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Big Blue Diving Resort - Koh Tao - Thailand

August 2012

Updated Thursday 30th August 2012-

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Must have done something right over recent years! Seems to me that our turtle releasing projects organised here in Koh Tao through our friends at the Save Koh Tao Group could actually be somewhat responsible for the massive increase in turtle sightings we've been getting round Koh Tao. There were 3 of the little fellas at Hin Wong Pinnacle today. Nice. With all these wreck sinkings, sharks, whales. whalesharks & turtle sightings we've been getting round here lately can only help cement Koh Tao as a major international Dive destination! 

You'd be forgiven for walking into the shop today thinking that either Tosh was in a very deep important stressful mobile phone conversation or that he was expecting a baby the way he was pacing back & forward & to & fro, chewing his fingernails off, the nervous laughter & the weird facial tick. But actually no its far worse than that. He has to spend the next 2 1/2 days waiting to find out if his first 6 Instructor Candidates have passed their SSI Instructor Exam! Nervous times! That'll probably account for the wet patch round your crotch Tosh! Good luck guys. 

“Life-changing!”5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor- The people working at Big Blue are the most wonderful mix of personalities I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They are all so unique, but they share a common passion... and that is an unquestionable love for diving. Their enthusiasm and dedication is inspiring... and their blatent 'love of life' is infectious. I could not have chosen a more wonderful environment to do my Divemaster course in. Big Blue's lively atmosphere, superb location, diverse selection of dive sites and wondeful staff made my training there one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. The people at Big Blue became more than just friends.. they became my family. 

Updated Tuesday 28th August 2012-

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There does seem to be rather a lot going on at Big Blue these days. I guess that stands to reason when you have 2 Beach front resorts on Sairee Beach both with seafront bars & restaurants one with an on the beach Spa! We do have a brand new 21 room hotel overlooking our brand new purpose built Scuba Diving swimming pool. We do have 4 Dive boats in full operation. We do have Big Blue Tech department is enjoying a massive boom for the first time since the days of Canada with all their Cave Tech & wreck activities. We do have a Conservation arm which is busy going through applications for next years internship programmes we offer & is currently working out how to spend their hard earned 120,000 bt that they raised for Shark Conservation. We do have an Instructor Training team who have been busy teaching 6 PADI Divemasters & SSI Dive Cons how to become SSI Instructors over the last 3 weeks. And Our Big Blue Khao Lak team are busy taking bookings for our brand new Liveaboard MV Halleluja which will be heading out for 4 days & nights of cruising the best Dive sites Thailand has to offer among the Similan & Surin Islands. What with all this food, drink, accommodation, diving, Liveaboards, tech, wreck, cave, rebreather, PADI, BSAC & SSI Courses, Scuba Diver Instructor Training, freediving, eco programmes & Swimming pools its no wonder there seems to be a lot going on at Big Blue these days!

Hi, Just completed my OWD a few days ago and was sent an email to fill out a questionnaire. I added the following to the comments box at the bottom, which I thought you might be interested to read, in case it's not passed on by the PADI organisation:
"I can say with every confidence that Ant Silwood is an excellent instructor,
patient beyond words and supremely knowledegable in all things related to
conducting an OWD course. When a student in our class was unable to "catch
on" as quickly as the rest of us, he never once lost patience or showed
signs of exasperation but proceeded to explain the procedures over and over
again and to make her feel at ease at all times.
Speaking for myself, I'm profoundly deaf and rely on lipreading, body
language and asking a lot of questions to ensure I understood him, which
meant repeating himself many times. Again his patience and professionalism
was above and beyond many other instructors in other things I have been
(skydiving, truck driving, boating licence, etc).
I would heartily recommend him and his school (as many of the other
instructors I've met there during the duration of the course struck me as
equally professional and above all, patient and courteous) to anyone
thinking of learning to dive in Thailand.
I am going back in a few days to take my AOW, as well as deep, Nitrox and
wreck diving courses.
Please feel free to pass on this message to the Big Blue Diving School of
Koh Tao.
Many thanks,
Carey"
Again, thanks to Ant (and sorry for forgetting your name on numerous occasions!) for your patience. Looking forward to being back in a few days (currently on Samui with a new 30-day visa), Cheers, Carey

“Life-changing!”- 5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2012 - The people working at Big Blue are the most wonderful mix of personalities I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They are all so unique, but they share a common passion... and that is an unquestionable love for diving. Their enthusiasm and dedication is inspiring... and their blatent 'love of life' is infectious. I could not have chosen a more wonderful environment to do my Divemaster course in. Big Blue's lively atmosphere, superb location, diverse selection of dive sites and wondeful staff made my training there one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. The people at Big Blue became more than just friends... they became my family.

Updated on Monday 26th August 22, 2012 -

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Another Big Blue Legendary Full Day Trip to Sail Rock yesterday. The Gulf of Thailands number 1 divesite & why? Well how about this! 25 Bullsharks seen yesterday! How's that! We gone from 4 to 25 in just about a week! This is fantastic news & Sail rock is part of the Ang Thong Marine Park which makes it strictly an illegal fishing zone which will hopefully mean these guys are going to be hear for a while! So we've laid on another trip to Sail Rock in just a couple of days time & its already almost full. Well of course it is. Sharks at Sail Rock, Whale sharks at South West. It must be shark week!

Great news, the new Director for the DMCR, Department of Marine & Coastal Resorces, is so impressed with the work that we have been doing the last 4 years that he has promised up tons of new artificial reef structures and other assistance. Next year he plans to add artificial reefs in every Adopt-A-Reef site to be used in conjunction with the coral nursery tables, which we will also be getting more of. Another bonus, the 6 dive schools involved in the Adopt-A-Reef program will be getting certifications and recognition from the DMCR and Thai Government for their work, get the DMCR logo on their schools, get special certification cards with the DMCR logo, and get promoted in DMCR and related (TOT, etc) publications and signage! Congrats and thank you to Ban's, Big Blue, Crystal, Koh Exist, New Heaven, and Sunshine for all your hard work and dedication over the years! many good things are coming your way. . . .

“Really Fun, Amazing Experience” 4 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor August 22, 2012-Diving: We really enjoyed being underwater. Our instructor, Guy, was brilliant! He was really knowledgeable and friendly. It really was the best experience we had in this part of Thailand. We were so tempted to continue with our advanced course after doing the PADi open water, but became very ill. Someone told us this was to do with the water... so make sure you clean your teeth with bottled water!!! Accommodation: We loved our little hut, with the hammock outside. Spent nearly every evening after dinner sitting on our porch. The room was free with the diving, which is always a bonus, but the bathroom was sometimes temperamental. The toilets aren’t flushing on the island, so you can imagine what it was like when we were ill! Food: Really nice food, always had a BBQ on the beach and also had nice breakfast and restaurant food too! I loved the pancakes! Overall: Koh Tao is a beautiful island, but the sewers are open and can smell a bit. It didn’t bother us because we were so busy haha! I would go back, though! :)

Updated Saturday 25th August 2012-

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Eensy Weensy Whaleshark spottted at Chumphon Pinnacle yesterday morning. Just an ickle little thing measuring less than 2 meters long. Could be a contender for one of the smallest Whalesharks we've had round Koh Tao. Whalesharks are the largest fish in the sea with the largest ever photographed estimated to measure almost 20 meters long. So that makes pretty much our 100th Whaleshark sighting this year alone and maybe one of the most memorable. See fellas. Size doesn't always matter!

“lucky” 4 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor August 24, 2012 - I was kinda lucky when I came to Koh Tao because most people were going to Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party. So Tao was a little calmer and a good place to relax. The decision to make my diving licenses was kinda spontaneous and based on the idea that that way i would save the money for a room since big blue offers free (basic) dorm rooms with their courses or any day you dive with them. That said the room was clean and nothing to complain about. I stayed at the place a little up the beach where the pool is. The people i met at the dorm where nice and we hung out when we were not diving so thats cool. The instructor of our 3 person group, Ben the Belgian ;) and not to forget Naboo (?) his intern, was competent and friendly and really went out of their ways to make every dive as enjoyable as possible. Really all the guys from Big Blue where friendly and I didn't have any complains since i really feel like i got what i expected for the money.

Unfortunately litter and improper disposal of rubbish is a major problem throughout Asia, and one that we have been trying to tackle from many fronts on our island over the last few years. We already have great efforts in place to help keep our island clean, such as our monthly clean-ups. But to improve our islands preservation and keep our paradise clean, Save Koh Tao and members of the community are proposing to start a collection of programs that will together attack the issue from all sides in the form of a master plan. It is our goal that this will not only greatly decrease the amount of litter and marine debris around our island and be positive for the local community, but will also make our island an example for other places in the region to manage their waste more effectively and holistically. The four programs involved in this master plan are: (1) Beach and Road Bin Installation (2) Daily/weekly island clean-up crew (3) Anti-plastic and foam box Campaign (4) Signage on beaches and roads. the project will involve many members of the community, including dive schools, local business and the Thai community.Project AWARE have started a competition that would award the winners a chance to start up a community conservation effort such as this - help us win and vote for us online now! Please click the link to vote!! Your votes count! We have submitted a proposal for Waste and debris management here on Koh Tao and if we get the most votes Project AWARE Ocean Action Project will help this proposal be put forward and undertaken. Please tell your colleagues and friends to vote as this really will help make a difference. Thankyou for your support! http://www.facebook.com/ProjectAWAREFoundation

Updated Wednesday 22nd August 2012-

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Please click the link to vote!! Your votes count! We have submitted a proposal for Waste and debris management here on Koh Tao and if we get the most votes Project AWARE Ocean Action Project will help this proposal be put forward and undertaken. Please tell your colleagues and friends to vote as this really will help make a difference. Thankyou for your support!  http://www.facebook.com/ProjectAWAREFoundation

I'm flattered. Its just awesome that soo many Diving Professionals want to work a Big Blue. Just wish I had work for everyone. Unfortunately I have my team of experience with over 40 years experience of working in the Dive Industry in just Simo, Tosh, Steve & G alone! So I'm very happy with my experienced professionals but want to add to the team with an ingestation of fresh meat! We like to employ from within! Wouldn't you agree Donny, Rick, Anke, Mark, Jo, just 5 of our latest SSI Big Blue Trained Instructors all working at Big Blue teaching courses. Good on you guys. Told you we get you your first steps into the Diving Industry. Lets see if we can't do the same for the 6 candidates taking their Instructor Training Course with Tosh right now

“Amazing Diving, Awesome Instructor”5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor August 17, 2012 - We headed out to Koh Tao to relax for a bit and do some scuba diving and get our open water certificate this July. We went to Big Blue because it has a great reputation, and it's deserved. Our dive instructor, Olaf Jongbloets, was the best. He was hilarious, patient, and very competent in the water. He knows the dive sites like the back of his hand, since he's been there for over 10 years, and shows you all the best sites. I was pretty nervous getting into the water, but Olaf's confidence and reassurances really helped me relax and enjoy the diving. He's also a sweet trigger-fish fighter. We ended up taking our advanced course with him too, and had an even better time doing the night and wreck diving. I can't recommend him enough. Big props to our Dive Master in Training, Krista DeCoste, too. She was freaking amazing!

Updated Monday 20th August 2012-

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Seriously? Why on earth wouldn't you? If as a young 20-30 something year old worried about your future & what the hell you are going to do to earn a living during a time of high unemployment, high taxes, high interest rates, loan repayments & low income why would you not consider it? Become a Scuba Diving Instructor. Live in exotic locations, office on the beach, diving with turtles, rays, eels, sharks, whales! Earning an income comparative with what you earn in the real world once the tax man has taken their chunk. Its really very easy. Follow these 3 simple steps- 1. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 2. Book a flight 3. Say bye bye to your family & friends & let them know you might be a while! See you Monday!

 

"Hi Jim, We made it safely back to Samui! Just wanted to let you know that Donny was my instructor for my advanced, and he was ace! Made me feel so comfortable, great way about his instruction (in water and out) and new to it, so I really wanted to send some positive feedback. I really couldn't of wished for better. Big Blue only hires the best, so this was no surprise, but it really tops your entire experience when you connect so well with you instructor, like I did with Donny. He's a keeper! Definitely will recommend him, as well as Nick, as instructors. I had the privilege of diving with Nick, and the Maddocks sisters on my last day of advanced cert. (yesterday) when we dived Chumphon and the wreck...awesome guys! Really impressed, can't say it enough, but will stop for now and let you be ;))))) Thanks again, still buzzin' after seeing that whale shark!!!! Chrissy "

 

“Best Idea Ever.” Reviewed on Trip Advisor August 17- Originally the idea of scuba diving was a bit of a wishy-washy bucket-list item, but the past 3 weeks, Big Blue's made that item legit. Ko Tao wasn't even my first choice (wanted to go to Bali...ditched that fast when I saw the ticket there from Vietnam was over 6-bills) but I am so happy being broke forced a re-route to Big Blue. I started off with Bill Cloud for my Open Water Course; I couldn't have asked for a better instructor. Looking back, he was the one who developed a solid diving foundation which enabled me to enjoy all my dives. Most times we went diving, Billy made the 'classroom' feel more like a playground. We always had a ton of fun while incorporating our lessons into the mix. In fact, I felt confident enough to do my Advanced (with Richard Todd- also a fab instructor) and am now currently doing my Rescue (with Rick, so far so good. everyone's alive and smiling). No regrets except maybe hitting the bar one too many nights in between courses (which the instructors told us not to do...but hey, YOLO).

 
Updated Saturday 18th August 2012-
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Whaleshark at Chumphon Pinnacle this morning! Bullsharks yesterday at Chumphon & Sail Rock too. According to Divemaster Steven, our very own self proclaimed best Divemaster in the World, he reckons we can pretty much guarantee Bull sharks at Sail Rock right now he says he saw so many of them! So done deal then! We'll offer Guaranteed Bullshark or Whaleshark Dives at Sail Rock or your money back! Top lad that Steven. I can see why he calls himself the best DM in the world, he'll either guarantee you a shark or he'll pay for your dives! 
 
 
“Good value” Reviewed on Trip[ Advisor August 13, - Went there July 2012. Unmissable experience, the open water diving course is about £180 (compared to the £500 I heard it costs in Eng). If you do the course you get free accomodation in a pretty rank dorm room so opt to pay a bit extra for your own room. Amazing location in ko Tao, it's near everything but relaxing at the same time, the bar is good and so is the restraunt food. If you're travelling alone or with friends I'd definitely advise coming for a few days of underwater fun. Can't fault the place.

 

Well the day is upon is. Tosh has bitten his fingernails down to the cuticle, he's brushed his pants & put his hair on backwards and he's made it.Today is the day he loses his ITC, his Instructor Training Cherry! With 6 candidates being trained by one of the worlds most experienced Diving Instructors it looks like the Big Blue Instructor Training launch that Simo & Tosh worked so hard at has actually paid off! So good luck to Ant & Amy from the UK, Jay & Rae from Canadia, Bobby from the US & Mr May from Burma. 3 weeks of lectures, skills assessments, demonstrations, presentations, swimming, snorkelling, diving, exams, eating & drinking. Oh the life of a Diving Instructor. Good luck everyone. Make us proud!
 
Updated Thursday16th August 201216
So it seems that there are now 3 divesites on Koh Tao where sharks have been sighted. We've had 4 Bullsharks at Sail Rock for about the last 10 days or so, & then yesterday another shark was seen at Southwest Pinnacle, make & model unconfirmed, & then this morning more Bullsharks were seen at Chumphon Pinnacle. In addition a Blacktip has been seen on several occasions off the South side of Twins & Laem Thien has also been host to several Blacktip sightings. I wonder if the increase in Shark sightings has anything to do with the decrease in demand for Shark Fin soup?
A shark more commonly found in waters off Asia and North America left wildlife experts astonished when it jumped out of the water in front of their boat off West Wales. Only days after New Quay beach in Ceredigion was closed following a sighting of a blue shark, researchers spotted this thresher shark on the same stretch of coastline. Sightings of thresher sharks have been increasing in recent years in UK waters. Thresher sharks are normally found in deep waters but can follow their prey closer to the shore so maybe that’s what this one was doing. Perhaps either it or its prey were attracted by increasing sea temperatures. And who says there isn't very good marine life in UK waters! Baskin sharks & now Threshers too! You guys are just spoilt!
 
“Highly recommended” Reviewed on Trip Advisor August 13-  Came to Koh Tao looking forward to the diving. A bit nervous about what to expect, especially as I was alone, but no regrets. Many different diving companies to choose from on the island, but Big Blue is the biggest and best. I joined a group of four other people and stayed with that group for the full three days. Made many friends and have absolutely no regrets. If you get Guy as your instructor you're very lucky (they're all good but Guy's mad fun). He's an absolutely awesome chap, and I'll be asking for him next time I come back to do my advanced diving. I know your reading this Guy, keep up the mad work.

 

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Don't think its rained here in Koh Tao since the end of March 2011! That was when we had the floods here in Koh Tao & Big Blue Resort practically got washed away. Well its over 15 months later & not a drop of rain since! Think we're having a drought! So it is with head held low that I bring to your attention fresh water rationing here at Big Blue. As of tomorrow I'm afraid water will only be on between the hours of 6 am & 9am then 12pm till 1pm & then again from 6pm to 9pm. We realise this is going to cause a few inconveniences & for that we are sorry but remember in times of crisis we recommend all getting stuck in together. So remember everyone, save water shower with your girlfriend...s!
 
“Funtastic” Reviewed on Trip Advisor -August 11, 2012 - This July me and my friend went from divers to advanced adventurers, huh! First we were appointed Steve to lead our open water course, which lead up to fun and intense diving days. He was a real dive pro and we felt safe at all times. Next we completely fell in love with the diving and big blue which lead us to request Richard Todd to lead our advanced course, as we heard good reviews on this guy. Very amazing days. We had so much fun under and above water and had a super duper group. Big Blue has so much social besides the diving, which really adds to the great atmosphere. Richard, our instructor, was extremely enthusiastic and very good at his job, which made the diving a lot more interesting. All in all, everyone did everything they could to give us a once in a lifetime experience and make us wanna come back for more more more! :)
 
 
Dear Jim, My friend Jarrett and I recently spent a few days in Koh Tao and ended up diving with you guys for a couple fun dives, I just wanted to say that Darren was awesome to dive with. We used the underwater camera for the day and just wanted to personally say thanks to him for the great pictures he took for us and am amazed how well they turned out! Thanks again Darren, We will be telling everyone to dive with you guys when in Koh Tao. Jarrett and Rochelle
 
Updated Wednesday 15th August 2012-

 

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Its been one of the best turn outs for a Charity event I think I have ever seen here on Koh Tao with almost 80 people all joining in for the 3.4 km Swim around Nang Yuan Island last Saturday. It was also an awesome show from Big Blue with the the top 5 swimmers all going to Big Blue staff. Nick broke the existing record by a full 5 minutes with a time of just 54 minutes! Instructors Serena & Ben came in 3rd! It was s truly phenomenal showing which raised over 120000 Bt to go towards satellite tracking tags which will be attached to a number of baby sharks the Thai Navy found alive in the floating carcass of their mother. Its an awesome project. It was an awesome day & I think an enormous congratulations to the organizer our very own Master of Marine Biology Jennifer Matthews.
 
 
“WOW!!!” Reviewed on Trip Advisor August 8, 2012 - My wife and I recently made our way down to Thailand, and decided that we should definitely do our open water certificates when we get to Koh Tao! After some research we decided to go for Big Blue, and let me tell you we were NOT dissapointed!!! We had an awesome instructor - Billy Cloud! He made us feel competent, and at ease at all times! He had patience, and was really energetic, even when we weren't! The staff overall were great - everyone's friendly and helpful! If you're looking into doing your open water certificate I would most definitely recommend diving with big blue!!! Thanks for the great time guys - can't wait to come back and do our advanced!!!
 
Similar to Birthdays, Christmas & the sexual cycle of a penguin, Jim goes diving once a year! Dons his speedos, checks to see how much of his equipment hasn't been nicked out of his equipment box, takes what is still there & gives it to the Technicians to repair & then uses the shop kit & off he goes for a morning jolly at Koh Tao's 2 best Divesites, Chumphon Pinnacle & the Wreck! Happy Anniversary.
 
Updated Tuesday 14th August 2012-

 

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Foheler. James Foheler... ex military boy current Manager of Big Blue Tech has been a busy boy this month what with all this managing of his 4 or so interns, organising logistics, pumping tanks, replying to emails, repairing the damage his predecessor incurred, marketing & teaching Tech Courses but still manages to squeeze in a jolly with the boys & head out to Sail Rock for the day yesterday to see if they could spend a little more time with theses bullsharks everyone keeps talking about. Think they were somewhat surprised when they actually found them & managed to get probably the best shot to date of one of them there just to prove they actually are Bull Sharks! Admittedly we had to photoshop this file quite heavily to extract the true content but as you can see, BULLSHARK!!!!!!!! 
 
 
“So good I'm planning my return!” 5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor August 6, 2012 - Spent a little under 2 weeks with Big Blue and totted up a fair few dives (and my first night dives). Had a phenomenal experience with some of my best dives to date seeing all things great and small from sharks and great barracuda (savaging reef fish!!) to a sleeping puffer fish and the smallest shrimp I've ever seen. The staff were friendly, approachable, knowledgeable and very professional. I stayed at 'Big Blue 2' accommodation, preferable for me as it was away from the nightlife, my apartment was clean and mostly quiet with great views of the training pool and even had visits from the resident geckos :) Can't wait to return in a couple of weeks :) Thanks Big Blue :) 
 
The Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats classifies the long-finned pilot whale as “strictly protected” under Appendix II. While the Faeroe Islands are not a member of the European Union, they remain a Danish Protectorate. In other words, even though the Faeroes are self-governing, Denmark controls the police, defense, foreign policy, and the currency. All trade with EU countries is handled through the Danish foreign ministry. The primary reason for the Faeroes abstaining from joining the EU was in an effort to prevent the EU from meddling in their fishing policies. The slaughter of cetaceans is illegal within the European Union. Denmark fails to abide by their obligations as a co-signer of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (also known as the Bern Convention). The plundering of the oceans is our common issue, we all have the right to say STOP! http://www.unleashed.org.au/take_action/petitions/stop-the-faroe-islands-whale-slaughter/

Bull Sharks at Sail Rock

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With all the talk of Whalesharks & Bull sharks at Sail Rock this week it took us literally 25 minutes to fill up todays Full Day Trip to Sail Rock & reports are just coming in that everyone has been diving with Bullsharks & there's a baby there today too! Wow this is awesome! Have the Bull Sharks found themselves a new site for breeding? Ooh  do hope so! It used to Chumphon Pinnacle which became synonomous with Bullsharks. Looks like its going to be Sail Rock now! Just another attraction which is why Sail Rock is often referred to as the Number Dive site in the Gulf of Thailand!

Experienced, really nice, patient and friendly

“Thank you Billy Cloud!”5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor August 5, 2012 - At the beginning, my girlfriend and I haven't planned on diving. Then we went to Koh Tao. We came to Big Blue Diving in order to find accommodation and activities like snorkeling or a short scuba initiation. We were welcomed by Gee who offered us a welcome drink, and influenced by the good atmosphere, the fact that Koh Tao is probably the best and cheapest place in the world where you can learn diving properly, we decided to take the Open Water Diver Course. And consequently Big Blue offered us four free nights in their resort (Oh yeah!).Big Blue has also two bars/restaurants along the beach, one swimming pool, and air-con classrooms. All we had to do was chill out waiting for the first lessons which began with video-watching and working with a book to have notions on the basics. Then we met our instructor: Billy Cloud. Experienced, really nice, patient and friendly, he taught us how to use the equipment, and all his academics were quick and clear, so that we learnt very easily. Billy never let questions unanswered, even personal questions! :D The skills were practiced in the swimming pool. Even though the group of three we were successfully passed the exam and mastered the skills required, my girlfriend freaked out at the last moment, panicking about her first "real" dive in the sea. Billy immediately found the words to reassure her, making her his buddy for the following four dives. It was not an easy task to make her confident again, and we really want to thank him for the kindness and patience that allowed my girlfriend to do the "giant stride". After five minutes underwater, we were all having loads of fun! Without Billy, my girlfriend would have given up, missed the fun, so again thank you Billy! More generally, concerning Big Blue, the rooms are fine, the food in the restaurants is nice, there's a good atmosphere, music, fire shows at night on the beach. The equipment is safe and all the instructors seemed competent. Regarding the numerous people diving, everything is quite well organized. The groups are small or medium-sized (from 3 to 6). On the last evening, we watched a video of our dives of the day filmed and mixed by Mickey, all sharing a good beer with him and Billy, remembering how great this experience was! We are totally charmed by diving, and will definitely come back next year, to take the Advanced! Marion and Romain, Billy's "Scuba Soldiers" :D 

Swim For Sharks around Koh Nang Yuan

 Well at this rate it looks like the Big Blue Village Idiot, Nick Bufton of course, is going to be the favourite to win the Swim for Sharks Fundraiser around Nang Yuan Island this Saturday. The contenders seem to be dropping by the wayside as those who were bragging of swimming in the competitive lane are now spending more time at the bar than in training, all of us that is except for Nick 'the Torpedo' Bufton!  Nick has been in training every day for at least the last month & is now doing times Olympians would be proud of. Over 10000 Bt worth of prizes for the winners donated by Sea Shephard Conservation Society & Sharkskin Rashvests. Its going to be an awesome day & all donations go to saving sharks! Get involved www.bigblueconservation.com

Updated Tuesday 7th August 2012

To SSI or to PADI, that is the question?

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 As if choosing a dive centre on Ko Tao wasn't a big enough task in itself, you are then likely to be asked if you would prefer an SSI or PADI course. Here's what you need to know. PADI and SSI and BSAC, CMAS, NAUI, ANDI, TDI, SDI are all internationally recognised Diving Organisations and you can dive anywhere in the world with any of these certifications. You can switch and change too -- you don’t have to stay with the agency that you pick for your first course. The science, skills and techniques don’t change with whatever agency you choose but the methodology can be a little different. For example, with a PADI course the student must complete skill A before moving to skill B, whereas an SSI course skills can be demonstrated in any order to suit the student. SSI is cheaper than PADI by 800 Bt! SSI allows students to borrow books during their course whereas with a PADI course it’s compulsory to buy one. Both PADI and SSI now offer online learning to save you some time on your holiday. SSI's online learning is free, whereas with PADI you will pay US$130. The final thing that should be explained to you is about your certification card. SSI has an office on Koh Tao, so you will get your hard-earned card straight away. Centres have to either send off certification details or process them online to submit them to PADI. You can still dive straight away though and you do get a temporary card that is valid for 90 days. Your real card will be sent to the address you choose. Ultimately, it’s more important that you have chosen the right dive centre than the "right" course. If you have, then whether you choose PADI or SSI, you will be taught well -- so don’t agonise, just dive in there and blow some bubbles!

Lonely Planet Recommendation

“Best dive resort in Koh Tao for All levels” 5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor August 2, 2012 - We were new to diving and knew we wanted to do our certification in Koh Tao. We went to big blue dive resort because of a lonely planet reccomendation.We were greeted warmly and efficiently. The prices across the island are standard but the service at big blue was above all expectations. G was our instructor and she is even better than finding a g spot! We had such a good time we decided to stay for our advanced open water. The friendliest and most competent staff. Make you feel safe when nervous and well taken care of. The facilities were clean well kept and on a beautiful beach. The diving was beyond perfect. (we went in late July). Book ahead I time of you can! We didn't but we were the last couple to get in that day. Thanks to big blue for a fantastic and memorable trip! 

Coming to Thailand Emirates Airlines?

Anyone travelling on Emirates Airlines this month keep an eye out for their inflight magazine, Open Skies, which has a very interesting interview with yours truely! The it's  article is on Big Blue & Koh Tao & the origins of diving in this area but I was the one answering the questions so I should rightfully be claiming celebrity rights. However I'm misquoted several times in the article, the writer keeps referring to me by my surname & they haven't printed the picture I gave her of me some twenty something years ago looking all super buff & with a full head of golden locks! These media people always distorting the truth!

Updated Friday 3rd Augsut 2012-

Introducing Big Blue Liveaboard M.V. Hallelujah

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Time to announce Big Blue Diving Khao Lak's Brand New Liveabaord for our 2012-2013 Season in the Similans & Surin Islands! The MV Hallelujah is like a first class boat in a business class price range. She runs a tried and tested four night schedule which includes the best of the Similan Islands dive sites, and also Koh Bon for the Manta Rays, Koh Tachai, and the famous Richelieu Rock. She takes a maximum of 24 guests, but the boat is so expansive, that even when it is full you'll never feel crowded. The sun-deck upstairs is large enough to have a knock about with a football! All cabins are air-conditioned, have sea views, and have en-suite bathrooms. She offers both inside and outside dining areas, and oodles of space where guests can find a quiet place to relax with a book or sunbathe. One Of Thailands very best Liveaboards & its all ours!

Big Blue is one of the best dive school among many schools out there

“Dive in Blue Sea with Big Blue” 4 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor July 28, 2012 - This is a larger than life experience to me. I heard, I went,I learned,I dive to the underwater world....and experienced a different world altogether. Kodos to my instructors Felix and of course Ben for completing Open water dive course in Big Blue. The whole atmosphere were charged up all the time. Each and every one are so enthusiast and I felt like a part of big blue family. Big Blue resorts have one old wing and a new wing. Cottages and banglows in old wing are not really bad but as this are the older ones, these require some maintainance. Otherwise, these are really cool to stay in and recommended if you are going alone or with friends. You will find all activities around you. Of course, the new wing has new set up and recommened if you are there with family. Big Blue is one of the best dive school among many schools out there and the instructors are very professional and highly skilled. I had some cold and congestion while I was there. I had suffered a lot and had problem with equalisation. I had to discontinue with the team lead by instructor Felix and then I completed my course under another great and cool instructor Ben. Take my suggestion, don't dive while you have cold or congestion. I have to go again and dive .......of course with the team BIG BLUE.'

Koh Phangan Full Moon Party

Coming up to the biggest Koh Phangan Full Moon Party of the year. The August Full Moon Party where anywhere near as many as 30000 party goers all rock up on one little beach to do some kind of weird alcohol induced moon dance. 70% of those revellers will then continue their island hopping experience by stopping off here on Koh Tao for an Open Water Course or 2. Which consequently makes Koh Tao about twenty two and a half times more popular than it is right now! I don't know whether to cheer or cry! Happy Full Moon. Waaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!

 Updated Thursday 2nd August 2012-

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