Tuesday 26th July 2011-
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-
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!
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-
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!
Thursday 21st July 2011-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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.
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-
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!
Please Also Sign Our Petition to Stop Finning and Fishing Sharks in Thailands Sea's http://www.thedivetribe.coâ€‹m/save-our-seas
Friday 8th July 2011-
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-
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-
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.
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.
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.
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-
"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-
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-
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-
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.