Saturday 1st May 2010-
So some of our DMT's & past Divemasters, even some of our present DM's & a couple of our Instructors all went off for a jolly last week to Khao Lak for another trip to the Similan Islands onboard old Big Blue DMT's DM's & Instructors new Wicked Liveaboard. Poor guys had to spend so much of their time underwater with Manta Rays tho that they hardly got to see anything else. My sympathy knows no bounds you lucky lucky lucky lucky DMT's DM's & Instructors! I saw an ickle jellyfish!
Looks like it's all go for the boys at Big Blue Tech this week. Cav and Helen are taking the DMT's through their SDI Deep, Wreck and Nitrox courses, Canada is taking James and Chris through their TDI Extended Range Course, Ash having just taught the BSAC Compressor Operator Course and TDI Gas Blender course is now teaching TDI Nitrox and Ben is on his way for TDI Advanced Wreck in 2 days! No rest for the wicked!
How exciting! Over the next few days eensy weensy teeny weeny tiny little Jenny, Big Blue's very own Marine Biologist will be launching our brand new website aimed at conserving & preserving everything we can here in Koh Tao with www.bigblueconservation.com She will be offering anything & everything to do with eco studies, Marine management issues, bio waste, marine life, artificial reefs, waste management, recycling, water retention & ecological awareness. She's going to be huge! Well lets face it she couldn't be much smaller! Go eco! www.bigblueconservation.com
Friday 30th April 2010-
Canada & his team at Big Blue Tech recently returned from a technical diving expedition in Singapore on the HMS Repulse which was sank during a Japanese air attack during World War2 making it a war grave and a protected site meaning penetration was not appropriate. Although penetration has happened in the past we felt being former British military members it would be best to respect the war grave. During the trip Andrew Cav noticed on the list of casualties another “Cavell” after some research he found out that his great cousin died during the fall of the Repulse making the wreck an extremely humbling dive for him personally. The wreck itself is in 55m of salt water lying almost inverted on its port side with visible torpedo damage midships and stern. The large guns can be seen lying in the sand along with ammunition thrown around the exterior. Visibility was stunning with the wreck visible from the surface of the water. Big Blue Tech... Seriously!
The end of another month & another Full Moon Party exodus from Koh Phangan. Every month Koh Tao sinks a little deeper into the sea after being inundated with 1000's of hungover fluorescent painted party people, & this month despite the commotions in Bangkok is no different. Its like a Bank holiday weekend in the real world! Public transport increases from 8 boats a day to 12 boats for the next few days, all the resorts are all booked up, especially on the beach, the bar shelves are fully stocked, & all the boys are running around wearing their pulling pants.
Most of our DMT's are being treated to the joys of Nitrogen Narcosis at 40 meters today with the Deep Diver Specialty & Nitrox Specialties combined. So this afternoon its another beautiful day at Chumphon Pinnacle for 2 dives. The boat is pretty much full, & then the Beginners boat is choc a block at Japanese Gardens & tomorrows Full Day Trip to Sail Rock was closed within half an hour of promoting it cos it filled up that quickly! & I just know its going to be in the next couple of days we're going to see a Whaleshark! There's just so much plankton in the water right now its as good as guaranteed! Spectacular memories for those who see it! Red shirt for those who don't!
Tuesday 27th April 2010-
If three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land, then it is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time diving as taking care of the garden! Its Live & let dive not Live & let lawn!
Don't worry we'll be fine! After all this isn't the first time the shit has hit the fan. In 2001 tourism in Thailand was impacted by 9/11. In 2002 the war in Afghanistan put tourists off flying anywhere near the Middle East so our European tourist numbers declined. In 2003 it was SARS. 2004 the Bird Flu epidemic & of course 2005 was a dreadful year just after the Tsunami. 2006 we had the military coup with the ousting of the former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, followed in 2007 by all the problems with bombings in "the South". 2008 was the Yellow shirts taking over the airport & in 2009 we all felt the impact of the global financial crisis. & now 2010 a volcano in Iceland & a bunch of Red shirts in Bangkok seem to be happily destroying our chances of having a good year! But like I said...don't worry about us, we'll be fine! This isn't the first time the proverbial shit has hit the industrialized size fan!
Recent discoveries by groups who practice both yoga and scuba diving have reported similar meditational qualities between the two activities, since breathing underwater creates a weightless state and the ability to achieve inner quietude. According to LeisurePro, one of the largest sellers of scuba equipment in the world, there are six reasons why ’scuba as the new yoga’ is becoming the latest travel trend:
* The body becomes relaxed underwater in a gravity-free environment where divers become naturally buoyant, like being in outer space.
* Many athletes use underwater meditation, such as Olympic swimmers.
* Certain types of dives called "drift dives" allow divers to gently move with the current, with minimal body movement.
* As with meditation, slow breathing works best with scuba. Focusing on breathing relieves stress and promotes relaxation.
* The only noise you generally hear underwater is the sound of your breath.
* Observing the beautiful colors of fish, coral and other sea life is stimulating.
Scuba Diving! Namaste.
Sunday 25th April 2010-
If you are into sex then now is the time to come diving! Its coral spawning time here in Koh Tao & recently Eco Queen Jenny dived our house reef to witness a spot of underwater hanky panky. Corals reproduce sexually, but are at a disadvantage as they are fixed to the sea bed. So they use the rising water temperatures and the phases of the moon as a cue to synchronise their reproductive activity to maximise the chance of success. Species that have separate sexes must release eggs and sperm at similar times for them to be fertilised. Some species of coral are both male and female, and they release eggs already prepackaged in sperm. Bundles of eggs and sperm float to the surface to mix with others along the reef. Each kind of coral times its release to a certain hour on a certain night, maximising the chance of cross-fertilisation. The fertilised eggs drift away from the reef. Leaving a very excited Jenny caked in spermatozoa polyps! How sexy is that?
Don't tell anyone but... the rumour going round is that Kelli & Ash are looking to tie the knot! Today Kelli was seen searching the net for info on marriages in Thailand! & as for honeymoon destinations we all know Ash has been spreading himself all over Europe in recent days, (sorry dreadful joke), so there's obviously something on the cards! Love is in the air! First it was Jim & Andrea, shortly followed by Scobby & Jolene, then it was Marcel & Katti, soon it will be Dan & Kymmie & who knows maybe Kelli & Ash will beat Emily & Craig & Canada & Yvonne down the aisle! Watch this space! The race is on.
A foreign national walking his dogs stumbled on a decidedly strange looking body that appeared to have been washed ashore in Pattaya. It is estimated to have been out of the water for approximately 8 hours. The creature is described as being approximately 2.3 metres long with the lower half resembling that of a large marine mammal and the top taking the form of some sort of land creature with arms and webbed fingers. The whole of the creature is covered in scales, which have started to flake off due to the length of time out of the sea. The strange creature has been taken under naval escort to the marine laboratory for forensic examination. Maybe its that bloke who fell asleep in the Poonama Canal the other day!
Wednesday 21st April 2010-
So recently we had a rather intoxicated member of the public, nothing to do with Big Blue I might add, who woke up one morning lounging around the very picturesque part of town we like to call the Poonama Canal. Unfortunatley for him he was still there at 7 in the morning when we all go off for our morning dives, & we managed to take a snap of him with his feet dipped into the river. What a lovely place for a sleep. So picturesque. The grassy bank, a lovely starry night, a rose tinted morning dawn & emulsified toes!
Ooh my word! So yesterday I mentioned that some old has been topless model from the UK has been told she can't dive cos she has surgically enhanced breasts & this morning I come to work and my emails are all about whether it really is dangerous to dive with breast implants cos some of our prospective want to be divers have recently had their breasts boosted! Ladies relax! Please. Don't worry. We have had many surgically enhanced hooters descend with us to depths reaching 30 meters & have even employed a couple of Instructors over recent years, one who is with us now, who haven't gone pop underwater yet! Its just codswallop! So for all those ladies who wrote to me this morning please don't worry. Come diving & bring your bosums along too!
2 more whales seen at Southwest Pinnacle yesterday morning. Probably the same 2 we saw the other day but not as exciting of course cos we weren't there, but none the less quite noteworthy. So we've set out today on another Full Day Trip to the amazing Sail Rock in the anticipation that the whales are moving south from Chumphon where we saw them last week to South west where they were yesterday to Sail Rock where they will be today! I am the Whale whisperer!
Tuesday 20th April 2010-
Well the place feels a little empty but I guess it would do seeing as we've all had to say goodbye to one of the largest figures in the team- Big Paul! Unfortunately for us Paul isn't a jaffa & when he went home last CHristmas he got his good lady in the family way & now they are expecting their first baby together. So our resident Whaleshark went home (honorable thing to do) is now counting down the days till his son pops out! Congratulations Paulie. Thank for all your hard work, hope you had a fun last night & managed to enjoy every 1 of those 44 hours on the way home.
Breasts of Britain Glamour girl, Katie Price has been warned that her surgically-enhanced breasts could explode or drown her if she goes ahead with a diving course, according to a report. The glamour girl is currently enjoying a holiday in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Earlier this week, insiders claimed that Price wanted to go diving in the Red Sea as part of the break. However, a source told the Daily Star: "There have been scare stories about implants exploding underwater. "Research has shown this is unlikely but they do fill with air bubbles as the pressure increases and can change size underwater. Implants also affect buoyancy so she'd have to make extra efforts to stay afloat. "Given the risks, and how long she has spent perfecting her boobs, it is unlikely Kate will go ahead." What a load of tits!
Canada & his dream team of sweaty, hairy, plump, tight speedo wearing techies all went out this afternoon for a jolly on our very own Koh Tao wreck which no one knows about other than us! A little under a year ago one of the Koh Tao cargo boats sank less than 40 minutes away from Koh Tao in exactly 40 meters depth which means we officially have the very best deep dive, wreck dive & tech dive all within a hop skip & a jump away from Koh Tao. Now if that aint a reason to learn how to Deep, Wreck & Tech dive then what is! Apart from a pair of sweaty, plump, tight testetechies!
Sunday 18th April 2010-
Isn't it amazing how one thing leads to another thing & next thing you know just when every thing was beginning to look ominously quiet the island has exploded again! & why? Well its this volcano in Iceland innit! Because no one can get home everyone is heading back to their favourite spot in Thailand- Koh Tao- chillin & diving & hanging out till the ash settles! Wasn't anticipating that this time last week when I saw that tumble weed roll through the resort! Welcome back!
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Just so you know... weather at the moment is hotter than balls! Its a sweltering 38 degrees today. Diving is hotter than balls too! Its 20-30 meter visibility at most sites. There isn't even a whisper of wind or a surface ripple. Right now conditions here are exactly the same as they are in the bounty advert... hotter than balls!
Thursday 15th April 2010-
In the interests of keeping our customers happy & seeing as we have been so let down by our whale sharks this season, and to make sure we honour our promises to our customers who came over here especially for whale sharks this season we had to make do with a couple of passing Brydes whales a few days ago! Not just any old couple but a big 12 meter female & a smaller 6 meter baby! And we know it was at least 12 meters & no exaggeration as Erik was down at 10 meters when it breeched the surface & duck dived straight back down to Erik with its tail still out of the water when it came eye to eye with him. Not a bad dive for someone who's logged 100's of dives under his belt! Not bad for Heather's group of divers who were logging their 3rd dive either!
Only now recovering from a very sodden New Year on Tuesday. And in addition to all the new range of military style water cannons this year Songkran was made all the more special when Instructor Beccy walked in wearing her white T-shirt & bikini bottoms claiming she'd "forgotten" to put on her bikini top underneath. It took no time at all to to get Beccy soaked from tits to toe! Merry Christmas & a Happy Songkran.
So the goings on in Bangkok don't seem to be getting any where. Well they've stopped killing each other at least which is a start but unfortunately there's still a lot of hoo ha going on & consequently our arrivals have dropped dramatically. So much so that its freed up heaps of time for me & I think I'm going to go for a dive tomorrow morning at Chumphon! Now if that doesn't get the crowds coming nothing will!
Monday 12th April 2010-
"Hi Jim, So I am now sitting back in reality at my desk at work and I just can’t stop thinking of Koh Tao and Big Blue!! So I thought I would send you some feedback!! I spent 5 nights down in Koh Tao from the 4th April to 9th April. I did my open water course and also 2 adventure dives. I wanted to let you know that this was by far the best holiday I have ever been on!! It was a tossup between 3 dives schools on Koh Tao and I feel I made the best choice. The moment I arrived at the resort Beccy sat me down and went through everything with me. I started the course that night and Beccy was my instructor. My biggest concern when going diving was getting sea sick... luckily is was nice and calm so that was not an issue!! From the moment I entered the water I felt at ease because Beccy had explained everything in detail so I knew it would all be ok.
Pros- Amazing instructors Beccy and Erik, staff can make a holiday what it is and Beccy in particular was fantastic, I cannot speak highly enough of her and her efforts with our group! I know that was a thought from all the girls as well. The relaxed and professional attitude of all the staff!! They all had just the right mix!! The amazing dive spots we visited. The list goes on and on.....
Cons- Someone not been at the pier to pick me up – good thing I used my intelligence and saw one of your cars and waited by it!! Kate at reception – don’t think customer service is her strong point? Not been able to finish my Advance open water due to the fact I had to leave which was another con. I will be back!!! And I will tell all my friends to visit you if they want to go diving!!!
Cheers Georgie Lucas"
Millions of marine turtles have been killed over the past two decades through entrapment in fishing gear, according to a global survey. Six of the seven sea turtle types are on the Red List of Threatened Species. Researchers advocate much greater use of gear safe for turtles. These include circular hooks rather than the conventional J-shaped hooks on long fishing lines, and hatches that allow the reptiles to escape from trawls. Turtles must come to the surface to breathe. When they are caught in a net or on a fishing hook, they cannot surface, and drown. Sniff.
There's a few old faces crawling out the wood work over the last few days & weeks. Of course we know octo-lingual Hal is back & working already, & then newly engaged Dan & Kymmie are back, Dan is teaching already & Kymmie is our new shop bitch. Then yesterday Teetotal Fat Alain came back & who should walk in the door this morning but the Milky Bar kid himself...Peter Couldn't give a Buckmaster! Welcome back everyone. Just in time for Songkran!
Sunday 11th April 2010-
Oh dear. Well I guess no one is too surprised that its all ended in fisty cuffs up there in the City of Angels, Bangkok, between the Red Shirts & the Government security forces but at the same time I don't think anyone was anticipating the dead & injured. Very sad. Of course all the foreign embassies are issuing travel warnings to Bangkok which is fair enough & we certainly don't recommend hanging around in the confrontation zones but please don't fret. Bangkok is a huge city & the press does have a habit of blowing things out of proportion. Its obviously not good news whats going up in the capital but this is Thailand & the Thais are wonderful peace loving people so this will all blow over soon. Blimmin well better or we're all in for a very low high season. Great for you... not so great for us... terrible for the Thais! :(
Another extremely successful Full Day Trip to Sail Rock yesterday made all the more successful by the fact we all (well almost 'all') saw a Whaleshark! About time too! After all it is whaleshark season & we haven't seen any yet so its definitely about time! High fives to all those who broke their whaleshark virginity yesterday. Low blows to all those who didn't!
Coming up to the most ridiculous day of the year this week! Songkran! The Thai New Year when everyone runs around with water pistols spraying & squirting each other with the most oversized water pistols you can think of! What fun. Sounds extremely immature & juvenile & is! But like I said extremely good fun & a great way to celebrate the New Year... in April!
8th April 2010
And it’s Happy birthday to the Codfather of a great British Institution….Fish and Chips!! This year, Britain is claiming its 150th birthday for the fish and chips industry – great news for all those cheeky chippies! However being such a tasty dish is not such good news for the fish and in 2000 cod was put on the WWFs protection list. As a result there was increased pressure on other fish species such as haddock and plaice, and many restaurant fish are now considered vulnerable to overfishing or fished using methods that are damaging to the environment and causing bycatch of non-target fish. There is hope though, with big fish supply company Compass banning 69 endangered fish species from its restaurants last year including Atlantic Cod, Bluefin Tuna and Swordfish, many restaurants now provide sustainable fish on their menus. Seafood Selector charts can help us as consumers to identify fish good for you and the ocean, and if you have a web-enabled device you can download the Seafood Selector To-Go application that allows you to make good choices about what seafood to buy. So if you want to be in an environmentaly batter plaice [cant help it sorry] just point your web enabled mobile device at m.edf.org/seafood and start buying seafood that’s good for you and the ocean.
"Hi everyone at Big Blue, I just wanted to thank you all for making me feel like part of the family when I was doing my open water and advanced courses about a week ago. Learning to dive on Koh Tao was one of the most amazing experiences and I cannot wait to come back and dive some more. It has been less than a week since I left and I'm already missing it. Special thanks to Dennis for teaching one group in two languages and being an excellent instructor.Hope to see you all soon, Kate". You betcha Kate! We look forward to seeing you back here again soon for more fun in more than 1 language! Ja!
"Hey there! I just wanted to thank you and most of all Paul for a great Open Water Course! It was just amazing and we definitly had the best days of our trip with you underwater at Koh Tao! Take care! Kerstin from Germany." Thanks Kerstin & glad you had such a great time with us & with Big Paul. Unfortunatley Big Paul is leaving us now to go & be a Big Daddy in Canadia! Selfish Moose!
Thursday 1st April 2010
Our newly expectant Dad and Glorious leader, Jim, along with Mrs Jim will be indulging themselves on fine food and some fantastic diving from one of Big Blue's liveaboards on the west coast for the next few days...just like to say congratulations on your news and have a great time both of you. Make the most of the next six months of your life being your own as it's all going to come to a swift but happy end...though some bits wont be that different, instead of soggy pee filled wetsuits it'll be soggy poo filled nappies...enjoy!
Anyway, back to whalesharks in trouble...Sammy, the female whaleshark held in a hotel aquariam in Dubai for the last 18months has been released after a huge campaign by the residents of Dubai to have her returned to the ocean. The whale shark was tagged and quietly released after it had been placed in a Dubai hotel aquarium having been rescued by the hotel's fish husbandry team in 2008. For some strange reason, no photos or invitations were sent to the media or the Dubai marine community to witness the much-anticipated release of the ocean's biggest fish. Sammy had caught the attention of thousands of people when Atlantis, placed her in their aquarium, the Ambassador Lagoon. Before being released she was tagged with a tracking device that will store information like movement, depths reached and water temperature for the next 3 months after which the device will detach and come to the surface for the information to be transmitted by satelitte. There's some speculation over her release as it was so hush hush and some speculators are saying she's dead, while Steve Kaiser, vice-president of Marine Sciences in charge of the operation said that it was done under great secrecy to avoid having the media circus that would have ensued. Let's just hope she adjusts back to her natural habitat and doesnt end up in the Phillippines.
Here's the best news I've had all week...Scuba Diving makes you lose weight! Fact. So my dream of looking good in a wetsuit and doing something I love is about to come true...finally. The Guardian Newspaper says it's actually better for you than regular swimming. All those fin kicks which seem so effortless to do underwater are actually re-shaping your legs. Your doing water based weight training, firming the front of the thighs as you kick down and the back as you kick up. So, my Elle McPherson shaped legs must seriously be taking shape at some point soon....like really soon please! But there's more, Scuba Diving is extremely good for burning energy or calories which means weight loss! Someone weighing approx 70kg [11st] will burn 13 calories a minute while scuba diving, so a 45 minute dive would use up a whopping 585 calories! Yay! That's like a big Massaman curry with fat chips followed by chocolate ice-cream right? I love diving!!
So has monsoon arrived...5 months late? Hopefully it's just another day when it rains for about half an hour of biblical proportions, replaces dusty roads with huge puddles that come up to your knees but more importantly breathes life back into our thirsty island. It was quite hilarious to watch the heavens open this morning and see the Big Blue restaurant rampacked within 15 seconds! It was like a game of musical chairs with people hurling themselves at anything to sit down on! Thankfully sunny skies are predicted for tomorrow so all is well in paradise!