busy really quickly & then got really quiet straight after! & of course with the impeccable timing that you come to expect from years of living in Thailand Banzai broke down & we had to take it to the mainland for a few days to get the propeller fixed. Everything should be alright & back to normal again in a few days just when our busy rush is over! You see, its all about.... timing!

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