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January 2011

Sunday 30th January 2011-a

And again! Man if Scuba Diving was a game of poker we'd have a Full Texas Djin Rummy Hold Em House Flush! Sailfish at Twins yesterday! Less than 3 meters long but bigger then 2 meters & fast as feck! Quickest fish in the sea clocking speeds of over 100 km per hour. The sail is normally kept folded down and to the side when swimming, but gets raised when the sailfish feels threatened or excited, making the fish appear much larger than it actually is. This tactic has also been observed during feeding, when a group of sailfish use their sails to "herd" a school of fish or squid.  They can appear in a startling array of colors, from subdued browns and grays to vibrant purples and even silver. Their body colors are often highlighted by stripes of iridescent blue and silver dots. Sailfish can change their colors almost instantly; a change controlled by their nervous system. The sailfish can rapidly turn its body light blue with yellowish stripes when excited, confusing its prey and making capture easier, while signaling its intentions to fellow sailfish. So whalesharks, bullsharks, Grey Reef Sharks, Marlins, & Brydes Whales. Not bad for January!

Did you know one million plastic bags are used every minute of the day and almost three millions tonnes of plastic are used to bottle water globally each year? Would it surprise you that 80% of all marine debris is plastic? In some areas of the ocean, plastic outweighs plankton 6:1, and on Koh Tao, 3 turtles were killed last year from ingesting plastic bags. So a massive thanks to everyone that helped out at the beach and underwater clean up event yesterday, Koh Nang Yuan is now a cleaner paradise. We had a whopping 52 people participate in our monthly clean up this month, and with 6 million tonnes of debris entering the oceans each year, we needed each one of them. So a big thank you to all who helped out.And a big thank you from The Eco Gods too!

Word of warning travellers who are on your way here over the next few days. Its turned a little choppy! Not quite sure why. The sun is out, the sky is blue, the viz is great, there's no rain but there are quite big waves! So take your seasickness pills, neck your valiums & sleep! Oh yeah & biggest tip of all! Come by Seatran Ferry not Lomprayah Catamaran. Seatran gives you white  bags to throw up in. Lomprayah gives you sea thru bags to examine your breakfast with!

 Thursday 27th January 2011-
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And our reputation for being one of the best dive shops in the world to dive with continues! This morning a Whale shark! Another one. That makes 5 this month! That's more than 1 a week! Add that to our tally of 4 Brydes Whales I'd say we've had a pretty good month! So congratulations all those who lost their Whaleshark virginity this morning. By that I mean all those who have never seen a whaleshark before seeing one today! Not losing their virginity to a whaleshark! That would just be silly. And a bit gross!

SSI Simon is gearing himself up for next weeks mammoth SSI Instructor Training Course with 4 candidates all off whom will also be gearing themselves up for their Instructor Training Course with SSI Simon! 10 days of learning how to teach, control, demonstrate, assess, anticipate & develop their Scuba skills to such an extent that they'll be able to teach their butties off! Their little SSI Butties!

Having a massive influx of bookings for our zero to hero Dive Instructor Internships. Over 7 months you do your Open Water, Advanced, Rescue, 2 months of Divemaster training, then get as much dive experience as possible become an Assistant Instructor then a PADI Instructor, an SSI Instructor & at some point during this whole process become an underwater videographer as well. Included in the package you get 7 months accommodation & a full set of your own dive equipment! And after all this fun you'll then be a fully trained diving professional & we will guarantee you a job somewhere in the world in the dive industry. So anyone else fancy a change in lifestyle? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a good time!

Tuesday 25th January 2011-c

Big Blue Diving proudly presents Koh Tao's newest & probably best boat with the MV Naga, a beautiful wooden Turkish built Sailing & Diving boat with 8 luxury cabins which will be cruising all the best sites in the Gulf of Thailand from Chumphon Pinnacle to Sail Rock, & overnight trips to the Angthong Marine Park or the Chumphon Marine Park! Right now its parked right outside Big Blue here on Sairee Beach & looks really quite spectacular. So in addition to our fleet of 3 boats we are now adding the Naga to our list of things to do on Koh Tao. Not just diving this boat also offers sailing trips around the island & sunset cruises, dinner cruises & private parties. With overnight trips starting at just under 10000 bt this boat is really offerring trips no one else on the island offers. Just another reason to choose Big Blue as the islands best, most original, highly versatile dive shop to spend your holiday with on Koh Tao!

Students at Big Blue are exchanging their BCDs for lab coats and their masks for lab goggles today as they get stuck in to some science! We are collecting samples of algae from corals to investigate the impact of the bleaching last year on symbiotic algae communities. Sound interesting? Come to learn to dive with Big Blue and you could help study the wonderful underwater world with Big Blue Conservation (lab coats not provided).

Confusion and anger rippled through the Phuket and Andaman diving communities recently in the wake of a hasty government decision to close many prime popular diving sites in seven marine parks. The logic behind the closures eludes the dive companies, who do not see themselves as being responsible for the natural phenomenon of coral bleaching. Many are now concerned that the ban on diving at 18 key sites in the seven marine parks – six along the Andaman coast – will simply lead to overcrowding at other popular spots that are in some cases outside marine parks. Coral reefs off Phuket are popular but not included in the marine parks, so pressure is likely to grow at these sites to the point where some dive industry people believe they could be quickly destroyed. Ho hum. 3 steps forward 2 steps back. Amazing Thailand :)

Sunday 23rd January 2011-
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When you're hot you're hot! & right now Big Blue is on fire! This must be one of our most successful months for Marine Life encounters with numerous dives with turtles, Whalesharks, Bull Sharks, python snakes, marlins & then yesterday morning on a routine morning trip to South West Pinnacle we snorkeled with a family of 4 Brydes Whales the largest measuring up to 12 meters in size! So congratulations all our Open Water Students who wisely opted to pay the 9000 Bt for their course rather than do the cheaper priced courses they were being offered on their way over to Koh Tao. You got to dive with Brydes Whales. I hear those bargain hunters did 4 dives off Sairee Beach & 1 dive in the pool! Didn't get on a boat once all course & didn't dive deeper than 10 meters all week! Serves them right for being cheapskates! Serves our divers right for knowing a quality Dive outfit when they see one!

Not the sunniest day I've ever know in Thailand! Don't know quite what happened but today is an atrocious day! Absolutely pouring down! Great for the island & our ever depleting water reserves, terrible for all those who traveled down from Bangkok in their singlets! Well terrible for the girls. Great for the guys! If you catch my meaning. Wink wink nudge nudge!

Just thought you should know, that if you are on your way to Koh Tao in the upcoming few days you should most definitely consider booking ahead. Absolutely no rooms at all last night on Sairee Beach & despite the weather doesn't look like there's been too many check outs this morning either. All our usual affiliate resorts are all full, we are pretty much all full & by the sounds of it its not just Sairee Beach that is chock a block! Chalok Baan Kao is too! Chalok-a-block! Brilliant!

Wednesday 20th January 2011-e

Hi Jim, I just wanted to send a quick note to you and ask you pass on my massive thank you to your team. I have just returned from 2 weeks on Koh Tao where I was simply fully immersed in the 'Big Blue' dive school experience. It is quite simply the best trip I have had in a very long time. I just wanted to thank you and all of the team, from my Dive instructor Nick [Legend] to my 2nd instructor [when I tagged on some dives with some friends he was teaching]... Dan....they were both top top guys. Right through to the DMTs [which I might become early next year] and all the staff in the shop and restaurant and equipment room etc.... I am a massive fan and I know I will now dive for the rest of my life thanks to the team at big blue. I know you guys are busy but if you can pass on this thanks I would much appreciate it. See you all in the future. Have a great year. Jarrod.

Big Blue Tech is honored to win 2 awards this year from TDI/SDI (Technical Diving International - Scuba Diving International) in recognition of our success in issuing the most certifications. Last year Canada won the award for the highest number of certifications in 2009. & this year he's gone & done it again! The second And the second award we won is for being the largest TDI & SDI certifying Dive Center which is a new award for us this year as anohter dive shop won it in 2009.  The success illustrated by these awards shows the continued return of our students and the enjoyed experience new students have to stay with us and progress through the levels of diving we have to offer. Along with our strong business practices, safe diving practices and a good group of instructors and staff we hope our reputation is matched by the image these awards represent. And if this month is any indication we hope to get two more again next year!

Its another exciting Full Day Trip to Sail Rock tomorrow. Departing from Koh Tao at 7am we cruise off for a 2 hour jolly to the number 1 divesite in the Gulf of Thailand with a nice cooked breakfast on the way. Then its a deep dive followed by morning tea then a second dive venturing off to Sail rocks secret pinnacle... sssshhhh.... then we're off again in search of the elusive Samran Pinnacle, seldom dived as there's no mooring line or descent line. We'll have a spot of lunch on the way. An exquisite Thai buffet with possibly the worlds best Massaman Curry chicken. And once we've done all that its beers & chocolate cake all the way back to Koh Tao. Thats what we're doing tomorrow. What are you doing?

Tuesday 18th January 2011-
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Off to dive the Trident ship wreck today just south of Shark island for an awesome 30 meter deep wreck dive on the legendary Tech Diving liveaboard. Koh Tao has only 1 proper wreck but it appears we are about to get another! The Department of Coastal resource management have now given their approval for the sinking of a retired Naval vessel 49 meters long 7 meters wide & 18 meters high here in Koh Tao somewhere just north of Nang Yuan Island. That is (pardon my Irish) firkin awesome! Can't wait. Apparently its going to be towed here & sunk sometime in July. Just in time for high season. How thoughtful!

Its the first Full Moon Party of the year tonight & pretty much like every Full Moon party its going to be very big with literally thousands of face painted party people bopping to the sounds of techno techno techno techno! Totally not my cup of tea but then again I am a Duran Duran fan! Anyhow with that many people travelling on to Koh Tao in the days that follow its going to be another week of room chaos with people who haven't booked anything traipsing up & down the beach eventually paying way more than they'd planned for a bungalow they'd normally not choose to stay in but stay in anyway as there aint no choice! If you want my advice... Plan ahead, book a bed!

Ooh dear. Better go there now before they close the place! The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources is seeking the closure of two diving paradises, the Similan and Surin national parks after the coral there was found suffering from bleaching. The scope of the corals destroyed from the bleaching has been wide and unless proper measures are issued, more coral would be destroyed by the phenomenon. "The damage found on the coral for now is vast, probably the worst in history and certainly more than when The tsunami hit this area in 2004. The species affected are the Staghorn, Ring, Double Star and Mountain coral." A request to the National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation Department to close parts of Similan and Surin National Parks has been submitted to prevent any further damage to the coral. A cause of the coral bleaching is the rising temperature of the sea water, which has reached 30 Celsius since the middle of last year. Better book your Liveaboard trip now or you might not be able to go next year!

Monday 17th January 2011-
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Hi Jim, I just stayed with Big Blue for the past week and had a wonderful time. Everyone we met was friendly and inviting. While there, I had the chance to do 7 fun dives and enjoyed every minute. Your DMs and those in training are some of the best I have seen. I wanted to rave on one in particular. I had the chance to dive 3 times with Angel. He is a wonderful guide and was able to find so many things of interest under the sea. I was also very impressed with his navigation abilities and ease in the water. He made me feel comfortable and made each dive a new experience. He is very professional and caters to each divers ability. I also had the opportunity to dive with Megan, James (or Jizz), Jamie and Steven. Really enjoyed each dive and wanted to say again thank you for a wonderful week in koh Tao. Hope to come back soon!! Jordan L.

An underwater cameraman has had a whale of a time while filming off the coast of Tonga. Roger Munns was in Toku - a region of sheltered bays and inlets on the isolated Pacific Ocean island - in the hope of catching on film the mating rituals of giant humpback whales. But while he was able to observe plenty of bulls competing with each other to win a mate, the star of Roger's production turned out not to be one of the fully-grown, 45ft gentle giants. For while the heavyweight males were obviously too pre-occupied with their own love match, an inquisitive calf approached the cameraman looking for a playmate - and spent the next hour posing before the lens. Roger, from Cornwall, said: 'I've heard about calves doing this but I was not prepared for the playful nature at all. 'He seemed to scamper towards us like a giant excited pony and wanted to play tag like a little puppy. I couldn't help but laugh as the calf kept bumping into me with an extremely naughty glint in its eye, but it was clearly in the name of fun. 'Up close you suddenly realised just how big it actually was. The games continued for an hour and I have to admit it was probably one of the most enjoyable hours I have spent in the water.'

Just in case there's anyone out there reading this & wondering if there's any chance of gainful employment in the dive industry here's an email I got this morning from an old friend of mine. "Luxury boutique resort in the Northeast part of Fiji is looking for a PADI Instructor to fill a management role within our dive shop. The ideal candidate must be a Nitrox Instructor and preferably a Gas Blender with several years experience, including management. Equipment and compressor servicing experience is a plus. Current renewal and insurance is required. The Instructor will be part of a three person team in our PADI 5 Star Dive Resort, providing safe and personalized service to our guests. Our resort is located in a remote location, so we require a mature, responsible and personable individual to live on-site and maintain the excellent reputation of our already successful team. Please send your c.v. only if you meet the above requirements to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it."

Sunday 9th January 2011-h

We are launching what I'm sure will be everyones favourite competition of the year. Koh Tao's best Bikini. As I'm sure you can imagine one of the hardest things about being a Dive Instructor on a tropical island is having to handle all those bikinis! Us poor chaps get nothing but eye strain having to look at the ladies in bikinis all day long. Last years winner was the Brazillian dental floss as modelled by various fun divers from Germany Italy & Spain. This year we'll be looking for originality. Something you can really wrap your hands around!

In this time of economic misery financial depression & unemployment woes how nice is it to see so many jobs in the diving industry available. & isn't it even nicer to be able to get jobs for our extremely well trained Divemasters who are on the job market not just anywhere but here in Koh Tao. Congratulations Autumn. Great mind body & soul & not a bad DM either! Well done on your new job.

"Hey Jim, Just wanted to drop you a quick line about the recent Stress & Rescue course I did at Big Blue. I'd like to extend my thanks to the team and especially Serena for the time & effort - it was well worth every cent spent. I particularly (post) enjoyed the duress I was put under. I have done different specialities & dives across the globe with different instructors and would like to point out that whilst Serena, as an instructor, was attentive, responsive, and extremely empathetic (or perhaps that was her very friendly nature), she particuarly came across as very clever in how she approached the various scenarious we performed. I have made strong friendships with various instructors and dive masters throughout my time, but I, personally, have only observed the level of the last mentioned skill once before (by a 'drill-seargeant'-esque instructor back home, that observed my open water - who had 10,000+ dives..) Felt the need to give credit where it was due. Anyhow - I am more than likely to come back to explore deep diving with Big Blue if the opportunity arises and would be glad to paired up with Serena. All the best, David." Thanks Dave. I shall be sure to let Serena know how much you enjoyed rescuing her! See you next time!

Saturday 8th January 2011-
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Happy Belated New Year to everyone who reads our Big Blue Blog ( thanks Mum & Dad). I had every intention of writing in an entry for every day of the year 2011 but that New Years resolution went straight out the window when I took New Years day off! & since then Big Blue has been busier than a Free Cheeseburger Party for American teens! Made all the busier by a noticeable absence of Instructors. Heather, Dan & Kelli all got ill. Jodie, Jenn & now Helen are all in the UK, & Emily is bronzing herself up in the tanning saloons in Bangkok! Its a tough life the world of a Scuba Instructor!

The Bullsharks are back! Fantastic news as with the extremely warm sea temperatures this year and lack of small fish, we had small hopes of seeing them this year. It's good to see the water quality improving and the larger life returning with it, but of course we want to keep it that way, so have a read below how to dive best with sharks and enjoy the experience more:
1. Sharks are a rare species to see on Koh Tao, however baiting or attracting sharks with bottles can lead to unnatural behaviour by the sharks. Some sharks are curious and will approach divers, but some can come too close, particular if they associated divers with food. 2. Stay in a vertical position - not many organisms swim in the ocean in a verticle position, and so a shark will not confuse you with food. 3. Stay calm - erratic movements may provoke defence behaviours. If your calm, sharks will be more calm and your dive will be much more enjoyable. 4. Learn about sharks and respect them. They are fascinating apex predators, some of the oldest organisms on the planet, and they deserve our respect. Enjoy your dive with sharks - you won't regret it!

How's this for a great start to 2011. 8 days in to the New Year & we've had 1 whale sighting at Southwest, 2 Full Day trips to Sail Rock, 3 newly refurbished Dive boats, 4 days diving with Whalesharks, 5 turtles, 6 new Divemasters in Training & 7 sick, or absent Instructors! If we keep this up for another 5 days I could see making this into a song!

February 2011

Thursday 24th Februarya-

It’s always a sad time to see our DMT/Dive Cons leave but they can’t say they don’t leave Koh Tao without a party and last night did they party!! Last night Hugh Hefner and his playboy bunnies were out in force as we saw 6 of our trainees graduated in the traditional in DM Challenge. Hal, Tibo and Steven looked good in hot pants with tails and sparkly bunny ears, as did Steph, Sofia and Floor dressed up in the shortest skirts they could find. (Any excuse for men to dress up as women) they were also joined by Nate who was completed his BSAC Instructor training. DM mentor Nick reluctantly agreed to play Hugh Hefner, he had to sit and watch the bunnies sucking, groping, soaping up and suffer not 1 but 7 erotic lap dances, something was stirring in that smoking jacket and it wasn’t a snorkel!! Congratulations to the bunnies and to Nate for really getting into it, literally ripping his shorts off for the crowd.

Big Blue Diving would like to say a massive, massive thank you to everybody from our neighboring dive schools and restaurants who came down armed with buckets and fire extinguishers to help us put out a potentially serious fire in our kitchen the other day. It’s so good to know we have this strong community spirit on Koh Tao and that people can rally together to help out. Thankfully no one was hurt and it was successfully put out by fast thinking staff and helpers all before the fire engine came down to secure things. We are very happy to say we are still fully functional and the restaurant will be up and running again in 4 days. Good thing we have our pizza oven which makes the best pizzas on Koh Tao. Pizza and Beers all round!!!

Today we celebrate with you a victory for the oceans! Sea Shepherd has turned the tide and provoked a debate in Japan about whaling. It seems like our friends down the the Antarctic Whaling Sanctuary have finally succeeded in their fight to protect our marine creatures after an article in the Japanese Mainichi Daily News reports – “From both a medium- and long-term perspective, Japan should improve its protection of marine resources to a level meeting international standards. Japan has come under mounting criticism from the international community not only over its whaling program but also over tuna fishing. In order to avoid unjustifiable criticism from overseas, Japan should improve its whole policy on marine resource protection.”
Five years ago the average Japanese citizen gave little thought to Japan's whaling program in the Southern Ocean. Nor did they think much about the slaughter of the dolphins in Taiji or the fact that Japanese demand for blue fin tuna has brought this species to the brink of extinction.
Sea Shepherd has changed all that through years of patient, focused, and determined actions to defend marine species from plankton to the great whales. This season the Japanese Whalers have killed 30 to 100 whales, out of a quota of 985, saving about 90 per cent of the whales and leaving a huge dent in the pockets of these murderers. One of our very own Dive Masters James Brook is in his second season with Sea Shepherd, proud of ya buddy!!

 

Saturday 19th February-b

Yet another Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan hits tonight which means in the next couple of days its gunna be raaaam jamothed on Koh Tao! And fresh off the back of another successful full day trip and the peace and quiet we have here on the actual DAY of full moon itself, I think we’re ready for it! The only difference you’d notice is the drop in visibility we experience every month, for a few days, around full moon time… Why? Every month a full moon triggers mass reproduction among corals! The coral produces sperm/egg packages which come out of the corals' tissue and float to the surface. At this point they start to fall apart because of the water movement and when the sperm and eggs are released from these packages, they meet with either sperm or eggs from other colonies and fertilization takes place. The fertilized eggs then become free-swimming larvae, called "Planulae". Interesting stuff I tell thee! And after last years extensive coral bleaching across the globe, it’s nice to see the little buggers makin-a-sweet-lurve again!

 

Speaking of all things green and eco, something to make little Jen go weak at the knees, tonight we are proud to be welcoming back Dr. “Bert” Hoeksema to our parts once again! Dr. Hoeksema's specialities are marine biodiversity, marine biogeography, coral taxonomy, coral phylogeny, coral symbionts and reef coral ecology…a bit of a mouth full, I know! But good old Bert is going to be giving us a talk on the coral reefs and how best to protect and preserve these wonderfully diverse and spectacular marine habitats. Cheers Bert! After all, we do rely on our oceans reefs for a large portion of the oxygen we need to breathe… Take a second to think on that…

 

So, as the sun sets on yet another beautiful day on our tropical paradise of koh tao, we bid farewell to our illustrious leader, Captain James T Donaldson (Just in time to miss the full moon rush I might add!)…With the misses and baby in tow, the boss is off to spend 6 weeks in Kiwi Land visiting friends and family, getting back into New Zealand Lamb and spreading word of Tottenham Hotspur’s historic 1-0 victory over AC Millan in the Champions League a few days ago! He hasn’t shut up about it all week!!! Well, all of us here at Big Blue are hoping you have a wonderfull holiday and you return as fresh as a daisy to the same well oiled machine you left behind. With Roz and Yvonne now at the helm, what could possibly go wrong?! Er…watch this space…


Thursday 17th February 2011-c

With the Easter holidays coming up soon accommodation on Koh Tao is going to be extremely hard to find especially if you are either traveling in a group or a family. So what we have up our sleeves might be just the ticket! Thai style Villa with large garden & swimming pool, complete seclusion, peace quiet a tranquil setting & just a 3 minute walk to the hustle & bustle of Sairee Beach & Village! We got a 3 bed villa with its own kitchen & then 2 double bed villas all with their own balconeys & a view over looking the pool! An idyllic spot for an idyllic quiet holiday in the middle of the craziness that is Koh Tao in peak season! Ask for our private villas or better yet check out www.baansawainam.com

"Dear Jim, After a rather nasty tussle with a bug I picked up on the way home I am now fully recovered and able to let you know what a great time I had with Big Blue a couple of weeks ago. What was supposed to be 8 days on the beach with a couple of fun dives turned into 14 dives over 6 days, including a Sail Rock trip and and Advanced Open Water course! What can I say, some of those DM's are very persuasive (especially on the wrong side of a few beers)! I have got some excellent photos from the camera we rented which will help me to bore my friends rigid over the coming months as well as keep my enthusiasm fired up, possibly even making up for the lack of a suntan caused by spending all my time underwater! Please pass on my thanks again to all the guys - especially but not exclusively Steph, Nick, Greg, Jade, Steve, Jen, Ant, Serena, Sonia etc etc etc. Unfortunately no-one here at home took up my offer of renting my flat for 6 months, so it was with a heavy heart that I said goodbye to Ko Tao. The whale sharks eluded me despite our best efforts but sailfish, turtles and hunting barracuda all more than made up for that. You never know - maybe see you next year for the Rescue course! Kate"

March may be the best time of the year to be on Koh Tao, not only for the great weather and whale shark migrations, but also for the annual Koh Tao Festival. Come join in this years Save Koh Tao Festival; a two day, Two night celebration of the islands diverse culture and community. Featuring live music from Thai and foreign Raggae, Ska, and World Music Bands as well as DJ's to keep the dancing going till sunrise! So when you've danced your flip flops off at the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan the week before, join us on Sairee Beach on March 25th and 26th. Don't miss dive schools performances (including the most amazing show by Big Blue of course!), Mr and Mrs Koh Tao, and loads of other competitions! All money raised through the event will go directly towards the funding of the three Save Koh Tao branches, Education, Land Conservation and Marine Conservation. For last year’s festival we released 49 sea turtles, created a nursery with 1,000 baby giant clams, and raised enough money to add grades 7 and 8 to the local school, for the first time ever. During the day we host talks from experts and professionals to raise awareness, display posters and information for anybody interested in marine and land conservation, and have fun activities for visitors of all ages.

Wednesday 16th February 2011-
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Keep an eye out for this years must see movie, the 3D action-thriller "Sanctum," from executive producer James Cameron, which shows a group of underwater cave divers over a dangerous expedition to the largest, most breathtaking and the very least reachable cavern system on the planet. "When a tropical thunderstorm pushes them deep down into the caverns, they have to struggle raging water, dangerous terrain and creeping panic while they try to find an unknown escape path to the ocean. Master diver Frank McGuire (Richard Roxburgh) has explored the South Pacific's Esa-ala Caverns for several months. However when his exit is shut down in a flash flood, Frank's team including 17-year-old son Josh (Rhys Wakefield) and financier Carl Hurley (Ioan Gruffudd) are pressured to drastically change plans. Having diminishing resources, the team must get through an underwater labyrinth to really make it out. Before long, they are up against the inevitable issue: Can they stay alive, or will they be stuck for good?" Look for it at all good Cinema Screens & Big Blue Restaurant!

'I went to Koh Tao speculatively looking at maybe doing some diving. Big Blue were extremely friendly and welcoming even on the catamaran where the bloke was handing out information about Big Blue. I turned up, had a sleep and then started my open water course. Nothing was rushed, the instructor was top notch and everything was explained well. The boats (especially the smallest) could at times be quite busy, but it's really nothing to worry about as you are still only in a group of 4 and it does not feel like a production line of divers. Finished the OW, diving had me hooked so I stayed to do the Advanced Course and some fun dives. Everything was to the same amazing standard as the open water course and beyond. Highly recommended.' Oli on Trip Advisor.

Awesome news from our friends at Sea Shepherd! "Japan's whaling fleet is believed to be quitting the Antarctic under heavy conservationist and diplomatic pressure, just halfway through its worst season. The Japanese government has decided to cut short the season and the fleet is heading back to port, sources in Tokyo told the International Fund for Animal Welfare. The sudden departure has raised hopes Japan may be moving to end its widely opposed, 23-year-old "scientific research" program, which has killed about 10,000 Antarctic whales. Under pressure from all fronts, the Japanese whaling fleet is apparently withdrawing early this season from the internationally recognised sanctuary around Antarctica. We hope this is a first sign of Japanese government decision makers recognising there is no future for whaling in the 21st century and that responsible whale watching, the only genuinely sustainable use of whales, is now the best way forward for Japan" So Whales saved! Now lets see if we can't stop them slaughtering the dolphins next!

Tuesday 15th February 2011-e

Love is in the... water! Congratulations to 2 of Heather's Open Water students who yesterday got engaged underwater on Valentines Day! How tweet! & can't put this down to suffering from Nitrogen Narcosis & doing something you didn't mean to do as they were only at 12 meters! Obviously thought long & hard about it & decided to bite the bullet & go the whole hog & asked for her hand in marriage & slipped a snorkel keeper on her finger in case he dropped or lost the ring! Wise man. Right up until the time he proposed! No only kidding! Congratulations guys very happy for you both. Champagne & free T-shirts all round!

Manta-ray-tastic over in the Similans right now in case anyone is interested in a 4 day 4 night Liveaboard to the 9 beautiful Similan Islands & the 3 best dive sites in Thailand- Richeleiu Rock (Whale sharks), Koh Tachai (Leopard Sharks) & Koh Bon (Manta Rays). Backpacker prices are around 20000 Bt per person including equipment & Marine Park Fee. Private Cabins on 4 star Liveaboards will set you back about 35000 Bt including MP Fee & Equipment & for 5 star accommodation & Service you are looking at 50000 Bt & up per person all in! Book now, the speed with which some ASian countries are consuming shark fins the Manta Rays Whalesharks & Leopard sharks won't be round much longer! Sniffle sniffle.

Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan in a couple of days so get your face paint & glow sticks out everyone this month its going to be massive! Koh Phangan is practically sold out already & Koh Tao is bracing itself for the party people onslaught. We got our Instructors braced, our DM's are manning the decks, our shop girls are making rooms available & just when its going to get really really busy our Manager is off for a 6 week jolly to NZ! How's that for timing! Good luck fella's, I'm orf!

Sunday 13th February 2011-f

'Hey, guys! This is Iñigo. I recently completed the OPEN WATER and I absolutely loved it. You are a wonderful team! I just wanted to thank you all very much for the wonderful time we had diving in Koh Tao. Definitely I will recommend everyone to go diving with Big Blue and I will also try to keep up with the diving with you guys.'

Ok lets just assess the situation. Queensland, Australia & the world famous Great Barrier Reef has just been hit by a massive cyclone & floods reaching some 20 meters above sea level at some places. Hmm, not good! Then there was the bad press release Thailands west coast dive sites received in some major international papers saying the dive sites had been destroyed by coral bleaching & were therefore being closed to divers. Absolute bullocks, as no one has been diving those divesites for ages anyway, but still bad for business. Very bad! & then there was the 'Revolution' experienced in Egypt over the last month & consequently the lack of tourists heading out diving in all those Red Sea resorts. Again... not good! So no diving in the Barrier Reef, the Similans or the Red Sea. I wonder if that might be why we are bursting at the seams here in Koh Tao!

"Big Blue Diving! What a great base for diving and enjoying Koh Tao. The bungalows were basic but comortable. Hammocks on balconies and a brilliant location by the beach were major pluses. The excellent restaurant/bar and fire-twirler entertainment mean you don't have to go far for a good meal and an enjoyable evening. My wife and I did our first dive with Big Blue and completed the SSI Open Water course. Enjoyed that so much that we stayed on to do the Advanced course and several more dives afterwards. Course was great. All the essentials to stay safe and confident, but we still felt like we were on holiday while doing it. Jodie's a brilliant instructor. Relaxed and good-humoured, she made both courses really enjoyable and easy-to-follow. We owe our newfound love of diving to her great teaching and the brilliant dive sites. The other dive leaders were also very personable and took us on great dives. Very welcoming and friendly place. We'll definitely be back." Madman, Canberra, Australia.

Thursday 10th February 2011-g

With all the chaos in Cairo you might be looking for a new place for your club or group to go diving then Big Blue Diving in Koh Tao Thailand is inviting you to come here and join us with our new 7 day, 7 night diving package for certified and experienced divers. We’re offering unlimited fun diving with all the trimmings in our resort. Big Blue Diving is a BSAC Center of Excellence, SSI Platinum Facility, PADI Dive Center, TDI 5 star IDC Center, SDI Center, BSAC Technical Center and award winning ecological center for green and eco initiatives. Big Blue Diving have 3 large boats departing 3 times daily along with a lively bar, restaurant and hotel or bungalow accommodation to suite any style. We’re located directly on the beach, that means there is no distance to walk to the water.

The promotion is as follows.
7 Days, 7 Nights Diving Package
- Unlimited Diving (pinnacles, wrecks, caves, coral)
- Unlimited Boat or Shore Diving
- 10% off all equipment purchases
- Free T-shirt and water bottle cooler
- Night Dives
- Full day Trip to Sail Rock
- All equipment Rental
- Airconditioned Hotel Accommodation, satellite TV, Fridge, Balcony with sea view, Hot Water
- Breakfast Daily
- Wifi
- Taxi service around the island
30,000 Baht
Save 3000 Baht with your own equipment (DIN or INT tanks available)
BSAC Members get free Nitrox!

14 Days, 14 Nights Diving Package
- Unlimited Diving (pinnacles, wrecks, caves, coral)
- Unlimited Boat or Shore Diving
- 10% off all equipment purchases
- Free T-shirt and water bottle cooler
- Night Dives
- Full day Trip to Sail Rock
- All equipment Rental
- Airconditioned Hotel Accommodation, satellite TV, Fridge, Balcony with sea view, Hot Water
- Breakfast Daily
- Wifi
- Taxi service around the island
55,000 Baht

Save 6000 Baht with your own equipment (DIN or INT tanks available)
BSAC Members get free Nitrox!

Tuesday 8th February 2011-
h
Well the weather has certainly turned back to normal again, with flat seas, sunshine and gentle breezes would you really want to be anywhere else other than here? So far 2011 has been one for the big stuff. Another Whaleshark sighting at Sail Rock 2 days ago that’s about 6 now this year, 4 Brides Whales at Southwest Pinnacle, Bull sharks and sail fish at Chumphon Pinnacle, Mermen at Twins and Mermaids at White Rock. Speaking of sharks our Divemaster team are taking our fundivers off on a sunrise trip tomorrow morning leaving here at 6am beating the other dive shops to the Chumphon just in time to watch the sharks finish feeding around the pinnacle.

Eco Jen celebrated her 12th birthday yesterday by having a ‘hat’ party. She was wearing a huge ‘Jameriqui’ hat and high heels and was still smaller than everyone in the bar. Sore head this morning for those who weren’t diving today. Happy Birthday Jennifer!

Hi Jim. When I have good experience diving or doing anything I think it is important for those that made it possible to be recognized for their efforts. As you know my friend and I spent almost a week staying and diving with your Big Blue team on Koh Tao and had a wonderful time. Tho the viz was not always the best our diving experience and time there was outstanding and fun. Your staff there did a great job each day not only with us but with everyone around us. As we dove primarily with them, I would especially like you to know what a great job both Greg (our south african DM) and Anthony (our british DM) did not only leading the dives but in the office as well. From the moment greg checked us in to the last dive they both brought that combination of professionalism and personality to everything we did with them that is uncommon and so positive. additionally their attention to safety was uncompromised at all times. They made the dives fun and looked after each and every diver on every dive. Like any job I am sure they have days they are not as 'happy' as others but you would never have known that on any day we dove with them. They were great! We have dived many places and know a good dive shop from bad one and a fun engaging dive crew from a 'bored' one. they both were as good as any DMs we have been with. All of the crew on every trip did a good job! PLEASE let Greg and Ant know the comments that I have made. They deserve to know their efforts were appreciated and outstanding. I videoed the Chumpon dive briefing greg gave on the boat for my friends to see what it is like. It is excellent and shows what a great and engaging job greg did (which was typical of every dive). We are on Phuket and going on a liveaboard to the Similan Islands in a few days. We are happy our diving and trip to Thailand started with Big Blue on Koh Tao! All the Best, Ken F.

Sunday 6th Feb 2011-i

On our way out to one of Koh Tao's legendary dive sites on the east side of the island this afternoon. Laem Thien Caves. A beautiful shoreline divesite around at Cape Laem Thien. A site about 100 Meters long where over millions of years large boulders & rock formations have eroded away & fallen into the sea landing ontop of each other creating large underwater swim thoughs & canyons. All in all there is a total of 16 swim thru's at Laem Thien, some are a little tight, some have large whip rays lounging around in them & some have lobsters & mantis shrimp. And all of them will give you that fun & exciting feeling you got when you were a kid on family driving holidays & your folks would drive thru a really long tunnel! Whoa whoa!Chugga chugga chugga!

Two great white sharks swimming in the ocean spied survivors of a sunken ship. “Follow me, son” the father shark said to the son shark and they swam to the mass of people. “First we swim around them a few times with just the tip of our fins showing.” And they did. “Well done, son! Now we swim around them a few times with all of our fins showing.” And they did. “Now we eat everybody.” And they did. When they were both gorged, the son asked, “Dad, why didn’t we just eat them all at first? Why did we swim around and around them?” His wise father replied, “Because they taste better without the shit inside!”- lol! Sharks spotted today at Chumphon Pinnacle! Brown trouser yourself today with Big Blue Diving!

So in addition to being a PADI Dive center, & an SSI Platinum Center & we have now been recognised by the British Sub Aqua Center as the only BSAC Centre for Excellence in ASIA as well as being a BSAC Technical Centre. Big Blue Diving has been an active BSAC centre since 2009 but only became a centre of excellence in 2010 and now has their own website and dedicated BSAC instructors to welcome new divers. Big Blue BSAC Diving Centre will be working with different clubs to provide charter trips around south east asia, sponsor education events and promote ecological awareness with both wreck preservation and environmental assessments. With research grants and international funding Big Blue BSAC will be looking to the community to help us complete the tasks of 2011 along with our regularly scheduled training programs. www.bigbluebsac.com

Saturday 5th Feb 2011-j

Beautiful 3 bedroom villa with own private pool available for rent this Easter holiday! Quiet, private, secluded, away from the crowds, but only a 3 minute walk to Sairee Beach & its famous bars, restaurants & probably the best Dive Shop 'in the world!' (Jeremy Clarkson voiceover). All bedrooms have double beds, ensuite bathrooms & a view of the pool, & there is 1 shared kitchen, & an outdoor lounge & barbecue area. Available this Easter holiday for just 7000 Bt per night! 10% discount to Big Blue divers... & a handshake!

Another day & another whaleshark. Sail Rock again! Its almost getting tedious. Some divers are actually complaining now that they haven't been able to take any photos of other Marine life here in Koh Tao cos the bloody Whalesharks keep getting in the way! How inconsiderate! Blimmin Whalesharks. They just love being the center of attention! Might account for why some people have spent over 2 1/2 hours underwater today diving face to face with these 5 meter behemoths!

Did you know one million plastic bags are used every minute of the day and almost three millions tonnes of plastic are used to bottle water globally each year? Would it surprise you that 80% of all marine debris is plastic? In some areas of the ocean, plastic outweighs plankton 6:1, and on Koh Tao, 3 turtles were killed last year from ingesting plastic bags. So a massive thanks to everyone that helped out at the beach and underwater clean up event yesterday, Koh Nang Yuan is now a cleaner paradise. We had a whopping 52 people participate in our monthly clean up this month, and with 6 million tonnes of debris entering the oceans each year, we needed each one of them. So a big thank you to all who helped out - and they got to see a sail fish too!!

Thursday 3rd Feb 2011-k

I'm so reluctant to say anything cos our luck has just been so good lately that the merest mention of it might turn the tide completley but... Whaleshark! Again! The Sea gods & Marine life gods must absolutely love us right now! So extremely rare is it to actually see a Whaleshark & here we are on this tiny little island in the Gulf of Thailand diving with these creatures on an average so far this year of 1 per week! THe legendary Jacques Cousteau dived for 20 years before he saw his first whaleshark & here we are seeing 1 a week! Jacques, mon ami, you were obviously diving with the wrong Dive shop!

"HI Jim! I just left Koh Tao today and sorry that I didn't get to say good bye to you personally. But I would really like to thank you. Because if it wasn't for your great email replying to my first email asking about dive master training with big blue, I don't think I would of come to Koh Tao. That meant, i won't have gotten so into Scuba diving and stayed for 3 month instead of 1 and would have missed out on the best times of my life with people that I will for sure remember forever. So thank you for being so good at your job with the whole website and emails! It definitely affected my life for the better! I love scuba diving now to the point of considering changing my career path. haha... My parents won't be particular happy about it, so I need a debatable argument to convince them that its a good idea. Thanks again for everything!!! I wish everyone at Big Blue the best of the best! Lin W.'

And out of absolutely nowhere the heavens opened & pissed all over the plains of Koh Tao yesterday! One minute it was a gloriously hot sunny day as it should be at this time of year & then the next it was as if the island had been teleported us all to the north of England! Absolutely bucketed down! But today you'll be pleased to hear is another beautiful hot sunny tropical day & not a rain cloud or English Northerner to be seen anywhere!

March 2011


aWednesday 23rd March

Everybody look at the moon! Everybody look at the moon! A few days ago we all got the chance to witness a "super moon", the closest our orbiting lump of cheese has been to mother earth for 18 years! Sounded pretty cool when we heard about it and it didn't fail to impress either. On the night of the full moon itself it was almost as if the sun hadn't even set it was that bright and by morning we were left with an enormous orangey coloured moon face hovering just above the horizon. Not a bad sight to see at 7am when you're on your way out for the morning dives is it now? Since that awfully bright night there has been a massive improvement in the visibility (20-30m in places) and an almost immediate halt in the crappy weather we've been experiencing running up to the full moon...until this morning...when the heavens opened up and prepissitated all over us again! Nice one weather! Cheers! Lets hope it only lasts for a few days...

So only a few more days now until the Koh Tao underwater festival. The site is coming on well by the looks of it and so is the big blue dance practise(which is still a secret sorry). The guys have been working there butts off for the last few weeks preparing for their part in the festivities, aimed at raising money and awareness for Save Koh Tao. It is going to be one of many performances over the two days by local dive schools and children's schools getting involved this year. So if you're in the area, pop down on the 25th-26th, have a ganders and help us to try and preserve this beautiful island and its stunning waters. Food, beers, music and baby turtles! What more could you want?

Oh, I almost forgot! Not only did we have that super duper moon to gorp at the other morning but little did we know we were on our way out to bump into a whaleshark! Yes, another whaleshark I say. They're getting boring now! Recent plankton blooms have started to attract more and more of the buggers to our waters once again. Not like we've had any shortage of them this year or anything but sightings are on the up all the same. We even had the pleasure of diving with a Brides Whale and her calf yesterday!!! Holy quackamoly, Whalesharks, BRIDES WHALES, SUPER DUPER MOONS! What are you going to do people...who you gonna call?!
 
 
b

Saturday 19th March-

Today is the 1st birthday of Big Blue Conservation. BBC was started last year by our green queen Jen Matthews. Big Blue wetlands, the coral nursery, swim for sharks, coordinating the 2011 Save Koh Tao Festival, running 2 day eco programs to full internships, organizing beach and underwater clean ups and entertaining science professors are to name but a few things that’s this little star has achieved. And now we have the opening of the Eco Lab (or Hobbit Hole as we affectionately call it). Well done Jen we all bleed green at Big Blue.

Three instructors and their students are on board a dive boat in the middle of the ocean— there’s a BSAC instructor, a PADI instructor, and an SSI instructor. Everything is going fine, until the boat springs a leak, and starts to sink.
The SSI instructor says to his students, "Okay… we’re in the middle of the ocean, so we might as well do our deep dive."
The BSAC instructor says to his students, "Okay… we might as well do our navigation dive, so let’s get our compasses out and swim towards shore."
The PADI instructor says to his students, "Okay… for $25 extra you guys get to do a wreck dive!"

Any instructors wishing to be dual certified are invited to join the next 2 day SSI cross-over which will be starting in a few days. Prices available on request or contact SSImon Garrity at bigbluediving.com Go MORE places, see MORE people, do MORE in general!

April 2011

Friday 29th April-a

Just like the rest of the world here in Koh Tao the British among us are as excited as teenage boy in a girls changing room at the thought of "The Royal Wedding". The pubs are all showing every minute of this sporting extravaganza & there's a few street party's being held in the Retirement Village. Dan & Kymmie are taking notes so they can get there wedding in July to go just as theatrically! Personally though I just don't understand all the fuss this wedding has created. Why are the british getting that excited about a couple of germans getting married?

Hello Jim and Andrea and not forgetting Lulu! Just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our time Koh Tao. Staying at your 3 bedroom Villas with swimming pool was perfect and we could not have asked for any more. Thank you Andrea for being so kind and helpful to us specially over my arm which I had x rayed this week and it is broken. Kevin Kirsty Jamie loved the Scuba Diving and want to come back next year to do the advanced. And just maybe I might even learn to scuba dive to if I don’t have more silly accidents. And hopefully Steve and Beth will come to, maybe they may even have that wedding there. We have bored all our friends with the DVD. Best wishes to you all and will be in touch in the new year to book again. Kevin, Jenny, Kirsty and Jamie XX

Its Golden Week this week. The Golden Week is a collection of four national holidays within seven days. In combination with well placed weekends, the Golden Week becomes one of Japan's three busiest holiday seasons, besides New Year and the Obon week. So this week we have dedicated Banzai boat to our Japanese staff. And after the terrible tragedy Japan has been dealing with over the last few weeks & months with regard to their earthquake & tsunami its great to see so many who have been able to make it out here for a week of solid diving. "Great to see you all," or in Japanese "moshi moshi, sushi matahari origami sudoku," ... I think!

 

Tuesday 26th April 2011-

b

Koh Tao has a bit of a strange tradition when it comes to the graduation of a persons divemaster course. Its called the snorkel test. After all requirements of the divemaster course have been met, the divemaster-to-be is put to one final test. He or she is made to sit in the bar, put a diving mask on, put a snorkel on which is attached to a funnel and then a bucket of alcohol is poured down this funnel. Usually a mixture of beer, whiskey, red bull, juice and Tabasco. The idea is that because you cant breathe through your nose with the mask on, you have to drink the whole bucket in one go without breathing. In 10 minutes you cant speak because you’re so drunk, then you puke on all your friends, and pass out about half an hour later while everyone celebrates without you. At Big Blue, we really thought there must be a better way. Why not have a challenge that you can truly enjoy. One that you’ll remember, one that will embarrass the hell out of you, and one that is actually a challenge. And so it was that 4 years ago we threw out the snorkel challenge forever and replaced it with the Divemaster Challenge.

The idea is simple. After you’ve spent 2 months here doing your Divemaster course, we know a bit about you. What you did as a job before coming here, what your worst fears are, what embarrassing things you’ve done on the island. And sometimes we’ve got photos to prove it. So we make up a program of games and challenges relating to your sordid and supposedly secret past. Each challenge involves usually between 5 and 10 tasks. Do well, and you get applause, do poorly, and you get a shot of something you’ve told your friends is the one type of alcohol you really don’t like. Sometimes 2 or more divemasters finish at the same time, so obviously you compete against each other. Most times you can expect to get covered in whipped cream, ice water, etc. Heres a selection of themes from some of our favorite Divemaster challenges from the past few years.

Pirates of the Gulf of Thailand. We had 4 girls who would sneak on to other companies’ dive boats and steal the cookies. They called themselves the dive pirates. We even had video footage of them stealing cookies off the Bans boat, showed it at Choppers Bar and Grill and dared Bans to retaliate. They never did. So their challenge was a pirates theme. The audience all got an eye patch. First a round of Pirates trivia, then the girls were all tied up with their right legs together. 3 of them had their eyes covered, the other one had her arms tied up. So we had a 2-eyed, 5 legged, 6 armed pirate monster who had to follow their pirates map to find treasure around the beach. The treasure was of course a bunch of alcohol, ice, mix and a bucket and the final task was for this monster to put it all together and finish it.

Night of Magic. Robert was our favorite magician divemaster. A professional card magician by trade, we made a series of card tricks for him to try to solve. He probably would have done better had he not been playing with a Big Blue Deck.

New York, New York. Oscar was headed off to the Big Apple after his DM course, so we dressed him up like the statue of liberty

Doctors and Naughty Nurses – magnus. Self explanatory, but magnus had finished his PHD before his DMT

School Daze- alex,tomas, birgit, flo- All were students, so games centered around student activites

KohTaopoly – archie, Julie, Becky, anna- This is one of our favorites. The bar was done up like a monopoly board, but with properties that represented koh tao, like “Big Blue, Farango, and “Bans” for the cheap property”.

Cable Guy - jeroen- He was a program director in his previous job so we made a big remote control and a whiteboard TV and made him chose channels and have to act out a program that we described on each channel. Based on audience applause if he did well he’d have to drink or not.

Secret Agent – From Russia with Cider - anna, kirsty- Dressed up like spies and played spy games

United Nations – panos, joost, Kristi, linus,-Everyone was from a different country so questions were about international events.

Sween vs Finland Hockey anu vs huympus- Apparently the two countries these DMTs were from are bitter hockey rivals so we made a big hockey match on the beach followed by trivia about the respective countries

Invade your way home – kelli- Kelli was from the USA and as the US likes to invade other countries, we made a map of the countries between here and the US and by answering questions about those countries, she could either successfully invade and attack the next country, or an incorrect question made her go around. Some countries were entirely made up by what we thought Americans would perceive as real world geography (countries like Iraqistan) and also, the trivia was also adapted for americans as the question for Austria was about kangaroos.

Pimp-off – rich and ian- Couple of guys who considered themselves real ladies men had to try being the bigger pimp. They had to rap and do drive-bys and try to get people in the audience to pay for their hoes.

The dating game – nate,bas,max,wolfgang, Brad,mark,oscar,simon,marlene- A constantly re-occuring theme where usually the boys dressed as girls and vice versa and the format was like any dating show, but BB style

Ladyboy cabaret – oscar, goodstuff.

Oh the good old days. Thank you Rick for that jaunt down memory lane!

Now anyone out there not fancy doing their DM Training?

Monday 25th April 2011-c

How's this for a completely absurd waste of money! Dutch developers are giving a new meaning to the term "water hazard." Three corporations - Waterstudio.NL, Dutch Docklands and Troon Golf - will be building the world's first floating golf course in the Maldives in the middle of the Indian Ocean, according to Business Insider. Underwater tunnels will connect the 18 holes and facilities together, while allowing golfers to experience the reef. Luxurious accommodations overlook the fairways and the surrounding reef. The course itself will be built on floating platforms, making it the world's first floating golf course. Its never going to work! After all who on earth would want to play golf when you could be diving!

Awesome visibility out there. Its got to be nearly 30 meters at a lot of our dive sites right now. Which means thats there's actually now almost twice the amount of marine life to see as there was last month when the viz was only 15 meters! But possibly not as good as some of those Similan Island dive sites where the viz often reaches 60 meters, which is obviously twice as good as what we have here right now & 4 times as many fish to see as last month or 4 times better than what we had here last month  & only twice as many fish as what we have here right now! See for yourself. Its better than last month but not as good as the Similans!

Low season special on Fundiving right now! Get this. Book a 7 night stay with us & get free accommodation & unlimited diving for 14000 Bt including Full Day Trips & night dives! Book a 2 week stay with us & get free accommodation & get unlimited diving including night dives & Full Day Trips for 25000 Bt. Koh Tao's best prices for you Dive machines out there!

Saturday 23rd April 2011-d

Well with the full moon Party in Koh Phangan comes the hordes of party people all looking for the cheapest place to stay & this year I think we hit the nail on the head! We're always being asked for free accommodation while they do their Open Water Course & we do offer 6 bed Air conditioned dormitories so that we can answer yes to this question but these dorms are always full after the Full Moon Party so this month we're offerring beds on the beach for free! How's that for innovative! We've made 4 walls, a bed a pillow & a sofa out of sand & we're offerring this for free while you do your Open Water Course. Very picturesque, very air conditioned, not at all private! But yours when you do your Open Water Course!

Our Divemaster & Dive Instructor Internship Programmes seem to be going great guns at the moment. Heaps of students signing up to become fully qualifed Diving professionals & looking for a change in lifestyle! & why not. We have some awesome price saving Internship programmes going on right now & for absolute bargain prices! Just ask Danny Chris & Jesse 3 of our new Interns who've started their DM Course, have a brand new set of equipment, a Nitrox specialty, a Deep specialty, a Videography specialty, 2 months accommodation, 2 months unlimited diving & a job in the scuba diving industry at the end of it all for the absolute bargain price of just 120000 Bt or 2500 British Pounds or 2750 Euros. A small price to pay to become a professional beach bum wouldn't you agree?

Last chance this month to get onboard a Similan Safari Liveaboard trip. Its coming to the end of the season over there in Khao Lak & those of our staff who haven't been for a trip yet are either there right now or are on their way there in the next few days! Sonia the lucky son of a beach wangled herself a trip to the Komodo islands in Indonesia! & Ros & Curtis are off to the Similans & Surin Islands on board the Manta Queen for 4 days & nights of unsolicited fornication! & some diving if they can squeeze it in! 20000 Bt per person for your 4 day/ 4 night trip. Includes 4 meals a day, softdrinks, & 14 dives. Fornication is extra!

Friday 22nd April 2011-e

One very large & attractive, extreme friendly, very photogenic Whaleshark at Sail Rock yesterday & every single one of our divers dived saw & got photographed with it! We really ought to start charging more for that kind of service! Congratulations you lot. Now, who fancies a wager? I bet you 1000 Bt the next place we see a whaleshark will be at Southwest Pinnacle & it will be within the next 5 days. Anyone fancy a flutter?

In this time of economic turmoil & financial crisis Big Blue Diving are happy to offer every single one of our customers and other Dive shops customers too, a free dive this afternoon & all we ask in return is if you see some rubbish to pick it up & stick it in your Divemasters mesh bag. How's that for a feel good afternoon. A free dive & the feeling of having done something good today & off loading a bunch of crap for your DM to carry around for you!

Don't want to scare you off but I did say I'd be giving you a detailed account of the weather every day & this morning despite the glorious start to the day but by 9.30 am it was absolutley prepissitating it down! However the good news is that its now lunch time & the rain has stopped & I can see the clouds bugging off so we should be in for another beautifully bright hot sunny day! Blimmin well better be or I'm going to be having a few harsh words with my travel agent!

Thursday 21st April 2011-
f
Fame at last! Keep your eyes out for this months copy of Sport Diving Magazine issue 145 as there is a 4 page article written by none other than our very own plumber turned Technical Dive Instructor & BSAC Instructor Ash Dunn. With photos of yours truely, my beautiful assistants Kate & Jess, a whaleshark, lots of resort shots a couple of student shots oh yeah & of course Ash himself. Here's a little taster..." It was August 2009. Summer was over & I was ready to embark on a new adventure. Time to put the plumbing career back home on hold for a while, or so I thought. My family came to see me off at the airport. My destination was Koh Tao, a small island north of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand with immaculate diving conditions white sandy beaches & ice cold beer." Keep a look out for it at your local newsagents Pages 64,5,6 & 67, in case you want to check it out without buying.

I am still quite shocked a tthe amount of mail I'm getting regarding the conditions in Koh Tao. Its been almost a month now since the storm. Big Blue never closed down despite the rumours. We got a beating but we are completely & utterly back to normal again now. THe boats are busy the resort is practically full. The restaurant is heaving & the bar is rammed. On top of this the weather is fantastic. Bright, hot, sunny, cloudless, calm seas, crystal clear waters, & teeming in marine life. In fact things are sooo good right now we managed to organise another Full Day Trip to Sail Rock less than 4 days after our last one. So people please.... stop sending me sympathy emails on the demise of Big Blue & questions asking what the weather is like! Its like it always is! Hot. Damn hot! Good if you're with a woman, or near the ocean! Not if you in the jungle!

Canada & his team of Mucky Ducks are off on a trip to the Khao Sok National Marine Park for a few days of very exciting Cave Diving. The Lake at Khao Sok is actually a man made lake flooded years ago when they built the Ratchaprapah Dam & consequently flooded a few small villages in the area. So these boys are off to explore the depths some 80 meters deep & visit some of these underwater villages including the Sunken Temple, which they found last year for the first time. Pretty exciting stuff! You go girls! TO find out more about the Adventures of Tintin write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Monday 18th April 2011-
g
Well its still a beautiful hot sunny day here in the Gulf of Thailand. Must be nearly 36 degrees out there. The water temperature is nearly 30 degrees. Its hot, sunny, gorgeous, cloudless, flat, calm, crystal clear, & completely & utterly & totally deserted! Not a topless sunbather to be seen for miles as illustrated in todays photo!

As divers, we are in the prime position to help our reefs remain the paradise they are today.To help educate and alert divers of the problems affecting the reefs, Big Blue Conservation has helped construct a new speciality supported by BSAC on Marine conservation. Also, as an observational sport, knowing a little more about what you see underwater and improving your buoyancy skills and air consumption will help make every dive count.
The BSAC Marine Conservation Speciality Diving Course
1. Buoyancy workshop - including two buoyancy skills dives
2. Ocean environment
3. Coral Reefs - including marine identification dives and night dive
4. State of the reefs
5. Conservation - including two ecological monitoring, reef restoration and practical conservation dives
The official launch of the course is in May, but because we're special, Big Blue Conservation will be teaching this course now! For more information, contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Would just like to take this moment to congratulate 2 of our old staff who share a very special date today! Firstly lets all wish our old Hawaiian Instructor Rick & his newbie wife French Fanette who are getting married today in Khao Lak. Big congratulations to you both guys. & Secondly to our favourite Dutchman Marcel & his beautiful Municher Katti who are today the proud parents of their newborn daughter Dewi Antoinette. 2 of Big Blue's favourite Instructors sharing a very special day together. Congrats guys from all your pals at Big Blue.

Sunday 17th April 2011-h

Well despite my post yesterday saying that the weather is glorious the sea is crystal clear & flat calm, I still spent most of this morning explaining this fact to a few rather nervous disbelieving email inquirers. Its true people. Just have a look at todays photo. Sunny, flat, calm & deserted! What a great place for a holiday!

Whaleshark spotted at Chumphon Pinnacle yesterday morning & surprise surprise another one seen at Twins deeper Pinnacle more affectionately called 'No Name' yesterday afternoon. There's also a rumour going round that there was another whaleshark at Sail Rock as well, but we were actually at Sail Rock yesterday & none of us saw anything even closely resembling a whaleshark in that 30 Meter visibility but then it was hard to see past all those schools of fish that it might have been. Guess we'd better go back & find out! 3 whalesharks in 1 day! That's probably about the same amount of people arriving on Koh Tao today.

Well despite the miserable lack of tourists & holidaymakers & divers in Koh Tao right now there does seem to be a light at the end of this rather long dark tunnel & that is that Koh Phangan is absolutely chocabloc! Its due to the Full Moon Party tomorrow night of course but thats great news for us lonely poor bored souls here on Koh Tao as it means all those revellers in Koh Phangan right now are going to be making their way over to Koh Tao next week so if all goes according to plan we should be nice & busy again this time next week. Bloody hope so, we're running out of tumbleweed!

Saturday 16th April 2011-i

Blimey Crikey has it really been that long? So much has happened I don't even know where to begin. Yes its true we got a hammering in that recent storm that swept through the southern part of Thailand & yes we got quite heavily flooded here in Koh Tao as well but it hasn't taken too long & we're back up on our feet again! Haven't got quite as much shade as we had last month as a couple of our trees got swept out to sea but thats cool cos now we got heaps more space around the place for topless sunbathing! See every grey cloud has a silver lining!

Definitely want to thank everyone for helping us put the place back in shape. Especially all our Restaurant boys who've worked tirelessly over the last 10 days or so. We had to replace about 15 tonnes of sand back in the resort & put our beach bungalows back in place & had to re do the whole decking of the dive shop & most of the restaurant as well. And we've re varnished the bungalow interiors & re painted the Dive shop & the down stairs Air Con dormitories & everything actually looks better now than it did before we got flooded. Just in time for the Full Moon rush!

So for all those of you still writing to me asking how conditions on the island are now I'd very much like to tell you that its absolutely brilliant here right now! Its glorious sunshine, crystal clear waters & because of all the overblown stories & consistantly inaccurate weather forecasts by the British Broadcasting Corporation its pretty much dead here! In fact I did hear that the center of town has actually run out of tumbleweed now they've been that quiet over there! & it aint much better here in Sairee. So yes people its beautiful here right now & because there's hardly anyone here its actually better than its been in a long time! & just to prove it here is a photo I just took of Big Blue Diving Resort! Sun Sea & Sand & not a topless sunbather to be seen anywhere!

Saturday 2nd April- j

WOW is all that can be said for the Save Koh Tao Festival, and I mean WOW with a capital WOW!!! 2years ago we performed Grease, last year we did Michael Jacksons Thriller, but this year Big Blue and Gemma and Keli from the Flying Trapeze Adventures blew everyone away with a stunningly choreographed Riverdance show. Our barman/ instructor Irish Greek adapted a version of a tradition Irish Ceili dance mixed with some fast steps from the Riverdance, while being joined with the two beautiful girls spinning the Spanish web rope. I have never heard a crowd like it we were bloody amazing if I do say so myself! Along with the dancers on stage Heather along with ACE Marine Images edited a beautiful movie showing all the best fishy clips from Koh Tao. We all cried the first time we watched it well done Heather.

HUGE thanks must go to Greek for Choreographing the whole thing and making us actually look like we knew what we were doing, Gemma and Keli for training so hard on the ropes after teaching trapeze all day, to Jen for organizing the thing from the start, to Heather for amazing video, Kelli and Lala for making the costumes and set, and a an even bigger well done to all of you dancers and for you all in the crowd for cheering so loud they could hear us in Bangkok. And sticking with the usual them of UK festivals we all partied into the morning dancing in the rain and the knee deep mud, you can’t beat mud fights and wrestling in the rain at a festival can you.

We knew something was up when our boat captain, P'Piak, started growing his beard long again, wearing robes, carrying a wooden staff and leading the animals off Koh Tao two by two up the gangplank to Banzai. We're used to periods of heavy, sustained, incessant, downpouring rain here on Koh Tao, but this was something else!
You'll all be happy to know that the damage has almost been completely repaired, we're back up and running, and there was 15m visibility at Green Rock this morning!
The sun is out, the sky is blue, now all's we need, is some of you!

May 2011

Monday 30th May 2011-
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Whale sharks are often thought to be solitary behemoths that live and feed in the open ocean. Scientists however, have found that whale sharks can be gregarious and amass in the hundreds to feed in coastal waters. Aggregations, or schools, of whale sharks have been witnessed in the past, ranging from several individual sharks to a few dozen. However this new research, which involved both surface and aerial surveys, has revealed an enormous aggregation of whale sharks—the largest ever reported—with up to 420 individuals off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. What brings them together is food.

“Whale sharks are the largest species of fish in the world, yet they mostly feed on the smallest organisms in the ocean, such as zooplankton. Our research revealed that in this case, the hundreds of whale sharks had gathered to feed on dense patches of fish eggs. Whale whale sharks may seem conspicuous as the heaviest and longest of all fishes, growing more than 40 feet long, there is still much that is unknown about them. They have a very widespread distribution, occurring in all tropical and sub-tropical regions of the ocean around the world. Understanding this filter-feeder’s diet is especially important since food sources determine much of the whale shark’s movement and location. During the dozens of surface trips that team members made to the aggregation, called the “Afuera” aggregation, they used fine nets to collect food samples inside and immediately outside the school of feeding whale sharks. Scientists then used DNA barcoding analysis to examine the collected fish eggs and determine the species. They found that the eggs were from little tunny, a member of the mackerel family. “Having DNA barcoding is an incredibly valuable resource for this research,” said Lee Weigt, head of the Laboratories of Analytical Biology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. “It not only allowed us to know what exactly this huge aggregation of whale sharks were feeding on, not readily done from only physical observations of eggs, but it also revealed a previously unknown spawning ground for little tunny.”

The team of scientists also examined a nearby, less dense aggregation of whale sharks, known as the Cabo Catoche aggregation, off the northern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula. They found that the prey of this group mostly consisted of copepods (small crustaceans) and shrimp. Increased sightings at Afuera coincided with decreased sightings at Cabo Catoche, and both groups had the same sex ratio, implying that the same animals were involved in both aggregations. “With two significant whale shark aggregation areas and at the very least one active spawning ground for little tunny, the northeastern Yucatán marine region is a critical habitat that deserves more concerted conservation effort,” said Maslanka. The whale shark is listed as “vulnerable” with the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Populations appear to have been depleted by harpoon fisheries in Southeast Asia and perhaps incidental capture in other fisheries.

Sunday 29th May 2011-
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Not one to harp on about our achievements but some things really need to be said twice! Thank you again to everyone who came to help us clean up our Koh Tao Dive sites. Actually there wasn't even that much of a mess but it was absolutely awesome to see so many volunteers! Big thanks too to Cameron who while Jenny is away in Bangkok, representing Big Blue & BSAC at the Thai Dive Expo, did a stirling job saving our beaches & reefs & our fishies from man made rubbish. A big hand all round!

The royal navy is set to sink two decommissioned warships off Koh Tao and Chumporn later in the year to serve as artificial reefs and wreck destinations for divers. The navy decided to make use of the two ships, both 70 years old, as artificial reefs to help preserve the country’s marine ecology and promote southern Thailand as a prime diving destination. Tourism officials in Suratthani said the sinking of the two ships in the waters not far from Samui would help the island’s dive tourism. Navy sources say that each ship is about eight meters wide and 50 meters long. One of these ships, the sources add, will land on the seabed off Ngam Island in Chumporn province. The second ship will be sunk on a flat seafloor off Koh Tao, about 300 meters from natural coral ridges. The precise depth will be between 25 to 28 meters.

Another Full Day Trip to the Gulf of Thailand's best dive site Sail Rock! It’s a big granite pinnacle that breaks the surface half way between Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Samui and as there are no other rocks around it acts as a congregation point for all the fish in the surrounding area. The pinnacle drops down to 30 metres in the sand and is typically dived in a circular route around the rock, spiraling slowly shallower. If currents are strong however, divemasters will guide customers around the sheltered areas, avoiding hard finning in the currents. There are other outer rocks a little deeper that can be seen from the main pinnacle and are home to reef sharks. On a clear day, with light filtering down into the crystal blue water, the granite boulder looks stunning. Enormous schools of trevally are all over the dive site and they energetically harass the smaller fish which bunch together and move as one for protection from these darting raids. Sail Rock is best known for its chimney, a large swim-through that is entered at around 20 metres and can be exited in 2 places, first at around 10 metres or shallower at around 5 metres deep. The chimney's cavern-like area is a haven for all sorts of fish life like schools of glassfish that appear to block your exit, only to part at the last second to reveal the holes. Truely the best dive site in the Gulf of Thailand!

Saturday 28th May 2011-
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False killer Whales. This morning we took our divers out to the south of the island to dive the legendary Trident wreck & then followed it with a dive off Shark Island only to see a pod of false killer whales! How cool is that? The False Killer Whale is named as such for the tendency of fishermen to confuse them with the killer whales as well as for its habit of using cooperative feeding techniques as it preys on smaller species of marine mammals. It is known to not only feed on fish and squid, but to hunt cooperatively on other species of marine mammals such as smaller dolphins and the occasional humpback whale. Adult false killer whales reach lengths around 5-6 m with males being slightly larger than females. False killer whales are one of the species of cetaceans that are frequently involved in mass strandings. Its true!

Another day another beach & divesite clean up! Many thanks to all our volunteers which I am being told numbered almost 40 (!) who met up with us this morning to wander up & down Sairee Beach picking up litter along the way of which I saw over a dozen full black bin liners! & then regrouped after lunch to go to one of our divesites around Nang Yuan to pick up more crap this time underwater! & for your services we would like to offer you all a free dive! Not a bad deal is it. You give me your crap! I give you a free dive! I'm surprised we didn't have almost 50!

Welcome back to most of my staff who have returned rom their well deserved breaks. Canada &  Ibone Fries have spent the last month living it up in Canada. Heather & Andy have just got back from Florida where they witnessed the launch of the last ever Space Shuttle! & Sonia is back from her 3 week trip from Singapore to Komodo Island in Indonesia diving with dolphins, Mantas & Orangatans. Some of us get to travel to such exotic locations! Me? Well I went to Chalok Ban Kao for my wifes Birthday! Not exactly paradise but a damn site better than Milton Keynes! ( mY apologies to all those from Milton Keynes!). Welcome back guys. Hope you have had a good holiday & looking forward to getting stuck back into it again! 

Tuesday 24th May 2011-
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Here's what our children are writing About The Sea

1) This is a picture of an octopus. It has eight testicles. (Kelly age 6)

2) Oysters' balls are called pearls. (James age 6)

3) If you are surrounded by sea you are an Island . If you don't have sea all round you, you are incontinent. ( Wayne age 7)

4) Sharks are ugly and mean, and have big teeth, just like Emily Richardson. She's not my friend no more. (Kylie age 6)

5) A dolphin breaths through an arsehole on the top of its head. (Billy age 8)

6) My dad goes out in his boat, and comes back with crabs. (Emily Burniston age 5)

7) When ships had sails, they used to use the trade winds to cross the ocean. Sometimes, when the wind didn't blow, the sailors would whistle to make the wind come. My brother said they would be better off eating beans. (William age 7)

8) I like mermaids. They are beautiful, and I like their shiny tails. How do mermaids get pregnant? (Helen age 6)

9) I'm not going to write about the sea. My baby brother is always screaming and being sick, my Dad keeps shouting at my Mum, and my big sister has just got pregnant, so I can't think what to write. (Amy age 6)

10) Some fish are dangerous. Jellyfish can sting Electric eels can give you a shock. They have to live in caves under the sea where I think they have to plug themselves into chargers. (Christopher age 7)

11) When you go swimming in the sea, it is very cold, and it makes my willy small. (Kevin age 6)

12) Divers have to be safe when they go under the water. Two divers can't go down alone, so they have to go down on each other.
(Becky age 8)

13) On holiday my Mum went water skiing. She fell off when she was going very fast. She says she won't do it again because water shot up her fanny (Julie age 7).

Monday 23rd May 2011-
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Unbeleivably nice weather in Koh Tao right now jut in case you were thinking of popping over & doing your diving with us! Its hot, bright, sunny, not a cloud in the sky. Completely flat calm. Absolutely crystal clear. At least 30 meter visibility & teeming with fish life. Guaranteed blood red sunsets every evening. Just such great conditions right now, it even makes me want to go here on holiday!

Hello!!! I recently did the Open Water Certification on May 12-15. I wanted to say that we had so much fun on the course. Nick was our instructor and he was amazing! He was thorough and could answer any questions we had. He made us feel comfortable asking questions and he was always willing to help when we had a problem. There is nothing i could suggest to improve. The length of the course was perfect and the instructor was phenominal! THANKS SO MUCH!!!!! Rachael G

Dear Big Blue Diving Resort Manager, All I want to say is that your new Instructor Muhammed, is a very good Instructor. He was very professional, & explained & briefed us very well. While diving I felt very safe & comfortable with him & it was very clear for me that all he wanted from me is to be safe & enjoy myself. Instructors like him make me really appreciate this company & I'll definitely recommend your company to my friends & tourists that I meet during my travels. Thanks very much for everything. Elad Geva

Sunday 22nd May 2011-
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Little did they both know that when they signed up for their Divemaster Courses with us that it would lead to the most memorable day of their lives! Congratulations Mr & Mrs Ashley & Kelli Dunn (nee Bennett) who yesterday under a blood red sunset tied the knot at Janson Bay, & then went to the Vibe Lounge to celebrate their bond with the rest of us drunken reprobates! Beautiful day, great evening, Beautiful bride, great piss up! Now anyone else fancy tieing the knot? If so just sign up for your DM Course! I told you, all those years ago that doing your Divemaster Course would change your life Ash!

Thanks, cheers, & goodbye Erik & Beccy. Who have after at least 2 years working as Big Blue Instructors decided to bid farewell to our Koh Tao shores for pastures new! They're off to England first & then its Sweden, then who knows where! They are looking for a new job, still in diving, preferably in the Caribbean, maybe working on board the cruise ships. So if anyone knows of any jobs which these 2 can apply for then please write & let them know. Erik is Swedish, speaks perfect English, has devilishly good looks & is an excellent Instructor! Beccy, also an excellent Instructor, also devilishly good looking, English speaking & positively buoyant! Thanks Guys for all your work at Big Blue. Hope you've had fun & we look forward to hearing all about your Caribbean Adventures!

Meanwhile Instructor Sonia has been gallavanting around the Southern Seas onboard a Liveaboard which set sail from Thailand & took a month to travel down to Indonesia. By all accounts Sonia has had a whale of a time. Quite literally too! Diving with Whales, Dolphins, Manta Rays, turtles & lots lots more! Heaps of deserted tropical islands, lots of sun, sea & amazing memories I'm sure. She's now diving in Bali but will be back soon to bore us all with tales of her travels! Remind me to take some days off when she gets here!

 Friday 20th May 2011-g

Now some people will look at this photo & think the diver who snapped this picture has next to no chance of surviving this dive with that many sharks to ascend through. Well those people would be fools! Of the 350 species of sharks only 3 have ever been known to attack man & I am very happy to say the reef sharks in this photo are not one of the 3! Awesome photo. Exhilerating experience! Enormous Gonads!

What a busy day! And that was yesterday! Can't even begin to imagine how busy today is going to be! I really must thank all of our divers who when they leave here continue to spread the word on how much they enjoyed themselves with us & how highly they recommend us to their fellow travellers. It's definitely the most successful form of advertising there is! Yesterday there was at least 10 new arrivals who all admitted the reason they walked through our doors & ignored all the touts on the boats & the hassling taxi drivers at the pier was because of our ex customers from as far away as New Zealand recommending us as THE place to be on Koh Tao. Thats really cool guys. I wish you'd told us before you left you were going to be sending us soo many customers... I'd have put my hair on!

Awesome conditions for diving right now. Viz has got to be over 30 meters at some of our better dive sites. Chumphon & Green Rock are unbeleivably beautiful right now & at this time of year when there is a fishing ban in the provinces of Surat Thani & Chumphon the dive sites are simply teeming with fish. & the sun is out & the sea is flat. In fact if you were to look at your picture postcard of Koh Tao right now & then look at Koh Tao its pretty much same same! Tropical island paradise!

Wednesday 18th May 2011-h

The Open Water Course starts here everyday at 5pm. The first day is just a break the ice session with you your fellow students & your Instructor. Filling out somne forms then watching a video. All done & in the bar by 7pm! Day 1 the next morning starts about 9am with some classroom antics sitting in our beachside restaurant talking about what you watched the night before & why you need to know it & what you are going to do in the afternoon! The afternoon is out on the boat over to Nang Yuan Island to do whats called confined water skills. Skills you can do in standing depth. Next day is finishing off the classroom stuff, a multiple choice exam & then in the afternoon its 2 dives at 2 different dive sites down to a maximum depth of 12 meters. Look at fish, look at coral & have some fun! & then the final day you're up by 7am to do your final 2 dives to 18 meters at Koh Tao's Number 1 dive site - Chumphon Pinnacle. By 12pm you are all done fully certified & enjoying the video of yourselves from that mornings dives! 9000 Bt all in & this week if you book now we can even offer you Free accommodation!

Now most of our students then go on to do their Advanced Course straight away. 5 dives done over 2 days at 5 different divesites, all diving very little classroom work & no exams! Much more fun! Whereas the Open Water COurse teaches you how to dive & dive safely the Advanced Course shows you whats out there & all the different types of things you can do with your Dive license. Now you have to do a Navigation Dive & you have to do a Deep dive & the other 3 choices are upto you. Most popular choices here in Koh Tao are the Peak Performance Buoyancy Dive, Photography & the Night Dive. Cost is 7800 Bt but if you have done your Open Water Course with us we'll knock off 10% & we'll throw in another 2 nights worth of free accommodation!

Then once you've completed your Open Water & Advanced you can either continue your education with the Rescue Diver Course or you can do some Specialties like Deep Diver or Nitrox Diver, or you can just come out & do some Fun Dives!. With 3 boats leaving every morning & another 3 boats every afternoon & then 1 night dive thats at least a choice of 13 dive sites per day! Our Morning trips leave at 7am for 2 dives & are back on land by 12pm & our afternoon dives leave at 1pm for 2 dives & are back by 6pm just in time to grab a beer at our beach side bar & fill in your log books while taking in the beauty of another Koh Tao sunset. & at just 800 Bt per dive making this officially the cheapest place in the world to dive & the option of free accommodation on every day you dive you can't really go wrong. Big Blue Diving... probably... the best... Dive center in the World!

Tuesday 17th May 2011-i

At Big Blue, we are famous for our fantastic full day trips to Sail Rock, with breakfast, lunch and as many drinks as you could have, whilst enjoying some of the best diving (and company!) the Gulf of Thailand has to offer. So as we do them so well, we decided to put an ecological spin on the latest full day trip! Soooo much better! During our first dive, we collected Drupella snails that, due to last year's bleaching event, are now at such high population levels that they are consuming our reefs at an uncontrollable rate. Next, we visited Biorock, where we monitored existing coral fragments on the structure and added more. Then finally, we visited our wonderful nursery at Sairee reef to tag our newest giant clam residents to watch them grow. A massive thanks to everyone who helped out, it was a huge eco success! You can sleep easy tonight, knowing you've made a difference to the reefs around Koh Tao, & murdered lots of snails!

"Big Fish, Little Fish, Cardboard Box! Big Fish Little Fish Cardboard Box." Its that time of the month again! Full Moon Party Koh Phangan stylee! 1000's of beach party people all mimicking the size of their fishes with their hands as they strut their funky thang to the sounds of electronic beeping. So while its crazy busy over there its lovely & quiet over here. & in just a few days time when all those little shakers & movers descend on Koh Tao it will be crazy busy here & dead as a dodo over there. ' De Do Dodo, De Da Da Dead... cardboard box!'

Love is in the air.... Congratulations to our very own secret romantics BSAC SDI TDI Big Blue Tech Instructor Ash Dunn & SSI & PADI Big Blue Diving Instructor Kelli Bennett who last week quietly snuck off up to Bangers & tied the knot without telling anyone! How romantic! You always did know how to treat a Lady & make her feel special eh Ash? You big Geordie smoothie! Don't think just you snuck off to get married doesn't mean all the boys aren't going to be getting you back on the staggie we are throwing you tomorrow afternoon! In fact I do believe we have a speedboat of Lady-boys & a lime green Mankini ready for you for tomorrow afternoon Ash! Poor chap. Weddings are supposed to be fun. Well some people would find 12 Lady boys in bikini's prodding & poking the groom in his mankini fun! Dan & I are finding it down right hilarious! Congrats again Mr & Mrs Dunn.

Sunday 15th May 2011-
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"I liked the sound of Big blue diving from reading lonely planet (not too big to be impersonal, but big enough to have a bit of a buzz and social atmosphere), so headed straight there off the ferry. Staff were really helpful in getting me settled, free accommodation as long as you're diving. The SSI open water course was better than I could have imagined, helped in large part by the instructor Nick and divemaster Charlie. They were really helpful and genuinely friendly, and importantly very patient. Even though there were 6 of us on the course I still felt they gave a lot of one to one training. So having got the diving bug I went straight on to the advanced course, which was even better (group of 4 this time), the Instructor Iain was brilliant, and he made some pretty daunting stuff good fun. The night dive is easily the best thing I have ever done. I felt a lot more competent after the advanced course, through both getting more experience and the excellent instruction. I'm now intending on going back to do my divemaster and hopefully stay there, which says a lot about Big Blue. Can't recommend enough. " Ritchie B- Exeter UK.
Entry on Trip Advisor Date of review: May 7, 2011.

" Big Blue were great for teaching us to dive safely and in a fun atmposphere. We liked it so much we stayed and did our advanced certificate too! The resort is bustling, they have two boats and a friendly staff and tech crew. The instructors were great fun and answered any and all questions, they all seem to be diving instructors because they love diving and teaching rather than because it pays huge amounts of money - they're really enthusiastic! I even had problem with my sinuses on one dive and couldn't dive so the instructor took me out one on one in the afternoon so that I could fill my quota to get my advanced cert. The accommodation was fine, as long as you're diving during the day. We paid a little more (1500 baht) for an airconditioned room and therefore stayed at their sister hotel a few hundred metres away from the beach. The hotel was clean, comfortable and had all the amenities that we needed while we were diving." Kahm 81, from Canberra Australia.
Another Entry on Trip Advisor- Date of review: Feb 19, 2011

" I went to Koh Tao speculatively looking at maybe doing some diving. Big Blue were extremely friendly and welcoming even on the catamaran where the bloke was handing out information about Big Blue. I turned up, had a sleep and then started my open water course. Nothing was rushed, the instructor was top notch and everything was explained well. The boats (especially the smallest) could at times be quite busy, but it's really nothing to worry about as you are still only in a group of 4 and it does not feel like a production line of divers. Finished the OW, diving had me hooked so I stayed to do the Advanced Course and some fun dives. Everything was to the same amazing standard as the open water course and beyond. Highly recommended." Oli 19.
And another Entry on Trip Advisor Date of review: Jan 2, 2011

Saturday 14th May 2011-k

Friday the 13th yesterday! I thought it was when I came into work & got a puncture on the way! Then once I finally got in someone told me I had a night dive! Then the taxi forgot to pick up one of our customers, & another one of our customers ended up going to Big Bubble instead of Big Blue. It just kept going from bad to worse when the TV blew up, the compressor died, one of our customers had to be evacuated with some weird ailment, our one legged captain mislaid his crutches, the ladder on the back of the boat fell off with divers still int he water. The internet went down. I deleted all our incoming emails by accident, I stood in doggy doo doo & then spat in my wetsuit & pissed in my mask! What a day!

Fishermen have netted a young whale shark in Egypt's Suez Canal measuring about five metres and weighed 700 kilograms, died in the fishermen's nets. They chopped off its fins and tail before fishery officials arrived and buried the rest of the carcass. "The fishermen dragged it to shore. It didn't put up a fight, so it must have been sick. They cut off its fins and tail by the time they arrived. The shark was caught in the canal's Great Bitter Lake, which is saltier than the sharks' usual environment because its bed contains salt deposits. A shark expert said whale sharks were abundant in the Red Sea at this time of the year but they avoid the canal. "This is the time of the year when they move up to Aqaba [in Jordan]. This one might have taken a wrong turn. It could have had trouble adjusting to the canal's salinity." Adult sharks often measure between 10 and 12 metres and the shark found in the Suez was a youngster, judging by its description. Whale sharks have washed up before on Egypt's Red Sea coast.

In the tropical waters of Koh Tao, two prawns were swimming around in the sea. One called Justin and the other called Christian. The prawns were constantly being harassed and threatened by sharks that inhabited Chumphon Pinnacle. Finally one day Justin said to Christian, "I'm fed up with being a prawn; I wish I was a shark, and then I wouldn't have any worries about being eaten." A large mysterious cod appeared and said, "Your wish is granted" Lo and behold, Justin turned into a shark. Horrified, Christian immediately swam away, afraid of being eaten by his old mate. Time passed and Justin found life as a shark boring and lonely. All his old mates simply swam away whenever he came close to them. Justin didn't realize that his new menacing appearance was the cause of his sad plight. While swimming alone one day he saw the mysterious cod again and he thought perhaps the mysterious fish could change him back into a prawn. He approached the cod and begged to be changed back, and, lo and behold, he found himself turned back into a prawn. With tears of joy in his tiny little eyes Justin swam back to his friends and bought them all a cocktail. Looking around the gathering at the reef he realised he couldn't see his old pal. "Where's Christian?" he asked. "He's at home, still distraught that his best friend changed sides to the enemy & became a shark", came the reply. Eager to put things right again and end the mutual pain and torture, he set off to Christian's abode. As he opened the coral gate, memories came flooding back. He banged on the door and shouted, "It's me, Justin, your old friend, come out and see me again." Christian replied, "No way man, you'll eat me. You're now a shark, the enemy, and I'll not be tricked into being your dinner." Justin cried back "No, I'm not. That was the old me. I've changed."......... "I've found Cod. I'm a Prawn again Christian". Boom boom! :D

Thursday 12th May 2011-
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Peeing in your wetsuit is no laughing matter! In fact in some parts of the world if you pee in your wetsuit then the Dive staff point you out to all the other divers to embarrass you & therefore stop others from doing the same. After all there is nothing worse than washing someone else's peed in wetsuit! But don't worry! Here at Big Blue we have found the best way to pee during your dive without stinking up your wetsuit! Dive commando! Its all the rage! & just to encourage you to Dive Commando we are offering all the ladies out there a free dive when they dive commando! Any takers? & just in case we've put you off don't worry cos we're going to be charging all the fella's double!

Man, I really can't beleive it! I don't actually quite know what has happened this month but its just not normal! Usually May & June are pretty quiet months & the staff bugger off on their holidays & the rest of us crack open a few bottles of Chang & get the Risk board out & play drinking games while watching Top Gun or Star Wars! But this year is not like any other year! This year we are all having to work! Its most disorientating! All our boats are running! We  got courses starting everyday. We're out of rooms & bungalows & all our TV's are airing Dive videos! And apparently the rest of the island is dead! Guess we must be doing something right! Might have something to do with that group of 30 Canadian swimsuit models we have staying with us right now, but my money is on the Free Chocolate Cake we gave out yesterday on the Full Day trip! Hmmmm. Chocolate cake. Always a winner!

"Dive centers across the Asia Pacific are showing their support for shark conservation by encouraging their customers to sign Project AWARE's Shark Petition. Big Blue Diving based in Koh Tao Thailand, hosted a shark swim to raise awareness for sharks, & collected over 200 signatures. Banns Dive & the Dive Shack in South Australia have also put their best fins forward collecting over 400 petition signatures." Scuba Diver Magazine. ( The official publication of the PADI Society) - The Black & White Collectors edition.

Wednesday 11th May 2011-m

Well look at that! You put out the Bat Signal & all the Instructors come flooding back home! Welcome back Roz & Curtis who've just been enjoying a dirty weekend onboard the Manta Queen Liveaboard. Then there's everyone's favorite Harry Potter Character Mr Dobby or Pierre as he's known to his Mum & Dad & Dennis Goodballs who've both returned to the roost having just spent the last 6 months over in Khao Lak working on board our very own Liveaboard the MV Pawara. Nice to see you all back guys & gal! Now go put your knickers on & I'll see you at the bar at Beer O'clock!

While tricks to appear on the images of Google Maps have become common since the launch of the “Street View”, a couple of guys from Norway just pulled off the best Google “Street View” prank yet. Seems two unidentified gentleman had heard a Google camera car was in the neighborhood, so they decided to dress as ninjas scuba divers and laid (or rather sat) in wait for the unsuspecting car. As soon as the Google vehicle passed by, the two scuba divers sprang into action. They both leapt from their respective lawn chairs and gave chase as best they could behind the “Street View” car as it traveled down the road with one of the men brandishing a fishing fork. Fortunately for Google, since both the men were wearing diving fins at the time, the pursuit did not last very long. All the while, however, the Google cameras snapped away at the bizarre chase taking place. Now it seems no one is exactly sure how these Norwegian men caught wind that there was a Google “Street View” car in their town. What is known, though, is that Google apparently did not mind the funny scene as they posted the photos on Google Maps. Just go to “Street View” level to see the pair on the side of the road and then continue down the street to see them give chase.

In the interests of keeping our finger on the pulse of Divers Desires today we organised a very special & different kind of Full Day Trip. We started our day at 11.30 this morning when Banzai set off for the best dive site in the Gulf Of Thailand- Sail Rock. Then after our first dive we have a buffet lunch served, then after we've allowed time to digest we are off to Koh Tao's most elusive dive site Samran Pinnacle. After that the staff are going to be providing all our divers with tea coffee & Chocolate cake! & then we're off to Shark Island for a night dive & then its homeward bound with a free beer along the way! I'm pretty sure this won't be the only time we organise a Full Day Trip Chocolate Cake Night Dive beer by keeping our chocolatey fingers on the beer soaked pulse of Divers Desires!

Tuesday 10th May 2011-n

The average diver sightseeing at 10 meters in warm, calm seas can expect an average tank of air to last about an hour. But as any diver can tell you, scuba diving is anything but average. Deeper dives, stronger currents and chilly water can drastically reduce bottom time. New divers, a little panicky and prone to “panting” rather than easy breathing, have been known to suck a tank dry in 15 minutes. Obviously, increasing your physical fitness is one way to get more out of every breath, but even fit divers can find themselves breathing too fast or too shallow from the stress of diving. That’s where yoga comes in. Like scuba, yoga places emphasis on proper inhalation and exhalation, as breathing is considered the essential connection between body and mind. “Practiced regularly, yoga promotes deep, slow breathing, and teaches you how to calm your mind. Yoga also strengthens and stretches muscles that are important in diving. This all adds up to more quality time admiring the marine life on your next dive. Diving Holiday and daily yoga are now the perfect combination here in KohTao, Thailand. Starting this season we are offerring professional yoga classes at the Shambalah Yoga Center, classes are designed specifically to enhance your dive experience. You will learn different breathing techniques and how to slow breathing rhythm. Yoga increases lung capacity and overall muscular flexibility. Breathing underwater, experiencing the weightless state of buoyancy and discovering other body-mind awareness and sensations can enhance ones’ meditation practice and inner quietude. Approaching the study of scuba diving combined with yoga, diving becomes part of ones’ personal journey inward an intimate connection with the underwater world. You see, there are many good reasons for trying Yoga in your next holidays. More info: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

"75 volunteers from Big Blue Diving Resort, Bans, Crystal, Master Scuba Divers, Sunshine and New Heaven on the island of Koh Tao, Thailand joined forces on Dive For Earth Day helping to remove over 335kg of rubbish which mostly comprised of nets and ropes. Many more volunteers helped on land cleaning the beaches. Continuing the celebrations into the evening, Chad Scott, Big Blue Conservation's Jen Matthews and Eco Koh Tao’s Nathan Cook conducted a marine ecology and reef restoration talk before the attention turned to some great locally made films raising awareness at this important time for our planet." Project Aware May 2011 issue. Nice one Jen. You are famous now! You'll never be able to walk down the street as a nobody ever again!

Now where the hell have all my staff gone? I tell you if you don't keep your fingers on the pulse it all goes to pot pretty quickly! Looks like Erik & Beccy have flown the coop, a little earlier than expected but you just can't hold young love down! Then there's Ash & Kelli who've eloped to Bangkok. Yvonne & her Canadian stud muffin are honking their horns & then theirs Andy & Heather who are in Florida watching the Space shuttle launch or not whatever the case. Then there's Sonia, Roz & Curtis who are all off on various liveaboards Sonia off to Komodo & Roz & Curtis are cruising the Similans. So thats 11 down & 9 to go! Keep this up I might have to get my neoprene & Sergeants stripes out!

Saturday 7th May 2011-o

Another trip to Sail Rock today. I think thats 3 times this week & why??? Cos its that bloody good at the moment thats why! Its got action, comedy, romance, intrigue, drama, sex, & thats just on the way out there. Then once you are there, its a treasure trove of travelling pelagics & with conditions as good as they are right now its possibly the best dive site in the Gulf of Thailand! 3 dives, breakfast & lunch & all the ingredients needed to make a damn good day out!

High-speed ferry operator Lomprayah has joined hands with budget airline Solar Air to offer fast but cheap combined air-and-sea transport service between Bangkok and Koh Tao. Passengers could fly to Chumpon, where Solar Air has daily frequency and then take a high-speed Lomprayah ferry to Koh Tao. Travel time between Bangkok and Chumpon is one hour and 15 minutes. A high-speed ferry trip between Chumpon and Koh Tao takes about 90 minutes. The daily Solar Air flight to Chumpon leaves the Don Muang Airport in Bangkok at 9:45 a.m. It arrives in Chumpon at 11 a.m. in time for the 12.30pm departure for Koh Tao. From Koh Tao, a Lomprayah high-speed ferry leaves for Chumpon at 10.30 a.m., arriving there at 11:45 a.m. also in time for Solar Air’s flight to Bangkok which leaves Chumpon at 2 p.m. One-way at Bt2,900. The easiest way & quickest way to get here!

Just want to thank all of you who over the years have commented on this blog that we try & update as regularly as possible. So nice to have you come up to us & give praise to our literary talents. Its never easy writing off this literary bollocks so its nice when you turn around & tell us that once you've visited us or made your booking or even checked out our website you mysteriously keep being drawn to read all about our latest scuba diving news & gossip. & I can hardly blame you. I have a talent for quite literary bollocks!

Thursday 5th May 2011-p

Whaleshark! Actually that was the other day! So Whaleshark again! as that was another day after the other day but before today cos today there was no whaleshark! Either way 2 whalesharks in just a matter of days! That's got to be good for business! & obviously is! The word got out & the island is back to its normal heaving self. Just imagine how much money that has generated for the businesses on KohTao. The ferries getting the people here, the taxi drivers taking the people to their resorts, the resorts themselves for the accommodation the dive shops taking the people to see the whaleshark & then the restaurants & bars & everything else you can think of that you'd spend your money on while you were here. All because of the whaleshark! Bringing in the crowds & generating an income for the local people! & the best part is they can do the same again tomorrow & the next day & the next day & so on & so on! Isn't that a better way of doing business rather than butchering them & slicing off their fins so you can make a cup of soup! How insane is that?

We had our first underwater wedding this week. Congratulations Satchi & Jun who both tied the knot at 5 meters depth infront of a congregation of another 40 invited divers at Twin Peaks on Tuesday. What a couple of crazy romantics! & didn't the bride look resplendant in the her wedding dress & BCD & mask! & the Groom managed to find a pair of fins that went well with his Morning suit & tie. Quite a pair. Congratulations guys. I thought you both looked very... wet!

Keen photographer & ex military sniper & present day Big Blue Scuba Instructor Charles has just got back from a visa run! We all have to do Visa runs every month or 3 months depending on how good looking you are. We have to either go to Burma or Malaysia get a stamp & come back into Thailand. Its very easy but it is a right royal pain up the whoopsie. Anyway there are rumours going round that Ex forces Sniper Instructor turned PADI & SSI Scuba Instructor keen photographer Charlie Charles Charles went a little further on this last visa run. I thought he'd been gone a while. Rumour has it he went to Pakistan. A little town in the north call Attamabad. Thats interesting, keen photographer ex military sniper & present day Big Blue Scuba Instructor Charles. Visa run to Pakistan. Last weekend. Attamabad. Hmmm.... Shoot anything while you were over there?

June 2011


Saturday 25th June 2011-
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Packed? I've never seen the place so busy! But it wasn't full with divers or Big Blue revellers! Nope, the reason we were so rammed to the rafters yesterday might have had something to do with all the semi clad Swedish women we had strolling around the place drinking shots, bikini wrestling each other at the waters edge, & dancing around some grassy pole wearing laurel wreaths! There might have been a few male Swedish viking types there aswell but I'm afraid I just didn't notice them! My eyes were too busy darting back & forward from one luscious beauty to the the next Buxom blonde. I got chronic neck ache today! Swedish Midsummer Beach Party- the best party of the year. Wine, women, song & dance. 
Thank God there's a Sweden!

Well the sediment & silt is finally beginning to drop at Koh Tao's newest Divesite, the Sattakut wreck. & visibility is still around 20+ meters so diving on this wreck right now could quite possibly make it Koh Tao's best dive site. There are even a few fish lodging there already. It won't take long till we start getting the usual wreck happy creatures like puffer fish, eels, rays & if we're really lucky we might start getting a few good hard to see creatures like Frog fish & ghostpipe fish. At 75 meters long & 20 meters high there's going to be enough areas in which to search for them too. Cool. This site is going to be sooo awesome! First dive Chumphon Pinnacle, second dive the Sattakut wreck! Better get ourselves a dedicated boat to take us there on. I can feel a rush coming on!

More excellent news for the scuba diving Industry in Thailand this week! The Australian Government is imposing a further tax on scuba divers on the Great Barrier Reef. Some companies are already building the increase into their prices, which range between $100 and $200 for an all-inclusive day on the reef. The skyrocketing currency makes holidaying abroad cheaper for Australians and the local product more expensive for inbound foreign tourists. Some ailing tourism operators question why the federal government can't waive the reef tax rise, which is set in law and automatically linked to the consumer price index, when the industry is doing it so tough. Whitsundays-based Maxi Ragamuffin day-charter yacht, said Queensland's reef-based tourism industry was at its lowest point since the 1989 pilots' dispute. "The industry needs to be admitted into intensive care," he said. "Increasing the reef tax at this point is like turning the oxygen off." Bugger! 'Kaka doo' for Queensland, Australia. 'You Beautie' for Koh Tao, Thailand!

Friday 24th June 2011-
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" I've been to Koh Tao a few times (and I'll be back in a few weeks!) and I've found Big Blue Diving has the best combination of staff (many, experienced, and very helpful), location (on the beach at the northern end of Sairee), equipment (clean, plentiful, good quality), facilities (bar, restaurant, small equipment shop, free lockers, etc), and options (novice to professional, tech courses, plenty of day trips and fun dives, three dive boats). It's a large operation so there are open water courses beginning every day (they like to keep group sizes fairly small). They can also do accommodation and diving packages, although I prefer to arrange my accommodation independently. There are plenty of other options, though. Sairee isn't the only option, either. It's the busiest and most developed part of the island but there are lots of cool bays with their own small villages and accommodation and diving options." Steven X Longtail Driver! TravelFish.

"Bin zum vierten Mal auf Koh Tao und zum vierten Mal mit Big Blue tauchen. Kann die Basis sehr empfehlen. Der Basis gehören 2 große und ein kleiners Tauchboot. Neben der normalen Tauchbasis gibt auch eine Abteilung für TechDiving.
Für die Ausbildung stehen viele mehrsprachige (auch Deutsch) Instructor zur Verfügung. Fundiver werden immer von Divemastern oder Instructoren begleitet. Die Lei-Ausrüstung ist einwandfrei. Ich selbe habe aber aus Gewohnheit immer eine eigenen Sachen dabei.
Beim Tauchen wird sehr darauf geachtet, dass die Gruppen nicht groß sind, die Guides haben sehr gute Ortskenntnisse, die Tauchspots sind gut, besonders zu empfehlen sind Tagestrips zum Sail Rock. Hier gibt es Frühstück und Mittag an Bord. Sehr lecker!"- Sabrina. 6 von 6 Flossen

"I went travelling around South East Asia last year, my first destination - Koh Tao to learn to dive. From advice from a friend, I chose big blue - and what a great decision! I knew I wanted to do my open water, but the insturction was so great and fantastic value for money, so I stayed to do my advanced course. They made me feel so welcome and at home, I ended up staying 3 months completing my Divemaster qualification! Unlike other schools, they gave me the option to do SSI or BSAC or PADI so I felt I was getting the right course for me. And they went to the deep sites in the morning - so a great chance to see a whaleshark! The DM team know what they are doing, so professional and everything ran so smoothly. I'm thankful for all the training they gave me and I feel I could not be a better diver than they've made me. I enjoyed every moment, and can't wait to visit them soon. Thanks Big Blue!" Trip Advisor- AJohnson 8 from Bath.

Wednesday 22nd June 2011-
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At first glance it could be part of a lost underwater city. But this Volkswagen Beetle began its life always destined for a watery home. The iconic motor, which features a woman curled up on the windscreen, is actually made from concrete with holes in the windows to allow in fishes and sea creatures. The specially-designed VW classic even has compartments inside so lobsters can make the vehicle their home. Jason deCaires-Taylor, 36, from Canterbury, Kent, created the car to form part of a stunning display at the Underwater Museum near Cancun, Mexico. His most recent VW installation was lowered 26ft below the waters of the Manchones Reef, off the Isla Mujeres. Engineers attached huge barrels to the car so that it would float gently to the sea bed while a team of divers fixed it into place. The Beetle forms part of the quirky underwater museum alongside sculptures of hundreds of people, buildings and even modern furniture which have been made by the artist. 'The sculpture is designed specifically to house marine life whilst exploring the significant impact humans have had on our planet's ecosystems and the subsequent affects to future generations. 'The VW beetle or 'votcho' as it is known in Mexico is an iconic symbol and the classic shape was still in production until March 2003. 'It's rounded aerodynamic shape makes it perfectly suited to maintain stability underwater from strong currents and tropical storms.'

Check this out for an awesome way to get to Koh Tao from Bangkok- the fastest way to get here & the cheapest... almost! For just 2200 Bt you can now fly from Bangkok's Don Muang Airport to Chumphon Airport & get the connecting lomprayah boat to Koh Tao! & vice versa! & at the momnet because hardly anyone knows about it you can almost take the flight and be on your own! Today Big Blue PADI Course Director Guillaume Fargues flew down from Bangkok with only 3 people on the plane including himself! Its like your own private Lear Jet, Thai style! Did you rock & roll G? Take drugs, throw the TV set out the window & shag the stewardesses? All for just 2200 Bt!

Well this wreck we sunk last week is doing an awesome job for Advanced Courses! Practically every Advanced Course we've sold since the sinking now includes a wreck dive as part of the 5 dives. So for just 8500 Bt you get your compulsory Deep & Navigation dives & in addition you get your Night Dive, Photography Dive & Wreck Dive! Thats pretty cool! & if you are a woman you can even navigate yourself around the wreck at depth at night taking photos! All in just 1 dive! Men can't do this. We're too crap at multi tasking! But we know how to spell SSI... & Paddy!

Tuesday 21st June 2011-
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The oceans are in a worse state than previously suspected, according to an expert panel of scientists. They warn that ocean life is "at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history". They conclude that issues such as over-fishing, pollution and climate change are acting together in ways that have not previously been recognised. The impacts, they say, are already affecting humanity. "The findings are shocking.
What we're seeing, is a picture showing changes that are happening faster than we'd thought, or in ways that we didn't expect to see for hundreds of years including melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, sea level rise, and release of methane trapped in the sea bed. If you look at almost everything, whether it's fisheries in temperate zones or coral reefs or Arctic sea ice, all of this is undergoing changes, but at a much faster rate than we had thought. In a wider sense, ocean acidification, warming, local pollution and overfishing are acting together to increase the threat to coral reefs - so much so that three-quarters of the world's reefs are at risk of severe decline. Levels of CO2 being absorbed by the oceans are already far greater than during the great extinction of marine species 55 million years ago. In the long run, greenhouse gas emissions must be cut to conserve ocean life. "The time to protect the blue heart of our planet is now."

So the sexy Sattakut sunk on Saturday is sitting on its stern side... on the seashore! It is resting at a maximum depth of 29 meters & at its shallowest about 22 meters which immediately makes it an Advanced Divers dive site. Both gun turrets are still in place but the recon tower has blown open like a tin can! Now that the silt has settled a bit she's looking a pretty awesome site & we are getting inundated with requests to dive there! Well remember people we want to take you there but to dive it properly you really need to be an Advanced Diver & if you really want to be cool & studly you really need to consider taking your Wreck Diver specialty! That'll help pull the chicks...or chaps... or both if you are that way inclined!

Underwater Videography! It seems to be the long term choice for professional divers! Although DMing is a very fulfilling job & the first rung of the ladder in the Professional Diving Industry, unfortunatley it is also the worst paying. Having said that the more people you take diving the more you get paid so it can be a nice little earner in some parts of the world like the Barrier Reef or the Red Sea, or even here in Koh Tao. & then there's Instructing. An awesome job but quite demanding & can get a little tiring on occasion. & then there's Videography! Definitely the way forward. Its like the glitz & glamour job of Diving. The directors in the movie biz! The high fliers! The chick magnets! The James Camerons & Steven Spielbergs of the Underwater world! & right now we are offerring 6 weeks unlimited diving to all certified divers teaching you how to shoot make, edit & sell your underwater movies for just 35000 Bt. Become a Professional Underwater Videographer with Big Blue Diving & ACE Marine Videos. We'll make you famous!

Sunday 19th June 2011-
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Well its gone down! Not quite like how we anticipated especially after 3 hours waiting for the sinking, a few beers, a small storm, a cancellation, a couple JD & coke, a few big waves (apparently) a few more beers, a few seasick passengers, a return journey, a few pizza's & then finally after more than 5 hours waiting for the bloody thing to sink, it finally sunk! Allegedly! Well I guess it must have. One minute it was there the next it wasn't! Guess we'll have to dive it this afternoon to truely find out! Anyone fancy a dive on Koh Tao's newest ship wreck? 10 spaces still available! Oops sorry make that 4! Its getting popular this trip! I wonder why?

I’m appalled at the failure of the world’s environment leaders to increase trade protections for some of the Earth’s most vulnerable and heavily traded shark species which is why I signed this petition: http://www.projectaware.org/sharkpetition Proposals to restrict trade in eight shark species failed at the last Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in 2010 representing victory for, short-term economic interests over science and the myriad long-term benefits of conservation.  Did you know each year tens of millions of sharks are killed by Earth’s most dangerous predator - humans? Populations of sharks are in big trouble but you can take action. Sign the petition and let’s tell Governments loud and clear: sharks are vital to our ecosystem and deserve better protection. Thanks for joining me.

Bangkok Airways is offering a special return airfare priced at Bt4,300 net (US$144) on the Bangkok-Koh Samui route to help restore confidence on the island, as news of recent rainstorms have continued to affect bookings. The fare, which took effect May 12, will be good until July 31, with the promotion available for 250 seats per day per sector. The airline launched promotion at its Ultimate Destination fair in Siam Paragon in Bangkok, which was held May 12 to 20. The airline’s corporate communications vice-president, Nandhika Varavarn, said the fare would be available to all markets, as well as to agents and hotels that want to offer attractive packages to entice bookings. “More special airfares will be launched in the coming months,” Varavarn said.

Saturday 18th June 2011-f

On May 30, 2011, six captive dolphins were taken from Taiji, Japan and shipped to China. The trucks carrying the dolphins from Taiji were waiting at the Kansai International Airport at 9:00 am when we found them, meaning they left Taiji around 5:00 am, if not earlier. Young girls from the Dolphin Resort Hotel in Taiji accompanied the dolphins. The six dolphins were kept in the trucks until about 2:00 pm when their crates were moved into the Cathay Pacific cargo handling facility at Kansai - this means the dolphins had been in their containers at least nine hours at this point. Approximately two hours later, the dolphin crates were moved to a waiting Donghai freight aircraft, which took off about an hour later. Shenzhen Donghai Airlines is a cargo airline based in Shenzhen, People’s Republic of China. The captive dolphins were in those crates at least 12 hours by the time the plane took off. We do not know where the plane landed in China or how far the dolphins had to be trucked to the aquarium. How many hours were they in those crates? Did any survive the trip? Unfortunately, we have no idea. But we do know we aint going to be flying with Cathay Pacific any longer!

The mighty sperm whale is the largest of the toothed whales with some males reaching 20 metres in length. Its enormous box-like head with left-sided blow hole contains the biggest brain of any living animal. It is also the deepest diving mammal, reaching depths of 3,000 metres (nearly two miles) although the average dive is between 300 and 600 metres. These dives can last for a couple of hours before the whale has to come up for breath. A sperm whale’s ability to echolocate may aid in its hunt for giant squid and octopus. It makes clicks by blowing air that are among the loudest sounds made by any animal, possibly loud enough to stun prey. Sperm whales are found in all the world's oceans in tropical to sub-polar waters & is quite clearly a multiple record holder!

Whoever said ‘the bigger the better’ had clearly never been diving.  Very often it’s the little things doing their thing on the coral reef that get completely overlooked by divers on their ‘eternal quest’ for the ‘bigstuff’ namely whalesharks, reef sharks, polar bears, whales, manta rays, basically anything that requires no effort to find.  Not that these aren’t wonderful and amazing but anyone who’s done any macro diving will know how satisfying it is to spot something so tiny and intricately beautiful that if you hadn’t taken the time to look for would never have known of its existence.  There are soooo many things to look for, in fact tons more than one pelagic creature swimming around showing off how big it is!  Seriously, size doesn’t matter, well certainly not when it comes to the aquatic world.  Next time you go for a dive slow right down, then slow down some more and look in all the tiny nooks and crannies or just look at the reef walls.  For there you will find a circus of some of the craziest looking things you’ll ever see wrapped up in the tiniest of packages!  Take the glass cleaner shrimp, an almost transparent little fella who spends his entire life elevating himself up and down on to fish and other aquatic species 500 times his size to clean off any parasites or other tasty morsels that need removing so he can fill his belly, the contents of which you can see!  Then there are Durban dancing shrimps, crabs the size of your finger nail, gobies, seahorses and of course our beloved multi-coloured nudibranchs, sea slugs and flat worms.  These marine snail like creatures [gastropod molluscs] who never actually have a shell can be as small as 1.5cm, thank goodness everything looks 25% bigger underwater!  It takes some real dedication, a torch, a keen eye and a possibly a magnifying glass to find one of these little marvels.  There are many varieties and have some of the craziest of names…Spanish dancers, Variable Neon Slug, and my favourite the Beau Vallon Magnificent Slug.  So next time you’re diving please don’t forget to pay some loving attention to the very small but hugely significant little things down there, you’ll be amazed.

Friday 17th June 2011-g

So tomorrow is the day! Today is the day before. After almost 15 years of petitions, emails, fundraisers, bribes, chinese burns & nipple tweeks Koh Tao is finally going to get their first proper shipwreck! Well second I guess if you include the Trident. Tomorrow we will bear witness to the sinking of the Thai Navy boat measuring 75 meters long & 20 meters high. There will be a blessing & ceremony held in downtown Maehaad & then the HTMS Sattakut will be towed just South West of Hin Pee Wee ot be scuttled & sunk. If you want to come & watch this momentous occasion Big Blue will be taking out Big Blue boat for a jolly. A few beers, & a few photos. Should be a very memorable day out! A bit like the assassination of JFK, or the day Princess Diana died. Where were you when HTMS Sattakut was sunk?

Well we're all braced & in receiving position ready & waiting for the barrage that is the day after the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan. June's Full Moon Party isn't usually that busy but we said that about May's Full Moon Party too & then got hammered. Its July & August which are the biggest parties of the year & they can have anywhere upto 30000 people giving it some on the beach there! This month we aren't really expecting any more than 10000 or so screaming revellers. But like I said we didn't expect any more than that last month either & then 10000 people walked through the door so maybe we should expect the same today. Hope they've all booked!

Right... concerning the weather here in Koh Tao I got some good news & some bad news. I'll start with the bad news first. The bad news is the weather forecast for the coming week is not especially good. Quite a bit of wind & rain and a few large waves here & there! Rigt now for the good news. The accuracy of the Koh Tao weather forecasts lately has been worse than ever. Every time it says rain & wind its gorgeous! Every time time it says its going to be gorgeous we've had some really strong gusts of wind enough to knock trees over & enough rain to threaten us with more flooding! So concerning the weather this week- should be absolutely perfect!

 

Thursday 16th June 2011-h

Here's another reason to like Canadians! In recent weeks, bylaws prohibiting the sale of shark fin have been passed in the city of Brantford, Ontario and proposed to Toronto's city council. Petitions have been started in various other cities in the hope that a wave of action at the level of local communities will create a larger, nation-wide movement. The purpose of this petition is to have the possession, sale and consumption of shark fin products banned in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Shark fin is used primarily in shark fin soup, an Asian delicacy. The shark fins are obtained through a practice called "shark finning" where the fins are sliced off of the shark and the rest of its body is thrown back into the ocean. The shark is often alive when its fins are cut off, and it can take days for the shark to die. Sharks breathe through forcing water over their gills while swimming to increase the flow of oxygen through their gills. When the shark is no longer able to swim after its fins are removed, it sinks to the ocean floor and suffocates, often being eaten alive slowly by scavengers. Only the fins are harvested and retained because shark meat is of low economical value, whereas a pound of shark fin is worth $200-400, and a bowl of shark fin soup can cost more than $100 a bowl. Policing of the world's fisheries is virtually impossible, so the only effective way to prevent the practice of shark finning is to reduce demand for the product. Shark finning is illegal in Canadian waters, but it is not illegal to possess, sell or consume shark fin. By banning the possession, sale and consumption of shark fin in Edmonton (and eventually all of Canada, hopefully), demand for a luxury product obtained through unsustainable and cruel practices is diminished. Go Cannucks!

"Massively impressed with the Instruction received, Equipment provided and service from Big Blue Tech. Hotel included in the price of course was clean, tidy and in a quiet location but still easy 2 min walk to town. During course lessons given in new classroom with one on one instruction and practical lessons where also taught one on one with Dive Master in tow as 'buddy'. Also lucky enough to have our own boat, Big Blue, for the duration of the course so we could go out whenever we wanted to dive although this depends on number of divers in training so not gauranteed. Correspondence prior to arrival was quick, accurate and friendly - if you have any questions just ask them. Will reccommend to friends and use again." Kev in Edinburgh. Trip Advisor Jan 2011.

"Lonely Planet review for Big Blue Diving- If Goldilocks were picking a dive school, she’d probably pick Big Blue – this midsize operation (not too big, not too small) gets props for fostering a sociable vibe while maintaining a high standard of service. Divers of every ilk can score dirt-cheap accommodation at their resort. Big Blue Resort's busy chow house is located about 2m from the crashing tide, dispatches the best personal pizzas on the island. The joint fills up around sunset with divers who chuckle at the daily dive bloopers shown on the big-screen TV. " Goldilocks??? Chow House??? What?! Blimey what kind of porridge were they eating when they wrote that?

Wednesday 15th June 2011-
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To launch Big Blue Conservation's new BSAC Marine Conservation speciality diving course, Eco Jen gave a talk on Marine Ecology at this year's Thailand Dive Exposition in Bangkok. This event is attended by numerous Thailand dive centres and divers alike, so it was a great opportunity to get the word out about how divers can get involved in marine conservation, and how one of Thailand's most amazing assests, its coral reefs, need preserving. The event went tremendously, with a lot of enthusiasm from dive schools in Thailand, Japan and Malaysia to teach the new specialised practical Marine Conservation course. Having all these divers eager to learn more about the reefs they relish to dive is great news for reefs around the world. I can hear the Durban Dancing Shrimp starting the party already...

Here are 8 things every diver should do before they die!

Do a drift dive in a 2 knot current- You’ve just got to experience that feeling of “flying” across a reef, occasionally grabbing a rock to stop and examine something more closely.

Do a night dive- Overcome the natural fear and prepare to be amazed – if you think you see lots of fish in the day, wait until you look at night!

Accompany someone on their first try dive- Watch their face as they suddenly realize they can breathe underwater!

Dive a serious wreck- I’m talking about something over 100 meters long. It’s awesome to swim the decks of a really big vessel on the sea bed and to “feel” the people that lived and worked in it.

Ride an underwater scooter- It’s just the most fun you can have – and your air lasts forever!

Spend a whole week diving every day- It tests your skills and your equipment, but there’s so much satisfaction from coming through a “Diving marathon”

Try nitrox as a post dive party hangover cure- It does actually work!

Propel a diver across a pool using a dive tank and a lilo- Twin sets work best for this!

Monday 13th June 2011-
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Well this is exciting news. On the 18th June 2011 the Thai navy will be sinking a decommissioned warship here in Koh Tao, this time in shallower water than the recently sunk MV Trident which now lies just off Shark Island. The HTMS Sattakut was originally commissioned into the US Navy in 1944. Two years later it was decommissioned and acquired by the Royal Thai Navy as HTMS Sattakut LCI (Landing Craft Infantry) 742. The vessel measures 48m in length, 7m across the beam and is 18m from keel to the top of the mast. The proposed final resting place, to the Southwest of Hin Pee Wee pinnacle, will see the vessel lying at a depth of around 30m, with the superstructure rising to between 25-20m, making it accessible to divers of most certification levels. HTMS Sattakut is currently in Bangkok as she prepares for sinking. This process includes the removal of all pollutants and toxic substances to prevent any contamination of the Koh Tao’s reefs. Special attention is also placed on the removal of any entrapment and entanglement hazards. So finally there is an opportunity for all you diving enthusiasts to get a wreck dive in on your next visit or alternatively, why not sign up for your wreck specialty course so you can explore more of the wreck...

An eccentric California salvage diver was Sunday preparing a mission to the north Arabian Sea to recover Osama bin Laden's body as proof the al Qaeda leader really is dead. Bill Warren, 59, has vowed to scour the sea bed to find the corpse and deliver photographic evidence that the terror leader was killed, the New York Post reported. Warren, who has discovered more than 200 undersea wrecks, told the Post he was taking on the mission to expose the truth. "I'm doing it because I am a patriotic American who wants to know the truth. I do it for the world," he said.
Warren said he expected to spend about $400,000 on a two-week jaunt next month. He planned to rent a ship in India for $10,000 a day, and spend another $1,000 a day for a remote-operated submarine. "I have a Russian girlfriend, and she tells me that over there, in intelligence circles, they don't believe bin Laden's really dead."
What a knob!

Commiserations to all of you stuck in New Zealand & Austraila who were supposed to be popping over to see us for your dive tickets! Congratulations all of you who are on your way back to New Zealand & Australia & have to stay here longer! That volcanic ash thats spewing its dust around the pacific resulting in thousands of stranded holiday makers is obviously pissing off some people but those guys sitting around the bar right now cos they can't get home, don't look too peeved! Last I saw they were necking back a few cocktails to celebrate! Wonder what those in NZ & Australia are drinking? Flaming Volcano perhaps?

Saturday 11th June 2011-k

Mantas are now being targeted by shark fin and dried seafood traders to feed a new trade in manta and mobula gills to be used in traditional Chinese medicine. In many areas, regional populations have already been wiped out. Like sharks, mantas are slow to mature, and produce very few young. Mantas are very vulnerable and we have to act quickly before the trade gets entrenched. Shark Savers has partnered with WildAid and a team of the top manta researchers in the world on the Manta Ray of Hope project . Manta - Ray of Hope takes the viewer on a breathtaking journey to some of the most remote and exotic places on earth, to personally experience the magnificence of these rays. Through the eyes of naturalists and researchers, the people who know these animals best, we begin to unravel the mysteries of the manta. We experience their joy of new discoveries and also their pain, watching mantas they know fished in front of their very eyes. We then go deep undercover, from the remote fishing villages to the bustling cities, to better understand and expose the trade that is threatening their very future. And, we challenge the medicinal health 'claims' that are driving this destructive trade. Finally, as a ray of hope, we meet those who are making a difference, from scientists, to politicians, to local businessmen, and learn how we all can make a difference for these magical creatures too.

This is the time of year tourists/ holidaymakers get confused by the extremely badly defined seasonal descriptions in their guidebooks. Most of the travel guides will tell you that the monsoon season is at its strongest in June July August well I'm here to tell you absolute Bunkum! True on the West coast of Thailand it is monsoon season now but here in Koh Tao & on the East Coast of Thailand the Monsoon doesn't actually kick in till November, just as the west Coast monsoon season draws to an end. So folks don't be put off by the guidebooks. Weather her is fine. Hot, Sunny & the diving is awesome. 40 Meters yesterday at Sail Rock! Now does that sound like monsoon conditions to you?

Be prepared for an AWESOME experience . . . . .The first of it's kind . . . . . Just a 15 minute boat ride from Koh Tao lies Koh Nangyuan , three rocky islands that are made famous by their beautiful white beaches that connect them. Known for their natural beauty and rich marine life they are  a must see during your time in Thailand. You can snorkel, SCUBA Dive or just relax on the beach ,but if you fancy a bit more action and a chance to really see the island, then there is no better way to do this than to Fly!! Entrepreneurs & thrill seekers Goodtime Adventures recently teamed up with Koh Nangyuan to bring you 'Island 2 Island', the first of its kind in the world; Zip lines between islands! Manned by highly trained staff (The Sky guides!) you will be strapped tightly into your harness, taken through basic training on a small practice line, then it's a short walk up to the first sky station perched high on the rocks overlooking turquoise waters.  Then it's just a step off the edge....... Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!!!!

Friday 10th June 2011-
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The pod was swimming peacefully in the Solomon Islands when nets closed in from behind -- trapping 25 wild dolphins for a luxury resort's latest exhibit. They are now locked in tiny pens, starved of food -- but we can free them. For wild dolphins captivity is torture, their powerful sonar bounces off the walls back at them -- as if they are trapped in an endless house of mirrors. Most die young from stress induced illness, but some even commit suicide. If the wealthy Resorts World Sentosa succeeds in keeping them captive then half the dolphins will die in the first 2 years -- and it will legitimise the widely banned practice of capturing dolphins in the wild.
Resorts World was forced to abandon plans for a whale shark exhibit two years ago because of the huge outcry that threatened their reputation. Let’s build a massive call now to free these intelligent, beautiful creatures -- and make this a turning point in the fight to end the global wild-dolphin trade. When we reach 500,000 our petition will be delivered to Resorts World and the media. Sign now and share this with everyone

The next time you think you are having a bad day remember this: Fire authorities in California found a corpse in a burned out section of forest while assessing the damage done by a forest fire. The deceased male was dressed in a full wet suit, complete with SCUBA tanks on his back, flippers, and face mask. A post-mortem revealed that the person died not from burns, but from massive internal injuries. Dental records provided a positive identification. Investigators then set about to determine how a fully clad diver ended up in the middle of a forest fire. It was revealed that, on the day of the fire, the person went for a diving trip off the coast some 20 miles away from the forest. The firefighters, seeking to control the fire as quickly as possible, called in a fleet of helicopters with very large dip buckets. Water was dipped from the ocean then flown to the forest fire and emptied. You guessed it. One minute our diver was making like Flipper in the Pacific, the next he was doing the breast stroke in a fire dip bucket 300 feet in the air. Apparently he extinguished exactly 5'-10" of the fire. Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed!

A week ago I mentioned a trip over from Samui for 1 night in Koh Tao & 5 dives for an awesome package deal of just 5000 Bt per person incl Air con! Well not only that guys but if you were interested in your Advanced Course aswell, we can offer you the trip over from Samui in the morning then 2 dives of your Advanced Course here in Koh Tao followed by a night dive that night then 2 dives the next morning then back to Samui that afternoon! 5 Advanced Dives in less than 24 hours. 9000 Bt for your Advanced Course & AC accommodation! Thats a 5500 Bt saving over doing your Advanced from Samui & that doesn't even include accommodation! In fact if you were to spend 14500 Bt on your diving ( which is the price of the Advanced Course in Samui) then you could even get another 7 dives after you've done your Advanced for the same price as what you'd pay in Samui! See you Monday then!


Thursday 9th June 2011-
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Hello Big Blue, We just wanted to say a huuuuge thank you to Yvonne for a fantastic time on our Open Water and Advanced courses. Our photos and DVD are wonderful reminders of our time with you. We're still laughing now. We're having a 'girly holiday' on Ko Phangnan and off to Samui tomorrow. If we had more money I think we'd be back to do more diving with you. Even if we did miss the turtle and the whale shark was a no-show we loved everything we did see especially the yellow boxfish-awesooooome!! The glitter was an amazing experience. Big thank you to Chris too for being my descent buddy-much appreciated. Lots of love and laughs from your girls. Clare, Hannah and Helen. xxx

"On first appearances, this diver's task seems a little daunting - as he pours a bucket of plankton into the gaping mouth of a whale shark that looks like it could swallow him whole. But despite its size, Hachibei, who at five metres is among the world's largest and rarest species, is completely harmless. The shark is the latest visitor attraction at the Hakkeijima Sea Paradise Aquarium on the edge of Yokohama Bay in suburban Tokyo. The aquarium is one of the largest in Japan and is also home to an amusement park, including a rollercoaster which swings out over the ocean. The largest confirmed whale shark was 12.65 metres but it is thought they can grow to considerably greater lengths. The shark is found in tropical waters and lives for around 70 years. They feed mainly on plankton, microscopic plants and sometimes small fish. It has a cavernous mouth that can be up to 1.5 metres wide and contains between 300 and 350 rows of tiny teeth. The whale shark does not pose a significant danger to humans".

Dear Jim, Leaders like you are cherished members of the Project AWARE family. That's why we're bringing you this news first - we've launched the new AWARE including two conservation programs, a new website and new tools to support them and your business! We're asking you to continue to lead critical conservation efforts locally as we work together to build an unprecedented movement of divers standing up for two ocean issues: Sharks in Peril and Marine Debris. Here are three ways to make a real difference in your community and around the world right now:
1. Create a My Ocean Profile . Use the My Ocean community to connect with other divers who care about saving the world's ocean. My Ocean is a great tool for promoting your conservation activities and connecting with volunteers and recreational divers near you. On the 15the of June, we'll award Project AWARE shirts to 10 divers who've created the most inspiring profiles. Start building yours now.
2. Organize a Dive Against Debris and tell us what you think. The new Dive Against Debris program combines cleanups with critical data collection that will help protect marine life against the onslaught of marine debris. But in order to be successful, we need your help testing and providing feedback about the new program. While you do this you can also submit data for your chance to win great prizes in a fun scavenger hunt contest. Learn more about the Global Underwater Scavenger Hunt and your chance to win.
3. Collect Shark Petition Signatures. This petition helps put pressure on government leaders to close loopholes in shark finning policies and get shark species off the critically endangered list. You can also encourage others to sign by enbedding the shark petition on your own website.
We're humbled by your work in support of ocean conservation over the years. Through our new website, we're finding new ways to acknowledge and highlight your valuable contributions to the Project AWARE movement front and center.
Stand with us and divers around the world in the fight to reverse severe ocean decline.
Now, let's save the ocean!
Project AWARE Team

Wednesday 8th June 2011-
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THE Royal Navy’s former flagship HMS Ark Royal could have a new future in the world of diving. A group of scuba divers is bidding to turn the old aircraft carrier in to a dive wreck. They believe turning the former Portsmouth-based ship into a reef could bring £40m into the Devon economy, creating the largest artificial shipwreck reef in Europe. It would mean towing the vessel to a port to be stripped and made clean enough to be sunk. The idea could repeat the success of HMS Scylla, which since being sunk has attracted thousands of divers to Plymouth, generating millions of pounds for the local economy. The divers have formed a team called ArkRoyalReef which was one of a number of interested buyers to tour the vessel last week. They say they do not want to see the former flagship follow in the wake of HMS Invincible, which was towed to Turkey for scrap. ‘We would love to get it ready in time for the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics when we could sink it, with a fireworks display, to coincide with that and get worldwide coverage. It should bring us worldwide attention because Ark Royal is the flagship of the Royal Navy and it would be the third largest artificial shipwreck reef in the world and the largest in Europe.’ & he forgot to mention but equally important is that it is also the ship Big Blue Tech's Manager Mr James Thornton Allen also served on!

Anyone in Samui & wishing they could experience a taste of Koh Tao & I don't just mean a speedboat trip for a couple of hours 2 quick dives lunch on the boat & another 2 hour speedboat trip back home in time for tea! I mean a nice leisurely trip over on the Lomprayah catamaran & then check into your beachside bungalow or AC room & then a spot of lunch before heading out about 1pm for 2 dives around Nang Yuan Pinnacle. Back on Tao by 5.30pm for a quick snack then off you go again for a night dive & back in the bar for log books by 8pm. Then next morning 2 more dives at Koh Tao's best divesite- Chumphon Pinnacle & back on land for lunch & then a taxi to the pier to get you on your Lomprayah Catamaran back to Samui! Just in case you were sitting in Samui & wondering!

Sharks can be worth far more when they are swimming around the reef than when they are in a bowl of soup — as much as nearly $2 million each, in fact. Shark fins are culinary luxuries in places like Hong Kong, but live sharks are generally worth more to national economies. Consider the expenditures of divers who travel from around the world to the tiny Pacific nation of Palau to dive with the mainly grey reef and whitetip reef sharks that inhabit its waters, which were declared a shark sanctuary in 2009. As a remote country of more than 300 islands Palau does not have many attractions beyond diving, so spending by international tourists on airfare, lodging and diving makes up an important part of the nation’s economy: diver tourism contributes about 39 percent of the country’s gross domestic product of $218 million, and 21 percent of divers chose their vacation there specifically to see the sharks, meaning that tourism to view sharks contributes about 8 percent of G.D.P., the study said. The researchers concluded that the roughly 100 sharks that inhabit the prime dive sites were each worth $179,000 annually to the island nation’s tourism industry, and that each shark had a lifetime value of $1.9 million. Sold in pieces for their fins and meat, those same 100 sharks would be worth only about $10,800 total, the researchers estimated. It clearly indicates that no matter how you slice it, that a shark is worth more in the water than the sum of its parts when it’s cut up and sold. Lets hope that Palau’s example will help encourage ecotourism in other places as well, like diving with whale sharks off Indonesia. You can involve the people who would otherwise be involved in illegal fishing, showing them that the fish have far more value as a tourist draw.

Sunday 5th June 2011-o

Big Blue Tech hosted a technical diving discovery day for 8 future technical divers during a day long event conducted by TDI Instructor Ash Dunn and PADI TecRec Instructor Matt Rolph and assisted by future BSAC Technical Instructor Ian Jordan. The purpose of the day was to provide an introduction to technical diving for some of the recent graduates from the islands monthly IDC and MSDT programs at Buddha View, a PADI CDC Centre based on the southern side of Koh Tao. Legendary Course Director Mark Sowarka helped organize the event to give his graduates and interns a greater knowledge of the booming technical diving industry so his candidates would be better educated in the ever changing and growing scuba diving industry. The students said they all really enjoyed the day and had a great time being shown something different. We look forward to seeing the gang from Buddha View back again in the future for some more PADI TecRec Diving.

On April 7, 1942, commanded by Kapitanleutnant Hellmut Rathke, U-352, a Type VIIC U-boat, departed the French port of St Nazaire on its second Atlantic patrol. It took four weeks to cross the ocean, and was one of the first U-boats to attack shipping off the east coast of the U.S. None of its raids were successful, however, and on May 9, desperate for a victory, Rathke fired on a Coast Guard vessel, the cutter USS Icarus. His torpedoes missed and having detected his position via sonar, the Icarus engaged with depth charges and then surface guns. U-352 sank about 25 miles off the North Carolina coast, where it remains today. The 220ft vessel came to rest in one piece, listing heavily to starboard. Its position in coastal Gulf Stream waters, only 110ft deep, has made it a popular dive spot - though would-be explorers must share the wreck with thousands of bait fish, not to mention barracuda and tiger sharks. The outer hull has decayed to reveal the skeletal remains of the pressurised inner hull, but many notable features remain, including the conning tower and torpedo tubes. Sounds like a road trip for Big Blue Tech!

Its low season here right now so here are some Scuba Pickup Lines you can use to help prevent loneliness!
1. Do you believe in love at first sight or shall I swim back and forth a few more times?
2. I’m a Bar Jack and I want to make a Damsel Grunt with my Blue Tang — can you Rock, Beauty?
3. I’m looking for a French Angel with large gills, and I think I’ve found her — are you French?
4. Do you have change for the phone? My mother told me to call home when I met the girl of my dreams.
5. I can’t find my pet crab – can you help me find him? I think he went down to the deserted end of the beach.
6. You must be Jamaican, because Jamaica me crazy.
7. I like to maintain my own equipment — you look like someone I’d like to “tinker” around with.
8. I’m new at the resort — could you give me directions to your room?
9. I think there’s something wrong with my regulator. Could you hold the first stage while I check out the second stage?
10. Please excuse my panting – I am out of air, because you take my breath away.
11. Excuse me, I’m lost. May I go home with you?
12. Is the sun in your eyes, or did you just smile at me?

Saturday 4th June 2011-p

Well color me pink & call me Floppy! I almost fell over when I heard the news that on last nights night dive DM Greg saw a Black Tip Reef shark at White Rock! It won't be the first time I've heard of Black Tips at White Rock or Twins for that matter but its definitely been a while. In fact a few years ago on arriving at the legendary divesite we call Pottery I cam across a feeding frenzy at the surface of a school of about 10 or so little black tips. So who knows. Maybe our friendly neighbourhood Blacktip reef shark are moving over from the east side of Koh Tao where they usually hang out for a big night out at White Rock! And why not. I can think of worse places to hang out. Sorry Milford Keynes.

As unbelievable as this may sound, its true. Jim went diving twice this week! Usually stuck in the office playing Solitaire, abusing 'friends' on Facebook, flicking wet pieces of paper at the accountant & surfing Adult Internet sites, Jim actually managed to rustle up his equipment from the darkest corner of the equipment room & once he'd blown out the cobwebs from his fins & mask he went out to dive 4 of Koh Tao's best sites. Chumphon Pinnacle, Green Rock, The Trident Wreck & Shark Island. & whats even more amazing, & prepare yourself to prevent your chin from hitting the floor... he didn't even get lost once! More by luck than planning! And he enjoyed himself soo much he's even threatening to do another couple of dives next week! Well blow me down & call me Fluffy!

And just to cap off a week of surprises it seems that every body's favourite Instructor (& gutted to see him leave us last year) is going to be a Daddy! Congratulations Daddy Barry. Still a way to go yet so its going to be a while till we can show photos of the proud Papa & his little baby so lets turn our attention to another old PADI Daddy of ours here at Big Blue & Congratulate Instructor Andy Griggsy & His Missus the lovely Nee Burn on the birth of their 3rd baby girl little Samita Griggs. Many congratulations to you both Andy & Nee & to Barry & his lovely lady (we haven't met her yet but I'm sure she's divine!) & just in case they are & haven't told anyone lets all give Canada & Yvonne a congratulations too! :D

Wednesday 1st June 2011-q

Night diving isn't everyone’s cup of tea, but this could be about to change. A new way to see the underwater world is emerging. ‘Fluoro Diving’ is where the standard white light torch is swapped for a powerful ‘Ultra Violet’ torch. You also need an additional visor for your mask which helps filter the intense blue light and emphasise the coral fluorescence. The affect is astonishing, resembling the night scenes from the movie Avatar. The corals come to life in a very different way. The UV light reacts with the corals to create a fascinating array of fluorescent colours. Not all coral reacts to the light and some are brighter than others. Small crabs which scuttled across the sand glowed pink under the light. The white eyed moray eel glowed yellow. Very few fish react to the UV light but one in particular we noticed was the ‘long snouted cling fish’ which glowed pink. These guys are commonly found hiding in the spines of sea urchins. Again its difficult to know the reason why they glow and not others. If you want to be a part of this new era of night diving get in touch with us. You need to have good buoyancy skills and be comfortable with night diving because not everything at night is fluorescent. And remember more people have climbed Mount Everest than have tried Fluoro diving.

Another pod of whales were seen this morning on the East side of Koh Tao at one of our lesser dived dive sites known as Lighthouse Bay!  So that's almost a week now that this pod of whales have been hanging out around Koh Tao.  We saw them a few days ago at Green Rock & now they're at Lighthouse. My money is on a visit to Shark Island. Maybe even the Trident wreck! Better organise a trip there in the next couple of days. Anyone fancy it?

A man walks into his phyciatrists office wearing nothing but a pair of underwear made of saran-wrap. The Doctor takes one look at him and says, "I can clearly see your nuts".
A pirate walks into a bar with a steering wheel in his pants... The Bartender states "Mr Pirate you seem to have a steering wheel stuck in your pants" (Now in your best pirates voice) "Arrr Its drivin Me Nuts"   --- Thanks, your too kind, I'll be in town all week.

July 2011


Tuesday 26th July 2011-
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So the Big Blue boys are all off to Koh Samui for Dan's Stag night tomorrow night leaving a rather skeletal staff to take care of business while the Boyz are away! & what do the lads have in store for the Groom to be? Well lets see. Monkey's, ladyboys, head shaving, last plane to Bangkok & Mike Tyson tattoo springs to mind! After a movie like that who in their right mind would organise a Stag night with around 20 lads in Thailand? You're a brave man Dan. Very brave. But stupid too!

'Just spent time at Big Blue Diving Resort and found it to be excellent. Spent time with Dive Master Steven. Great fun to be around and he really knew his job. He was very interested in your diving experience and what you wanted as a customer. Tailored dives to your interests and made to feel part of the team. Excellent. Dive Master.' Allie Mac- Nairn Scootland- Trip Advisor

Can anyone lend us 1 million pounds? We got a friend in trouble. The Sea Shepherd director has been convicted in absentia in Norway, spent 80 days in a Dutch prison, and has had the Japanese, Icelandic and Danish navies trying to arrest him for trying to defend whales, seals and fish. But now the animal rights and environmental activist Paul Watson faces the ignominy of having the flagship of his fleet, the Steve Irwin, sold by Scotland unless he raises nearly £1m in the next two weeks. Watson was about to leave the Shetland isles en route for the Faroes last week when Maltese company Fish and Fish lodged a complaint against him in the Scottish courts over alleged damage sustained when Sea Shepherd freed hundreds of bluefin tuna from the company's nets in a a clash off the coast of Libya last year. The Steve Irwin was impounded and now the man described by the Japanese as a pirate has just days left to post a bond for £860,000. Watson said that if the group fails to post the bond, "the Steve Irwin will be held indefinitely and possibly sold. This would not only be a financial hardship but more importantly, it could prevent us from reaching the Faroe Islands to protect pilot whales and threaten our ability to defend whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary from the Japanese whaling fleet this December." "Fish and Fish are claiming damages for the bluefin tuna we rescued from their nets in June 2010, fish that we believe were illegally caught after the season has closed, without an inspector onboard, or any paperwork documenting the legality of their catch". Anyone? Please. 1 million pounds & we'll give you free dives for you & your family for the rest of your life!

Sunday 24th July 2011-
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Whaleshark at Sail Rock! Ha! You see. I call it reverse pyschology Whaleshark stylee! I am the Whaleshark whisperer! Yesterday I said where are all the Whalesharks & today they turn up! Well one of them has! & we had a Full Day Trip with all our Fun Divers & even a Discover Scuba Diver too! Imagine that. First dive ever & he gets to dive with a Whaleshark! I bet that'll make Monsieur Jacques Cousteau turn in his grave! Jacques dived for 20 years before he saw his first Whaleshark! Coen had just dived for 20 minutes! Its all down hill from here Coen!

So we're over the first leg of peak season but still have the busiest timeof the year just around the corner so just going to put the word out now before its too late! Book your accommodation before you get here! Alot of our accommodation is actually already booked up for next month but we do still have a few bargains left! The best one being our 7 person private villa! For just 1000 Bt per person per night you get your self a 3 bedroom villa with swimmig pool, private kitchen, & outdoor dining area and outdoor lounge! Fully booked till the middle of August at the moment but its then available till the end of the month! Book the whole place for 1 week & get day 8 for free! Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more info!

Well the new wreck here in Koh Tao is going great guns & we are already seeing heaps of new life on it like snappers, sting rays, eels, spider crabs & according to one very astute diver a strange type of Sea slug called a Sea Hare! Never heard of it myself but apparently the name "sea hare" derives from their rounded shape and from the two long rhinophores that project upwards from their heads and that somewhat resemble the ears of a hare.Well of course! You're hardly going to name a slug a hare cos of its speed!

Saturday 23rd July 2011-
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So where the hell have all the whalesharks gone? Last year throughout the year we had a total of 52 whaleshark sitings, though admittedly some of these sitings were of the same Whaleshark. This year our count is very low. Only about 10 all year so far! SO where the hell are they all? Well apparently they are inIsla Mujeres, in Mexico, where apparently each year they converge in water the water here where they filter feed by sieving plankton from the water. They swim with their huge mouth open sucking masses of water filled with spawn into its jaws. And apparently there are over 600 of them there! Bit selfish. All we want is 1!

So stage 1 of the Big Blue Royal Wedding is over. Kymmie & all her Hens were out last night painting the town pink! Next week all the lads are off to Samui with Instructor Dan for his Stag night of debauchery & lady boys! & then a couple of days later its the Wedding, Mr Bolton, Mrs Bolton, etc etc. Everyone is very excited except for Jim who somehow has to find about 15 replacement Instructors & Divemasters to take care of all the courses we got happening here at Big Blue while the staff are all in Samui. & finding, 'good' available Instructors & Divemasters during high season isn't the easiest task in the world. Anyone looking for a weeks worth of work next week from about the 27th to the 1st? Must be funny, good looking, hard working, social, able to take their alcohol, bubbly, verile, well endowed, busty, look good in a bikini, speak half a dozen languages & single. Oh yeah & almost forgot... a Diving Instructor!

Check out our latest edition to our website! Hot Deals we got dive packages galore here with FREE accommodation options & for everyone who books online they can claim themselves a free T-shirt per diver as well! On some packages we are offering savings of almost 6000 Bt if you book online! & its worth noting these deals are strictly for bookings only. Don't walk in & expect the same deal cos it won't be given! Check this one out- book your Open Water & Advanced Course (10 dives) + 5 nights accommodation + free t-shirt - ONLY 16,500 Bt save 2300 Bt! write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details!

Thursday 21st July 2011-d

Marine researchers in South Africa had a narrow escape after a three-metre-long great white shark breached the surface of the sea and leapt into their boat, becoming trapped on deck for more than an hour. The incident occurred while the research team was conducting a shark population study off Seal Island, near Mossel Bay, on South Africa's Cape coast. Using sardines as bait to attract the predators, the seven-strong crew was able to observe four great whites. The animals are renowned locally for bursting through the surface as they prey on seals.
They said that after more than an hour of shark activity around the vessel, the Cheetah, the waters at the stern had been quiet for five minutes. "Next thing I know I hear a splash, and see a white shark breach out of the water from [the] side of the boat hovering, literally, over the crew member who was chumming [throwing food bait] on the port side,". The shark, weighing about 500kg (half a ton) landed on top of the bait and fuel containers. At first half of its body was outside the boat but in a panic the shark thrashed its way further on to the vessel, cutting the fuel lines and damaging equipment before becoming trapped between the containers and the stern. The crew found safety at the bow of the boat. They poured water over the shark's gills to keep it alive, as another boat was sent out to the Cheetah. A rope from the second vessel was secured around the shark's tail, but repeated efforts to tow the fish into the water failed. The rescue ship then towed Cheetah to the port with the shark still on deck. A hosepipe was placed in the fish's mouth to ventilate its gills, before it was lifted off the boat with a crane, then lowered back into the water. Just another day in the office!

Well thats it! All the rooms are now gone! Perfect timing too as tomorrow we have all those who started their Open Water Course at the beginning of the week checking out & moving on which of course means we start the cycle all over again! Sign up in your friendly neighbourhood diveshop!Heaps of rooms available for tomorrow!

The SSI Platinum Pro5000 Diver card is the calling card of the world’s most elite water explorers. The list of cardholders is a “who’s who” of diving, containing the world’s most prominent dive leaders, scientists, photographers, manufacturers, retailers, and resort operators. What makes the SSI Platinum Pro5000 Diver award so special is that it’s all about diving. The unsung dive master on any island and Jacques Cousteau earned their cards the same way—by diving 5,000 times. Let’s put 5,000 dives into perspective. It takes 500 dives a year for 10 years, or 100 dives a year for 50 years! That’s a lifetime of dedication and commitment to the sport. Scuba Schools International is proud that the sport’s most elite people carry the SSI Platinum Pro5000 Diver card. Many Pros have confided that it’s the first diving credential they ever received…and their favorite! & Big Blue would like to congratulate... oops, I almost spilt the beans!

Wednesday 20th July 2011-
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Steven Spielberg has a lot to answer for. His greatest sin may have been the damage he did to the public image of sharks. His 1975 megahit Jaws didn't just usher in the era of the summer Hollywood blockbuster; it indelibly imprinted the concept of the shark as killer, as the enemy of man. (And John Williams, who wrote that chilling theme music: you're not blameless either.) People who had never so much as waded in the ocean became convinced that sharks were a menace, better off dead. In reality, unlike in the movies, unprovoked shark attacks are extremely rare, and fatal ones even more so. According to the International Shark Attack File, just six people worldwide were killed by sharks last year. But human beings haven't returned the favor. Each year, fishermen kill as many as 73 million sharks, usually cutting off their fins — which are valued for shark-fin soup, a popular dish in Asia — before tossing the bloody carcasses overboard. Tens of millions of other sharks likely die each year accidentally because of fishing gear set for other species. As a result, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature estimates that as many as a third of all shark species are threatened or near threatened with extinction, including the great white. Sharks aren't the true killers — we are.

"While there are over 50 dive schools to choose from on Koh Tao, I would definitely recommend Big Blue Diving. The in-depth knowledge and actual care they show for their students is evident right from the start. Me and six travel mates did the SSI Open Water Course and absolutely loved it. If you are lucky you will end up with Yvonne, a German, who honestly wants the best from her students and is happy to be sarcastic when the moment calls. The Open Water Course is 9,000 baht or about $300. Five us decided to do the Advanced Course and again were taught by Yvonne. The Advance dives are 10x better than the Open Water dives. You dive a ship wreck, a night dive and a deep dive (30m or 100ft). Again, I can't tell you how great all the staff was there (but always ask for Yvonne). Truly an amazing experience made all the better by Big Blue." J Wilson Seattle, Washington- Trip Advisor

Well it aint easy but it seems to be fairly effective! I don't even know how we are doing it but today I still have 20 rooms available for those of you interested in taking your Open Water Course. We got rooms coming out our bums! While everyone else in the neighbourhood is full we're still welcoming stressed hot sweaty weary, hungover travellers to the wonderful world of Big Blue. We must have holes in our bums the size of the Japanese flag to still have all these rooms!

Tuesday 19th July 2011-
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I reckon we must be the only Dive Resort left on Koh Tao with rooms! & its not even like we haven't got scuba divers cos we have. We just planned ahead & booked some extra rooms for our customers all along Sairee Beach. The problem with Koh Tao is that as we are only an island we only have very few rooms so what tends to happen during peak season is that the island runs out of room & people end up sleeping up on the beach. I think we're going to have to come up with a better alternative to building more rooms on land. Underwater hotel anyone?

Artificial Reefs on Koh Tao. Well, we all know and love our coral reefs. But unfortunately, diving and tourism pressure on the island is degrading our existing reefs. The solution? Make artificial ones! Marine conservation is vital for the long-term sustainability of Koh Tao’s economy and environment, and the artificial reefs serve to alleviate some of the dive and boat pressure from some of the more popular dives sites on the island. Our artificial reefs include; - Buoyancy World - an alternative dive site and coral nursery designed and constructed by the island’s community and dive schools through the Save Koh Tao group in 2009 and deployed near Twin Peaks. - The HTMS Sattakut and MV Trident wrecks - both boats were donated to Koh Tao to act as diver training grounds for wreck specialties, and artificial reef to encourage marine life to otherwise baron areas, and help spread the dive pressure to other sites than our reefs. And BioRock - this permanent new reef uses electrolysis to encourage coral growth. Again, it has turned this sandy sparse area into a healthy new reef! Tell your DM's you want to dive our artifical sites. See you there!

"Big Blue's Beach Bar & Restaurant in front of Big Blue on Sairee beach offers great quality food from all over the world at affordable prices. Together with a fun, yet tranquil ambiance  which is afforded by the beachside location makes this the perfect place for a lunchtime snack or evening meal. Nightly Seafood & Meat Bar-b-qs, great Swedish style pizzas, good Thai food and other choices for the hungry are just some of the options on offer. With the joint bar normally full of customers & Big Blue's staff, the lively music and laughter will keep you entertained well after you have finished your meal and entice you to stick around for a few drinks too. Open from early morning till late night. " www.kohtao.asia.com

Monday 18th July 2011-g

Happy to say we still have over 25 rooms left for this weeks Koh Phangan assault! I got doubles twins, dorms, triples, Air con, fan, cold water, hot water, heck man we got it all! I got dorm rooms, free rooms, cheap rooms, bargain rooms, pricey rooms, ritzy rooms. We're taking divers doing courses, try dives, fun dives, eco dives, deep dives, wreck dives, nitrox dives, tech dives, sky dives high dives & free dives! Heck we even do muff dives! Single tanks, twin tanks, big tanks, baby tanks, sidemount tanks, Nitrox tanks, & Panzer Tanks! & with this much available we're going to be busier than opening day at a Free knocking shop! Call me on 0819205698, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., fax me on 077456772 or send me a telegram to Big Blue Diving Resort, Koh Tao Thailand! We got what you want or your money back! Guaranteed!

Taiwan, one of the world's major shark catchers, announced plans to tighten measures against hunting the ocean predator for its fin. Taiwan fishermen are already barred from tossing sharks back into the water to die after slicing off the fin -- a delicacy in Chinese cuisine -- and are required instead to ship back the carcass. But the measures have failed to stifle criticism from conservationists who say that, unlike their counterparts in Africa and Southeast Asia, they are unlikely to toss the bodies of the sharks into the water as they have no reason to dump the meat of the sharks as local consumers eat them and they can be sold at good prices. Under new laws it will be an offence to remove a shark's fin onboard a fishing vessel. Any violators may be fined, barred from leaving ports, have their catches confiscated or even have their fishing boat licences revoked, depending on how seriously they contravene the measures. So in other words they can still kill more than 4 million sharks a year but aren't allowed to chop off the fins till they are back on land! Oh dear. The human race is so farked!

Recreational Dive Medic Course. Become more than just a dive Professional. Includes:- Advance Airway Management, suturing, DCI in depth, catheterization, Intra Venous, Triage management, Neurological assessments, spinal management, Evacuation procedures & lots more. (2 nights will be on Koh Samui, looking at Accident & Emergency wards and hyperbaric chambers). Sound like your kind of thing? Want to be a real life George Clooney? David Haselhoff? Dougie Howser? Dr Doctor? Then book your place now. Only limited numbers available. Course date’s:- 19th Sept - 30th September.

Sunday 17th July 2011-h

Sepia cuttlefish- There are more than 100 species of sepia cuttlefish, a greater number of species than in any other cephalopod genus. Like all cuttlefish they contain cuttlebones, which are not bones but lightweight structures that help regulate buoyancy. This internal shell is filled with tiny compartments into which the cuttlefish can pump air or fluid to make itself lighter or heavier. The name sepia comes from the brown pigment released when the cuttlefish is alarmed. Sepia cuttlefish are distinguised by the length of the cuttlebone, which is roughly equal to that of the mantle in which it is housed, not an easy feature to spot. The sepia Cuttlefish are a common site at Koh Tao's great dive site- Shark Island. Sign up now in the diveshop for your chance to dive with one... maybe 2!

I've got 2 amazingly exciting pieces of news to divulge to the world but am afraid I'm sworn to secrecy. Actually I got 3 pieces of news. But I'm under pain of death if I let the cat out the bag so am afraid I'm just going to have to tease you & let you guess, but I will give you some clues. the First one is that we are adding another '1' to our existing'2'! & its being painted as we speak & should be here with us within the month! Its bigger, better, faster & sexier than our others too, & its going to have the whole island talking! The second bit of news concerns something which will make us the first Divecenter in the world to have & will have all the other Koh Tao centers especially envious. Should be able to reveal that little tit bit in the coming week or so. & the final thing is huge! So big in fact it would double what we have now! So big its actually estimated its going to take 9 months to form! & so cool that I bet every single member of staff will be smiling from ear to ear when they find this one out! Ooh its like Christmas! & I just can't wait to tell everyone! Can you guess what it is?

Unbelievable mad panic rush to get last minute rooms today! Its like the stampede at the January Sales! Or a mad dash of frenzied late 30 year old ladies trying to catch the wedding bouquet! We're getting bookings coming out our ears. The telephone won't stop ringing. We're being poked prodded & rogered on Facebook & the fax has even delivered us a booking today! I'm half expecting a telegram to be delivered next! Its going to be a fun few days coming up thats for sure! But we're ready! We got boats! I've even rented an extra one so we can spread the chaos! We've bought 15 new sets of kit! My compressors have been serviced. Most of my Instructors have had a day off a lie in & are going to be ready fresh faced & smelling lovely. We've even inflated the blow up whaleshark!Bring it on Koh Phangan. We're ready for you!

Saturday 16th July 2011-i

You won’t want to miss our big fundraiser for the new installment of the Buoyancy World diver training area and artificial reef. We will have tons of fun activities contests, food, live music, drinks, and more. Local businesses have showed a huge amount of support, donating lots of prizes for the raffle and competitions, ranging from food and dive gear to trips and courses. We will start up around 5pm on the 23rd, and go till late. All money raised will go directly towards the material purchase and installation costs of this year’s project. Raffle tickets are already available at participating local dive schools for 100 baht each. Buy as many as you like to increase your chances of winning. Please invite all your friends to join as well, we appreciate your support. This year Big Blue Diving is giving away a free PADI Divemaster Course worth 30000 Bt!

 

"Hi Jim,My fiance and I wanted to tell you about our recent stay at Big Blue where we completed our Open Water and then went on do our Advanced we loved it so much. We just wanted to drop you a line too to say what a great time we had with our instructor Nick. He was so professional yet really laid back and we had a really good laugh. We had a ball! Also, the guys working the restaurant were fantastic. We arrived off the night boat at 6am and were greeted with smiles, coffee and a fried breakfast - what more can you ask for?! The food was superb the whole time of our stay. Anyway, we just wanted to let you know what a great team you have and will be recommending Big Blue to others on the rest of our travels. Amy."

As many of you know, the HTMS Sattakut was sunk on June 18th as an alternative dive site and artificial reef on Koh Tao. Due to storms on that day the boat went down about 200 meters from the intended location, and is resting on its side. Last week there was a meeting with PPT, the DMCR, the Marine Transport Department, the Thai Navy, Save Koh Tao, Lomprayah, and a company specializing in boat salvaging. The company has been hired by PTT to lift the Sattakut using a 600 ton capacity crane and commercial lift bags. They will then move the boat to its originally intended location and put it upright to make it a more attractive dive site. This is planned to occur during the 4 hours slack tide on July 22nd. IMPORTANT NOTE: Please be aware of this date and do not plan to dive the wreck on the 22nd (or a few days after to let the silt settle). Also, due to its current position the boat has a lot of mud inside and it is strongly recommended that divers DO NOT ENTER the wreck.

Friday 15th July 2011-j

Go Eco! the EcOlympic fundraiser for buoyancy world 2.0 was a huge success yesterday, raising over 5,000 baht to help improve and expand our beloved artificial reef. Big Blue hosted the event, drawing over 200 people to help support our cause! The event included tug-of-war, egg and spoon and sack races, and in the evening beer pong for all! Cheers to everyone who supported the event and helped out - Buoyancy World was designed to alleviate dive pressure from all of us who dive on Koh Tao so its great to see so many divers get involved to help promote low impact diving. There would be no reefs for us to see if we didn't support responsible tourism, so good on you all! Buoyancy World construction start soon, so watch this space if you want to help more!

"I was a bit nervous about diving at first, the thought of breathing through a pipe and being underwater, so I spent some time checking out the diving schools on Koh Tao and Big Blue seemed to be one of the best. It's very professional and that you feel that they really know what they're doing, but also very friendly. I was assigned to my diving instructor, Jen,who took me through all the basics and got all my equipment for me. On my first trip out I was pretty rubbish, trying to get used to the regulator and breathingunder water, and I messed up some of the basic skills. But Jeni was really patient, didn't rush me, and for the next trip she took me into some shallower water so I could go through all the basic skills again and made sure I knew what I was doing. We then did some diving at about 4 or 5 metres so I could get used to the experience. Jeni was really great, I would recommend her to anyone thinking of learning to dive but not totallly sure about it. And out of the water it was great fun, a lovely part of the beach and nice and central to the action!" - Brad Pitts Double- Trip Advisor

Koh Tao’s electrified Domes, Hin Fai is now more than two & a half years old & so far and has been progressing nicely. Biorock is one of the few reef restoration techniques that addresses the dual issues of climate change and ocean acidification by changing the water chemistry in the immediate vicinity making the water more basic and therefore less acidic. This in turn assists the corals’ growth by making their building blocks (calcium carbonate) easier to access. Over the years numerous divers have visited Biorock transplanting hundreds of fragments. ‘Fragments’ are small insecure coral colonies which if left alone are in danger of being rolled around in the sand and will struggle to survive. These fragments we take and attach to the structure so out of the substrate they can grow & proliferate without the danger of being turned over. Its coming on well is Biorock with noticeable growth on previously attached coral fragments & there seems to be alot more fish there now too. All we need now is a friendly neighbourhood Whaleshark there & we got ourselves another legendary Koh Tao Divesite!

Thursday 14th July 2011-k

20 -30 Pilot whales spotted around Shark Island yesterday & as reliable as ever Big Blue Diving were there to see them too! Everyone on board was there with their cameras out taking pictures, smiling oohing & aahing & high fiving each other & just couldn't wait to tell us all on land all about it when they got back! Funny thing is the pilot whales seem to have been as excited to see us as we were to see them! I wonder if they were all 'Oohing & Aahing' & taking pictures of us as well, going back to their pods going 'Yeah cool man! We saw 20- 30 divers today from Big Blue! High 5!"

"After getting the night boat from Chumphon, we arrived tired and bedraggled at Big Blue at about 6am and were greeted by a lovely set of Thai waiting staff who provided much needed coffee and breakfast! We started diving the next day. Our Instructor, Nick, was excellent - friendly, laid-back and down to earth yet really professional. Never at any time did we feel unsafe or worried about anything. We loved our open water SSI course so much we stayed to do the advanced! The food in the Big Blue restaurant is also really really good and the staff are lovely. - Trip Advisor Amy & Andy"

Well we are bracing ourselves for the onslaught otherwise known as the days after the Full Moon Party! Its going to be a manic one & when we tell people checking in that next week is going to get crazy they look at us like we are a little weird! Well we might be weird but we know our onions & my onions are telling me that there are going to be nearly 30000 people coming to Koh Tao over the following week or so which means thats an awful lot of Open Water Courses! & I'm pretty sure we aint gonna be able to get 30000 people on our boat! Better blow up the dinghy!

Wednesday 13th July 2011-
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There's a Hawksbill Turtle wandering around White Rock this week. Its a huge one too at least a meter in length which according to Wikipedia would mean its somewhere between 30 & 50 years old! Unfortunately though it seems it has taken a hard knock of sorts on its back as the rear quarter of its shell seems to be rather indented & a little shaved! Ironically its probably the one thing that has saved its life! You see Hawksbills are now listed as an endangered species. They face most of the same threats that endanger all marine turtles, but sadly, they are also singled out for their own special threat: humans find their shells highly attractive. The full extent of the threat is not known, but experts believe that the killing of hawksbills for their shell is a major problem. Probably account for why this old timer is still kicking. Damaged shell!

Well I'm not exactly God's gift to computer programs so I'm extremely proud of what I have created on WOW. It's only taken me about a week where as it claims you can make the whole thing in a minute which made me feel as small as a Chipolata in the Albert Hall! Basically its a montage of photos of daily life here at Big Blue Diving Koh Tao Thailand. If you've been here before then watch it cos you might see yourself in it! If you're on your way here then watch it cos it will show you what you can expect & if you are on the sidelines & not quite sure whether Big Blue is the place for you then this will give you a better idea of what its like here. Watch it & enjoy & Free T-shirt when you get here if you can tell me the name of the music!

"Hi Jim, I would like to thank you for the wonderful time my children and I have had at Big Blue. The location, the personnel, the food and the open water course contributed to a perfect holiday. I would like to compliment Olaf for the effort he put into teaching our course. He invested a lot of time and energy to make sure that everyone, and especially my 13-year-old son, understood all the aspects of the training. As a pilot I have sat through a few courses before and have to say that Olaf taught this course very well. Kind regards, S. Neve, Captain Boeing 747 Cathay Pacific"

Tuesday 12th July 2011-
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Full Moon Party Madness coming up in Koh Phangan this week with the Party night Kicking off on the 17th. One of the biggest parties of the year this one with some 30000 people expected to be turning up for a night of raucous behaviour loud music & fun & games at the beach! Should be awesome... if you like that kind of thing! Then over the following week 80% of those 30000 people will be making their way to Koh Tao for more awesomeness! & out of those 24000 people you can guesstimate that the clever ones or about half of them will have booked them selves somewhere to stay. Leaving another 12000 people without accommodation. So you can reckon they'll be about half that lot again will be able to find something as they walk in & the remaining 6000... well... starry starry night, paint your palet blue and grey, look out on a summer's day with eyes that know the darkness... Use your head people! Book ahead!

The chorus of condemnation on the shark fin trade is growing louder around the world, with plans to bring the anti-finning campaign to Canada. WildAid, one of the animal rights groups which has been mounting pressure around the US to ban the sale and trade of shark fins, announced plans to extend their fight north of the border to Canada. Currently, California is considering banning the sale and distribution of shark fins, the key ingredient to a Chinese delicacy. If passed, California would join Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, and the US Territory of Guam in enacting a ban. Palau, the Northern Mariana Islands, as well as Honduras and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, have also passed similar protections for the endangered predators. Shark fin soup is often served at special occasions like Chinese New Year's and weddings as a show of wealth to guests. The traditional delicacy is considered a luxurious expense and can fetch as much as $100 a bowl. But environmental and animal welfare groups have turned up the heat, launching aggressive campaigns to put a stop to what they call a trade of cruelty. After their fins are cut off, shark carcasses are thrown back into the sea, a practice that's been compared to poaching elephants for their ivory tusks. Environmental groups say more than 73 million sharks are finned for the Chinese soup and that one-third of the world's sharks are threatened with extinction. WildAid counts a number of high-profile Chinese celebrities and sports stars among its allies. Film star Jackie Chan, NBA player Yao Ming and actors Michelle Yeoh and Tony Leung are all outspoken ambassadors for the group. Earlier this month, a Chinese legislator also caused a stir after proposing a ban on the trade of shark fins in Chinese parliament. Meanwhile shark finning is banned in the European Union, though critics say that fishermen have been taking advantage of a loophole to continue cutting fins off at sea. With 55 percent of the entire Asian-American population living in California, the state is one of the largest sources of shark fin demand outside Asia.

' Big Blue Diving= Awesome! My friends and I did our Open Water Diving Course at Big Blue and we had an amazing experience! The staff members are super cool and the dives are incredible. Definitely plan to stay for the Advanced Course after your Open Water Course. Best diving school on the island! Helen and Ian rock!!! :) " - Alexandra from Vancouver. Trip Advisor 11th July 2011.

Monday 11th July 2011-
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"Hi, I learned Scuba at the age of 60 and now I'm 70 and have 170 logged dives, most of them with sharks. I have been in the water with Great White Sharks in Isla Guadalupe in Mexico, in open water outside of a cage, with Tiger and lots of Lemon sharks in the Bahamas, with hammerheads, Silvertips and whitetip reef sharks in Cocos Island, with different kinds of reef sharks in the Bahamas and Honduras. I have enjoyed every dive I was lucky to have with sharks and will continue diving with sharks as long as I can. Way down in the ocean, you swim with these amazing animals and you are totally at peace. At the same time, however, you are surprised, that the animal everybody tells you is a killer and a man-eater, does not even try to hurt you. It is a great feeling, which is hard to describe." Jupp Baron Kerckerin Age 70! Proving 2 things- 1) that you're never too old to Scuba Dive & 2) that sharks are pussies!


Oscar-nominated director James Cameron, announced recently that a large part of Avatar 2 will take place in the teeming oceans of Pandora to create a brand new canvas for the environment of film. Cameron was stated telling the LA Times Hero Complex blog- “Part of my focus in the second film is in creating a different environment – a different setting within Pandora. And I’m going to be focusing on the ocean on Pandora, which will be equally rich and diverse and crazy and imaginative, but it just won’t be a rainforest. I’m not saying we won’t see what we’ve already seen; we’ll see more of that as well.” With Cameron’s enthusiasm for the deep waters and his previous work including ‘The Abyss’, ‘Titanic’ and ‘Volcanoes of the Deep Sea’, it will definitely to be very interesting to see his vision of Pandora’s underwater and it’s inhabitants. If this an ocean adventure with the Na’vi is any thing like the first Avatar which was the highest-grossing film of all time, we’re in for a treat when it does come out.

"Big Blue Restaurant. Good food, good price, awesome view!. We ate here several times whilst diving with Big Blue and was happy with their whole range of food from 2 eggs breakfast, the aforementioned pizza's and Thai food. Price is average for the island but drinks, like everywhere, quickly add up your bill. The evening BBQ is worth a visit but get there early for a seat. Good music and lively crowd from the Dive School plus its position is central on Sairee Beach and just 2 mins from town." Trip Advisor on Restaurants on Koh Tao.

Sunday 10th July 2011-o

Congratulations to Big Blue's newest BSAC Instructor! After months dusting & cleaning the Big Blue Tech Shack & then a few weeks of hard core BSAC Training in between meals, then a few days of intensive studying between sleeps & a couple of exams & one or two torn wetsuits later our Ian is finally a BSAC Instructor. And with Canada away being all macho in the Middle East right now, & Ash about to set off for the States for his next big adventure looks like Ian's patience might have just got him the Golden Egg! From French Maid to BSAC Instructor to sitting on the brink of spear heading Big Blue Tech, this boys come a long way in a pretty short period of time! What a busy boy! I wonder when he gets the time to sleep?

Well we must be doing something right or I guess we'd all be sitting round the telly watching Top Gun instead of finishing 1 course & gtting straight back in the water to start another course! Its just gone soo busy! Instructors working? Tick. Rooms full? Tick. Customers happy? Well with all the reviews we've been getting on Trip Advisor where we are ranked 4th on Koh Tao & Lonely Planet where we are ranked 1st on Koh Tao & 19th out of 21343 things to do in Asia I reckon our cusotmers are pretty happy! Good work Team & thanks for all the reviews customers. Come back why don't you & we'll do it all over again!

We are putting together a set of pictures and listing areas that are actively fishing and finning Sharks and Rays in Thailand. With this information we hope to use this to approach the Thai environment minister and put a stop to finning in Thailand. We realise its a hard uphill battle but feel that we have to start somewhere. If you have any information or pictures of finning of Sharks or Manta Ray in Thailand please send them on to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Please Also Sign Our Petition to Stop Finning and Fishing Sharks in Thailands Sea's http://www.thedivetribe.co​m/save-our-seas

 

 

Friday 8th July 2011-p

Every day our Instructors working on reception have to do a beach clean up just outside our resort. We figure if everyone takes care of their bits of beach space then the world will still stay beautiful! & generally this actually seems to work pretty well, except for 1 little business about 50 meters south of us. Every morning their beach is full of empty beer bottles, straws, fag buts and plastic cups as well as the occasional knob who drank too much. So if you are going to go that low & frequent the mole on the Butty hole of Koh Tao then bring your conscience on your holiday- put you rubbish away & save Koh Tao.

"Confessions of an Eco Terrorist. Nature needs a Mother like him!" Seen through the eyes of activist Peter Jay Brown, this movie grants the viewer an intimate look at shipboard life amongst these self proclaimed animal saviors and sea rebels who shaped the green movement we know and love today.  Paul Watson the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Peter and his associates' exploits are as much comedy as cause. These extremists proudly fly the skull and cross-bones while performing extraordinary feats of daring on the high seas. Their fleet of ramming vessels inflicts damage to whalers, illegal drift-netters, and seal hunters that operate illegally world-wide. The hard nosed cast of characters exude bravery and whit, all while engaging in action packed conflict including sinkings, boardings, arrests, and plenty of rammings.

"I did 5 fun dives with Big Blue Diving. The best was a full day trip to Sail Rock and South West Pinnacle where we saw so many different types of marine life that I ran out of space when writing them all down in my log book. On all my dives I thought Big Blue was very well organised, heaps of fun and the dive equipment I used was in great condition." Nadiele,from Melbourne Australia on Trip Advisor

Thursday 7th July 2011-
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People eat alot of fish. In fact, per capita fish consumption has nearly doubled in the last 50 years. The problem is that there may not be any more fish if we continue catching and consuming them at this rate. To calculate how many more fish are left in the ocean, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation measures how many of each species were caught each year. Assuming that fisherman are catching everything they can (and they usually are), the logic goes that fluctuations in the number of fish caught gives a fairly good indication of fluctuations in the fish population. In order to promote this, Selfridges store’s Ultra Lounge was transformed into an underwater wonderland. It was all in aid of new initiative Project Ocean, which challenges the public to imagine a world with ‘no more fish in the sea’ and encourages them to buy sustainable varieties. Continuing the theme, Noah and the whale provided the entertainment in the specially created Dive Bar (geddit?) watched by eco-minded celebrities. All in all, the whole event went swimmingly! And above all, the benefits of eating sustainable fish were reinforced, much like we are advising here at Big Blue.

"Taking a detour to Koh Tao was one of the best decisions I have made. All the travellers in southeast Asia literally talks about the amazing diving in Koh Tao. I chose to dive at Big Blue because the "word of mouth" from the fellow backpackers I met in Phi Phi Don. What was suppose to be a 3 day stay turned into a 2 week stay. If I didn't have obligations back in the states, I would without a doubt stayed. Dorm- I stayed in a 6 person dorm and it was so comfortable. Did I mention it had aircon? Fantastic! I had no problems sleeping through the night. Great place to meet loads of new friends. DM and Instructors- Ros was my open water instructor and she is quite a character! Great attitude and super super outgoing. I enjoyed every minute with her and quite amazed how well she kept maintaining the class of 5 guys from odd parts of the world. Impressive. Hopefully I will see her again with I come back for my divemaster certification next year. As for my advanced open water, Serena was my instructor. Amazingly awesome! Just like Ros, she taught me more than I actually needed to know for the course. From floating on my head to 180 degree fin pivots, freaking amazing. I liked her contagious personality, always smiling and always having a good time. I hope she is there when I return. The staff here is absolutely amazing to be honest. I would love to write comments about each and everyone of them but I would be writing a novel. Everyone is so friendly and so knowledgeable. If you wanted to see a certain fish or such, they will go find it for you. Simple enough. Because of the people, I will be back to Big Blue to complete my divemaster course and hopefully join the crew within the year. This will be my home soon....Thank you Big Blue staff for all the memorable experiences and it will surely never be forgotten. " Scott- Texas, USA.

The Koh Tao Playskool is SUPER excited about their visit tomorrow with ex Big Blue Instructor now turned Kindergarden lecturer Dean Jenkins!!! All the Koh Tao kids here are going to learn about scuba diving, what's under the sea and will even get to try breathing through a real dive tank and regulator!! Koh Tao's new Navy Seals!

Wednesday 6th July 2011-
r
At Big Blue, we strive to be ecologically-minded in every way possible. By choosing to dive with Big Blue, you contribute to our ecological mission whilst enjoying the best diving on the island.
Big Blue is a unique dive school in that we contribute to worldwide coral reef research. We have had the privilege to assist internationally renowned marine scientists and assist Masters Students conducting field research with us. We strongly believe that communication and sharing of information is the key to the worldwide conservation of our reefs. Finally, although the island remoteness is one of Koh Tao’s many charms, it does hinder some of our conservation efforts. We aim to be as eco-friendly as possible, & to achieve the best results, we work closely with local communities and are regularly adapting our policies to shifts in local rules, laws and culture, in order try to have a positive effect on our local ecosystem. We are always open to suggestions, so if you have any suggestions to improving our policy, please feel free to contact us – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
If you want to know more about our sustainable resource pledge, please check out our Eco Policy, which include tips on how to be an eco-minded tourist.

Resort Policy
1. All batteries are recycled. We have a recycle bin for batteries in our shop for residents.
2. All shower heads are water-saving, and all leaks and dripping taps quickly rectified.
3. We strive to use biodegradable washing liquid for our laundry.
4. Rooms are cleaned using microfibre cloths, requiring no bleach-based chemicals.
5. When possible, we use our economical side-cart motorbike, known as a ‘salang’, in preference to our taxis.
6. All printing is done on recycled, non-bleached paper.
7. All bottles and cans are recycled, and we have easily accessible recycling facilities for residents.
8. We collect can ringpulls to send to prosthetic limb charity Ring Pulls to Limb.
9. We plant vetiver grass and lemon grass around our resort to help protect from soil erosion and to act as a natural mosquito repellent.
10. Where possible, food served in our restaurant is locally sourced from the island. Alternatively, it is bought from sustainable farms on the mainland.
11. Where possible, we use natural lighting through skylights to light our buildings.
12. Big Blue has a ‘no straw’ policy. Straws and plastic cutlery are only provided upon specific request.
13. We are currently working with government officials to educate locals on climate change, including the construction of a climatology centre on the island.
14. Our staff and Divermaster trainees frequently visit the local school to educate the children on fish and coral, and teach them how to snorkel. Through this, we hope to educate future local generations on the potential resources of their reefs and that we should strive to sustain them.
15. Our boats are properly maintained to ensure no oil is leaked.
16. We advise against the use of shampoos and conditioners containing high amounts of preservatives, and offer customer the chance to purchase environmentally friendly washing products. In each bathroom, natural soap is provided which we buy from a local village.
17. All lights use energy-saving bulbs.

Diving Policy
1. All dive briefings include low diver impact guidelines, such as warnings not to touch.
2. All night tourches are powered using reusable batteries
3. All our dive professionals are educated on marine identification and conservation.
4. As part of the dive professional programmes, divers must contribute to a conservation project, such as coral nursery construction.
5. Big Blue has adopted North Sairee Beach. This means we are responsible for keeping this area clean and free from fishing.
6. The last Saturday of every month, Big Blue hosts a Beach and Underwater Clean up, which includes a free dive.
7. Big Blue organises the Swim for Sharks each year, a 7km sponsored swim to help reias money and awareness for sharks. Last year (2010), we raised 15,000 baht and obtained 460 signatures against shark fishing.
8. Big Blue is an avid contributor to Save Koh Tao projects, such as Buoyancy World and Koh Tao’s BioRock.
9. Big Blue wrote BSAC’s Marine Conservation Course, and was the first dive school to offer this international course.
10. The use of metal pointing sticks and diving gloves are forbidden, to help prevent divers touching the reef.
11. All dive leaders are educated on appropriate diving etiquette, particularly in the presence of sharks.
12. On our boats, nothing is allowed to be thrown overboard, including food waste. There are specific bins for recycling and cigarette disposal.
13. Divers are advised to apply sunscreen an hour before entering the water, as sunscreen can give corals a virus infection.

Tuesday 5th July 2011-s

"Big Blue is awesome dive resort. They have accommodations for all price ranges, great food, a friendly and professional atmosphere, and a fun nightlife. But the best part is the diving! I received open water instruction from Medwin, a great guy and an excellent instructor. He made all of the bookwork simple and easy to understand and made sure my skills were solid so that diving could be most enjoyable. I don't think you can go wrong with any of the instructors they have though. It is definitely a school I will go back to for further instruction." Lonely Planet Travel Forum 29th June 2011.

Can't tell you how happy we are for one of our longest serving members of staff here at Big Blue. One of our Longtail drivers & general all round nice helpful laid back blokes on staff- Mr Bang just won the Thai lottery! Isn't that cool! 110000 Bt! Which is pretty much over a years salary for him! So tonight he will be taking out his wife & baby Bang with him for a family celebratory dinner! Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Except me of course!

Well our Underwater Videography Internship Program seems to be really taking off! This week Chris joined the party of aspiring underwater movie directors & will now spend the next 4 weeks diving his little titties off as many times a day as he can as well as learning how to shoot, edit & market his showreel! He will also be required to make his own little 2 minute advert on anything in Koh Tao above water as well so that he understands how to make a narrative on film! Exciting stuff! Eat your heart out James Cameron! You aint got nothing on our Big Blue Videography Course in partnership with ACE Marine Video!

Monday 4th July 2011-t

Big Blue Tech celebrated the graduation for ssi instructor James Beischer, DMT's Ian Silvester & Ben Boyd, and Buddha View MSDT instructor Sally Powell. For Ian and Ben it was a great way to try out their new Diverite equipment, purchased f...rom Big Blue Tech, and for instructors James and Sally to find a new hobby in technical diving as to teaching recreational most days of the week. We even managed to dive the new wreck located just off Siaree Beach, and what cool divesite this going to develop into, anyone for 'advanced wreck'??

To raise funds and awareness for this years grand Save Koh Tao project, Buoyancy World 2.0, Big Blue is hosting this years Beach Olympics! With games such as tug-of-war, egg and sppon race, sack race during the day (with more drink orientated games at night of course...) and drink offers all day and night, great DJs and all for a good cause!! So bring you friends, your best beach olympic body and join in the fun! Events start at 5 pm until 10.30pm, when the last contest will be 'how many foam pies can you throw at a member of Big Blue's staff'!! Well, now you really can't miss that!

"I first went to Big Blue in 2009 and only meant to stay to do my Advanced Open Water and a few fun dives... 3 months later I said goodbye to Big Blue as a divemaster! Would definitely recommend it for anyone - great instructors with small groups and lots of fun! I went back in 2010 for a short holiday and did a few Eco based courses with Big Blue's Jen, which were all really interesting and it was good to see such commitment to conservation - has inspired me to do a Zoology degree with a view to getting into marine conservation! Thanks Jen"

Sunday 3rd July 2011-u

And it is finally here! the BSAC Marine Conservation course has just had its first (and very successful) course at Big Blue. Over the last four days, 5 students have been learning about the ocean environment, coral reefs, the degradation of our worlds reefs and how divers can help. They graduated today, with the final dive transplanting coral fragments from our very successful coral nursery off Sairee reef. Well done guys, see you for the next mushroom coral survey soon!

"Hello Big Blue! I stayed with you at Koh Tao earlier this week and took a one day diving course that was fantastic. Unfortunately, as soon as I left the island I realized that I had left my passport in your main office and I had to catch a plane out of Koh Samui that afternoon. I ran into a Big Blue employee on the ferry (I think her name was Om?) who was insanely helpful in making sure Big Blue sent my passport on the next ferry out so I wouldn't miss my plane.
Sure enough, my passport arrived safely and on time so I could get my flight. So, thank you thank you thank you!!! You guys are awesome, and I appreciate what you did so much. Tracy"- another satisfied customer!

Ha ha! What a bunch of pissheads! "BANGKOK – Thailand’s police have called up all reserve staff for a full show of force ahead of this weekend’s election, as a precaution against unrest and violence from angry, sober alcoholic expatriates during the ban on alcohol sales! The ban, in accordance with national election law, prohibits retail alcohol sales at stores, bars and restaurants from 6pm Saturday to midnight Sunday. The 36-hour period is traditionally a high-risk period in areas with high concentrations of expats. “Due to the importance of this election, we are taking no chances with expatriate sobriety-related violence,” said a stern National Police Chief Police General. He justified the deployment of over 20,000 additional security officers nationwide as a necessary precaution against “deranged, sober foreigners.” Additionally, numerous bars and nightlife areas in Bangkok and other cities will be shut down altogether to avoid gatherings of large numbers of non-drunken expats. Although large-scale rioting by un-intoxicated foreigners is rare, many previous Thai elections have seen small outbreaks of civil unrest, usually by expats who were unaware of the election at all and who reacted badly to being told that they can’t have a drink at their favorite establishment. “For many of these men, 36 hours without a drink and the company of a rented Asian female represents something unacceptable, terrifying even,” said Noppawan Rangkulan, sociology professor at Thammasat University. “Sobering up means becoming momentarily aware of their graying bodies and emotionally hollow lives. What we think of as an alcohol-free night represents an existential crisis for them.”

Saturday 2nd July 2011-
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Don't just take our word for it! Here are a selection of reviews from the No.1 Travel Forum on the net. www.tripadvisor.com

"I never thought I would ever Scuba dive as I was always quite nervous, but I am SO glad I did it. Our instructor Jen was amazing at keeping me calm whilst also showing us how to really enjoy it!! She showed us some incredible things, was so patient and brilliant fun and I really want to come back for more lessons now!! I miss it! Kate xx" Kate Manx, London, UK- Trip Advisor- June 29th 2011.

"After a poor experience at another school, we decided to switch to Big Blue. We did out advance course there and several fun dives too. Nick was our instructor for the two days and was brilliant, very informative and really went out of his way to answer any questions and relay fears! The atmosphere on dive days was always upbeat and fun yet professional. My only regret is that i wish we had come straight here on the first day. I can't comment on the accommodation as we stayed elsewhere." Claire L. London, UK- Trip Advisor June 28th 2011.

" These were the two best weeks of the year! Last January I went to Koh Tao together with my boyfriend to find out what diving was. I never did any diving before and I was almost a bit afraid of it... going 30 metres under the water, not able to go to the surface quickly, and dependent on a tank filled with air. Friends recommended Big Blue to me, they found it big enough to do a lot of different diving trips, and small enough to have the feeling you're in a big family. And they were right! We first assigned for our Open water course, where Medwin Culmer taught us how to breath through a regulator... in a pool, very boring :). But that's the way it goes and it's great because believe me... It's quite strange to breath under water for the first time and in the pool there is still enough to look at. After a day in the pool, we went to sea! Incredible!! We spotted a whaleshark after our second dive!!! With Med and his beautiful assistant Anthony we had a lot of fun under and above the surface! At Big Blue there was a lot more than diving. They have a great restaurant, comfy bungalows (50% off the price if your diving with them!) and a really nice bar! After our open water, we were so full of enthusiasm that we did our Advanced too! If you are planning to dive on Koh Tao, definitly go for Big Blue. The underwater and above water world together make you feel like your at home!" Jansk 87- Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Trip Advisor July 1st 2011.

August 2011


Monday 29th August 2011-a

“A bit of Luxury” I spent two days at Baan Sawainam; wanting a nice, clean, air-conditioned room that was away from the hustle and bustle, and that was exactly what I was provided with. The villa was lovely, with a large spacious bedroom overlooking the beautiful swimming pool. Both Jim and Andrea had lots of advice on the local restaurants and activities and made my stay very enjoyable. They’re super friendly and ready to help you with anything. Definitely recommend this accommodation." Trip Advisor- Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends.


“FRIENDLY AND ENTHUSIASTIC INSTRUCTOR, FAB DIVE SITES. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED” Wanted to complete Open Water Diver course but wasn't sure I'd enjoy it so enquired about taster dives. Was given all info requested and informed that 50% of the course price is refunded if I wanted to quit after first day. Friendliness and helpfulness of instructor on this initial meeting made us pick Big Blue, go for the full course and I am really glad we did. The instructor Heather quickly rang their hotel which is a 5 minute walk away and organised accommodation for us. The room was basic but clean and the cost per night was halved to 750baht while we dived with them. We were a group of 6 and Heather was a fantastic instructor, couldn't fault her. Typical American - friendly, enthusiastic and has a great sense of humour. She made diving seem easy. Her experience (over 5000 dives), confidence and enthusiasm allowed her to very quickly gain my trust in the water. She was very patient with students for whom English was not their first language and took time to answer every question anyone had. Although there were 6 in the group this was not too large, the instructor was able to spend time needed with each of us. On some of the dives we were accompanied by Russ a dive master in training who i recommend just as highly as Heather. We went on 4 dives. Heather tried hard to find and point out everything people said they wanted to see. The 4th dive was amazing beyond words, she found us a turtle and surprised us with a swim over a WW2 ship wreck! I am new to diving but equipment seemed well looked after and there was plenty of it. Although it is a big and busy diving company it is well organised and has the friendly feel of a small company. I hope to return to Thailand to do my advanced open water course one day and would use Big Blue - especially if I knew I could have Heather as an instructor again :) TripAdvisor -5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2011

"Hey Heather, I know it is your job and what you are paid to do but I just wanted to thank you again for being such a fab diving instructor. I'm not the most confident person in the water and wasn't too sure I'd get on with it but you managed to make diving seem so simple and there was no time to worry! My friends and family back home were shocked I did it. I think it's going to become addictive. Diving does however need to come with the warning that it completely ruins snorkelling! A few of us from the course went the next day and man is it boring being on the surface! lol I was going to go on some fun dives but dive 4 was so amazing I wanted to end this years diving on a high. I got back today and my 2 and a half year old niece sat and watched the DVD in amazement, I caught her trying to copy the hand signals which was dead sweet. I'll send her you're way when she's old enough :) As much as I love the DVD I did have to pretend it was broken after watching it 2 times in a row! Anyway just wanted to thank you again as I didn't catch you before you left the bar that night. Keep entertaining and motivating your new students :) Carole from - Team Awesome International :) certified 14/8/11

Friday 26th August 2011-
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"Hello, I stayed at Big Blue in Koh Tao at the end of June. Since I was already Open Water certified I was planning on doing only a couple fun dives, but my friend convinced me to join her in the Advanced course. I am so glad I did! Our instructor was Heather and she was absolutely amazing. Not only was she entertaining and a lot of fun, but since it had been quite a while since my open water course she totally refreshed me and pretty much taught me everything I know about diving! When I went diving later in Indonesia I felt very confident in my dive skills, even if the diving was not quite as fun without Heather and Big Blue. Thank you so much,
Morgan from Canada."

A soldier who broke his back in an Afghan bomb explosion was popping Champagne corks after setting a unique world record for crossing the English Channel. After 12 gruelling hours – and two close encounters with sea-going tankers - Peter Brooks was part of a four-man British Sub Aqua Club-backed team which used tiny sea scooters to pull them across the world’s busiest waterway. Heath Samples, dive leader from Scarborough Sub Aqua Club (BSAC), who set up the Guinness Book of World Records-recognised expedition, said after their successful crossing: “We’re chuffed to bits, it’s not sunk in yet. Pete Brooks did the final leg and landed in France. As soon as he was standing on the beach and crossed the tide line and the whistle blew, the three of us jumped off to join him and cracked open the bottles of champagne.”

“The best of a big bunch!”5 of 5 stars My wife and I did our advanced open water after she completed her open water at big blue. We spent two weeks on Ko Tao and observed most of the big dive schools while we were there. Big blue have the most professional staff, the best equipped dive boats and the calmest atmosphere. I did my open water in australia and BB are the only operation that come close to the delivering the same professionalism as far as I can see. The other big operators were very evident when we were diving and most of them at some point made us glad we were with big blue. The most obvious example was when Bans almost ran over my wife when she was doing her open water, her instructor pulling her and her buddy out of the way just in time. The classes/groups were never bigger than 6 and usually 4 which made for a very effective teaching environment. The instructors took their time and made sure every one was ok before we dived. Ros was an amazing instructor and we just loved every minute with her. She especially put my wife at ease when she was feeling nervous in the initial stages of her open water. Steve "the best dive master in Thailand" lived up to his self proclaimed title when we went to sail rock as he picked out the tiniest shrimp and the most elusive moray eel. They will go that extra mile at big blue to ensure you have an excellent time and the food at the restaurant is excellent, best pizza on the island! Trip Advisor- Leprichaun Larry- Reviewed August 24, 2011

 

Thursday 25th August 2011-
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We all know that SHARKS need our help. Shark numbers are rapidly decreasing in Thailand and many divers have commented on the lack of shark sightings, even in our protected National Marine Parks. Over the last few years tourism and overfishing have all had a negative impact on our oceans around Thailand. On Koh Tao we have seen half the number of Whalesharks than last year. What we do see though, is a great many sharks in Thailand is in the restaurants and pet shops. Tanks of Black Tip Reef Sharks an be seen for sale in Pattaya & Bangkok for the pet trade and large amounts of Bamboo & Zebra Sharks for sale at restaurants.

The Swim for Sharks 2011 is a statement by our small diving community to help protect sharks. We will be ditching our fins in favour of the more traditional sport of swimming! Participants will swim around Koh Nang Yuan unaided, but if you want to wear fins, that's OK too!

We would like your help to bring awareness to the plight of sharks in a publicity/media event we would like to organise called “Dive Tribes National Shark Release 2011”. So the money raised from this years "Swim For Sharks" is going towards the purchase of these sharks to release into back into the waters around Koh Tao. We don't expect the sharks to stay here, but there will be a higher chance of sightings if they are in the water in general, and are able to roam free, reproduce and visit our small island. So come along, even if you don't want to swim, learn more about sharks and conservation and help us raise the money needed to replenish our shark population.

Last year, Koh Tao's dive community raise over 17,000 baht and over 400 signatures for anti-shark finning campaign support - lets see if we can beat that this year!!

Come join us on September 4th for the big swim!

10 - 11 Meet at Big Blue Dive Resort for registration and welcome drinks
11 - 12 Shark conservation talk and petition signing
1 - 4 Swim time!! Swim 3 km around Koh Nang Yuan
7 - late Evening festivities including sponsored dares and drink deals (venue to be confirmed)


Tuesday 23rd August 2011-d

" I did my OW and Advanced back in April '09 and had such a good experience. I had a panic attack under water at the start, but it was handled so well. Emily B was my instructor, with Laura Matthews as my DMT, both were wonderful. And Dan Bolton, we had such a laugh on the Advanced course! Thank you everyone and all the other wonderful people I met...Lara Roberts, Emma Mostrom-Mombelli, Dean Jenkins, Cory J Lewis, Greek Alan and all the rest of you. xx Kirsty H" Facebook

"I did my OW course with you and I had a fantastic experience! Not only was the setting beautiful and relaxed, I also want to express my gratitude to my instructor, Nick Bufton, for his excellent teaching skills. I was a little nervous starting out, but Nick did his best to ensure I felt comfortable under water. Nick maintain a relaxed atmosphere while still being very attentive, informative, and patient, and for that I am grateful. Thank you Big Blue and Nick for a great opportunity!!" - Anonymous... (but we suspect Nick Bufton!)

" Hi Jim, Juny and I just wanted to send you a quick note to say thanks to yourself and all of Big Blue for such a great DMT experience. It was a highlight month and a bit out of our travels and signing up will likely prove to be one of the great decisions of our lives. I'm sure that DMT courses come in all shapes and sizes but I reckon a couple advantages of Big Blue's offering is the diversity of knowledge available to the DM students from the mentors, instructors and DMs and the opportunity to dive with the calibre of divers that Big Blue trains and has as customers. The "dream" is now all about finding a way to live the diving life sometime in the future, hopefully back at Big Blue, but who knows. Right now we're in China and I'm contemplating booking some dives with another "Big Blue" diving outfit based in Shanghai. Although diving in 10C with 8m vis doesn't sound like the most comfortable underwater experience, seeing an ancient chinese city underwater certainly has me interested.......I have a bunch of photos from around Big Blue/Koh Tao that I'm about to post, will let you know when they're up. Cheers Mate. Steve and Juny ".

Friday 19th August 2011-
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Whaleshark!!! Well a day or so ago now but still worth 3 exclamation marks! The biggest fish in the sea measuring about 5 meters here in Koh Tao, but can be as large as 18 meters off the west coast of Australia at a place called Ningaloo Reef. Just the one here where as there were recent sitings of over 300 off the coast of Mexico last month. So what if it was smaller & wasn't surrounded by 299 other bigger Whalesharks, at least I get to cross it off my bucket list! Dived with a Whaleshark- check. How many of you can say you've ever dived with a Whaleshark?

"Hi All, Just a quick note to say thank you to everyone at Big Blue who made our stay such a brilliant one last month!! In particular a big thank you to Ros and Kent who took us for our Open Water and Advanced respectively. Ros battled through despite not feeling her best and was an excellent tutor!! Kent is a Legend and a real asset to Big Blue!! The perfect mix of energy and fun but without any compromise on safety or security. Thank you guys so much!! Hope to be diving with you all real soon!! Matt (currently sat aboard a prodive liveaboard in the Great Barrier Reef practicing my new found skills)"

Big Blue Conservation helped raise funds for the construction and maintenance of Buoyancy World yesterday thanks to a great idea from Gav, a Divemaster trainee at Big Blue. Lots of Big Blue crew teamed together in one big soapy mess and made Koh Tao's scooter population squeaky clean! Utterly impressed with the effort of local residents, SCUBA Schools International (SSI) even agreed to DOUBLE what ever we raised, bringing the grand total to 2450 baht! So fancy about having 5 soapy, wet divers clean your scooter for you? Only 50 baht and it all goes to charity! Gav, you won't have to buy a round for a while, I think...

Thursday 18th August 2011-f

So much going on behind the scenes at Big Blue right now & I'm sworn to secrecy by the official Chamber of Secrets Act. I was able to divulge our  new boat last week, but you are still waiting on the other 2 secrets I told you I wasn't able to tell you about last month. Well this month I have another secret to not tell you about for at least another month. When will this torture end?

“Perfect for relaxation”5 of 5 stars I stayed here after my daughter's wedding for 2weeks. It was the perfect place to relax after all the hustle and bustle of the wedding.The little bungalows are lovely and clean and the proprietors Jim and Andrea could not do enough to help us. They know the area well so have lots of good advice and are very willing to order food to be delivered from local reputable restaurants if you don't fancy the short walk to Sairee beach where there is lots to do and a multitude of eating establishments.If diving is what you want that can be arranged for you too at the very reputable Big Blue diving center.Free transfers to and from the ferry are included.The little pool is lovely to cool off in after a few hours sunbathing on the comfortable sun loungers with towels provided. I would not hesitate to visit here again and recommend Baan Sawainaam to anyone wanting a little luxury, peace and quiet on a lovely island. Room Tip: There are 2 bungalows suitable for 2 people sharing and 1 larger bungalow which has a kitchen attached. All have bathrooms and air con. Trip Advisor- Reviewed August 15, 2011 Stayed August 2011, traveled with family.

Travellers planning a trip to the Cayman Islands can try a new type of beer that has been launched to boost awareness of shark conservation. The island nation's environment department and Marine Conservation International have teamed up with local beer company Caybrew to produce White Tip. Each can of the new beverage features a barcode that can be scanned with a smartphone to access a website providing information on efforts to protect the often misunderstood white-tip shark. Donations of $1.20 (74p) for each case and five cents for each can bought will go towards the conservation project. Shark populations have been declining around the world as a result of overfishing and shrinking reef habitats.It is hoped that the White Tip lager will appeal to visiting divers, who could be visiting the Cayman Islands for its famous wall diving, underwater wrecks and Stingray City, which National Geographic recently named the world's best shallow dive. I'll drink to that!

Wednesday 17th August 2011-
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“Big dive school facilities, small dive school feel” . Big Blue Diving has the facilities of a big dive school (3 boats, loads of instructors and dive guides, instructor training, large resort, etc.), but it has the personal touch of smaller schools - unlike the *really* big schools, they don't make you feel like a number, you feel part of the team. The resort is basic but if your tastes are more luxurious they will help you find accommodation elsewhere AND subsidise it for every day you dive with them. But be sure to hang around for sunset as the view from the Big Blue's beach-side bar and restaurant can't be beaten. Say hello to "Ugly Dog", the dive school's mascot, and have yourself a great time." Trip Advisor 4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2011 Al Stew, Phuket, Thailand.

Let's bring the giant clams shells back into the sea. Giant clams are protected in Thailand, it's illegal to collect or possess them, unfortunately we still see many shells used as ashtray or garden decoration. They should go back into the sea as they are a great substrate for coral larvae to grow on. For Buoyancy world we want to secure those shells on a rope and then attach them around concrete structures. But we need your help, so if you see giant clams shells on the island, please pick them up, explain why you are picking them up (education is the only way forward) and bring them to us at Big Blue Diving in Sairee or on the construction site of Buoyancy World (from 23rd August) And if you want to join in & help then you're welcome to come & join our team & help at the construction site.

PADI, the world's largest diver training organization, today announced its "Countdown to 20 Million" campaign, which will award a fantastic trip to Australia's Great Barrier Reef to the diver who receives the 20 millionth PADI scuba certification. PADI has been tracking certifications and will announce the winner after this goal has been reached. "The diver to receive PADI's 20 millionth certification will win an all-expenses paid trip for two to explore natural wonder of the world, the Great Barrier Reef, and other local attractions such as the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest, courtesy of Tourism Queensland. Dive excursions out to the Great Barrier Reef will be provided by MV Spirit of Freedom, which includes a three-day, three-night liveaboard adventure to iconic dive sites such as Cod Hole and the stunning Ribbon Reefs. In addition, the PADI Instructor to issue the 20 millionth diver certification and the affiliated dive center or resort will each receive a trip to Australia. A "Countdown to 20 Million Certifications" counter has launched on the PADI website that provides daily updates as the organization approaches this achievement, which they expect to reach by late September. The promotion applies to both new and experienced divers who obtain any level of scuba certification at one of the more than 6,000 PADI Dive Centers or Resorts worldwide. Visit www.padi.com for the most up-to-date countdown number and to find the nearest PADI dive location.
 

Monday 15th August 2011-
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Well we're ready for you! Its the biggest week of the year! The week after the August Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan. We got our touts on the ferries, our drivers at the piers, our housekeepers preparing rooms, our Divemasters scheduling trips, our Instructors ready to teach, our boats ready to take you to the best scuba diving around Koh Tao Koh Phangan & Koh Samui, our shop girls ready to meet you, sign you in & take your payments. Meanwhile our waiters are also ready to serve you, our bar tenders ready to refresh you, our DJ's ready to entertain you, our videographers ready to film you & we've even had the Manager inflate the giant Whaleshark "just in case". Ready as we'll ever be. One- Two- Thr...

"Dear Jim, There’s a lot more to a can of tuna than the friendly looking label might suggest. Behind every happy bumble bee and smiling mermaid there’s an ocean of destruction. That’s why Greenpeace is launching a new campaign to get the canned tuna industry to clean up its act and end its destructive ways. And to kick things off we’ve teamed up with Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Mark Fiore on a brand new video to expose the industry’s dirty little secret. Our goal is to reach 25,000 views in the first 48 hours. If we do that, we have a great chance of giving the video the momentum it needs to really get the tuna industry’s attention. In the meantime, check out the video and pass it along on Facebook and Twitter. The more we spread the word the faster we expose the tuna industry’s dirty little secret and save the oceans. Sincerely, Casson Trenor, Senior Markets Campaigner, Greenpeace.

This time last year we housed 12 people in our classrooms & a couple or a couple of couples slept on the cushions in the bar. Last year we had no idea quite how busy Koh Tao was going to get & were unprepared for the onslaught we received. This year we are a little readier & have heaps of accommodation still available & heaps of DM's & Instructors on standby to ensure we still only take no more than 4 divers per Divemaster & no more than 6 students per Instructor. So merry makers if you are looking for a great time, an awesome Underwater experience & need a room to stay in then I would highly recommend booking something before you get here. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a HOT DEAL and get your free accommodation along with your Open Water dive course

Saturday 13th August 2011-i

Thanks to Helen Sabin (ex Big Blue Instructor) from Think-Work-Play for this one.
A new exhibition by Austrian artist Andreas Franke, ‘Vandenberg: Life Below the Surface’ off Key West, Florida, gives budding art fanatics and deep-sea divers a unique opportunity to swim alongside work that is displayed on the side of a shipwrecked boat. Possibly the world’s deepest installation to date, corals, tropical fish and rare sea life will be a mere second thought to Franke’s imagery. A keen diver himself, photographer Andreas Franke took to the seas and explored the Vandenberg last year himself to see what the shores of Key West had to offer. “Even though there is so much life, marine life, all over and around it, the shipwreck itself, to me, is a dead thing,” Franke said. “But I thought that if I put people on it, then there would again be life on that ship.” And so, with this stroke of genius, Franke got creative and daring and proposed to put his photographs in the deep blue. Franke decided to layer the prints with human life to portray the feeling of existence and being. Images include that of a couple waltzing inside the ship, a a young girl chasing fish with a butterfly net on deck, and a group of teenagers waiting outside a cinema. Makes a change to the usual shipwreck under the sea, and a definite competitor to the Great Barrier Reef.

"Thanks to Ash, Canada, Ian & Matt at BBT for making my BSAC Dive Leader course happen and putting up with my crap jokes; had a great time with you all and learned a lot. Ian, don't worry mate, you can keep the 100Bt, use it to buy yourself some dry cigarettes and then, (if you can find one), donate the rest to a the Koh Tao Retirement Home for Incontinent Dogs." Richard Mason. - Cheers Richard. BTW Ian Jordan is not an incontinent dog.. we said incompetent ;)

The decision by Britain's top-ranked female beach volleyball team to advertise on their bikini bottoms has been criticised by a feminist. Bath-based Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullin teamed up with a bookmaker to trial barcodes on the backs of their swimsuit bottoms in a sponsorship deal. When the matrix barcodes are photographed with a smartphone, the user is taken to the company's website. Sian Norris said there was still a lack of seriousness around women's sports.
"There is huge interest in beach volleyball and we want to ensure that our advertising campaign is seen and remembered by as many sports fans as possible. But Ms Norris, from Bristol Feminist Network, said: "I think what is really shows is that there's still a lack of seriousness taken when it comes to women's sports. "There's the assumption that men are the spectators rather than women for a start. "But also do we want these women to be seen as athletes or are they walking advertising billboards?" Or are they just good looking chicks in bikinis?

Friday 12th August 2011-
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The horrendous earthquake & subsequent tsunami that struck the north of Japan last March killed almost 30000 people & left countless more homeless & helpless including one of our Big Blue Instructors - our very favourite strongest man & Sumo wrestler Kuma san. Since that day Kuma has been working his enormous butt off trying to get his hometown back in order & has organised a Diver salvage team that basically dives underwater picking up all the devastated trash of former lives & tries to put some semblance of normality back again to the daily lives of those affected in the area. But to do so he is totally relying on the generosity of contributors both financially & physically & being the strongest Japanese man I know I'm pretty sure he's coping physically & now we are trying to help financially. So thanks to Gary from SSI Thailand who has bought & had made these 2 shirts that we are selling here at Big Blue every penny you spend goes directly to Kuma & his group of volunteers. For just 500 Bt you get a T-shirt & are helping to restore the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves. Buy a T-shirt in our store or order online- write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Richard Branson teamed up with WildAid and swam with about three hundred sharks off of Cancun, Mexico to raise awareness about the horrors of the shark finning industry. Three hundred may sound like a big scary number, but Branson wasn’t exactly swimming with Jaws. He took a dip with the whale shark, a species that can grow to be over forty feet long and is considered to be a gentle giant. Branson said in a video about the issue, “Believe it or not, some people cut the fin off these beautiful, beautiful creatures to eat and throw the rest of the whale shark back into the water to die. It’s too sad for words.” It’s estimated that over seventy million sharks are killed in this manner each year for their fins. Many species are facing extinction due to overfishing. Currently the whale shark is listed as a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Watch the video at: http://www.ecorazzi.com/2011/08/10/w...shark-finning/

I did my OW course with you and I had a fantastic experience! Not only was the setting beautiful and relaxed, I also want to express my gratitude to my instructor, Nick Bufton, for his excellent teaching skills. I was a little nervous starting out, but Nick did his best to ensure I felt comfortable under water. Nick maintain a relaxed atmosphere while still being very attentive, informative, and patient, and for that I am grateful. Thank you Big Blue and Nick for a great opportunity!! & Btw Nick It's true. You do look like Sid the Sloth!

Thursday 11th August 2011-
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A big Koh Tao, Thailand thank you to scuba diving Travis our PADI Divemaster sorry DMT, who crossed over from SSI & BSAC to become a scuba diving professional at Big Blue Diving Resort having completed his Open Water, Advanced Course, Rescue Course & Emergency First Response, has taught me how to get ahead on the search engines. Scuba Diving in Thailand Travis reckons all you have to do is mention diving or similar keywords like dive course Koh Tao as many times as possible on your websites Home page & the search engines will boost you up on the rankings! How scuba diving open water course koh tao thailand tastic is that!

Word on the street is that the people who recently came & picked up & moved the Sattakut wreck that was so beautifully botched up while sinking last month have done an awesome job & placed her in a perfect position standing up, tall & proud & right next to Hin Pee Wee. In fact they appear to have done such an amazing job they haven't even disturbed the visibility by stirring up all the sand & silt & that you can see the wreck in awesome conditions. Divers are crowding round our signing in board & are demanding to dive the wreck! We have so much demand for it right now we dived it this morning, we'll dive it tomorrow morning & tomorrow afternoon aswell! Its a bloody good job none of our customers are from England right now or we'd have a riot on our hands! & they's possibly end up nicking it!

Well we aren't exactly sinking. In fact far from it! But I can't help feeling we still have alot of staff jumping or about to jump ship! Mr & Mrs Dan & Kymmie Bolton met, fell in love, got married & are now bugging off in a couple of days back to England. Tech Instructor Ash & Mrs Ash, Aka Kelli have actually left already & are on their way to the USA! Erik & his Missus are presently residing in the Bahamas shark feeding! Then we got Helen who is also off to find work in the Caribbean. Then Sonia who is off shortly to work for a Liveaboard Company in the Similans & then the Komodo Islands. Jodie who went on holiday to the Uk & didn't come back as she got a job in telly. Instructor Emily is quitting the diving Industry to be a Teacher at Koh Tao's first primary school for ex pat kids. Susi is off back to Germany & today Canada has just told me he is off to work Sea Security on the cargo vessels in & out of the Straits of Somalia! Right. I think that's the lot. Now would everyone please stop leaving! I'm feeling rather lonely!

Wednesday 10th August 2011-
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BREAKING NEWS! Colonel Gadaffi has announced he recognizes the London Rioters as the legitimate UK government, and is asking David Cameron and Nick Clegg to stand aside…. The UN Security council is also expected to pass a resolution to enforce a no-fly zone over London and start supplying the insurgent estates of Hackney, Brixton , Clapham, Croyden , Moss Side and Handsworth with arms and tactical support. Meanwhile we are waiting on a press release from the White House- 'the US will not stand by and watch the people of the UK be over run by Al-Qaeda extremists, we will seek a UN Resolution to this outbreak and we cannot rule out military engagement in the UK'...... Innit ...

Today, more and more people are keeping stingrays as pets. Unfortunately, keeping a ray as a pet is a lot of hard work. They need a lot of attention. Also, by encasing the stingray in a tank (which can sometime be up to 2 meters long) you can greatly reduce their lifespan. Many pet owners agree that they've experienced what they call "Sudden Ray Death." The stingray seems to die for no reason. Even if you think it would be a great conversation piece to own a stingray as a pet, they are high maintenance, expensive, and difficult to take care of. Hammerhead Sharks are stingrays' most frequent predators. A stingray's number one defense against an animal that is so large in comparison to their own size is their stinging barb. Hammerheads have been found with as many as twenty stingray barbs embedded in their throats! & you'd look pretty stupid with a 2 meter long aquarium with a dead hammerhead in it!

Awesome dive at our new wreck HTMS Sattakut which showed herself to be on her very best this morning; great visibility so that everyone could see her glory. Want to dive Sattakut?? Get on it. We're starting a Wreck Specialty tomorrow with our Swedish PADI & SSI Scuba Instructor Ludo. Only 7800 Bt. Unless you are a Swedish topless bikini model in which case we'll pay you!

Let’s Reclaim the Seas of Sanriku!

Underwater Clean Up by Volunteer Divers in the
Tsunami-
Ravaged Iwate Prefecture of Northeastern
Japan

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This is a report of the relief activities from former Big Blue Diving Instructor and photographer Tetsuya Kusu, with English translation by Chisa Hidaka of Dolphin Dance Project. We hope to raise awareness and support for the disaster relief efforts in this region.

A once-in-a-thousand-year earthquake hits Japan’s northeast Tohoku region...the massive tsunami that accompanied it swallowed into the sea thousands of lives and memories. In the aftermath of this unprecedented disaster, the survivors are moving forward towards recovery, one step at a time. In the face of a natural event born of our oceans, divers have rushed in to support the relief efforts.

Immediately, they thought "What can we do as divers?" With the cooperation of the local fishermen the divers have begun a full-scale underwater clean up.

nThe Once Beautiful Coast of Sanriku, Transformed
I first visited Iwate prefecture four years ago, in the rainy season. Despite having
traveled widely abroad, I had not seen much of Japan outside the familiar Kansai region where I live. This was the first time I visited the northeast Tohoku region of Japan. Although a part of Honshu Island (the main island of Japan), Iwate prefecture is about 500 km from Tokyo and 1000 km north of the Kansai region.

Even in the rainy season (June) there was still a spring-like air. The water temperature had warmed up to 15 degrees Celsius...but that was still quite chilly for a tropical-water diver like me.

Diving in the waters of Ryori harbor near Sanriku village seemed, at first, unspectacular. But then, as I looked a little more carefully, I spied a huge fringed blenny with shiny eyes.
I watched a school of Japanese bitterling shimmer as they danced in the light. I fell in love with the ocean of Iwate.

Visits to Iwate became a yearly event, and I soon befriended Hiroshi Sato, aka “Kuma,” owner of the local dive shop “Michinoku Diving (Rias)”. He guided me through the deep riches of Iwate's nature and sumptuous food from the mountains and ocean Being a life long city-dweller I cherished these visits for the precious opportunity they offered to discover the natural wonders of rural Japan.


He even introduced me to something I had wanted to do for quite awhile...the “Salmon Swim”. As the name suggest, in the “Salmon Swim” we swim with the salmon. Wearing a mask and snorkel, we entered the mouth of the river to
observe the salmon return and run upstream after 4 year’s migration through the open ocean. In Japan, most of the salmon and their runs are controlled and managed by Fishery Unions. Fishing by individuals is, of course, forbidden, and entering the water with the salmon would normally attract immediate police attention.

But Kuma had patiently negotiated our visits with the local fishermen. Through a bit of trial and error, he had found a way to approach the salmon so that divers could come to witness the mysterious salmon run - the salmon sacrificing of their lives to lay their eggs - while making as little impact on the behavior and environment as possible. The “Salmon Swim” was one of the highlights of visiting this area.

But now, these once-beautiful oceans and rivers.... Three weeks after the earthquake and tsunami, as the roads
started to become passable, I travelled to Iwate to document and report on the recovery efforts.

oLocal Diver Kuma’s Relief Activities
March 11, 2011 will forever be a memorable day, not just for divers, but for people around the world. Having received Nature’s blessings, we also experienced her immense destructive power.

March is off-season for diving in Iwate; so Kuma was working as a dive guide for Big Blue Diving in Kao Lak, Thailand. As soon as he heard the news of the earthquake and tsunami, he rushed back to his family and “home field” of diving. In the confusion and destruction following the disaster, roads were practically unpassable; but on March 15 he finally arrived. Having confirmed that his family was safe, he proceeded directly to the areas hardest hit by the disaster.

What he saw there...it was the utter destruction about which we are now all too well aware. Everything had washed away. With so many people without any protection, even from their own fears, it was not a moment for Kuma to think about helping...he simply stepped in and started working. Making his way through the scattered debris, he spent days distributing the donated goods that had arrived from Bangkok and Akita. Soon, support from his fellow divers began to flow in. They rallied to raise funds for Kuma’s relief efforts. A divers network began to form as transportation improved and more donated goods began to arrive.

The numbers of supporters increased as friends, relatives and colleagues joined the effort. Public donations arrived but were delivered slowly. Even goods received the local government were accumulating elsewhere, awaiting
distribution. Limited as they were, Kuma’s network was able to reach the neediest victims directly...and their efforts were rewarded by increasing support from around the country and the world.

It all began as a personal effort; but Kuma has reached the hearts of many and his relief efforts are expanding into a full-scale movement.

pSCUBA-Assisted Relief Efforts
Being divers, Kuma and the others were concerned from the beginning, not only about the destruction that had been wrecked on land, but the huge amount of debris that had been dragged into the ocean. Wreckage was strewn all over the oceans they once dived and enjoyed. Rubble littered the rivers where the salmon ran upstream. But the waters were dangerous and not immediately accessible, especially not on their own. Besides, the needs of the people who had suffered damages and loss were more urgent priorities.

Then, about one month into the efforts, on April 8, Mr. Koichi Ryori, a fisherman and relative of Kuma living in Ofunato city, Sanriku village, suggested that they might try pulling some of the debris out of the water.

Many fishermen had lost their boats, which had been anchored in the harbor. Now with all the sunken rubble, even those who still had boats could barely make their way about. There was much wreckage to pull out of the water; and perhaps some of the sunken fishing gear could be salvaged. So Kuma and his crew literally dove in. With divers and fishermen working together, an underwater clean up effort was begun.

First the biggest pieces, visible from the surface, were pulled out using land-based cranes. With Kuma in
the water, and the fishermen on land, the team tied ropes around sunken objects to pull them out of the water. A light truck was pulled out. A pot for boiling freshly collected seaweed was retrieved.

Cheers rose from the fishermen as, one after another, pieces of fishing gear were recovered, relatively intact. The
more valuable the item, the greater were the cheers. Things that could not be pulled out using a land-based crane were marked with buoys for recovery using ship-board cranes. They also repaired the buoys marking the mooring lines for large ships in the bay.

At times divers were called upon to perform risky maneuvers, like cutting free debris that was caught in the ropes. Sometimes they had to cut away ropes that were too tangled. After all the large pieces had been retrieved, divers picked up the smaller ones hand. An iron griddle, some building materials...these items were handed them one by one to fishermen eagerly waiting on small boats or even on shore.

Kuma and the divers have already received tremendous appreciation from the fishermen and their community for the recovery and relief efforts; but much more work and much more man power is still needed. The work is dangerous, and can only be accomplished by experienced divers. Even so, a flood of inquiries followed his recent call for volunteers. Once transportation and gasoline supply became available people from outside the prefecture arrived to contribute their time and effort.

With the arrival of Golden Week (a week in early May when many Japanese people take vacation) an effort involving many more volunteers became possible. Twenty five volunteers arrived to Iwate from Kanto, Nagano, Nagoya and even as far away as Hiroshima. Eleven of them used SCUBA to help with the clean up efforts. There were two underwater clean up teams, and everyone on land also helped out, each person assigned to the tasks for which they were most suited.

qFishery Union Report: The Oceans of Sanriku Are Alive!
In the middle of Golden Week a request came from the Fishery Union for help with an evaluation of the state of the local fisheries. Unable to fish since the tsunami, the fishermen were understandably anxious about the state of the fisheries. Their houses, boats and fishing gear all washed away, the fishermen wondered whether, even when fishing once again became feasible, there would be anything left to catch.

The Ryori fishing harbor once yielded regular harvests of many different kinds of seafood. But the farming structures for wakame seaweed, scallops and sea squirt were badly damaged. Many w
ere concerned that the abalone that naturally grew on the seaside ledges may have been destroyed under the rubble. With so much of the shore having been washed into the bay, no one could imaging how the underwater seascape have changed. Amid much anxious speculation, the divers were asked to investigate the underwater state of the fishery.

Carrying with them the worries of the fishermen, the divers entered water in which they are usually forbidden to dive. At 5-10 meters, some rubble was visible; but what really impressed us was the lush growth of wakame and other seaweed, swaying in the waves. Healthy sea urchin and sea squirts abounded. Many live abalone appeared to thrive amid the wealth of seaweed on which they feed. From the depths of Sanriku’s ocean, considered one of the world’s three largest fisheries, the divers excitedly brought back photos and video depicting underwater scenes of unexpected abundance.

Obviously relieved, the fishermen seemed that they were finally able to feel a glimmer of hope for the future of their livelihoods. Similar underwater fishery research was conducted in three locations during Golden Week. The video
must now undergo official analysis by the Fishery Union to assess future prospects for continued aquaculture and other fishing activities.

Clean Up and Shelter
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Golden Week involved much more than underwater clean up and fishery surveys. We cleaned the mouth of the salmon river and the sea cucumber farms in the fishing harbor, ran a soup kitchen near the harbor, delivered donated goods to the emergency shelters and held a tea ceremony there, too.

We responded not only to the explicit needs of the fishermen and other community members, but offered our own ideas like the soup kitchen and tea ceremony. It was satisfying to feel that we could offer not only some assistance, but a chance for a little peace to ease the fears of those who had suffered so much from the disaster. We relaxed and drank tea, enjoying our new friendship. Tears even flowed as we neared “good bye.”

Many volunteers expressed their desire to return for a second round. Just offering an empathetic ear seemed to lessen the anxieties of the people who have suffered so much loss and devastation. With time and as relief progresses, the needs of the community will no doubt change. Our plan is for future activities that respond to those changing needs.

Moving the Volunteer Base to Yokota in Rikuzentakata
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The house where Kuma's grand mother in law used to live - now owned by Kuma is in Yokota in Rikuzentakata; and it was turned into the volunteers’ home base—a warm inviting place where we stayed, feeling as if we were family friends. The house is very conveniently located, in close proximity to the disaster area. It is only about 10 km from the Kesengawa River, a point to which the tsunami had risen.

Even with up to 20 of us there during Golden Week, the house allowed us all to stay in comfort without the need to camp in tents or be otherwise inconvenienced. The friendly company and relaxing accommodations very much made us all enthusiastic about returning. Near the house there is a center where they can assign volunteers to different activities so they can also introduce the volunteers to the center.

At the moment the house is most useful as a base for relief volunteers; but in the future it will no doubt be loved as a wonderful place for divers visiting Sanriku, or tourists to Iwate to stay for rest and relaxation.

Thanks to the efforts of the Sanriku volunteer divers described in this report, underwater clean up has proceeded much more quickly here than in other tsunami-affected areas. Building on our experience in Sanriku we hope to expand our efforts to other devastated areas in the north east Tohoku area of Japan, with cooperation from local Fishery Unions and the local governments.

Unfortunately, unlike the fishermen who are receiving disaster compensation from the national government, the divers are receiving nothing, yet continue these efforts through support from private donors and by simply volunteering their own time and resources. In order for us to continue and expand our efforts, additional donor funding is now critical.

In Minami-Sanriku village in Miyagi prefecture, several local divers who suffered from the effects of the tsunami and earthquake are working towards recovering their futures by soliciting funds to build a new air station (to fill SCUBA tanks). Little by little, the divers there are struggling to reclaim their livelihoods.

To support the relief efforts, through which we are working to restore the beauty of the oceans of the north east Tohoku area of Japan, we appeal to divers, not only in Japan, but around the world.

We would be very grateful to receive support from fellow divers everywhere who also love the ocean.
 
Tuesday 9th August 2011-t

We are saying goodbye..again..to our dear friend Lara aka Lala today, she's going back to her boyfriend in NZ, She still got the top 1 email to Big Blue diving, after asking quetions about her dive course etc, she also asked "will I make friends at Big Blue?" Eeehh....really!?!?!?? Now she's saying goodbye to ALL her friends and can't belive she ever asked that question. So if you wonder the same thing, don't worry, we're plenty of friendly friends here, as long as you're nice, hot and funny, we will be your friend!!

One returning question you get here is: so, how long have you been here? When you tell them how long, they say...wow, yeah, I can see why it's hard to leave this place. We have lots of long term locals here, from around 15 years till less. And we all kind of have the same story, we just didn't leave Koh Tao. It all starts the same way, you sit there and plan your travels and check out internet, ask friends who's been out there all ready, Where did they go? What did they do?

So maybe you start your journey in Bangkok and spend some time there before you head to Chiang Mai. If your timing is right you might attend Koh Phangan's full moon party and after that you make your way to Koh Tao, where you've heard that scuba diving is the best place to learn in Thailand, and right you are.
So you either check out the website www.bigbluediving.com and book your course there or you go in to the shop and sign up for your Open Water course (OW).
You start the course, have lots of fun and in the evening, you might get to see one of our Dm't challange (where the person who has passed his/hers divemaster course gets to do their final exam, in the bar) or after day No.4 when you have finished your course, you sit in the bar and watch your open water video with all your new friends.
Then you think, maybe I should do this Advanced open water course (AOW) that my instructor has been talking so much about, sounds really cool to go down to 30 meters and everything else that is included in the course, YEAH, lets do that!!! So there you go, you stay a bit longer...after this, some people leave, and some stay, 5 years later when you ask them, wen did you get here? -eh, 5 years ago, I just couldn't leave, I fell in love with diving and Koh Tao. You end up doing your ERF, rescue, dive master and instructor course. Then you start to work as a dm or instructor and just basically have the best life style in the world, working with what you love, can it get better??? I think not!!

Monday 8th August 2011-
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Separated at Birth! Nick Bufton the PADI & SSI Scuba Instructor for Big Blue Diving in Koh Tao Thailand. And Sid, a clumsy sloth from the Walt Disney character in the Ice Age Movies. Or is that Nick the Ess Ess I Insstructor, a Clumsy character from Big Blue Diving in the Ice Age! " I don't know about you guys but he's got the weirdest head I've ever seen!"

Sharkskin is a revolutionary technical water sports garment suitable for many different active water sports from scuba diving, kayaking, jet skiing, to water skiing and surfing. Sharkskin garments come in a large range of both sizes and styles providing the equivalent warmth of a 2.5 – 3mm neoprene wetsuit. Even on a warm day wind chill can quickly cool you down. Unlike conventional wetsuits, the windproof membrane in Sharkskin acts not only to keep the wind out, but also breathes to reduce overheating. The inner layer maintains warmth and also wicks away moisture for added comfort. Sharkskin’s 4-way stretch material combined with a carefully designed multi-panel cut for both men and women provides a superior body hugging, comfortable, non-restrictive fit along with easy donning and doffing. Sharkskin is also odour and itch resistant, non chaffing, has outstanding sun protection (UPF 30+), is abrasion resistant, mildew resistant, lightweight and dries much faster than neoprene. I'll have 2 please!

Big Blue is venturing out to two of our islands artificial reefs tomorrow. Divers will first visit the HTMS Sattakut, an old navy ship recently sunk off Sairee, followed by a dive to our very own electric reef; BioRock. Big Blue played a big part in the deployment of these reefs which help alleviate some of the dive pressure on our natural reefs. And how often do you get to dive a ship that was involved in World War II, and then a reef where coral grows 5 times faster than any other reefs due to the electrolysis property, all in one morning? Now imagine what could happen if we electrolysed the wreck? Next year’s big Eco project for Big Blue, I think.

Sunday 7th August 2011-
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So a little while ago I mentioned that I had some news to let out! Actually 3 bits of news! So lets start with the first very exciting piece of news. We have a new boat! & she's a beauty! Very quick too. We should be able to get to Sail Rock now in about an hour, which is almost half the time it would take us on any of our other boats! & because it is sooo speedy we are actually going to be sending this boat on weekly trips to the legendary Angthong Marine Park once a week &... wait for it... we are also going to start operating special trips to the best dive sites in the Chumphon Marine Park! How's that for staying ahead of the rest! We will be the only Koh Tao operator diving Angthong & Chumphon Marine Park. You want the best diving in the Gulf of Thailand? Better dive with Big Blue then! "Koh Tao's number 1 Dive operator".

Things That Kill More People Than Sharks- Obesity kills 30000 People annually. Lightening kills 10000 people annually. Texting kills 6000 people annually.Hippos kill 2900 people annually. Airplanes kill 1200 people annually. Volcanoes kill 845 people annually.Autoerotic asphyxiation kills 600 people annually. Shopping on Black Friday kills 550 people annually. Falling out of bed kills 450 people annually. Bathtubs kill 340 people annually. Hot digs kill 70 children annually. Tornadoes kill 60 people annually. Jellyfish kill 40 people annually. Dogs kill 30 people annually in the United States. Anys kill 30 people annually. High School Football kills 20 people annually. Vending machines kill 13 people annually. Roller Coasters kill 6 people annually. Sharks kill 5 people annually.

Well done Laura! Laura Weiand has just completed her 6 weeks training in Marine Conservation with Big Blue, entailing a fantastically conducted and researched investigation into the population structure of mushroom coral fields on Koh Tao. Laura is completeing her Master degree with Leiden University and was under the supervision of Dr Bert Hoeksema, the prostiguous Mushroom coral expert from NCB Naturalis with whom Big Blue Conservation frequently collaborates with. Laura showed excellent commitment to the project (and theme parties too!) and we hope to see her back here very soon! If you're interested in completeing an ecological internship, whether just for fun or for university credit, please contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. And don't worry if you're not a diver already, we can provide you with all the training, equipment and supervision to become the next aquatic David Attenborough!!

Friday 5th August 2011-w

Another Full Day Trip to the best dive site in the Gulf of Thailand today- Sail Rock! 2 dives there, where last week we saw a Whaleshark! Its another busy boat, so busy in fact we had to turn people away last night as the trip was already full. Not the only thing full right now either. Koh Tao is really busy. Rooms are full. Scuba Instructors are busy. Dive Boats are chocka. We're renting extra kit, extra tanks in fact its sooo crazy we've even sent one of our staff out to Chumphon to buy another boat! Its only going to get busier too as it is the Black Moon Party on Koh Phangan this week & then next week its the Full Moon Party there as well. So if you are on your way here to Koh Tao & you haven't yet booked yourself somewhere to stay then you really need to pull your finger out & book something pretty darn quick or you'll be spelling more curse words than a Harry Potter movie!

Well, with over 30,000 visitors to our 21 square km island last month, our island ecosystem is taking a bit of a battering. Particularly after the Full Moon festivities when there is all that neon paint to wash off, the increased waste water run-off is worse than ever! So in pure Big Blue style, Jen and her Eco minions constructed a floating wetland, which will help to clean the water before it flows out to sea. The waste river, affectionately known as 'The Poonama Canal', runs straight through the entrance to Big Blue's Resort. We don't actually contribute to it, it comes from resorts it hits before us who have concreted over their section of the Klong, but unlike them we've left it open so we can make a beautiful floating oasis in it! Either that or we can turn it into Big Blue's new mud spa... anyone want first dibs?!

"Hey Jim and Andrea! How are you guys? Thanks again for the wonderful stay at Baan Sawainam! We loved it! My parents had some nice quiet time at the pool while my brother and I were down under watching whale sharks and turtles! My brother is planning on coming back to Thailand next year and getting his Open Water. I think he's infected with the diving virus as well ;) Thanks again for all your help and loving care! It was much appreciated! Love, Anniek"

Thursday 4th August 2011-x

Well we've wiped away the tears from our eyes, shaken off the hangovers, & we partied like it was Mr & Mrs Dan & Kymmie Boltons wedding! What an awesome weekend we all just had in Samui. Started well with a stag night consisting of 20 fully grown men charging round the beaches streets & clubs of Samui in our Morph suits, then had the most amazing wedding at the most amazing location with the most amazing people wearing the most amazing clothes on such a very special occasion. Kymmie looked unbelievable! Dan looked very dapper! Just goes to show that even Diving Instructors can scrub up nicely when needs must! Thank you so much Dan & Kymmie for inviting all of us to your very special weekend. Big sigh. .... Right fun's over... everyone back to work!

Well blow me gently & call me Ruby! I am absolutely astounded at the response we have just received since I put a new page on our website called Hot Deals! We are getting between 10-20 inquiries & bookings for these deals alone! Not really surprised as the savings you can make rival that of the January Sales. Free Accommodation. Free T-shirts. Discounted Course prices. Discounted Fundives. There are savings of upto 5000 Bt to be had & its peak season as well! Makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to be giving such great deals away like this but hey! What the hell! The boss is in Sweden. & you know what they say... "Its not Christmas, but I want stuffing!"

SSImon is back! Thank god. We've only been waiting the best part of 2 months for him to get back as we have a queue as long as your arm of Instructors looking to 'use the force' & turn to the Dark Side & crossover from PADI & join the Rebel Alliance otherwise known as SSI! Wise folk. So first up on our list of Jedi wannabe's are 3 of our new Instructors Laura, Neil & Luke & joining them are 2 legends of Koh Tao, none other than the 'Aren't you a little short for a StormTrooper' Mr Vibe Bar & Lounge himself Massive Dave! & alongside him the Islands thinnest man & the Manager of the legendary Choppers Sports Bar & Pub Grub Mr Tosh Tanner! Only the best caliber Diving Professionals at SSImons Instructor Crossovers. Oh yeah & Tosh & Dave! ;-)

September 2011

 
Friday 30th September 2011-
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In just 25 years, our consumption rate of plastic bags has grown from almost zero to our use of over 500,000,000,000 (that’s 500 billion) plastic bags annually … almost 1 million per minute.
- According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags.
- Four out of five grocery bags in the US are now plastic.
- Plastic bags cause hundreds of thousands of birds, sea turtle and other marine animal deaths every year because these creatures mistake plastic trash for food.
- Countries like China, Ireland, Australia, Bangladesh have banned or have placed restrictions on single use plastic bags.
- Taiwan banned plastic bag and plastic utensils as a way to reduce 60,000 metric tons of waste per year they deal with each year
- According to the BBC, only 1 in 200 plastic bags in the UK are recycled.
- Target, the second-largest retailer in the U.S. purchases 1.8 billion bags a year. They just announced a new program to give consumers a nickel back for each reusable bag they bring into their stores when they shop.
- Target (Australia) completely banned single use plastic bags in their stores in 2008.
- The average family accumulates 60 plastic bags in only four trips to the grocery store.
- Each high quality reusable bag you use has the potential to eliminate an average of 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime.
- Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every HOUR.. Each of us creates 1,500 lbs of trash every year that has to be disposed of that could be recycled with a little effort.
- Now you know … time to pitch in and do your part!
Remember every piece of plastic ever produced and not recycled still exists!

Well its another full on weekend of World Cup Rugby especially for the English & Scottish & we're doing what we can to juggle those interested students whose countries are playing so that they can be on land & watch the matches. It also means there won't be any blog for a few days either so I'd better predict whats coming up over the next couple of days or so. It will be hot, bright & sunny with a chance of showers. Sea temperatures will be around 30 degrees. Visibility will be as much as 30 meters tomorrow & Sunday at Chumphon & Southwest Pinnacles & down to around 20 meters at most of the dive sites around Nang Yuan Island & the wreck & there will be baracudas, Sting rays, turtles & a Whale Shark for your viewing pleasure. So if you are Scottish we'll see you next weekend then (chortle chortle guffaw guffaw!)

BSAC’s stand at this year’s DIVE 2011 will be plastic bag free as part of its pledge to minimise its impact on the environment. BSAC, who has just announced a new partnership with Marine Environment charity Plastic Oceans, is currently driving forward its own ‘green pledge’ to reduce its reliance on plastic across the organisation. Visitors to the BSAC stand, in particular the BSAC Shop, are now being encouraged to bring their own reusable bags or rucksacks and show their support for the initiative. Thank you.


Thursday 29th September 2011-b

Well thankfully there are organisations out there that really give a damn about our environment & especially for us divers who actually really care about the marine creatures we interact with every day. So thank you Gary Hawkes Director of SSI Thailand for organising & designing the new Whaleshark poster & instructions on how to behave if you are lucky enough to find yourselves face to face with one of these amazing creatures. And SSI have provided the poster for free. How nice is that. We weren't even asked to Put Another Dollar In! Thats why we like SSI. Cos they're profeSSIonal!

Well its not every day you'll be sitting at your desk when one of the main dealers of Aqualung Scuba Diving equipment comes strolling in & tells you that they re going to give us a totally new full set of Diving equipment just for being us! Aqua Lung introduced the world to Scuba diving more than 60 years ago and is the worldwide leader in SCUBA diving equipment. Under brands such as Apeks, Aqua Lung or SeaQuest, they manufacture quality and high performance regulators, buoyancy compensators (BC's), masks, fins, snorkels, wetsuits and many more products to make your diving adventure safe and memorable. Dive with Big Blue & we'll give you a 10% discount off any Dive equipment purchase. Do your Divemaster or Instructor Courses with us & we'll give you a 15% discount! Thank you Aquamaster & All 4 Diving for your extremely generous gift. Next year how about 2 tickets to Hawaii placed into the BCD pocket!

Wow it looks like  I owe 2236 members of our Big Blue Group on Facebook an apology for not having replied to all of your questions & queries that you've sent through. I had no idea that the Group page was still operational! Apologies to all & if you really want me to grovel in apology then write me an email & I'll send you a free t-shirt! Thanks for all the love guys. Glad you all had such a great time with diving & staying with us. Hope that you'll all be back again soon!

Tuesday 27th September 2011-c

Have you been diving with Big Blue and were lucky enough to see one of the plethora of whalesharks recently?? Please post your best photo on here so we can submit it to the online database to track these beautiful behemoths! The best photo is taken of the spot pattern between the pectoral fin and the gills, just like this one! Using NASA star pattern technology we can then record the spot pattern which is unique to each shark, like a fingerprint! Then we can monitor individuals year after year and learn more about these amazing animals. Thanks!

" I completed the SSI open water course a few days ago with Big Blue. I done a bit of research before booking with them and their reviews were good. It proved an excellent choice, their facilities, skills, and location on the beach and town are great. the price is the same for most places on the island, so with the free accommodation that came with taking the course it worked out very good value. Heather was our instructor and was great fun, but also very skilled and knowledgeable in her job. Diving is a religion to the guys at big Blue. Also Billy the cameraman is a legend." Trip Advisor 5* reveiwed September 2011.

The weather is still unpredictable, but we are hoping to deploy the Buoyancy World site this Wednesday. We will prepare and be ready, but if the boat captain says no then we may have to postpone to the following week. Stay optimistic, visualize calm seas, and pray for the best. If all goes well the schedule will be as follows:
8:00 am Clean-up site and set-up for ceremony
9:00 am Monk Ceremony
10:00 am Tie up structures and prepare for transportation
11:30 am Load onto trucks and transport to pier
1:30 pm Depart from Mae Haad
2:00 pm Arrive at Twins, attach mooring points
2:30 pm Begin lowering western most structures (deep)
5:30 pm Depart Twins
6:00 pm Return to Mae Haad
Stay tuned for further updates

Monday 25th September 2011-d

Well, how dedicated are we - over 50 people braved the storm on Saturday to participate in this years International Clean Up day at Big Blue! Staff, trainee Divemasters and lots of other volunteers helped collect rubbish from North Sairee beach - both on land and under the sea. Every year, debris in the water harms millions of fish and aquatic life, but we at Big Blue love our reefs to much to see them become a rubbish dump! So we set out to clean that rubbish up, polish the coral and scrub the fish until they were sparkling clean! We collected over 50 kgs of rubbish, so a fantastic job guys well done!! Don't worry if you missed this event, we do it on the last Saturday of every month! And guess what... the dive is FREE!! So come join in! Even if you can't make the next clean up, you can always do you own little bit on every dive - just ask us for a mesh bag and collect away!

“Top notch fun and relaxation.” Firstly, I've been meaning to write this review for months, but never got round to it. For that I apologise to BB for not giving them 5 stars sooner. I had 3 weeks off work in April this year and had a fantastic holiday to Tibet planned after many months of preparation. Sadly the Chinese government decided not to issue visa's for groups in April and so I quickly rebooked tickets to Bangkok. With only 24 hours until departure the only prep I had time for was picking up a "rough planet" guide to take along. Well arriving in Bangkok during Songkran was a shock (7 am, jet lagged, suddenly covered with water and pink clay; you get the picture) Anyway I hung around the capital for a few days soaking up the atmosphere (and chang) before catching the night train down to Chumphon for the ferry to Tao. I looked online first and my guide book also recommended Big Blue so I booked the OW course online as well as accommodation. Booking online means you don't get the benefit of free dorm accommodation but I did get a nice beach hut with fan not 5 mins from the dive centre. Anyway I get ahead of myself, arriving at Tao is a bit of a breath taking experience, despite being knackered after an all night train ride (There are easier, yet more costly, ways to Tao as well as cheaper slower ways too...), you can't help but be impressed by this rocky green jewel in azure waters. Getting off the ferry is a little daunting to be honest, big crowd of people, usual collection of people knowing a good place to take you made finding the BB sign a challenge, but once found a short bumpy ride to Sairee Beach is enough to wake you up! Arrival at Big Blue is processed nice and quickly and then I was taken to my room. I didn't pay much but what I got was fine. Standard wooden beach hut. cold shower (all you need!) fan cooled with a small deck and hammock 30 secs from the beach. You have all morning off to catch up some rest and get your bearings before meeting up with your instructors. There's a little studying involved (nothing that will confuse anyone), but getting into the water is pretty quick. At Big Blue you are lucky enough to be in the ocean from day 1 with Koh Tao providing plenty of spots to undertake all types of diving. My instructor was Dan who teamed up with Kelli. Both were friendly and excellent and I don't think anyone had anything but an amazing time. Many of us stayed on to do the SSI Advanced Adventurer and in my case I stayed on to do an an extra eco dive and a fundive as well. You just don't want to leave. Diving wise; although I have little to compare to we saw some amazing things whilst at BB including Hawksbill turtles and on our trip out to Sail Rock a Whale Shark (if BB are running this trip whilst you do your advanced you can get on it for a bargain fee, a whole days diving with food all day and a great crowd). In addition the night dive was, far from being scary, quite magical with Barracuda sweeping past you to hunt whatever your torch has just caught as well as the beautiful bioluminescence. I can't praise BB enough, their staff were great; both the expat instructors and the local staff and crew. The bar and food also very good with a nice spot on a quiet part of sairee beach. GO NOW!" Trip Advisor-5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2011 Skimanic, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Attention island residents, this morning there was a massive fish die-off that occurred in Ao Tien Og and Chalok Ban Kao. As of know we are unsure of the causes, but are working with the Marine Fisheries dept., local government, and DMCR to collect information and try to find out what caused this. If you have any (credible) information or have seen any suspicious events or activities over the last 24 hours, please let us know. We have compiled an initial report, which you can download from the website. http://www.marineconservationkohtao.com/images/stories/pdf/fishdie-off_2011.pdf If you see any other dead animals around the island today please send me an email with any descriptions, counts, pictures, etc. Thank you. Also, hundreds of large fish were collected in the early mornings by locals and residents. Until we know the cause of this event we strongly recommend that you do not purchase or consume any of the fish being sold on the island today and tomorrow. Please share this information with others on the island.

 Monday 25th September 2011-e

Well, how dedicated are we - over 50 people braved the storm on Saturday to participate in this years International Clean Up day at Big Blue! Staff, trainee Divemasters and lots of other volunteers helped collect rubbish from North Sairee beach - both on land and under the sea. Every year, debris in the water harms millions of fish and aquatic life, but we at Big Blue love our reefs to much to see them become a rubbish dump! So we set out to clean that rubbish up, polish the coral and scrub the fish until they were sparkling clean! We collected over 50 kgs of rubbish, so a fantastic job guys well done!! Don't worry if you missed this event, we do it on the last Saturday of every month! And guess what... the dive is FREE!! So come join in! Even if you can't make the next clean up, you can always do you own little bit on every dive - just ask us for a mesh bag and collect away!

“Top notch fun and relaxation.” Firstly, I've been meaning to write this review for months, but never got round to it. For that I apologise to BB for not giving them 5 stars sooner. I had 3 weeks off work in April this year and had a fantastic holiday to Tibet planned after many months of preparation. Sadly the Chinese government decided not to issue visa's for groups in April and so I quickly rebooked tickets to Bangkok. With only 24 hours until departure the only prep I had time for was picking up a "rough planet" guide to take along. Well arriving in Bangkok during Songkran was a shock (7 am, jet lagged, suddenly covered with water and pink clay; you get the picture) Anyway I hung around the capital for a few days soaking up the atmosphere (and chang) before catching the night train down to Chumphon for the ferry to Tao. I looked online first and my guide book also recommended Big Blue so I booked the OW course online as well as accommodation. Booking online means you don't get the benefit of free dorm accommodation but I did get a nice beach hut with fan not 5 mins from the dive centre. Anyway I get ahead of myself, arriving at Tao is a bit of a breath taking experience, despite being knackered after an all night train ride (There are easier, yet more costly, ways to Tao as well as cheaper slower ways too...), you can't help but be impressed by this rocky green jewel in azure waters. Getting off the ferry is a little daunting to be honest, big crowd of people, usual collection of people knowing a good place to take you made finding the BB sign a challenge, but once found a short bumpy ride to Sairee Beach is enough to wake you up! Arrival at Big Blue is processed nice and quickly and then I was taken to my room. I didn't pay much but what I got was fine. Standard wooden beach hut. cold shower (all you need!) fan cooled with a small deck and hammock 30 secs from the beach. You have all morning off to catch up some rest and get your bearings before meeting up with your instructors. There's a little studying involved (nothing that will confuse anyone), but getting into the water is pretty quick. At Big Blue you are lucky enough to be in the ocean from day 1 with Koh Tao providing plenty of spots to undertake all types of diving. My instructor was Dan who teamed up with Kelli. Both were friendly and excellent and I don't think anyone had anything but an amazing time. Many of us stayed on to do the SSI Advanced Adventurer and in my case I stayed on to do an an extra eco dive and a fundive as well. You just don't want to leave. Diving wise; although I have little to compare to we saw some amazing things whilst at BB including Hawksbill turtles and on our trip out to Sail Rock a Whale Shark (if BB are running this trip whilst you do your advanced you can get on it for a bargain fee, a whole days diving with food all day and a great crowd). In addition the night dive was, far from being scary, quite magical with Barracuda sweeping past you to hunt whatever your torch has just caught as well as the beautiful bioluminescence. I can't praise BB enough, their staff were great; both the expat instructors and the local staff and crew. The bar and food also very good with a nice spot on a quiet part of sairee beach. GO NOW!" Trip Advisor-5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2011 Skimanic, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Attention island residents, this morning there was a massive fish die-off that occurred in Ao Tien Og and Chalok Ban Kao. As of know we are unsure of the causes, but are working with the Marine Fisheries dept., local government, and DMCR to collect information and try to find out what caused this. If you have any (credible) information or have seen any suspicious events or activities over the last 24 hours, please let us know. We have compiled an initial report, which you can download from the website. http://www.marineconservationkohtao.com/images/stories/pdf/fishdie-off_2011.pdf If you see any other dead animals around the island today please send me an email with any descriptions, counts, pictures, etc. Thank you. Also, hundreds of large fish were collected in the early mornings by locals and residents. Until we know the cause of this event we strongly recommend that you do not purchase or consume any of the fish being sold on the island today and tomorrow. Please share this information with others on the island.

Saturday 24th September 2011-f

Bringing in a couple new staff to replace the masses who've left us over recent weeks. First off we are bringing in the Islands leading Dive Medic Steve Reid who has been advising divers on Koh Tao for over 5 years on what they should & shouldn't do when it comes to their health & diving. He's been on Koh Tao over 10 years is an extremely experienced PADI & SSI Instructor as well as one of the top Dive Medic Technicians in Thailand so we are extremely lucky to have him working here at Big Blue as a full time Instructor & one of our Divemaster mentors. Then we're also bringing in Mr Paul 'Tosh' Tanner who will also be joining Steve in training our PADI Divemasters & SSI Dive Cons. Tosh has also been working in diving over 10 years & comes from a Resort Management background in the Caymans aswell as previous Dive Shop Management here in Koh Tao. Tosh is both an SSI & PADI Instructor & will be assisting SSImon with his SSI Instructor Training Courses when we set up our SSI Center of Excellence at the beginning of next year! Welcome to Big Blue boys. Now go put your knickers on & make us a cup of tea!

Last day on Koh Tao for Helen today who is leaving us for pastures new & will be starting her new job in the Cayman islands in a little over a month. So what does a full time dive instructor do the day before she leaves the island? Go diving of course! & who can blame her. Lucky sod gets to dive with a Whale shark for her last 2 dives on Koh Tao! Cheers Hells! All the best mate & hope you enjoyed the Whale shark I especially laid on for you!

Well its a big day of Rugby today! We Got England playing Romania, 'Come on Romania!' & then its the Mighty All Blacks taking on the beret boys from France! Sonia will be there with hr bowler hat & briefcase cheering on the Pommies! PADI Course Director Guillaume Froigrois will be sitting on a bicycle with a bunch of baguettes poking out his basket supporting the Froggies. & Jim will be there with chin tattoo, & hula skirt cheering on the mighty kiwis! Go Blacks!

Friday 23rd September 2011-g

“Amazing diving, awsome instructor, satisfactory accommodation” - With no diving background, we arrived at Big Blue after being given a 'flyer' on the ferry from Surat Thani. We signed-up for the open water course and were assigned a 'bungalow' without AC as I had a cold (AC not good for colds). The bungalow was very basic but clean and perfectly adequate. The windows had fly screens and all we saw inside was the occasional mosquito. Our biggest problem with accommodation was the persistent lack of running water throughout the site as they were installing new pipes / tanks. This would be OK with some warning, but there was none and we would wake up and not be able to brush our teeth or come back from diving and not be able to shower for a couple of hours. The only other complaint would be that with such thin walls, there was a lot of noise from nearby bars into the early hours, but if you're one of the people in those bars, this won't bother you (we resorted to earplugs)! They have brick built dorms and rooms which would be better in this respect. Those were the negatives but they were definitely outweighed by the positives... Our instructor for the Open Water (SSI) course was Medwin and he was brilliant. Informative and most importantly enthusiastic about what he was teaching. He was patient with our (very basic) questions and very good at demonstrating activities underwater. The dive sites were amazing. So much to look at and diving is such a great experience... we're hooked! I highly recommend specifying Med as your instructor; you will have a great time. We had such a good time that three of us from the OW course stayed on with Med to do our Advanced Course too. None of us had planned this beforehand but we'd had such a good time in the first course. The area around Big Blue is buzzing with activity with plenty of shops and restaurants, but the beach is never far away if you want to lay back and relax. If the staff at Big Blue were any more relaxed, they would be unconcious! We could have spent much longer in Koh Tao and I'm pretty sure its not the last time we visit that great little island. Thank you Big Blue" Trip Advisor Review- Tim_katy from the UK.
 


Richard Branson made an appeal against the consumption of shark fins to a group of 30 of China's richest and most influential business people in Shanghai. Every year, the fins of up to 73 million sharks are harvested and sold, most of which end up on the menus of luxury restaurants in China and Hong Kong. The event, which saw the Virgin founder joined by retired Chinese basketball star Yao Ming, was sponsored by conservation group WildAid, who unveiled a television campaign to highlight the project. "The world is getting wealthier. In China in particular people are getting more affluent. And they can now afford to buy shark fin soup. So it is a major problem. And therefore, there is a major battle to try to reverse that trend," said Branson. Despite moves to ban the trade and consumption of shark fins around the globe - the state of California recently passed a law banning the possession, sale or trade of them - 95 per cent are consumed in China where a kilo of the delicacy trades for around two-thousand yuan, or £200, at Shanghai's seafood markets.

Thursday 22nd September 2011-h

It is mostly legal, but harvesting a shark's fins is a gruesome business. Fishermen often cut off the fins while still at sea and throw the sharks back into the water, where they bleed to death. The fins are then dried and sold to Chinese restaurants, where they are made into shark fin soup. China is at the centre of this trade, but a new campaign hopes to persuade its citizens to stop buying the soup. It is being run by the international animal rights organisation WildAid, which has enlisted the support of China's most famous sportsman, Yao Ming. "When the buying stops, the killing can too," says Yao. WildAid is not the only organisation in China trying to persuade people to stop eating shark fin soup. The Jane Goodall Institute has had an exhibition of gory photographs at Beijing Zoo, next to the tropical bird house. It showed sharks swimming majestically through the water alongside graphic pictures of fishermen cutting off their fins. The aim was to remind people of the cost paid by sharks for a bowl of soup, which can sell for $100 (£64) each. "There is this myth in China that sharks will regenerate their fins, but that's not true. They actually die a very slow, painful and cruel death." WildAid says 73 million sharks are killed each year which, if it continues, could lead to the extinction of several species. That might be so, but persuading Chinese people to forgo them will not be easy.

WANT bigger breasts but shy away from the idea of surgery? Thailand claims to have the answer. Already famous for its medical tourism services - including cheap breast implants - Thailand is promoting a “body slapping” technique that it claims can boost breast size. It has even licensed one beauty shop in Bangkok to perform the non-surgical treatment, which involves kneading, massaging and hitting of the breasts, as well as buttock-slapping to firm the rear. The traditional therapy has been practised by shop owner Khemmikka Na Songkhla for more than two decades. She claims the slapping shifts fat from one area to another, while kneading works excess fat towards the breasts. She has approval from the Thai Government to carry out the technique after a study by the Thai Health Ministry reportedly found vigorous massage left volunteers’ breasts noticeably bigger. The Ministry went so far as to sponsor a program that urged women to learn how to slap their own breasts. Clients can expect to gain about 5cm after the painful treatment. However some are turned away as their breasts are too small. The clinic charges $380 for six 10-minute slapping sessions.

Fiddling from Island to Ireland at Rugby World Cup in NZ: KOH TAO - KUALA LUMPUR - SINGAPORE - SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX - KUALA LUMPUR - KOH SAMUI - KOH TAO - BANGKOK... All in one week! Island to Ireland is taking to the BIG streets BIG TIME!! Time is running out for Greek and he's nowhere near the target! Some positive energy is needed to get this thing off the ground... Good Luck Greek, you crazy Irishman! Only another 143000 Bt to go!

Wednesday 21st September 2011-i

"Dear Ros, Thank you soo much for this week. We had so much fun & learned a lot from you. It was an excellent diving course! You made it unforgettable, exciting & really fun! We didn't have the opportunity to drink Red Bull Vodka Buckets together, so we have to trust you getting them yourself & think about us! We wish you all the best. Team Magic, Henrik, Maria & JP."

"Dear Jim, The PADI eCard™, an electronic version of the traditional certification card, will be available soon. It displays information that instructors or divers need to verify certification and will be hosted, managed and displayed through the existing free PADI App. In the upcoming weeks, PADI Asia Pacific will send eCards to all Course Directors. PADI eCards will be available to all PADI Instructors (upon 2012 PADI membership renewal) shortly thereafter. Diver-level eCards will continue to reflect the same information that appears on traditional certification cards*, but many users will be able to instantly connect with you by opening your website or calling you directly from the eCard**. So wherever your customers go, they can quickly and easily give you a call, send you an email or visit your website -- all from their PADI eCard. For further information regarding the PADI eCard, contact PADI Asia Pacific. Best Regards from, PADI Asia Pacific

The next land and underwater clean-up is just around the corner, on September 24th. The weather is looking a bit rough for Sairee, so it may be best to move the clean-up to the East side of the island. There will be a short meeting at Vibe in Mae Haad on the 22nd, 7pm. This month’s clean-up is also being done in support of Project Aware’s Marine Debris Month of Action, so be sure to come & bring as many people as you can to show your support. Hope to see you there!

Sunday 18th September 2011-
j
Whaleshark Whisperer strikes again! Whaleshark seen at Southwest Pinnacle in both the morning & the afternoon. Of course we managed to organise on a whim to gather all interested parties & take them out to dive with the Whaleshark in the afternoon so I believe yesterdays Big Blue customer satisfaction ratio was actually pretty high! About the same as the All Black score against the Japanese! :

“Brilliant dive school” - I visited Koh Tao with my girlfriend with the intention of learning to dive - we wanted to do our Open Water qualification and this seemed a good place to do so. We spent a morning looking around some other dive schools, notably a much larger one along with a few we found recommended in the Lonely Planet or otherwise. Big Blue seemed the best choice for us, with a small, friendly feel and very approachable staff. The course (SSI) cost 9000 THB and was worth every bit. Our instructor, Ros, was brilliant and was especially helpful whenever somebody found something difficult. At no point did we feel the course was progressing either too quickly or too slowly. The dive boat was also of good quality and all the equipment seemed to work well, with the minor exception of a leaky mask or two! We stayed in an (included) wooden bungalow, right near the restaurant. It was clean and, albeit basic, perfectly adequate. Twice we were without water for a few hours but this seemed to be beyond BBs control. Reception staff were always very happy to help or answer any questions we had. On a side-note, you may want to bring a padlock if you intend to stay here as there are lockers available for use, but you require your own lock. Alternatively a small padlock can be bought for about 50 THB from the 7 eleven, about a minutes walk. The restaurant/bar on-site seemed lively and was always quite busy. The food seemed very good, though we only ate breakfast there. If you find it difficult to sleep you may want to consider staying a little further out than the bungalows however, as it can be a little noisy. All in all, thoroughly recommended. Plus, all divers who get there qualification there get 10% discount for life.Trip Advisor Luke M, Bangkok Thailand- Reviewed 14th Sept 2011

Congratulations to the 42 people who participated in this years Swim for Sharks! Divers from Koh Tao challenged themselves to a 3km swim around Koh Nang Yuan and shaved their head to support anti-shark fishing campaigns on Koh Tao. We raised over 25,000 baht and over 600 signatures to support no fishing zones on Koh Tao. Fantastic job guys!

Friday 16th September 2011-k

The biggest fish in the sea is as long as a school bus, weighs as much as 50,000 pounds, and has a mouth that looks, head-on, wide enough to suck down a small car. Despite this distinctive profile, scientists know very little about the whale shark. They breathe through gills, like fish. They are cold-blooded, like fish. The "whale" part of the name refers to size and how the animals eat. They are one of only three known shark species that filter feed, as baleen whales do, swimming slowly through plankton-rich water, maws agape. Water goes in carrying edibles of all sizes, and water sans food flows out. The giant fish is hard to study in part because it is hard to find and track. By tagging individual specimens, scientists have learned that whale sharks can log thousands of miles in years-long trips. But they sometimes disappear for weeks, diving more than a mile down and resting in the chilly deep for a spell. No one has ever found mating or birthing grounds. Whale sharks are ordinarily loners. But not in one corner of Indonesia. The photograph here, shot some eight miles off the province of Papua, reveal a group of sharks that call on fishermen each day, zipping by one another, looking for handouts near the surface, and nosing the nets—a rare instance when the generally docile fish act, well, like the rest of the sharks.

"Rugby and Fiddling... So Fiddling from Island to Ireland @ the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.... Whats it all about??? Well I want to go to PLAY FOR IRELAND @ THE WORLD CUP... BUT NOT ON THE PITCH, ON THE FIDDLE!!! Basically, I'm AN IRISHMAN FROM CO. WEXFORD named Greek, who is trying to raise enough money to get myself to New Zealand to play a few tunes for the BOYS IN GREEN on my fiddle.The story is that I’ve been living in Koh Tao in Thailand for the last couple of years. On my way here I bought a fiddle in Bangkok and since then I have been TEACHING MYSELF how to scratch out a few tunes. Now I want to join my two great passions RUGBY AND FIDDLING (neither of which are really accessible on this tiny island) and PLAY AT THE WORLD CUP FINALS. Unfortunately, I cant make it alone (mainly because Thai Baht doesnt have great value internationally) and NEED YOUR SUPPORT. I will be playing fiddle at all the matches shown here (even though there is not much interest in rugby in Thailand), teaching rugby to anyone who listens and then uploading what happens as I go along! THE DEADLINE TO GET TO NZ IS THE 6TH OF OCTOBER. I will post more details on how you can help or donate later but for now PLEASE PASS THIS ON AND HELP IT GET VIRAL!!! Thank you so much for your help! Greek' http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fiddling-from-Island-to-Ireland-at-Rugby-World-Cup-in-NZ/113792725393034 ... Please check out this link and share the page on your facebook page. Loads of video will be up on youtube later.. links to come!

Dolphin watchers in west Wales have spotted unusual behaviour as a female repeatedly tossed a newborn calf into the air. They say it is the first time such 'violent' behaviour has been seen by a mother in Cardigan Bay although males dolphins have been known to kill their young. It might have been a case of a severe telling off due to the two to three day old calf wandering too far away. "She was nosing it away in a particular direction, then suddenly she threw the infant right up into the air, and then did this about three times. Normally when you see something like an animal thrown into the air it's an aggressive action by a male dolphin. In this instance it was the mother doing it (the attacking), and she was doing it very rigorously. It was moving away, several times, from the mother, and perhaps it was straying too far and she wanted to keep a close eye on it." This may have been because there were humans nearby or other adult dolphins. "It was possible a got a strong scolding because of that, and the animal was unharmed at the end," he added.

Thursday 15th September 2011-l

In support of Dive Tribe’s National Shark Release event on September 3rd, two dedicated teams from Big Blue Conservation travelled to Chumphon and Koh Samui to find out if live sharks were being sold, or kept in tanks in restaurants and other tourist related venues. We planned to buy these sharks and release them back in to Koh Tao waters. However both teams found no live sharks – only dead ones. In Chumphon, shark fin soup is sold at two restaurants, with prices varying from 400 – 2,300 baht. In Chumphon fish market, we found 4 dead black tip and 2 dead grey reefs sharks. Samui markets sold many sharks, most selling for less than 90 baht a kilo (less than £2). No shark we found weighed more than 2 kilos. In Samui, most restaurants sold Shark Steak, and when asked who eats them, they told us that westerners were the most frequent buyers. All sharks we found were purchased from fishermen on the west coast, so were not taken from Koh Tao reefs.

In the grand scheme of things, the number of sharks sold was very small, however we found two very disappointing things – firstly, the sharks were being taken from “marine protected” waters in the Andaman coast and were commonly juvenile sharks, therefore had not had a chance to mate yet. And secondly, the people buying Shark Steaks in restaurant were the supposedly more educated western tourists wanting an ‘exotic’ dish. There is much controversy surrounding shark fin soup and many westerners wont touch it, but it appears we are less against eating shark steak.
So what can we do about it?

• Well, spread the word – whether its shark fin soup or shark steak – a shark still has to die for it. Dont eat at restaurants selling shark products – and tell them why you’re leaving.
• Before you leave, why not scribble over the item on the menu so no one else can order it.
• Support local anti-shark fishing action.
• Sign the petition to ban shark fishing on Koh Tao – this way our waters can be a sanctuary for sharks to breed and reach sexual maturity.

 

Wednesday 14th September 2011-
m
Another day, another boat load of Full Moon Party people invading Koh Tao. Rooms are filling up nicely but even though its 'rush hour' it all feels quite mellow here & not very busy at all. In fact its gone so quiet that we have actually decided to send Big Blue boat off for its yearly Medical examination over on the mainland. So its open wide, say aaaah, point your head to the right & cough, for Big Blue Boat this week. Then a quick trim, short back & sides, a little off the top & then a nice little touch up. A rub down here, a lick of paint there & Big Blue Boat will be back with us again on the Rock before you can say "That Big Black Blokes Big Blue Boats Back!"

So despite the great weather & the awesome diving we are finding ourselves to be at a little bit of a loss for things to do at the moment. Luckily for most of us the Rugby World Cup is helping to while away the hours. However not everyone appears to be that interested in the shannanigans of a bunch of hairy hardened muscle men. Take Instructor Curtis for example. While most of us are cheering our boys as they prance up & down the field chasing an egg shaped ball, Curtis has been holed up inside with his brand new 32 inch flat screen surround sound hi def tv & new satellite dish watching the season 24 hour special of the Bachalorette! Who said American Dive Instructors were rugged big hard broad military types. Our American Boy from Boston likes scuba diving, the colour pink, shopping & crap TV!

Another Full Day Trip to Sail Rock today. We are actually planning 1 dive at Sail Rock, 1 dive at Samran Pinnacle & the 3rd dive of the day at Southwest Pinnacle. Should be a corker of a day & statistically, bearing in mind the position of the earth to the sun, the Full Moon, the tidal rise & the clarity of the water in regard to the earths axis & the regularity with which we see these things we should be up for a Whaleshark today. Watch this space!

Monday 12th September 2011-n

"Hello, I hope this mail will reach Laura Osborne boss. About 2 or 3 weeks ago I did a OW with Laura Osborne and I wanted to say that she was absolutely great. I could not have wished for a better instructor. She was patient and made me feel very comfortable and secure. She was relaxed but professional and a lot of fun. Thanks a lot to Laura! Take care, Friederike"

"To everyone in Big blue i just wanted to write you guys and say that during the one week i was diving with you guys was a blast, i felt that everyone was friendly, and professional and wanted everyone to have a good time. the instructors i was diving with the most were Stiven, Greg, Regi, and Tyron (who i know is not yet part of big blue) and i would like to take this chance and say that you guys should take him to be part of big blue (my humble opinion) Keep up the good work; keep bringing joy to those who dive. Best wishes Lior Asher (aka the guys who bled every time he dove).

“Amazing place!”5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2011. I stayed here and got my scuba diving license and it was an amazing experience! MY dive instructor Iain Goodfellow was a great guy and helped with anything and everything. I highly recommend this dive school." Trip Advisor- briang 108

Tuesday 6th September 2011-
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"HI Big Blue people and Wibeke, Just wanted to say thanks a mil for a great 5 days visit to BigBlue. The diving was great - had Tosh (Paul Tanner) as instructor for both OpenWater and Advanced and i'd recommend him to anyone for his professional manner and relaxed manenr and ability to make us all comfortable with these new skills. thanks too for the upgrade to a single room (instead of dorm), that was an extra sweet bonus. You are running a very smooth, chilled out and yet professional place with the dive school, accommodation and bar/restaurant. its location is also great as it is self-contained and little removed from the busy-ness of the main restaurant-shops-stalls area. it is great and i had a great time. i left a message with one of your dive instructors called Stephen/Steve also to thank Wibeke for her help and assistance in planning and booking the diving and the accommodation etc. she was great so thanks Wibeke! thanks for a great visit, Regards and thanks, Siobhan Ni Riain, Ireland."

“Big Blue Diving is the BEST!” . I tried 3 diving resorts on Ko Tao, and Big Blue Diving was the BEST, by far!!! I booked a full day trip with Big Blue to Sail Rock. Everything was seemless and the dive masters were excellent! The trip was very well planned (easy process to book and get your equipment; not much time waiting around in the morning... unlike other schools) We were taken to brilliant dive sites - 2 dives at Sail Rock and a 3rd dive closer to Ko Tao. The instructors were excellent - I learnt a huge amount about fish and marine life from not only my dive master, but the other dive masters on the boat (these guys are smart and they're passionate about marine life... this is not just a job for them). The food was brilliant - a hot breakfast to start, fruit, biscuits, coffee and an absolutely delicious lunch. I loved diving with Big Blue and was sad that I only discovered them at the end of my stay on Ko Tao. They are a cut above the other dive schools I used - they're professional, they're passionate about marine life and the staff are really friendly and great to be around. The cost for the full day trip including 3 dives, equipment hire and meals was THB3,500. I was really glad to spend this money with Big Blue!!- Visited August 2011

Koh Tao Big Blue Restaurant : "dinner on the beach with the sunset" Aug 13, 2011 - CharlyT, Brussels, Belgium- Big Blue Restaurant is one of the many restaurants located on the most famous beach of Koh Tao. There's nothing particularly spectacular, but it's always nice to eat with the sunset on the beach. The Thai food of course must be your choice, do not eat hamburgers, pizza or other stuff, until you try it and try to Thailand all specialties. Sometimes the restaurant serves the fire show with music, very beautiful!

October 2011

 
Saturday 29th October 2011-a

So whats the latest on the Bangkok floods situation? Well word is that unfortunatley despite all efforts to save it Khao Sarn Rd is actually flooding. Which is obviously catastrophic news for those businesses & stalls in that area including our very own Big Blue Bangkok office! Everyone is fine but we have been forced to shut up shop for a few days I'm afraid. Unfortunately this flooding will also disrupt the bus services with Lomprayah & Seatran down to Koh Tao as well So again... please spread the word too all weary & worried travellers about to arrive or stuck somewhere wet & unpleasant right now. Get the fuddleduck outta there & get yourselves to the main International airport & go to the Bangkok Airways counter or www.bangkokairways.com & get yourselves a ticket to Samui & then the boat to Koh Tao. Beautiful weather here. Awesome conditions & no flooding whatsoever! Have yourselves a holiday! You've earnt it!

" Big Blue Diving is one of the biggest diving center in Koh Tao and one of the most serious. The staff is comopsed of great guys, thais and foreigners, who are really friendly, cool and professional. I passed the SSI Open Water with Iain, Koreen and Pete. They were really good instructors, very helpful and pros. I recommend you to ask for them if you want to pass diving certifications. The Open Water was 4 days of academics and practice: 1 exam and 5 dives (1 in a deep pool and 4 in the ocean). The dive sites are totally amazing! You'll see a lot of tropical fishes and corrals! One of my best activity during my trip to Thailand! Prices are fair: I payed 9000 THB including the Open Water and the accomodation in dormitory. It worth it! The dorm is clean, the diving equipment really good and the dives really awesome! There is a big and animated bar close to the diving center were you'll pass academics, have beers with lot of potential friends and eat good food (hai and international). At the end of your Open Water, they will film you (during your last dive) and propose you to buy a DVD. The dvd quality is really pro but the price is a little bit expensive (around 2500THB) but if you have enough money, buy it! Really! The center is located on the Sairee beach so during your free time you'll be able to swim, snorkle quite easily. They also rent snorkelling equipment if you don't have your own. Really close to the center, you'll find all the commodities: bars, pubs, 7Eleven (supermarket), shops ans internet cafes. And also massages (count about 300THB for an hour). If you want to discover the island, the easiest way is to rent a motorbike or a quad (you can rent motorbike directly in Big Blue Diving center - prices are fair). So, YES, I highly recommend you to go the Big Blue Diving! Don't hesitate to negociate the prices on the Lomprayah boat, on your way from Chumphon to Koh Tao, with the big blue guy promoting it. If I go back to Koh Tao, I will definitely go there to do my Advanced courses! Really cool." Zetraist, Poitieres, France- Trip Advisor.

Well that appears to be it! Seem to have got rid of everyone who was leaving for the last 6 months when we finally managed to get rid of Sonia, Laura & Tibo last week who have all buggered off to work over in Khao Lak & go diving the Similan & Surin islands everyday for a living. Tough life! & then very sadly & rather suddenly our favourite American Heather who due to persistant health issues has decided to call it a day. Which as I say was very sad & unexpected but the awesome news is that she is now off to manage another Diveshop here on Koh Tao & has even started already! So thats great news for Heather & Sonia, Laura & Tibo! Thanks for all your hard work guys & gals. Hope your new jobs are going to be just as awesomely cool as your old jobs!


Friday 28th October 2011-
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Buoyancy World 2.0 is now finally deployed! After waiting for the weather to clear, divers from Koh Tao have finally been able to deploy our new improved diver training center. A huge thank you to everybody who helped out with the Buoyancy World Project - from the ideas, fundraising, building and the deployment, it wouldn't have been possible without out our fantastic dive community effort. A small team of volunteers put in a very hard day of work yesterday and completed the job with no r problems. As Chad from Save Koh Tao said - "Really things could not have gone better – perfect weather, clear water, and a fun group of people". Don't worry if you still want to get involved as there is still work to be done to assemble all the structures under the water, which various teams will do over the next week. veryone involved is looking forward to showing our new site to the people diving on Koh Tao, and hope that you use it and enjoy it as much as we do.

Recent updates on the flooding situation still isn't great if you arriving in Bangkok. The main airport where you arrive is still open & is not expected to flood at all over the forseeable future which is great news. However most of Bangkok could do! So the best suggestion we can make to anyone coming into Thailand over the next month is to jump straight onto a connecting flight with www.bangkokair.com & head to Samui then catch a connecting bus service which will take you to your boat connection to Koh Tao with either www.lomprayah.com or www.seatrandiscovery.com both of which will get you to the pier here where our taxi driver can pick you up & take you to the best place to be while all this flooding goes on which is of course Big Blue Diving Resort, Koh Tao, Thailand!

Since it opened last month, some 30,000 visitors have flocked to the Whale Shark Aquarium in the northern city of Yantai, China. Five whale sharks swimming together in one aquarium. Conservationists are accusing the aquarium of cramming the whale sharks into a tank that is far too small for them. When they reach maturity, each of the five whale sharks is likely to be 33ft long and weigh nine tons, while their tank measures just 88ft by 52ft. The whale shark is the largest fish in the world, and it needs a vast area of ocean to swim in. In other countries, we prefer to go out to sea in order to see large whales and fish. Only a handful of whale sharks have been kept in aquariums, and they have rarely fared well. In 2007, two young males died at the Georgia Aquarium within five months of each other. A study of 16 whale sharks kept at the Okinawa Expo Aquarium between 1980 and 1998 found they only lived for an average of 16 months in captivity. By contrast, the fish often live for up to 70 years in the wild. (:-(

Thursday 27th October 2011-c

We, the undersigned, are calling for you to help prevent the unnecessary culling of Western Australia's sharks and instead further the use of non-lethal beach protection measures, such as spotter planes and regular beach patrols. We also encourage you to implement an education and awareness campaign to improve public safety in the water. This plea comes after numerous reports in the WA media have suggested that a number of politicians, backed by some members of the public, are calling for a shark cull in response to the recent shark attack fatalities. We are urging you to review the facts, and the reality of the risk of shark attacks, to make the right decision and recognise that a shark cull would be devastating, not only to Australia’s marine environment, but also Australia’s reputation as a world leader in marine conservation.The Cull That Is Happening In Australia Is A Revenge Attack. There is no way of knowing which shark attacked the diver recently. This is an endangered species and man in his wisdom try to control nature by killing it. Please SIGN the PETITION to STOP the CULL: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/4/stop-the-shark-cull/

Number one question being asked on the emails right now is all about the flooding in Bangkok & how bad is it? Well its pretty much what you are seeing in the news. Its bad! To the north of Bangkok as well but thankfully that is where it will end so us islands to the South of Bangkok are all good, so that includes Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Phuket, Koh Phi Phi & Koh Chang. People are being evacuated from Bangkok as we speak. In fact we have a bus load of Teachers in the English Schools in Bangkok arriving here over the next couple of days to get away from it all. & then all those other travellers who can't hang out in Bangkok or travel north of the city are all either here or coming here in the next few days. Bloody good job the diving is still good here then isn't it!

"Hi Steve, How are you? How are things in Koh Tao? I just wanted to thank you again for showing me the way into the diving world. I really had a great time. So much even that I'm thinking about ways to do it even more. And that's also one of the reasons I'm writing this message to you. You moved to Koh Tao 12 years ago and heve been working there ever since, so you are the person to talk to. I know that Big Blue offers a 7 month course to become a dive instructor and that is something I'm thinking about doing. But I'm was just wondering how you went about it? What did you do to get where you are now? What are the things that you have to think about, besides the obvious things? I hope you are able to give me some tips and tricks or advice. With regards, Jorrit"- Sure thing here's our advice.... take the first step! Get your qualification & then take the next step, then the one after that, & the one after that! Taking that first step to becoming a Dive professional was the best thing I ever did! 

Thursday 20th October 2011-d

Now while there is not an awful lot going on at the moment this might be a good chance to remind those of you who are on their way here for Christmas to book ahead! Christmas & New Year is our peak season & the whole island fills up soo much that the island actually submerges a few feet & tips the earth on its axis ever so slightly! Best bargains to be had at the moment is our 3 bedroom villa with kitchen, private swimming pool, outdoor lounge, seating area & large garden. Just a 5minute walk direct to the beach & Big Blue Dive Resort Baan Sawainam is an absolute bargain at just 7000 Bt per night for a 3 bedroom villa with private swimming pool. Sleeps 7! Book 6 nights get the 7th for free! Book 12 nights get 3 nights free! Book 3 weeks & get 1 whole week for Free! What a Merry Christmas Bargain!

So the news is full of all the floods in Thailand & it really is terrible with nearly one third of the country flooded. Thats a lot of country. & the news is focused on Bangkok & what will happen if the barriers break or the rivers spill over the banks how Bangkok will suffer. Very frightening & we do all wish all the people of Thailand well in their bid to stop the flooding & all the stranded travellers & tourists a speedy journey to the south. Hot & lovely here by the way. Just in case you were thinking of popping down! Wink wink nudge nudge!

“ Big Blue Diving is one of the biggest diving center in Koh Tao and one of the most serious. The staff is comopsed of great guys, thais and foreigners, who are really friendly, cool and professional. I passed the SSI Open Water with Iain, Koreen and Pete. They were really good instructors, very helpful and pros. I recommend you to ask for them if you want to pass diving certifications. The Open Water was 4 days of academics and practice: 1 exam and 4 dives (1 in a deep pool and 3 in ocean). The dive sites are totally amazing! You'll see a lot of tropical fishes and corrals! One of my best activity during my trip to Thailand! Prices are fair: I payed 9000 THB including the Open Water and the accomodation in dormitory. Its worth it! The dorm is clean, the diving equipment really good and the dives really awesome! There is a big and animated bar close to the diving center were you'll pass academics, have beers with lot of potential friends and eat good food (Thai and international). At the end of your Open Water, they will film you (during your last dive) and propose you to buy a DVD. The dvd quality is really pro but the price is a little bit expensive (around 2500THB) but if you have enough money, buy it! Really! The center is located on the Sairee beach so during your free time you'll be able to swim, snorkle quite easily. They also rent snorkelling equipment if you don't have your own. Really close to the center, you'll find all the commodities: bars, pubs, 7Eleven (supermarket), shops and internet cafes. And also massages (count about 300THB for an hour). If you want to discover the island, the easiest way is to rent a motorbike or a quad (you can rent motorbike directly in Big Blue Diving center - prices are fair). So, YES, I highly recommend you to go the Big Blue Diving! Don't hesitate to negociate the prices on the Lomprayah boat, on your way from Chumphon to Koh Tao, with the big blue guy promoting it. If I go back to Koh Tao, I will definitely go there to do my Advanced courses! Really cool!" Trip Advisor 5 of 5 stars

Tuesday 11th October 2011-
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Well while the majority of Thailand seems to be sufferring with the worst floods for 50 years, here in Koh Tao we are having glorious weather. Hot, bright, sunny, flat, clear & swarming with fish life! No wonder we are still managing to organise Full Day trips to Sail Rock. In fact so popular was our last trip yesterday that we've even got half a boat full booked already for our next Sail Rock trip & we're not even leaving for another 3 days. Mind you its not really a surprise that it is that popular. 2 dives at Sail Rock, a cooked breakfast, a thai buffet lunch , a 3rd dive at the new wreck followed by... wait for it... Free Chocolate cake! Brilliant! Hows that for a happy ending!

"Thanks Big Blue Koh Tao for some amazing dives & some fun times! A huge shout out to some of the amazing crew there who were just exceptional - Lucas (congats on finishing your DMT & please be careful with your new torch ;) ), Steven who managed to help us find some nudies & was just great in general (and listening patiently to all my questions), Skui for being so amazing at Sail Rock when we had that ridiculously hard current. You managed that so well. Ant for just popping by and having a chat with us, Andy for his interesting stories and the rest of the crew for just being so damn awesome. Pass this onto Jim. We love BB and think you guys are great at what you do, but more Importantly, the attitude you go about doing things is brilliant. You may see me doing my DMT there but... I'm kinda now thinking Khao Lak Big Blue but I'll miss you guys if I go there. Any thoughts :) ?" S Tomkins.

' Two divers in France say they discovered three dead dolphins in the Mediterranean that had been tied by their tails to a concrete block. The dolphins, believed to be a mother and her two young, were found off the coast of Marseille, The Local reported Friday. "We were at a depth of about 55 meters [182 feet] when we noticed an unusually shaped light-colored mass just underneath us," said Fabienne Henri, who was diving with another woman, Jacqueline Dozin. "As we got closer, we could make out the shapes of three dead dolphins lying on the sand," she said. "I'm not an expert, but they had not been there longer than 10 minutes," Henri said. "To me it seems obvious they were thrown from the surface. Why there? I have no idea." The Marseille prosecutor's office said it had begun an inquiry. "These mammals are protected and killing them is a criminal offense for which the guilty could go to prison," a representative of the maritime police said.' - Fark prison! The culprits of this crime should be placed at  the bottom of the sea themselves. 

Thursday 6th October 2011-f

Becomming an Underwater Videographer! There is possibly no nicer place on earth to spend 3 months learning one of the most wonderful skills that diving has to offer. Here on Koh Tao, in the Gulf of Thailand, you have the chance to learn from a team of professionals, passionate about their careers in underwater film making, and at the top of the game worldwide when it comes to their dedication to quality and broadcast documentary making. We are currently only offering internships in video and film making, not photography. Our underwater video internships are only available to those who have completed the full Advanced Underwater Film-Maker Course, here at Big Blue Diving with our friends from ACE Marine Underwater Videos. Our internships exist in two forms, one is free for those who we consider to show promise, and may have the prospect of a career with us in the future; the second is for those who do not have the time to dedicate and can therefore pay for the privilege of continuing to work alongside some of the finest underwater cameramen and women in the world! If you want more information on how to make underwater videograhy your career then drop me a line This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Our favourite anti-whaling crew are causing quite a stir. Japan have confirmed that they will go ahead with its whaling program in the Antarctic later this year under heightened security to fend off the Sea Shepherd activists including ex Big Blue DMT James Brooks, who have vowed to disrupt the annual hunt, the country’s fisheries minister said Tuesday. Japan’s whale hunts have become increasingly tense in recent years because of clashes with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The most recent expedition was cut short after several high-seas confrontations, and it was unclear whether the hunt would be held at all this year. But a fisheries minister said that measures would be taken to ensure the whalers’ safety, and that the hunt would go ahead. It is expected to begin in December. “We intend to carry out limited kills for "research" purposes." Research, hey? - Whale meat can still be found in stores and restaurants in Japan. Japan’s government claims the research is needed to provide data on whale populations so that the international ban on commercial whaling can be re-examined — and, Japan hopes, lifted — based on scientific studies. Opponents say the program is a guise for keeping Japan’s dwindling whaling industry alive. The Sea Shepherd group, which is already rallying to block the upcoming hunt, has been particularly dogged in its efforts to stop the kills. If you want to help support our friends of the sea's efforts, visit www.seashepherd.org

Monday 3rd October 2011-
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Situation vacant. German speaking Scuba Dive Instructor. Preferably in existing teaching status with PADI & SSI already, but if not we can organise a crossover for you. Must be hard working, reliable, experienced, professional, punctual, good sense of humour, easy going, laid back, first Aid proficient, Oxygen Provider, doesn't dive in speedos, familiar with Koh Tao dive sites, can teach in English, any other languages a bonus, good looking, must have own dive equipment & really wants this job. Serious applicants only, please apply to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Please send CV & photo. I look forward to working with you soon!

Well its definitely alot quieter in Koh Tao these days. Not quite sure why either as the weather is pretty good & the diving has been amazing, with just under a weeks worth of Whalesharks last week, the new wreck which is absolutely teeming with life right now & the heaps of turtles we keep bumping into all over Koh Tao. Never mind I guess that means we can give more attention to those that are here & offer bigger & better trips. Anyone for another Full day trip to Sail Rock tomorrow?

"“Laidback, friendly, professional”-5 of 5 stars- I completed several Technical diving course with Big blue tech from INtro to Tech, up thru to Trimix, cavern and adv wreck diver. The guys at BBT are fantastic, really experienced and knowledgable and run all sorts of trips and excursions too. During my stay we went on a road trip to khao lak and went on a liveaboard as well as hiring longtails for diving local wrecks, we also took a trip to khao sok national park for the cavern course and went diving in a freshwater lake! In general, the whole of big blue dive school had a very friendly and relaxed vibe, but you could tell that the staff were professional and always there to help if needed. Brilliant place, make sure you check it out" Trip Advisor- Helen Art. From Basingstoke, UK.

November 2011

Saturday 26th November-
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Ros booked the day off for Thanksgiving so she could cook Curtis, her All American Boy a turkey. So Ros, here's what you do: First, buy the turkey and a bottle of whiskey. Pour yourself a glass of whiskey and put the turkey in the oven. Take another 2 drinks of whiskey, and set the degree at 375 ovens. Have 3 more whiskeys of drink and turn the oven on. Take 4 whisks of drinky and turk the bastey. Stick a turkey in the thermometer, and glass yourself a pour of whiskey. Bake the whiskey for 4 hours, take the oven out of the turkey, and floor the turkey up off the pick. Pour yourself another glass of turkey. Now just tet the sable, and turk the carvey! Happy America Day!

Jim is off tomorrow for another month long holiday with his family. This time he's off to Munich! From the sweaty pant wearing 30 degree temperature of Koh Tao to the testicle shrinking minus 13 degrees of Munich this should be quite an experience for him. So Jim's off for Christmas but back for New Year so Ros is back in charge, despite her piss poor performance last time Jim went on holiday when Ros set fire to the kitchen & then flooded the whole Resort. So lets be honest she can't exactly faff it up anymore than she did last time! Watch this space.

And another Whaleshark! That makes six thousand nine hundred and twenty twelvety whale shark sitings this year! Which makes your chances of seeing a Whaleshark in Thailand as about as high as seeing a monk in Thailand! & I guess this amount of Whaleshark visits here this year would also rank Koh Tao as being one of the most common places to go on holiday & dive with a Whaleshark! Mexico, Australia, Philipines & Thailand! Nice holiday destinations! At least they have good taste in holidays! Wouldn't really be the same if you had to go to Belgium!


Thursday 24th November 2011-
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Whale sharks are harmless filter-feeders that can grow to be the size of a school bus and live for more than 70 years. Although exceedingly rare, encounters with these spectacular animals have dazzled divers and underwater photographers around the world. Unfortunately, some tuna companies are slaughtering these majestic giants... but not until after they turn them into live fishing gear. Tuna fisherman use whale sharks as fish-aggregating devices (FADs), attaching radio locators to their bodies, allowing them to gather schools of tuna and other fish around them, and then scooping everything up in a net. The whale shark is often caught and released numerous times before it finally dies from the brutal treatment. The truth is disturbing, but Chicken of the Sea can do something about it. Take action and ask them to make a commitment to not use whale sharks as bait for tuna fishing.

And they're back! Welcome back Andy Cav & James Foehler our new Mr & Mrs of Big Blue Tech. Our Tech Diving department has been in a bit of a limbo since Canada left to fight Pirates off Somalia (seriously) but now we have the next best thing- Andy Cav. & his trusty steed James. Both very experienced Recreational & Technical Instructors themselves the lads are to get Big Blue Tech back to its former dizzying heights of Tech Diving fame. In addition Andy will soon be a BSAC Instructor Trainer & is as we speak sporting a moustache that wouldn't look out of place in a 3 musketeers movie. Welcome home guys. Really really really looking forward to you guys kicking some ass again in the Tech Wreck & Caving world!

Another SSI Instructor Crossover today with the islands best SSI Instructor Trainer Mr SSImon Garrity. Today newbie PADI Instructors Eva from Holland & James from the US of A & our new recently employed German speaking Instructor Felix from Berlin are all enjoying 2 days of non stop mirth merriment & SSImons saucy scuba stories! Then they will all be Dual Certified Scuba Instructors looking for a career in the Scuba biz! & guess who's going to be good enough to give them their first foot in the Diving door. SSImon! No wonder everyone thinks he's the best. SSImon gets jobs for everyone who does their SSI Instructor courses with him. Isn't it time you did your SSI Instructor Course?

Monday 21st November 2011-
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Went to dive the wreck this morning cos beleive it or not we actually have divers right now who want to see something else other than a whaleshark. So, like I said we took them to dive the newly sunken Wreck that we have here, parked just outside Big Blue Diving Resort in over 30 meters depth & guess what everyone saw swimming round the top of the wreck? Another Whaleshark! Hey,what can I say! When you're hot, you're hot!

If you're thinking of diving with Big Blue next year, have a think about participating in one of our fantastic Eco initiatives! Big Blue is unique on Koh Tao for having a team dedicated to marine biology and conservation education. We have our own on-going projects, such as our constructed wetland, coral nurseries, bleaching recovery and resilience studies, diver impact surveys, Whale shark and turtle survey and data submission, fundraisers such as the Swim4Sharks and the Big Bite festival in aid of shark conservation in September, and ghost net removal and surveys, as well as making sure our resort, visitors and divers are all ecologically sustainable. We also participate in island wide initiatives such as monthly Beach and Underwater Clean ups (which you can be deeply involved in the organisation of if you want). We also help with local Artificial Reef maintenance and observation; BioRock and Buoyancy world are island projects, but we also have our own house reef on Sairee which Big Blue made and continues to add to, called The Shire. For more indepth information about our projects at Big Blue, have a look at www.bigblueconservation.com, or join our facebook group!

“A wonderful all round experience”5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2011- I have lived on Koh Tao for a number of years and my parents decided it was time for a visit. They wanted luxury accommodation, in a quiet area, but within easy walking distance from the beach, shops and restaurants. They were extremely happy with my choice! Jim and Andrea, the owners were very friendly, welcoming and helpful. The resort was beautiful and immaculate. They particularly enjoyed an early morning swim before breakfast, which you can make yourself with the self-catering facilities or Andrea can order for you. They have already said they would like to stay there again on their next visit! I would like to thank Jim and Andrea for helping to make my parents visit such a good one.

Saturday 19th November 2011-
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Don't wish to alarm any of you who are thinking of popping over this Christmas or New Year, but it does appear the island has very nearly run out of accommodation already! We are completely sold out of 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2500, 3500, & 4000 Bt accommodation! The only thing we do still have is our 2000 Bt & 3000 Bt Villa suites, & the 7000 Bt family apartment! & even there we've only got 1 left of each room. So people get busy & get booking! Only 46 sleeps till Christmas!

“Best Fun Diving ever!” 5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor November 3, 2011- I signed up for 2 Fun Dives with Big Blue and ended up doing 14! All the staff, especially Dive Masters Steven, Greg and Regi, were just so friendly, professional and really made you feel at ease. Their enthusiasm and knowledge of the dive sites and ability to find the smallest and coolest things was amazing. I will definitely be back, and recommend Big Blue to anyone! Thanks again guys & see you soon! Stacey from Sydney , Visited October 2011"

Here is the video Sealord and the global tuna industry doesn't want you to see- www.greenpeace.org.nz. Gruesome images of what is caught along with your tuna. Click here to see it and take part in the solution to end destructive fishing. Warning: graphicTake one random floating object, attach a radio beacon so you can find it again, drop it in the ocean and return later with a giant net and scoop up everything in sight. That's how much of the world's tuna is caught - inlcuding the tuna sold by Sealord in NZ - using fish aggregating devices (FADs) with purse seine nets and it's a recipe for disaster. This footage was given to Greenpeace by someone inside the tuna fishing industry who'd had enough of the destruction.

Wednesday 16th November 2011-
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Hats off to our Green Queen Jennifer Matthews who is now the star focus on BSAC Thailands website- "Divers are ambassadors to the underwater world, and without the data collected by divers trained in underwater conservation techniques, policies are unlikely to be made, let alone be accurate. It’s very easy to get involved in conservation work and it starts with being a responsible tourist, so find the 'eco-minded' centers and ask them how you can get involved. You may even end up with a free dive!"- Jennifer Matthews, BSAC Thailand Marine Conservation Advisor

“The place to be in Koh Tao!”- 5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2011. Charles Bernier! thanks for being our diveinstructor, advanced divers? who would have thought that! the nightdive was very exciting, a big jump into the darkness! cause of you I believed in myself hahaha. Big Blue Diving is the place to chill out & dive on Koh Tao, very nice location and friendly staff.
We also had 2 nice dives with Moskito on Koh Phi Phi, was recommended by Charles! Big Blue thanks for everything, till next time! Charles & Ferdy from Holland"

Latest on the flood situation in Bangkok. Well there is still a large volume of flood water from the north passing through Bangkok, and to the east and west of the city, to reach the Gulf of Thailand. This flood water is being contained by a series of barriers, dykes and canals and has flooded outlying districts to the north (including Chatuchak weekend market ), east and west of central Bangkok. Yesterady the 15th November was the last day of high tide so we expect the water to drain dramatically in the next week. Thanks French Connection UK for that.

Tuesday 15th November 2011-f

Another day... another 5 meter long Whaleshark! & who says you shouldn't go to Koh Tao during monsoon! Don't think we've had a run like this since 2007 when we saw 52 Whalesharks in 52 weeks! Don't think we've had a monsoon like this since 2006 either. In 2006 Monsoon quite literally forgot about us! We had crystal clear waters & skies, flat seas, heaps of divers & amazing sunsets. This monsoon we've got awesome viz, relatively flat seas, cloudy skies but very little rain & big fish. Must write to Lonely Planet & the like & tell them to adjust their info on Monsoon & Whaleshark season on Koh Tao!

Good luck to our 2 PADI Instructor candidates today. Thats James & Eva who are as I write starting their 3 day Instructor Exam today. After 3 weeks of hard core diver training, Physics, Physiology, & the Science of Diving its time for them both to put on their bikinis & show the PADI examiners exactly what they're made of! & then it'll be 2 more Instructors looking for gainful employment in the wonderful world of Scuba Diving. Come see me when your done guys. We'll get you doing the SSI Crossover with SSI Instructor Trainer Simon Garrity & then have you certifying your first students before you can say Big Blue's big blue & black boat's bloody broke!

Well the last few days knocked us for 6! We were expecting a few revellers pulling up at the resort for a dive or 2 but were caught completely off guard by just how many actually turned up. We've got all the Instructors out, all the DM's out. We're using 4 or 5 Freelance Staff & all our boats are rammed to the rafters. Its soo busy half our Instructors are actually finishing their Open Water courses this morning & going straight back out again for more of the same this afternoon! But no one got quite as lucky as Tosh today who finished his group this morning with a Whaleshark then started an Advanced Course this afternoon & is night diving tonight! Who's a lucky boy!

Saturday 12th November 2011-g

What a great day out! Divemaster trainees TJ, Parker, Casper, Katy, Phil, Oli, Chris, James and Tom, and Big Blue Divemaster Regi and Eco Emma all took a great dive at our nursery yesterday. With the sun shining (monsoon season huh?!) the day started off with a talk about fish and coral biology and identification, and about the coral nursery conservation project. Then the whole team headed to the nursery where in buddy teams, they monitored their own section of nursery, counting dead/live/missing fragments. After they had a play at the nuresery (with the resident 30 juveile batfish keeping an eye on things), they checked up on the transplants we put back on the reef (which are doing fantastic!!). Then, they made their way back to shore and did a clean-up on the way back. All DMT's said they had a great time and learnt alot about the reefs they dive so much. As part of the Divemaster programme at Big Blue, our Divemaster trainees have access to marine biology and conservation education and practical opportunities. So it's great if you're looking to become a Divemaster and want a little something extra to add to your CV! Contact us at the Marine Conservation center of Big Blue at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

So guys don't forget about our other dive center on the west coast of Thailand -Big Blue Diving Khao Lak. We make daily dive trips to Richelieu Rock, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and the Similan islands aboard our fast and quiet speedboat. Everything is included on our full- service trip. We’ll even pick you up right at your hotel. Liveaboards If you have the time, a liveaboard is the best way to see the Similans. 4 dives per day, frequent stops at deserted beaches, and more time to relax aboard our luxurious MV Pawara, where every cabin has a private ensuite. Courses We offer SSI and PADI courses from Beginner to Professional. Come diving in the Similans with us for a day, even if you’ve never tried it before. Our highly trained staff all have years of experience looking after our customers and giving them the experience of a lifetime.

"I came to the island and had no preparation about where to go. So spent the first 4 days diving with different dive schools and talked to the people. As the people or more specifically the other Divemastertrainees (DMTs) were very helpful and nice I decided to stay .. and I cant say it was a bad decision. Definitely better than the other smaller diveschools. I personally wouldn't recommend #### (the big shop up the road) as they have about 40 DMT and it was (my feeling) unpersonal. Big Blue more felt like a family... But this also comes and goes with the people. I suggest a come and find out strategy. Check age of equipment, people, price is mostly the same (500€ + books (about 100€)) and most important how u feel welcome. But as I said with a diveschool wich is too small u may not able to assist on as many courses and stuff like that. U also might have to do some stupid equipment- and bottle-shifting ....Diveschools I would try would be: @ Sairee beach: coral grand, crystal, big blue (in this area are definately more party than on the others) @ north/east beach (forgot the name): budda view ENJOY oh in between as u enter an island where it is more than normal to speak in english ...u should get used to it. As people tend to hang out with people from their own nationality ...try not to. Your english is going to improve loads..." Jan Jenssen- another happy Big Blue customer.

Friday 11th November 2011-h

Another day – another whale shark! Actually 2 whalesharks! Here on Koh Tao we are lucky having the chance to dive with whale sharks every other day. Only about 1% of the Earth’s population has ever seen a whale shark, let alone been diving with one! Whale sharks are known to be solitary creatures but in 2009 of the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico over 420 whale sharks were sighted at the same time. Sadly, whale sharks are still kept in aquariums all over the world. What scientists do know is that these animals like their space. Still, four whale sharks are being kept in one tank that is 10 meters deep, 35 meters wide and 27 meters long and holds the equivalent of 3 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of water which makes it a big tank but no way near big enough… Luckily most of us prefer them in the wild, where they belong! If you haven’t seen one yet – well, sign up to go diving with the best dive master & instructor team on Koh Tao, & we'll show you two!

It was the Koh Phangan Full Moon party last night. Pretty much the smallest, quietest Full Moon Party of the year. Usually cos of the weather. But not this year! Weather is amazing. & with the floods in Bangkok revellers from all over Thailand have been honing their radars on last nights party. Rumour has it there was over 10000 party people dancing like Madonna last night. Chances are they're all going to be looking a little bit Lady Gaga today! It doesn't bother me. Might be quite interesting having 10000 Lady Gaga's sign up for their Open Water Course!

Looking for a slightly different holiday? How about a Liveaboard? Diving the best dive sites Thailand has to offer. 14 dives, 4 meals a day, 9 islands,  4 days 4 nights! Manta Rays, Guitar sharks, Whale sharks, leopard sharks, reef sharks, Black tips, Giant Morays, ghostpipefish, turtles, clown triggerfish, lionfish, crocodiles & hippopotami! Could you imagine a better way to spend 4 days? Prices starting for less than 20000 Bt per person. Send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Stick with me & I'll show you the world!

Wednesday 9th November 2011-
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Whaleshark at Chumphon Pinnacle this morning! & every single diver on our boat not only saw it but dived with it for 2 dives & an estimated 65 minutes total! & not only that but we were the only boat there so had the best divesite on Koh Tao & the biggest fish in the sea, all to ourselves! And all for the extra special bargain price of just 700 Bt per dive & a free beer to all those who dived with it just to celebrate! How's that for customer service, Big Blue Diving. Your number one dive center on Koh Tao!

Ocean Conservancy, a Washington-based nonprofit organization, has organized and documented annual cleanups in the United States since 1986, and internationally since 1989. September is the International Cleanup Month and in 2008 nearly 400.000 volunteers, among these 10,600 divers, in 104 countries gathered 3 million kilograms (6.8 million pounds) of trash, mostly from the edge of the ocean, but along some inland waters as well. 43 categories of debris were tracked and documented and the “top ten”, accounting for 83% of the total were:
1. Cigarette Butts 2. Plastic Bags 3. Food Containers 4. Caps & Lids 5. Plastic Bottles 6. Paper Bags 7. Straws & Stirrers 8. Cups, Plates & Eating Utensils 9. Glass Bottles 10. Beverage Cans
This does say a lot about the human nature... Here at Big Blue we organize at least one Beach & Reef Cleanup every month, as the Eco-Friendly Resort Big Blue is! The next Cleanup will be in early December and you are all welcome to tag along and give us a helping hand.

Well in this time of economic turmoil & high unemployment isn't it about time you considered a change in career & became a Professional Diver. Live & work on the beach, in the tropics, diving with such amazing creatures as sharks, whales & dolphins! & if you don't believe me lets have a look at some of our recent graduates from the Divemaster & instructor Courses we've taught over recent months. First off we got Regi & Ludo. Ludo is now an Inst at Big Blue & Regi is a full time DM here. Then we got to congratulate Laura & Tibo who have both gone over to the west coast to work as Instructors for our Dive operation in Khao Lak aboard Speedboats & Liveaboards diving the best Dive sites in Thailand. & then yesterday another Dive shop in Khao Lak rang us here Koh Tao & employed Lukas from Germany there & then over the phone, so he's off tomorrow to work for our friends at Liquid Diving. So there you go people! Anyone else looking for beachside employment? If so get in touch! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Monday 7th November 2011-j

Coming to Thailand? Worried about the floods? Should you cancel your trip? The situation is certainly fluid (no pun intended) but as of late Sunday, central Bangkok remained open for business. Tourists are still here. Central Bangkok is not in prime shape for visitors, but it is livable for residents. If you are worried, you can still transit through the capital by plane, bus or train to get elsewhere. The south of Thailand including Phuket, Samui, Koh Phi Phi, Krabi, Koh Phangan, Khao Lak & Koh Tao have been completely uneffected as has the northern Mountain city of Chang Mai. In all these areas the weather has been very sunny, with no rain for several weeks & there is no flooding of any kind. Better head South then!

In just 25 years, our consumption rate of plastic bags has grown from almost zero to our use of over 500 billion plastic bags annually … almost 1 million per minute. According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags. At Big Blue, you can bring in your plastic bags and we will reuse them - just look for the plastic bag recycle bin out side the Eco Lab. Each high quality reusable bag you use has the potential to eliminate an average of 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime, which is why we also sell 'bag for life' canvas bags for only 100 baht - 50% of which goes to conservation research at Big Blue! So you can look eco-cool and feel good bout it too! Remember every piece of plastic ever produced and not recycled still exists!

So... channel hopping last night and came across a re-run of Underwater Universe on History Channel, starring legendary Koh Tao cinematographer Andy Keeler and featuring muchos footage filmed by ACE Marine Images..."watching yourself and seeing our names in the credits on the telly feels pretty awesome...again" said Andy. Look out for more re-runs through the week. Forget the rest, if you want to learn to make films ACE is the place. 

Friday 4th November 2011-k

It does appear that if you dive with Big Blue we will go just that little bit further to make our customers feel that much better about their time spent diving in Koh Tao. Just ask our Open Water students who did 2 dives with a Whale shark this morning! The only thing is, now you are always gonna think that scuba diving means diving with creatures as monolithic as a Whaleshark! I'm afraid that just aint the case. Jacques Cousteau dived for 20 years before he saw his first Whaleshark! Mind you I dare say he saw a few more spectacular things other than Rabbitfish by that time! Congratulations guys. Welcome to the 1% of the world's population who have ever dived with a Whaleshark!

Colombian environmental authorities have reported a huge shark massacre in the Malpelo wildlife sanctuary in Colombia's Pacific waters, where as many as 2,000 hammerhead, Galápagos and silky sharks may have been slaughtered for their fins. A team of divers who were studying sharks in the region reported the mass killing in the waters surrounding the rock-island known as Malpelo, some 500 kilometres from the mainland. Divers say they saw a large number of fishing trawlers entering the zone illegally" The divers counted a total of 10 fishing boats, which all were flying the Costa Rican flag. When the divers dove, they started finding a large number of animals without their fins. They didn't see any alive. One of the divers provided a video that shows the finless bodies of dead sharks on the ocean floor. Calculating an average of 200 sharks per boat, "our estimates are that as many as 2,000 sharks may have been killed." Divers have reported sightings of schools of more than 200 hammerhead sharks and as many as 1,000 silky sharks in the protected waters, one of the few areas in the world where sightings of short-nosed ragged-toothed shark, known locally as the "Malpelo monster," have been confirmed. In 2006 Unesco included the park on its list of World Heritage sites.But the high concentration of sharks in Malpelo and the remoteness of the marine sanctuary draws illegal fishing boats from nearby nations which trap the sharks, strip them of their fins, and throw them back into the water. Shark fin soup, considered a delicacy of Chinese cuisine, can fetch £63 per bowl in a Hong Kong restaurant. Colombia's navy sporadically patrols the waters and maintains a small outpost on the 1.2 square kilometre island, which is 36 hours from the nearest port. At the time of the reported shark finnings, however, no navy ships were nearby. Once the report of the finnings were made public, the navy dispatched a ship to the area and on Sunday reported the seizure of an Ecuadorian fishing boat, caught with an illegal catch of 300kg, including sharks and other species. At the same time, Colombia's foreign ministry took up the issue with the Costa Rican government, which vowed to co-operate to help stop the practice by ships registered under its flag. In a communiqué, the Costa Rican foreign ministry said it "energetically condemns" the reported finning and said it would prosecute if the participation of Costa Rican flagged ships were involved. At least three of the ships were identified by their names: the Marco Antonio, the Jefferson and the Papante.

Wednesday 2nd November 2011-
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Diving in Thailand is still going strong despite the much publicised floods, all diving facilities are still open.As you can see from the map of Thailand all the white areas are completely unaffected. This includes the diving paradises in Phuket – Krabi- Phang Nha -Pattaya and koh Chang all entering high season with flat seas and good viz ahead. The islands in the Gulf of Thailand Koh Samui -Koh Phanghan and Koh Tao are still enjoying good diving with whalesharks appearing regularly. Transit through Bangkok’s main International airport is as normal. Hope to see you here soon.

The Thermalution® Power Heated Undersuit is the world’s first of its kind electrically powered undersuit designed to keep you warm underwater for around 1.5 to 3 hours ( according to different battery model ). Completely waterproof, the Thermalution® will work under your wetsuit or drysuit while you pull off stunts and perform other activities underwater. Unlike your usual bulky thermal undersuits, the Thermalution® is slim and durable as it weighs a mere 700 grams allowing you to have maximum flexibility and agility underwater while being lightweight at the same time. With three level temperature control settings, you can adjust the temperature of the thermal layer within your wetsuit even   
underwater. This innovative new product, which can go as deep as 70 meters underwater, would be able to spare you from cold dives while making you look amazingly fashionable.

BSAC Thailand Equipment Technician courses:  BSAC Thailand is running another two Regulator Technician courses. The dates of these courses are the 2nd and 16th of December 2011. The venue for these courses is Koh Tao. The course is open to BSAC Sports Divers / PADI Rescue Divers or equivalent. This two-day course covers the servicing of 3 - different types of Aqua Lung Regulators, plus the servicing of the BCD Low Pressure Inflator (LPI) This course will also show you how to repair BCD’s. Successful candidates will be awarded with a BSAC Regulator Technician certification card. For more details, please contact, Kieron at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Tell him Jim sent you!

Tuesday 1st November 2011-
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Whaleshark! ... at the new wreck! So how cool is that. Its like that classic Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams. An Iowa corn farmer, hearing voices, interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields; he does, and the Chicago Black Sox come."If you build it they will come!" Well we didn't exactly build the wreck but we did sink it! & what could be better than a bunch of old has been Baseball players than a 5 meter long fish! Awesome if you're a scuba diver. Fairly Disappointing if you're a Chicago Black Sox fan! Whaleshark at the wreck. Tell your friends. They will come!

A bulletin from PADI HQ- "PADI Dive Centres in Thailand are open for business. Over the past several weeks, seasonal rains that are heavier than usual have resulted in widespread flooding in Thailand. While the flooding is having some impact, most key tourist destinations and attractions throughout Thailand have not been affected by the floods and almost all remain open. The floods are mainly affecting the provinces in central Thailand and a few provinces in the north and northeast. Provinces in the south of Thailand have not been affected by the floods. Major tourist destinations such as central Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Sukhothai, Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi, Pattaya, Ko Chang, Rayong, Phuket, Ko Phi Phi, Krabi, Trang, and Ko Samui, Ko Tao, and all provinces in southern Thailand, are not affected by the floods. They remain fully accessible and are experiencing normal weather conditions for this time of year. All airports in Thailand, including Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, have not been affected by the floods and are operating as per usual. Suvarnabhumi Airport has considerable flood protection measures in place and officials are monitoring the situation closely. Tourist destinations in southern and eastern Thailand remain fully accessible by road and train. Tourists planning to travel to the provinces affected by the floods are advised to check the latest weather forecasts for their destination and confirm arrangements with the transportation providers with which they will be travelling. Tourists can visit the Thailand Meteorological Department web site at http://www.tmd.go.th/en for updated weather forecasts. For information on the amazing diving opportunities in Thailand visit www.padi.com/scuba/scuba-diving-trips/scuba-diving-resort-vacations/Thailand-diving"

Fatal road crashes in Australia, 2000-2010: 17,578. Public Response: "Ooh Dear."
Murders in Australia, 2000-2010: 3057. Public Response: "Oops!"
Fatal Shark attacks in Australian waters, 2000-2010: 13. Public Response: "Panic! Panic! Kill all the Sharks!"
Brethren. Fellow Antipodeans. Don't you feel you may be over reacting just a smidgeon? After all we do already kill more 73 million sharks per year. Don't you think we are screwing up our environment enough already? Come on Aussies. We all know you can do better than that! Save our Sharks! Don't cull them!

December 2011

Latest News 21st December

Courtesy of our most hobbit like instructor, Little “Massive” Dave, the long awaited Big Blue challenge went off at Vibe Lounge last night, and what a night it was!  It saw Big Blue’s finest battle it out against a rival dive school (no names I’m afraid) in round after round of farcical challenges to decide who would be crowned the ultimate champions of the rock!  Mental challenges, physical challenges and the usual, mandatory drinking challenges we fought harder than we ever have and we kicked arse!!! Well done to everyone that showed up and participated, you did us proud!  Big Blue Champions!  Better luck next time Crystal!  Oh, I didn’t did I…

 

So congratulations are in order this week for our slim, trim, strawberry blonde instructor Paul Toshy Tanner and his lovely wife Vicky on the arrival of their beautiful baby girl, Grace Mary Tanner!  She weighed in at 4kg and measured 51cm and was born around 6pm Thai time on 12th December (it’s a bit late I know but that’s what happens when you leave Pi Roz in charge!).  Big Blue and every member of staff here would like to say big congratulations to the three of you and we wish you all the best in your long and happy future together!  A wonderful new addition to the big blue family!  Babys head wetting time soon then…?

 

"I was really apprehensive about diving before arriving on Koh Tao as after contacting other Dive schools i was told i may be too big to dive.  Big Blue assured me that i had nothing to worry about and they were right.  All in all i had an amazing experience and i fully recommend diving with Big Blue to anyone. Diving is such a unique an unforgettable experience that it's changed the way i think about my holidays.  It's opened my eyes to some countries which i had never ever considered visiting but would love to now because the diving is meant to be amazing there.  Thank you Big Blue for an amazing 4 days and for believing in me and convincing me i could do it when other dive schools didn't."  Jaz, Birmingham, UK.  No worries Jaz, maybe next time we'l be able to find you a whaleshark.  Just keep rubbing those nipples!

Latest News 19th December 2011 So, while our glorious leader is away in freezing cold Deutcherland, probably shuffling around Christmas markets wearing 57 varieties of warm clothing, slurping wine made of glue and being force fed worst bras…the rest of us are stuck on our little tropical island for Christmas, lumbered with amazing blue skies, glorious sunshine, fantastic diving conditions and a party every night. I’m not sure how we’ll cope! We’ve managed to get the Crimbo tree up and duly decorated in lots of tinsel, lights and sparkly things, our instructors are getting in the festive mood with heated debates of where to have our Christmas dinner, who’s going to work on Christmas day [yes, we are open every day!!] and most importantly, who’s going to be playing the role of Father Christmas at our infamous Christmas Eve party, the current favourite is our Luke, which honestly has absolutely nothing to do with his waistline. Watch this space… The floor boards were creaking in the Big Blue Bar the other night when we bade farewell to our very own disco dancing queen, Chakajamiroquai Techno Ian. Since he arrived at Big Blue here on Koh Tao Ian’s managed to survive 26 bouts of Dengue, 12 bouts of the Chimmy Chengers, bird flu, asian flu, gin and tonic flu, panda flu and compressor flu he was also awarded the title of ‘Dive master most likely to get lost at White Rock’. Depsite this he’s still managed to spend his time and money wisely doing every conceivable course available here at Big Blue, 27 in total, 12 land based, to name a few, Dive master, Advanced Wreck, Compressor operator, Gas Blender, Tech diver, BSAC instructor, Trimix instructor and still managed to find time to be our best Father Christmas. Ian is now heading to the west coast to work with one of the best tech divers in the world, Ben Reymenants of Blue Label diving and learn all about ReBreathers. We all wish you tons of luck Santa Ian we’re going to miss you and huge thanks for all your hard work here. "I was in Koh Tao this past May staying at Big Blue and even though it's taken me forever to send I wanted to write this to thank and compliment my dive instructor, Curtis. I usually am not very anxious when it comes to these sorts of activities, but for some reason I kept having panic attacks while being under water and nearly didn't finish my certification. Curtis really helped me get through it by taking everything one step at a time with me and even taking me out for a dive after I bailed on the group dive. He talked me through everything and if it wasn't for him I probably wouldn't have finished my certification which I am very happy I did because I ended up seeing some awesome things and having an amazing experience! I hope Curtis gets the recognition he deserves and that he knows I am very thankful for all his help!" Courtney Sabe

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