Saturday 27th March 2010-
A 6 meter long Whale shark has been mutilated in the Philippines by having its fins cut off. The shark had been de-finned and was fighting for its life, and was found floating belly-up amidst the rough waters of Bahay Kambing. Its twin pairs of dorsal and pectoral fins had been sliced off. Knife-marks were evident all over its tail but, perhaps mercifully, it proved too thick to cut through.The shark was towed to nearby Caban cove, whose waters were more placid. Together with a fisheries patrol unit, volunteers splinted the shark by flanking it with bamboo poles and installing a net underneath to minimize further injuries. Sadly but unsurprisingly, the great sharks wounds proved too great and the shark, died the next day. & why was this creature butchered so? All because the Chinese like to drink soup!??? Its completely insane! Do everything you can to stop the sale of Shark Fin Soup! Due to the failure at CITES we can't rely on the politicians to do anything these days. We're on our own folks!
Not that I'm moaning about it or anything but what the hell happened with the weather. This morning we awoke to the heaviest downpour since the last heavy downpour which was about December 2008! It wasn't predicted on the weather forecast & it took most of us ages to find our monsoon ponchos. It absolutely bucketed down. Great for the island, the plants, the dried up wells... but catastrophic for the motorbikes, those who just hung their laundry out to dry, & those who left their bags outside on the boats over. Welcome to the tropics!
Our Dive site of the Week this week is... Southwest Pinnacle! A deep divesite reaching 30 meters at its deepest & comes up to about 6 meters below the surface. This collection of awe inspiring rock patterns is home to an abundance of scorpionfish, Koh Tao's biggest & ugliest Mallabar Grouper, a mammoth school of fusilliers, blue spotted sting rays, cleaner shrimp, white eyed moray eels, trevelly, angel fish, bannerfish & is also a popular hangout with our visiting Whale sharks. & guess where we are going tomorrow? Southwest & Koh Tao's second best Dive site of the week... Shark Island!
Friday 26th March 2010-
Big Blue Tech welcomes Ben Reymenants , an instructor trainer with TDI (Technical Diving International) and SSI TXR (Scuba Schools International Technical Extended Range), to the team as our in house instructor trainer for instructor level technical programs. Ben has a long history in technical diving along with holding the deepest dive at one point with a dive to 202.5m in the Blue Hole in Dahab, which at that time was a world record. Ben is also a training director with TDI and contributes to course development and has contributing author signature on most of the TDI manuals we see today. He’s best known for being the dive medic and chamber operator in Phuket, if you were in such an unfortunate situation to meet him you will find him to be professional, respectful and a great guy to have a beer with. Most recently Ben was in the media or reaching a depth of 240m inside Sra Keow Cave in Krabi, Thailand, making it one of the deepest cave dives in history. With those achievements Ben is also in the final stages of introducing technical diving to the Maldives. While Ben’s activities keep him traveling around the world he is based in Thailand and we’re happy to have a diver and instructor of his caliber join our already stellar team. Big Blue Tech will be releasing instructor level programs as of next month.
Some of the gang are off to Buoyancy World tomorrow to finish off our lizard & put his head back on properly. We've rustled up a handful of volunteers, a couple of delegators, a techie or 2, a photographer & a vidiot & between the lot of them we should be able to finally finish the job we started almost a year ago. Well we'll see. Its been such a long time since we were there we've kind of forgotten what it looks like. But once its finished we're going to have a brand new divesite to teach buoyancy skills at. That'll do Canada a world of good!
So we are bracing ourselves for the barrage of party people who will be at the Full Moon Party at the end of this month. Coincidentally there will be 10 of our full time team away at the same time to attend the wedding of Marcel & Kathi in Khao Lak next Tuesday. Well they say they'll be at the wedding but you never know they might be joining the hoardes in Koh Phangan, with their face paint, eccentricity tablets & whistles revelling it up on the ones & twos! Only kidding Marcel. We'll all be there , licking our lips & giving hand gestures."Big fish, Little fish, Cardboard box!
Wednesday 24th March 2010-
Its got to be one of the saddest days in the history of mankind & ultimately seals our doom.Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES, has failed us. Not only have they sealed the extinction of the Blue Fin Tuna last week they have also now sealed the fate of the Hammerhead shark, & the oceanic white tip shark as well by not marking them as protected species. So thats it folks. Only going to be a matter of a few years at the most where our oceans will still have these creatures who have ruled the seas since prehistoric times. We're all so farked! Sniffle.
Very excited to have recently employed a fantastic edition to the team our very own Jennifer Mathews who is joining our other Green Queen Heather to rid the island of rubbish & to do everything in our power to save the world of rubbish & dicks like those at CITES! Jenny who is a Marine Biologist & keen conservationist having done what she is about to do here already in Peru. Jenny is going to be launching loads of new Eco projects, coral reef surveys, & land conservation efforts & loads of training & eco awareness for everyone who dives here. Watch this space people. This time next year we'll be called Big Green Diving! Welcome Jenny. Sooooo happy to see you.
Its the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan coming up very soon & already this island is filling up faster than a bath with a fat man in it! Which means next week its going to be filling up faster than a bath with 2 fat men! Not a pretty picture. Nor are most of the party people the morning after the Full Moon party come to that! Book your accommodation & diving now before the 2 fat men get here!
Tuesday 23rd March 2010-
It's close to midnight and something evil's lurking in the dark, Under the moonlight, you see a sight that almost stops your heart, You try to scream but terror takes the sound before you make it, You start to freeze as horror looks you right between the eyes...You're paralyzed, Cause this is thriller, thriller night! Yeah Baby what an awesome night. The zombies were fantastic. Everyone was in time except for one exceptionally drunk Welsh zombie & the crowd went absolutely wild! Fun-Bloody- tastic! Well done Heather. That's really gonna take some beating for next year. Better start practising now! "Heather!"
SSImon has started another SSI ITC this week with 4 eager to become an SSI Instructor Candidates including our very own DM Duncan & 2 SSIStaff Instructors as well. So this week the guys have been mostly learning how to teach & demonstrate skills in confined water & next week they will be doing most of the skills needed in the Open Water & surface skills & lectures. Its masSSIvely ecSSIting, SSImple & profeSSIonal!
We've scheduled another Full Day Trip to Sail Rock tomorrow for all those who want to dive the best dive site in the Gulf of Thailand as described by the Thailand Dive Guru Mr John Williams form Siam Dive n Sail, & author of many books on diving in Thailand including the Lonely Planet Guide to snorkelling & Diving in Thailand. A Rock that sits totally isolated somewhere between Koh Tao & Koh Phangan with its maximum depth at 40 Meters & rising 15 meters above the surface. A beautiful site. A fantastic Day out. & the best Massamun Curry Chicken in Thailand!
Sunday 21st March 2010-
Ja! You betcher ass! Being a Tech Instructor isn't just a guy thing! Congratulations to Yvonne & Helen on becoming Big Blue's first all womens female ladies Tech Instructors! & not only that this makes both of them the only Women girl ladies TXR Tech Instructors in South East Asia. In addition Yvonne is officially the only German Damen madchen womanly lady bird German speaking Instructor in Thailand! & Helen the only female bird lady TXR Deco Procedures & Extended Range Tech Instructor in South East Asia! You go go girls! Now go out there & be a man!
The nerves are all frayed for tonights Big blue zombies! Last year it was Grease! This year its Thriller. Heather has rustled up 20 of our most dead looking Instructors, Divemasters & DMT's to perform live on stage at this years Koh Tao Festival. Last night 2 other shops performed their rendition of the Timewarp & a beach medley consisting of California girls, Baywatch, Under the sea & Itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini! Bikinis off to both shops for their outstanding efforts. But tonight is the main attraction. Not even the inconveniently timed Liverpool V's Man Utd clash will stop people coming to this tonight! (We hope!)
Staff wanted! Big Blue diving is looking for a wonderfully friendly charming & efficient Shop girl or boy to work alongside our existing wonderfully friendly charming & efficient Shop girl & Shop Swop. Candidate must be able to speak English, be computer literate, be wonderful, friendly, charming & efficient. Ability to speak Thai an advantage. Hooters also an advantage but not necessarily essential for this job!
Friday 19th March 2010-
Dear people of Norway, Japan, & China. Please stop butchering, killing & slaughtering our fish, our sharks, our whales & our dolphins! Its not big & its not clever! It is destructive & it is bringing many of these creatures to the edge of extinction. This is not a personal dig at any one of you people from these nations as I know there are many of you from each country who are against what their governments are doing but please don't stand there silent. Voice your opinions! Demonstrate against the policies of your governments & stop the killing before there is nothing left. Lots of love Dan Bolton (Big Blue Diving Instructor) & Paul Watson (founder of Greenpeace & Sea Shepherd).
Can't hold it in any longer! I'm absolutely bursting at the seams! If I don't let it out I am going to explode! Its been with me for the last 3 months & I haven't been able to tell a soul so now that I can its just such a relief I can't begin to explain! People have been questioning lately as to whats been up with me & the Missus? We haven't been out, haven't been drinking, keep having to bugger off for a couple of hours every now & then & all these hospital visits! There must be something up! & there is! We're going to have a baby! :) :0) :(0)
Well its just a matter of time now till all our zombies are let out the crypt & invade the stage at this years Koh Tao Festival! Heather & the gang have done an amazing job with their Michael Jackson dance routines & the whole island is waiting in eager anticipation to see our Big Blue rendition of the classic Michael Jackson classic Thriller. We'll be live on stage tonight for the dress rehearsal & the real thing is this Sunday starting at 9pm! Be there & bring money to give to the Koh Tao Festival so we can Save Koh Tao!
With only 7 days till the Koh Tao Festival, the finishing touches are being made to the dance routine, costumes are being made, impromptu dancing whenever a certain song comes on in the bar like a freaky flash mob dance!! I think Heather has earned a day or 2 off, she’s been dancing her little socks off, leading rehearsals, film editing, teaching diving and organizing beach clean-ups. Thank you Heather for all your hard work, we’ll do you proud.
It looks like we will all be having Weird Beards on Wednesday again as today we welcome back Hal(lvard) who has returned from his time over the pond in France. Our multi-linguist is back with us for a few months so a few beers in the bar tonight.
Speaking of the bar! Welcome to Lou who is our not so new anymore hostess with the mostest, she used to be found at places like the Fishbowl and Vibe but now we have her here at our very own Big Blue Bar. Its great to have a character behind the bar, it makes up for all of our quiet and shy staff members!!!!
Saturday 13th March 2010-
If you haven't seen Shark Water or the Oscar winning Documentary The Cove yet then get off your arse & go watch them & once you've done that watch the Animal Planet documentary Whale Wars & once you've seen all them keep your eyes open for the next big Documentary Blockbuster Sharkquest Arabia! Just when you thought things were getting better here comes a documentary about the illegal finning of grey reef sharks, lemon sharks, carpet sharks, scalloped hammerheads & Whalesharks! Please people stop this insane madness! www.sharkquestarabia.com this years must see & act documentary for all people who give a shit!
Just in case you were wondering... its 36 degrees today. Not even a breath of wind! The sky is a pallette of awesome blue, with odd tufts of pure white cotton wool balls. The sea is flatter than a pancake. The water temperature is a cockle warming 30 degrees & the clarity in the water is over 20 meters minimum everywhere! The marine life is as vast & multicultural as ever & the boats & the dive sites are practically empty. The sunsets are a rosey red & the beers are an icy cold... just in case you were wondering!
So the Bangkok protests between the Yellow shirts & the Red shirts has kicked off in Bangers this weekend & many countries have issued travel warnings advising travellers & tourists to avoid Bangkok & Thailand. Seems to have worked too! I actually saw tumbleweed rolling down the streets of Sairee Village last night, its that quiet here in Koh Tao. So what better time to stick 2 fingers up & go do some shopping & check out the latest 3D blockbuster at the IMAX cinema in this great country's capital city. What a bunch of overhyped codswallop!
Friday 12th March 2010-
12 of our Divemaster candidates completed their Deep Diver and Nitrox Diver course yesterday on our Full Day Trip to Sail Rock. The guys were exposed to 40m and the use of nitrox for the first time. This training is required for anyone wishing to join us on our wreck diving trips coming up next week. Their Instructors Andy and Thomas were in technical diving gear for safety reasons but the students, being recreational Divemaster interns, were on a single cylinder. The course was combined with several different agencies which was based on the students preference. On top of the 3 great dives it was also Martins birthday which he spent celebrating at the front of the boat from seasickness. Happy Barf-day Martin!
The Save Koh Tao Marine Conservation Branch and Sabai Jai Mini Magazine are running a photo contest on a bi-yearly basis, and all winners will be printed in “Sabaijai” upcoming edition and Koh Tao Calender 2011. Prizes will be awarded for winner of land and underwater with a selection of restaurant vouchers and bar drink voucher. Selection of winners will be done by local judging team.To enter you must pay the entry fee (100B), and supply a photo and photo information to Big Blue Diving in any readable format (jpeg, gif etc) in any resolution. Photos above 1mb will be ok. (Photography should be taken within the past 6 months in Koh Tao.) Individuals may enter as many times as they like, and the more scantily clad women the better! Good luck & Happy snapping.
"Just wanted to say a quick thanks for a brilliant time with Big Blue at Koh Tao. My Instructor was Deano & he was fantastic and if I would have had the time I would be doing my advanced open water with yourselves tomorrow. Again, thanks for a great time - already planning my next spot of diving (Red Sea probably) and if I am back in Koh Tao anytime soon I shall look you up again. Cheers, Craig Hicks."
Nice one Craig. Glad you had such a good time & look forward to seeing back on the Rock again soon.
Tuesday 9th March 2010-
If you do a google search on Diving Koh Tao, Open Water course Koh Tao, ssi shop koh tao, Advanced Course koh Tao, Divemaster Course Koh Tao, diving Thailand, best dive shop koh tao, best diveshop Thailand, fun diving koh Tao, scuba diving koh tao, diving Thailand, dive koh tao, padi dive resort koh tao, rescue diver koh tao, number 1 dive shop koh tao, tech diving koh tao, best manager koh tao, best instructors Koh Tao we come up pretty much first every time, certainly on the first page & if we didn't already then this will definitely help! ; )
‘‘The Cove,’’ a U.S. film about a controversial annual dolphin hunt at a Japanese town, won the best documentary feature at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards ceremony Sunday in Los Angeles. Directed by Louie Psihoyos, one of the world’s most prominent still photographers, the film depicts, partly through the use of hidden cameras and microphones, the capture of dolphins by local fishermen in the whaling town of Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture. After screenings in selected countries such as Japan, Australia and the United States, the documentary provoked criticism against the hunt, while local fishermen defended it as part of a Japanese tradition, saying the practice was not bloodthirsty as they built memorials for the dolphins. Reacting to the Academy Award, fishermen in Taiji voiced anger, saying they were misleadingly described as ‘‘Japanese mafia.’’ A senior official of the local fisheries cooperative association rejected an interview, saying, ‘‘Whatever we might say, it will just help advertise the movie.’‘ Taiji Mayor Kazutaka Sangen said, ‘‘Dolphin hunting is not an illegal activity. It is necessary to respect each culture’s diet, based on an understanding of regional traditions.’‘
Full Day Trip to Sail Rock coming up on Thursday & we have a queue forming outside the dive shop with people waiting to sign up to dive the best dive site in the Gulf of Thailand. For just 3500 Bt you get to dive Sail Rock, Samran Pinnacle & Southwest Pinnacle have a cooked breakfast & the best Massaman curry Chicken on the planet all between the hours of 7 to 5! Better do some queue barging!
Monday 8th March 2010-
"After rocking up to Ko Tao four English sisters with four heavy backpacks wandered down the beach looking for a dive school. After a sweaty walk we stumbled upon Big Blue Diving Resort. The place had a buzz about it and we were very happy to be offered a welcome drink to quench our thirst! Jim came to meet and greet us and straight away we felt at home! There was a story behind why we wanted to learn to dive as our dad had been a diving instructor and growing up we would love to hear his diving stories. This was going to be a different experience to his stories of diving in the North Sea. Jim explained the courses and we were introduced to our PADI Open Water Dive instructor Nick. We all had the most amazing experience after completing the 3 day open water course and we had caught the diving bug so what better way to continue by completing our Advanced Open Water Course..Night dive, deep dive, sharks (well one sister saw them!) trigger fish.... Bring it on! We've been introduced to a whole new world and now our travelling will revolve around diving! We'll be back to Big Blue in the near future to do our rescue course and sure our dive master.... Thank you Big Blue and especially Nick for being a fab instructor!" Sian Maddocks, one quarter of the Maddocks clan!
So we have now revamped our 200 Bt fan rooms with a new cement walls instead of wood & have replaced each bed with a brand new metal framed bed! Its definitely about time as I think we've had these rooms since the dawn of man so we are very excited to be opening them back up for business again as of tomorrow. Just 200 Bt for an individual fan room with your own bathroom. Not bad at all. Not as good as our free accommodation we offer in our Air Con dormitories with hot water shower, but still, not bad!
Norway has dramatically increased the quota of mike whale that its whalers are allowed to catch this year. They announced their quota for 2010 would be 1286 whales- 45% more than 2009! Last year they killed 484 whales, the lowest taken in the commercial whale hunt in a decade. Conservationists say this was due to a lack of demand for whale meat & that they were surprised the quota has been increased. Such a huge quota defies logic & any pretence of claims of sound management. This is nothing more than the empty rattling of harpoons & it is clear these quotas are being set more for political show than anything else! If you are Norwegian, do something!! Stop the slaughter of whales in your country & boycott whale meat... & greedy self centred politicians!
Saturday 6th March 2010-
The brave among us this morning all got up before the crack of dawn to do a bit of sunrise diving at Chumphon Pinnacle. Nothing like being up before the fishies! I had no idea we had so many nutters staying with us who could manage to get up that early on their holiday, but obviously we do as more than 30 people signed up to be the first people to dive Koh Tao's best divesite today. Crazy cats!
Soup is off! An advert showing real footage of a dying finned shark has been shown on Chinese TV. The ad was made by Wild Aid & Shark Savers as part of a campaign to halt the demand for shark fin soup. It shows Chinese basketball star Yao Ming in a restaurant pushing away a bowl of soup after seeing the shark die. Well played China! Now if only other countries would follow suit the world would be a far better place!
"Oh My God i had so much fun doing my Open water with you in Feb 2010 - so much so i am planning my next adventure back over your way to do my advanced :) Thank you for making my holiday so awesome - especially Deano & Sonia :) Miss you guys x- Emma Lovejoy" Thanks Emma. Look forward to having you back here for your Advanced...and Rescue... & Divemaster!?
Friday 5th March 2010-
Eagle Ray in Confined Water!? Imagine that! Most dive shops on this Island offer the first day of the Open Water Course in a swimming pool! Lots of phlegm, pubes, chewed off fingernails, discarded plasters & some pools on the island you even see dollops of man milk! But if you are wise & really want to get the most out of your dive course then I highly recommend doing your confined water training in the sea! Like we do! & if you keep fingers crossed you might see an Eagle Ray too. Or a Turtle. Or a Seahorse!
"Hi Jim, Thanks for all your help. I've just arrived back in England (sadly) after a fantastic holiday in Thailand and wanted to thank Big Blue for a great diving experience! My instructor, Nick, was brilliant and we had some great dives. Please pass on my thanks. Sorry not to have met you. I hope to come back some day soon!Kind regards, Belinda" Cheers for that Belinda & thanks for the email! Next time I hope to meet you too, if I can tear myself away from my computer!
Young love! Simo & his lady friend Jodie, & Erik & his lady friend Beccy, have all gone off for a busman's holiday together to the Philippines! You'd think that when you work 365 days a year diving in the ocean you might be more inclined to do something a little different. But so into their scuba diving this lot that they have all gone east for a scuba orgy! Lucky lucky bar stewards!