Wednesday 31st October 2012-
In the spirit of Halloween I plan on writing a book full of unbelievable scuba diving yarns, jaw dropping stories, unconventional wisdom, stupid diver stunts, mystery, murder, intrigue, weird tales, insightful articles, and stories no other publication would dare touch. A Giant moray bites off a PADI Divemaster's finger . . . the stupidest thing anyone has ever done while feeling the effects of Nitrogen Narcosis... A woman wakes up to find one of the boat boys on her Liveaboad lying naked on top of her... Face to face encounters underwater with Polar Bears, Salt water Crocodiles, Anaconda's. What happened when a Florida Liveaboard found bundles of cocaine floating on the surface. An Instructor takes his Deep Dive student down a further 30 meters deeper than planned! A diver commits suicide underwater rather than run out of air. A cockroach in your reg & a centipede in your Wetsuit. I reckon I'm onto a winner! Its not exactly the sort of thing you'd tell your Open Water Course or put on the front page of your Scuba Dive Resort website but I reckon I might get a few beers out of it! Not so many new divers maybe, but a few beers! Happy Halloween.
Tuesday 30th October 2012-
The SSI Platinum Pro5000 Diver card is the calling card of the world’s most elite water explorers. 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. It documents the dedication and commitment of diving’s pioneers and industry-makers. 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! The list of cardholders is a “who’s who” of diving, containing the world’s most prominent dive leaders, scientists, photographers, manufacturers, retailers, and now... Big Blue Diving's own Jim Donaldson!
Monday 29th October 2012-
Saturday 27th October 2012-
Despite monsoon season looming ever closer, the diving has never been more glorious. We are still enjoying crystal clear calm waters and sunny weather, but on top of that, how about adding 3 whalesharks spotted at Chumphon recently? Yes please! To have so many whalesharks in close proximity to our reefs means only one thing - that our reefs are producing alot of food for these massive creatures. Usually preferring the solitary life, whalesharks are known to school only when there is high productivity in an area, such as Ningaloo reef in Australia and our very own Chumphon Pinnacle! Whalesharks feed primarily on plankton, with over 8,000 bristle-like teeth filtering the waters for these tiny tasty treats. Whalesharks are thought to detect areas with high productivity (high amounts of plankton) through chemical sensing. Sharks have 2 extra senses than us - the jelly-like filled channels in their nose known as the Ampullae of Lorenzini detect electircal pulses in the water and are used to locate food, mates and danger. They also have sensitised lateral lines - two lines that run either side of the whalesharks body which help detect movement in the water. Although we know this, we still don't fully understand these huge beauties, such as where they reproduce. There is a lot of research still being conducted on whalesharks, some of which we contribute to here with our Eco arm Big Blue Conservation. Pretty cool huh? And you can see these Whalesharks in all their glory at Chumphon right now!
Friday 26th October 2012-
Wrapping up another very successful week at Big Blue we ended up whipping the gang at Scuba Junction at the Koh Tao trapeze! Our staff whizzed through the air like the legendary flying Wallenda's family! Well we flew gracefully till Big Blue Tech Donny twatted the back of his head on the standing platform & then DM Darren & Instructor Iain gave their best impressions of flying elephants, & wrapped up nicely by Inst Rich's Superman impression! An excellent night had by all & special thanks to Nat & the team at Scuba Junction for letting us whip you nicely & Gemma for organising the event. http://flyingtrapezeadventures.com well worth a visit on your next visit to Koh Tao.
Wednesday 24th October 2012-
Despite the rain its still amazing, (world class in fact) Scuba Diving with 3 Whalesharks being spotted at the same time in the same location! Man that Chumphon Pinnacle truely is an awesome Dive site! & one of the sharks appears to be an unidentified Whaleshark according to www.whaleshark.org so we have decided to name it & adopt it for ourselves! "Lulu" the Whaleshark. 4 meters long, with a distinct black spot on her tailfin. Weren't able to identify its gender but having got our in House Marine Biologists Jen & Jam-cam to check the photos it appears we have ourselves a girl! Hence the female name! Named after my daughter no less. :-) Want to name or adopt your own Whaleshark? Have a look at www.whaleshark.org a visual database of whale shark (Rhincodon typus) encounters and of individually catalogued whale sharks.There's rumours circulating of a White tip reef shark being spotted at Green Rock yesterday! In fact there's photographic proof. So lets recap shall we. Bull sharks at Sail Rock & Chumphon. Whalesharks at Southwest, Sail Rock & Chumphon. Blacktips at Laem Thien & Buddha Point & now a White tip at Green Rock. All we need now is the return of the Grey Reefs at Chumphon & the Leopard Sharks at Aow Leuk & Shark Island & we'll have got the whole band back together! Congratulations everyone. Saying no to Shark fin soup is definitely having an effect! Now lets see if we can't save a few more dolphins & Whales eh!
Tuesday 23rd October 2012-
Ok... now hypothetically speaking... lets say you ran a bar. & in that bar you are selling 9 Pepsi's to 1 Coke. Would you expect Coke to throw their toys out the pram & demand their Cokes back & ban you from selling any more Cokes? Or would you reckon Coke would pop round furnish you with promotional glasses, mirrors, stickers, labels, posters, t-shirts etc & sit down & ask you "What is it we can do to help you sell more Cokes?" I mean really. Wouldn't you reckon that would be the better more professional way to run the business? You know PADI, hypothetically speaking!
Sunday 21st October 2012-
Bullsharks still cruising around the rocks & pinnacles at Sail Rock & yesterday there were 2 Whalesharks hanging out there as well, & this morning we've just been radioed again to be told that there is another Whaleshark at Chumphon Pinnacle as well! Its only 4 meters long but thats ok! An encounter with any animal that is 4 meters large is still going to be an experience you'll treasure for a lifetime! And not forgetting the meter long Cobia hanging on to the Whalesharks & the big typhoon of Big Eyed Jacks, the Wall of Barracuda & the massive school of inquisitive Batfish, the 30 degree water temperature & the 20 meter visibility! It's a hard job this but you know, someone's got to do it & if you aint going to pull your finger out & have a go then it may as well be me!
Saturday 20th October 2012-
Between 1580 and 2011 there were 2,463 confirmed unprovoked shark attacks around the world, of which 471 were fatal. While sharks kill less than 20 people a year, they suffer greatly at human hands. Between 20 & 100 million sharks die each year due to fishing activity, according to data from the International Shark Attack File. THAT'S ABOUT 11,000 AN HOUR!!! 100 million sharks are killed each year
-by longlines, by "sport" fishermen, or by a barbaric practice known as shark finning:- Hooked sharks are hauled onto boats, their fins are sliced off while they are still alive. These helpless animals are then tossed back into the ocean where, unable to swim without their fins, they sink to the bottom & die an agonizing death... FOR SOUP!!! Obesity kills 30,000 people a year, lightning - 10,000, TEXTING - 6,000!, hippos - 2,900, airplanes - 1,200, volcanoes - 845, autoerotic asphyxiation - 600, falling out of bed - 450 just in America, bathtubs - 340, icicles - 100 just in Russia, hot dogs - 70 kids, jellyfish - 40, dogs & ants - 30+, vending machines - 13, roller-coasters - 6, SHARKS - 5!! More people die eating shark (food poisoning / choking etc) than being eaten by one! NOT end of rant, but that'll do for now.
Friday 19th October 2012-
“Awesome stay at Big Blue” Reviewed on Trip Advisor - I want to recommend Big Blue Divers to people going to Koh Tao for diving, due to the fact that you have to dive to be accomodated at this resort. I had been looking at a lot of dive resorts befor going to thailand and Big Blue was one of them. On the boat over from Chumpon there was a guy that offered free taxi drive from the pier to Big Blue so I took that offer. The crew was really nice and helpful. I was traveling alone so I wanted to stay in the dorms with other divers. The rooms in Big Blue 2 was simple, clean and nice but no hot water(that was not a problem for me because the water was not actually cold but more like room tempered). The really good part is that the days you dive or do your divecourse you dont need to pay for the room! My dive instructors Ludo and Fin were simply amazing, they made diving easy and fun! The boats and equipment was really good standard. I loved the atmosphere at Big Blue, it was a lot of nice people, backpackers, instructors, divemasters etc. that you could hang out with at the Big Blue restaurant after a day of diving. It was a lot of pubs, restaurants and night clubs close by but at Big Blue 2 you didnt hear any noise from the music so that was good when you had to go up early and dive :) Actually I was supposed to stay only 1 week at Koh Tao but I feel in love with the island and the life at Big Blue so I stayed 3 weeks until I had to leave thailand.. Im planning to go back to do my divemaster at Big Blue next year.
Congrats to SSI Instructor Trainer Paul Tosh Tanner who has just certified another 7 SSI Instructors over in Koh Phi Phi. Phi Phi Scuba, Princess Divers, Sea Frog and Viking Divers all now have SSI Instructors so when over in Khao Lak make sure you choose one of the better shops to take your Open Water Course with! Don't forget as well that from Koh Phi Phi you can dive 2 of Thailands best Dive Sites, imaginatively named Red Rock & Purple Rock, or as they are better known Hin Daeng & Hin Muang! Manta's & Whalesharks, but no Bulls! You need to come to Koh Tao to see Bull Sharks!
Thursday 18th October 2012-
When choosing your dive course, you can do it with many different dive organizations who all develop their own materials, standards and certifications which their instructors use to conduct the courses but who all essentially teach the same thing! You will use the same kind of equipment and see the same marine life under water. The quality of the courses strongly depends on your dive instructor and the dive school you train with. Here at Big Blue Diving, our Instructors are able to offer you courses with the three biggest Dive Organizations in the world; SSI (a German/ Australian organisation) and PADI (American) & BSAC (British). They all follow the diving standards set by the Governing body - RSTC (Recreational Scuba Training Council) meaning that knowledge and skill requirements are almost the same. In layman's terms, its like having an Australian Driving license or an English driving license. We might have taken a different test but driving the car is still the same! Certifications are interchangeable & recognised 100% throughout the world. We tend to favour SSI by about 90%. Why? Well SSI recognizes that every person has a different learning method, and they allow their instructors to plan the course with a lot of flexibility when it comes to theory, swimming pool exercises or open water exercises. PADI is too inflexible in that they have a set order in which to do the course & if you come across a skill you struggle with you can't go further until demonstrating mastery of that skill which for some can be a massive problem! Sometimes when struggling with one thing, the more one struggles the harder it gets! Given the opportunity to leave it & then come back to it later, it then becomes a breeze! In addition PADI costs more as you are forced to buy the manual which becomes an additional thing to squeeze in to your already bulging backpack & isn't terribly eco friendly. With both SSI & BSAC we lend you the manual & at the end of the course you give it back thereby saving you 800 Bt & a few more trees! Consequently over recent years the SSI certification has become increasingly more popular & therefore creating a demand for SSI Instructors! With the dramatic decline in PADI requests & the difficulty in finding work for PADI Instructors & Divemasters we believe it makes sense to do your SSI for both beginners & professionals alike. Don't you?
Wednesday 17th October 2012-
And we're off to another flying start with another choc a bloc Instructor Training Course with SSI Instructor Trainer Simon Garrity, & staffed this time by Big Blue Tech Instructors Donny & Rick. Our other SSI Instructor Trainer Paul Tosh Tanner is away at the moment in Koh Phi Phi doing an SSI Crossover for 3 different Diveshops there. What is going on? How come SSI seem to be taking over the world at the moment? Whats happened to PADI??? They seem to have completely disappeared from the mighty force they once were? Anything to do with the fact that SSI has more job opportunities? That SSI tho offerring exactly the same internationally recognised certification as PADI are considerably cheaper? Could it be that the Instructors prefer to teach SSI as it gives their students a far more 'real' definition of what Scuba Diving is all about? That Dive shops prefer to sell SSI over PADI as the profit margin is much greater? That there is more care, direct contact & interaction between SSI & their members than with PADI? That more students are walking in the door asking for their SSI Course? Or that once certified you are issued your certification card straight away as opposed to having to wait 3 months for it to be sent out to you... sometimes! Its a no brainer. SSI are far more superior to PADI in every way, which is why we're teaching another full SSI Instructor Training Course & why we now have 2 SSI Instructor Trainers! and why 91% of our students choose to take their SSI Open Water Course, a statistic quoted to us by PADI, funnily enough! Wow! Looks like even PADI are recommending SSI!
Went out for another very successful Full Day Trip to Sail Rock on Saturday & saw enough Bull Sharks to warrant taking another Full Day trip to Sail Rock again this morning! Absolutely fabulous conditions. Mill pond flat, crystal clear waters & more sharks than you can shake a stick at! Only blemish on an otherwise amazing trip is that there is a big fishing net draped over the south east side of the site which although has now been removed has caused a lot of damage including a few fish fatalities, thankfully though, no sharks!
Saturday 13th October 2012-
Sail Rock! A solitary rock/ pinnacle that ascends from a depth of 40 meters up to about 15 meters above the surface. Standing alone Sail Rock lies about 30 kilometers south of Koh Tao & about 15 kms' north of Koh Phangan and acts as a cleaning station, a food court & a pit stop for many travelling pelagics such as the Whaleshark, barracudas, mackerel & trevally & over recent months has become a magnet for divers as there appears to be a small group of sharks hanging out there. Bull sharks. Better go out there today & check them out!
Friday 12th October 2012-
Congratulations to 5 of our brand new Open Water Divers from Burma! & all employees of Big Blue! & special thanks to Nick who just took 4 days unpaid leave to teach them! Absolutely awesome & on their last dive today they were joined by our one legged Captain of Banzai P'Piak who by the way is a certified PADI Divemaster in case you weren't aware! It appears all the boys are absolute fish & cruised through the diving side of things as well as the academics scoring a minimum score of 48 out of 50! Not bad at all! Congratulations boys! & our friends at ACE Marine are also giving them a free video of their dive today which will be aired tonight at 7.30 in the bar if anyone reckons they can make it here in time! Thanks again Nick! Awesome job!Word of warning! Graffiti artists, sorry Graffiti arses, you are not welcome here! Last month you descrated one of our million year old Beach Rocks outside Bans & this morning I caught you red handed graffitiing the water canal inbetween Mama & Papa O'Chai's here on Sairee Beach. You are so lucky I didn't have a camera. If I had I'd have taken your photo to the police who would have arrested you fined you over 200000 Bt in cash, made you scrub every grafitti on Koh Tao clean & then had you deported for the next 99 years! But I know who you are & what you look like & yes you orrible lil jerk I will find you & I will make you clean up your filthy mess. Vile imbecile! Have a nice day!
Thursday 11th October 2012-
So yesterday we saw a 2- meter whaleshark at Chumphon Pinnacle & today I'm handed this image from a fishing market in Vietnam! So obviously not yesterdays whaleshark but it certainly hits home when you see it live one day & then dead the next! This photo was taken form a catch of Tuna boats. Tuna. The ubiquitous, cheap, plentiful, healthy protein source that's liked by nearly everyone? No! It's an overexploited wild animal and catching them is killing the ocean!
Wednesday 10th October 2012-
Tis the season to be jolly tra la la la la la la la la! Whalesharks at Chumphon Pinnacle & Bull sharks at Sail Rock. This mornings big fish was just a baby too measuring only 2-3 meters depending on who you ask! Not sure quite how many more whaleshark sightings we're going to be able to squeeze in before the end of the year with Monsoon just round the corner but conditions right now are amazing so we should have at least another couple of weeks worth! That'll make 14 more whalesharks & if we see as many Bulls as we saw yesterday, another 210 Bullsahrks!Update on the Shark Fin Soup scandal at the Intercontinental Hotel in Bangkok. Our friends at Dive Tribe have just spoken with the Intercontinental Group and would like to inform all Shark Conservation Activists that they themselves are not directly linked to the Restaurant "Summer Palace" although it is in their building in Bangkok the restaurant in question is owned and operated outside their control. That being said Intercontinental Hotels Group will work with Dive Tribe and talk with the owners of the restaurant in a bid to stop the serving of Shark Fin Soup at their establishment. An official statement from Intercontinental Group will be available in the next 24-48 hours. Please refrain from sending any more e mails as our work is done. Thanks to all of you for your support and we will keep you posted as to the final outcome.
Tuesday 9th October 2012-
PADI, the worlds largest & most reknowned diving organisation have focused this months Diver magazine on Thailand Dive sites & recently posted a question on Facebook asking people where their favourite divesites in Thailand were. Of course the big names popped up as they deservedly should which are the Similans, & Richeleieu Rock, Hin Daeng & Hin Muang but what has come as a very enjoyable surprise is to see that more than half those who commented are mentioning our very own Divesites like Chumphon Pinnacle & Sail Rock. With special mentions to the frequency of Whale shark visits & the close proximity you can get to Bull Sharks! Brilliant! Thanks very much everyone for finally giving us the recognition we deserve for being some of Thailands very best Divesites!
Monday 8th October 2012-
There must be a better way to catch fish other than using nets! So sad to see at Shark Island over rhte weekend a net draped over the majority of the dive site & just so many sad dead & dying fishies including unfortunately a little reef shark that we were there just a little too late to save. Depressing to say the least but a great job done by Koh Tao's finest in freeing many fish while doing minimal damage to the corals. But yeah fishing without nets, hooks, dynamite or cyanide? Anyone got any idea's? I reckon the bears catching the salmon as they swim upstream in Alaska might want to start patenting their technique!
Friday 5th October 2012-
Congratulations to Becky, Reece & Andre for completing their SSI Instructor Training Course & congratulations again for passing your SSI Instrctor Exam! Thats another 100% pass rate for our Big Blue Instructor Trainers Simon Garrity & Paul Tanner aswell! That makes approximately 3 more feathers to put in our Big Blue Instructor Training Cap!And all 3 are taking the Internship programme as well so looks like these guys are really going to be getting value for money! & jobs after aswell no doubt. The SSI Instructor Course- Probably the best way to get yourself a job in the Scuba Diving Industry!