Saturday 25th June 2011-
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-
" 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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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-
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.
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-
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-
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.