Aung Sang Suu Kyi in Thailand
So the big news in Thailand at the moment which effects sooooo many of our behind the scenes staff here at Big Blue is that legendary Democracy Leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi the hope for so many millions of freedom loving Burmese people has arrived in Thailand. The Burmese people are an amazing bunch. They're so friendly, so accommodating, hard workers, reliable & live on virtually nothing & those who work here literally work over 12 hours a day 7 days a week & then send their money home to their famillies in Burma who have nothing. Soon we all hope that Burma will become a real democracy again & these boys can all be reunited with their famillies. All the best boys. In the immortal words of Hollywood superstar Mel Gibson- "Freedom!"
SSI Instructor Trainer Simon Garrity
"I did my course with the professional, highly focused, humorous, thoughtful, strong, muscular, virile, incredibly good-looking Simon Garrity! I teach almost exactly as he taught me. It works brilliant! and by the way it has been really fun! I recommend this man and Big Blue Diving anyway! THANK YOU! Tobi O. " Good on you Tobi. Thanks so much for writing in to our Facebook Group & expressing these comments. We don't know how much Simon paid you to write this but we appreciate it anyway!
Hilarious Big Blue Diving Instructor Tosh Tanner
“Best thing I've ever done!” 5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor- I finished my dive at big blue just over a week ago and I am still reminiscing! I can honestly say it is one of the best experiences of my life. Me and my friends were instantly made to feel welcome and our accomodation was much better than we had ever hoped. The staff are all really efficient and professional and went out of their way to ensure that our needs were met. However, a special mention needs to be given to our instructor, Tosh. There is no question that he made the experience for us. Not only was he hilarious, but he was patient, attentive and calming. Definitely a character I will remember! Despite not having any previous diving experience, we all learnt really quickly due to the excellent quality of teaching. I would recommend this dive school to anyone and am already planning my return trip. Thanks Big Blue!
Updated Thursday 31st May 2012-
Another beautiful day on Koh Tao
Well its another one of those days I'm afraid. The sun is out. The sea is calm. Water Temperature is a barmy 30 degrees, air temperature is a pleasant 29 degrees. There's a very slight fresh onshore breeze. Water clarity just off shore is approximately 8-10 meters deep, visibility is 20+ meters all over Koh Tao. There are daily reports of Whalesharks, pilot whales, heaps of turtles at almost every site. And then if that aint enough we have a bevvy of the worlds most beautiful women all laid flat out in their skimpies right here on the beach at Big Blue! Oh what a day!
Couldn't have had a better teacher
“Best time, best instructor” 5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor- We couldn't have had a better time learning diving, and we couldn't have had a better teacher. Above all, we absolutely recommend asking for Skui as your instructor. She's a great teacher. She makes you feel very safe - patient if you have a worry, serious when she needs to be but also a lot of fun the rest of the time. Our group shared a lot of laughter together and she was often at the centre of it. You can tell Skui's passionate about her work by the way she teaches and by her huge knowledge of the sea life at the dive sites and beyond. That passion definitely rubbed off on everyone in our group. Her helping us see a whale shark, an octopus and a sleeping sea turtle on our dives was just the icing on the cake. Thank you to Skui for everything.
So it appears that it aint just Koh Tao experiencing an increase in Whale shark sightings this year. Apparently Whalesharks have been seen in their hundreds in the sea of Cortez off Cozumel, & today I'm hearing reports that htere has been over 40 Whalesharks have been sighted off Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia aswell, making this their biggest Whaleshark season on record! So thats Mexico, Australia & Thailand all reporting the most amount of Whalesharks they've ever seen. This aint just awesome news! Its Jawsome!
Updated Wednesday 30th May 2012
Eco Internship Programme
"Dear Eco Jen, Thank you for having me as your Eco Intern for the past three weeks. I'm incredibly grateful to everyone at Big Blue Diving for making my stay that much more interesting. I loved feeling part of the family and considered 'just one of us' even if it meant lugging a crate - or a box of biscuits - every now and then. I think the atmosphere and the people working there had a big influence and set the tone for some of the most amazing experiences (WHALE SHARK!!) of my Gap Year. I really appreciate all the time everyone took to get to know and integrate me despite only passing through for an all too short 3 weeks. Without the wonderful DM's etc.. I'm sure I wouldn't have had half as much fun! I'll see whoever is still left there in exactly one year! Big Blue Conservation's enthusiasm and passion for conservation coming through all the science was inspiring. What struck me the most about the team was seeing how driven and focused you were and yet how accessible and friendly you remained. More importantly I really enjoyed meeting people with similar strong interests in conservation and science (genetics just seems so captivating, doesn't it?). My time spent with Big Blue Conservation made me realize how easy it is with some dedication and commitment to (and I hate to be cheesy, but it fits) make a difference. I can only hope that I'll carve a niche for myself that so nicely complements my two passions; archeology and the ocean. To wind it all down, I wanted to let you know how much meeting you all gave me such a clearer picture of where I want to head and what I want to achieve. - Cami
"Super nice all the dives I myself felt very comfortable" At first I just wanted to take a diving course and then we'll see ... in the end I stayed a whole month and had the Open Water and Advance Course and twenty-three dives. The instructors are very nice and the dive master with whom they dipped when one makes the fundives had my concept for the right amount of fun and proffesionelles know. The location is great. If you ordered a pizza at the restaurant and eat it on the stand while the sun goes down then comes on holiday feeling for sure. 5 out of 5 stars- Reviewed on Trip Advisor May 17, 2012
Cave Diving in Khao Sok
So tonight our Techie team are off to Dive some caves in Khao Sok. We are heading off on the night boat over to the mainland and into the stunning limestone mountains of the Khao Sok national park. Here we will be diving in a fresh water lake and sleeping in floating villages, we have 2 days of diving here and are planning to hit the dark zone in the underwater forrest. The 2 days diving will be followed by a day of above water exploration as we are in one of the most naturally stunning areas of Thailand it would be rude not to explore a little. Then it is off to Khao Lak to dive an 85 meter wreck of a cargo ship that is sitting fully starboard in 42 meters of water an hour off shore. Andy Cavell, who is overseeing this trip was one of the members of a diving team who surveyed this wreck roughly a month after it's sinking. He is quoted as saying "this wreck is stunning, a great size, and it is a nice dive when the currents aren't ripping. I can't wait to get back to it!!" All the team are Extended range or higher certification and Advanced wreck, so we should have an amazing exploring week ahead of us!!!
Updated Monday 28th May 2012
Give Sharks a Fighting Chance
Pilot Whales & Whale Sharks
So I've been away for a few days & just got back to all sorts of reports of underwater occurences. First off was a report of a floating Pilot whale carcass around the north of Koh Tao & there was some serious concern the carcass might wash up on one of our beaches, which would have been a trifle whiffy. Luckily it didn't happen & the carcass ended up being caught & is being checked for cause of death. We'll get back to you when Koh Tao CSI give us a press release! It also seems this dead whale may be part of a pod of Pilot whales last seen hanging out to the north of Mango Bay where they've been seen for the last couple of days. And meanwhile its still raining Whalesharks here with sightings at Hin Wong, South West Pinnacle & Sail Rock! With all these shannigans occurring I should go away more often!
SSI Crossover Course
So SSImon South East Asia's leading SSI Instructor Trainer, who by the way seems to be enjoying the wearing ladies clothing to snorkel tests a little too much, is starting an 8 person Instructor Crossover tomorrow! Thats 8 more PADI Instructors defecting! & why? Cos there's soooooooo much competition for PADI Instructors while at the same time SSI are crying out for more Instructors cos there is now so much demand for SSI Courses! The tide has turned my PADI-wan friends! The future is SSI... & men in ladies clothing!
Updated Sunday May 27th 2012-
PADI Instructor Exam
So they've watched the video, read the book, bought the T-shirt, waxed their bikini lines, spat in their wetsuits & pissed in their masks & are now finally ready to take on the PADI Instructor Exam! We're off with a flying start already as ACE Video Cameraman Billy just cruised through his SSI Instructor Exam yesterday, & now today we got Aussie Tessa, Instructor Intern Andreas, Big Blue DM's Ant & Jade & Green Queen Eco Jen all putting on their speedos for todays final day of the IE. Yesterday they all got 5 out of 5 so it obviously helps wearing as little as possible cos they'd never have got straight 5's otherwise! Good luck guys & bring me your CV's as soon as you've recovered from tonights celebrations!
Technical Diving Internship
In light of the increasing occurrence of global coral bleaching events, scientists from Thailand came together to produce a compilation of papers (listed here) covering the major bleaching event in Thai waters in 2010. The papers include those considering the physical factors leading to bleaching; the ecological impacts of the bleaching event and previous bleaching events dating back to 1991; the incidence of disease following bleaching; survival of coral recruits post-bleaching and management strategies employed by the Thai government to mitigate damage to the reefs during the bleaching period. Big Blue Conservation's Jen, along with Dr Thamasak Yeemin (Ramkhamhaeng University, Bangkok) and Dr Bert Hoeksema (NCB Naturalis, Netherlands) contributed to this compilation with an article describing the 2010 coral bleaching event and its impact on the mushroom coral fauna of Koh Tao. This kind of science research is something we pride ourselves in at Big Blue, as it will help us learn more about our environment and why bleaching occurs to help prevent or protect our reefs from future episodes, as well as increasing public awareness. Great job guys! If you fancy a read during your surface interval, you can download a copy of the article here or see our publications page for more details.
Updated Wednesday 23rd May 2012
Best job in the World
Thanks to all our Dive Team all our Instructors & Divemasters here at Big Blue for all doing their hair nicely, shaving, brushing their teeth & putting on their make up for our once a year Team Photo! Unfortunately there were a few members of staff still away when we took the photos so I'm sorry Roz, Curtis, Serena, Greg, Skui & Laura that you weren't all here for the picci but am sure that cruising the streets of Kuta or Komodo more than makes up for it! So for everyone else - Smile! You lucky bastards have one of the best jobs in the world!
Shout out for Sharks
A round of applause to Big Blue for your support for sharks! We submitted 486 signatures to Project AWARE's Shout out for Sharks petition to persuade international organsations that control the shark fishing trade that we want these beautiful apex predators protected from destructive fishing practices driving them to extinction. Project AWARE have now hit the 100k mark which is a incredible achievement and a clear message to policy makers. AWARE has been very successful in unifying our diving voice and representing the dive community at this high level. We’re so pleased to have you with us. They recently just returned from a meeting with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore to discuss shark protection through CITES. The meeting was very constructive and paves the way for future discussions. And we’re gearing up for more of these meetings over the coming months. It’s a critical time for shark conservation and we’re really making waves at this level. If you would like to sign the petition, please email or post your signatures to us asap so we can record them. And if you love sharks as much as us, don't forget you can do an Shark Conservation speciality with us and join our annual Swim4Sharks event in August.
“Awesome experience!!” 5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor- In March I arrived at Koh Tao with my sister to go diving. We didn't know much about Koh Tao nor diving and initially ended up at Chrystal Divers at the beach near the pier. Although people were nice there and seemed very qualified, it looked a bit dull. So we decided to check out Big Blue at Sairee Beach first, just a guess after reading the lonely planet really. But when we got there we immediately knew that this was the better place for us, very nice vibe! After Nick (instructor) did a little pitch about BB we decided to sign up for our Open Water. And what a good decision!! We had the best time! Our diving group was devided into two with instructors Nick and Petra. Although I didn't really dive with her directly, Petra seemed like a very good diver and was very organised while teaching. Also just a really nice girl. My instructor Nick was a little bit more of the chaotic type haha but you could tell he is quite an experienced instructor. Very patient and clear and puts you at ease while diving. He is the nicest guy too. So recommended! Up front I thought I might find diving scary but didn't for a sec, probably because of the relaxed vibe and good instructor skills too! Oh yeah, Daisy the DMT dove with us during our whole course too, such a nice girl, be sure to ask for her if ur fundiving! We ended up liking the diving so much that we signed up for the Advanced Course too, so did most of our group. It was the best experience! Loved every second of it. I was so sad to leave after that because I'm totally hooked on diving now. Will definitely come back for my divemaster course some day when I find the time and money, can't wait! So big thumbs up for BB! Restaurant at the beach is also a great place to hang out.
Updated Monday May 21st 2012-
Diving Angthong Marine Park
Our big brave boys at Big Blue Tech are off on another jolly this morning with their BSAC trip to Ang Thong with BSAC Dive Leaders Dan and Nat beavering around the resort preparing for the 06:00 departure time. The wind is blowing slightly so we are waiting for a final assessment of the conditions from the captain. Fingers crossed that the conditions will allow us to make the 3 hour journey to the Marine Park & do some exciting unexplored diving & hey who knows might even find that Beach place that plonker Leonardo Di Capprio kept harping on about all those years ago! Have a great trip!
Big Blue Team Photo
Its our yearly staff photo today! A time when we can all compare how much we've aged since this time last year. How much fatter, thinner, older younger, more haggard, more frumpy, hairier, balder, bigger, smaller, saggier, baggier, less teeth, more scars, rounder bellies, we've all got now! So the gals are doing their best to cover their blemishes, wash their hair, shave their legs & firm up their busts the men among us are shooting each other our best Zoolander faces. Blue Steel, Wet Neoprene, & Compressed Air! Strike a pose. 12 o'clock Big Blue 1! See you there!
Save the Sharks
Quick shout out for some help for Ex Big Blue Instructor Jodie who is working today at the BBC on a 'sharks in crisis' proposal and needs to find some specific examples of what the loss of sharks would/will mean for the planet, we all know the ecosystem will be buggered but she needs something that will make the audience go holy crap thats really bad! and start to care about the fate of our finny friends. so obviously she thought of us and Eco jen in particular, the font of fishy knowledge that she is. Unfortunatley Jen is joining the Dark side & is taking her IDC right now but maybe there is someone else out there who can help Jodie & her friends the sharks? contact info@bigbluediving if you can help! Remember Save the sharks & they'll save you!
Updated 15th May 2012
Sharks on Mothers Day
A thought on Mothers' Day! Sharks aren't known for their parenting skills. Their young are born or hatch fully formed and perfectly able to fend for themselves, so don't need "mothering." So what do you make of this pair of Silvertips? Is the 'human' within us seeing parent & child, or is this just a photo of 2 sharks, of quite different sizes, who just happen to be swimming together....as they do?? Not!
Scared of Fish
Its not everyones cup of tea! Look at Kate Moss. She pulled out of a scuba diving course - because she's too scared of fish. The supermodel was holidaying in the South of France last year with her husband and a group of pals and was keen to get her formal qualification in diving while she was there but her fear of sea-dwelling creatures put an end to that. A source told the Daily Mirror newspaper: "Kate has been snorkelling before and dived a bit. She was keen to get a formal qualification, did some of the classroom-based stuff and was really getting in to it. But then she got convinced she was going to bump into a giant, scary fish - possibly a shark - and began to get nervous. "When a school of tropical fish swam past, Kate got a bit terrified by one of the bigger, grey ones. So instead of going under water, Kate spent the rest of her holiday concentrating on how to spell her name!
Modelling Auditions for new Big Blue Brochure
We're in the throes of compiling artwork & modelling for photos which will be put into our new brochures & agent propaganda that our new shopgirl, professional Graphic Designer, Caz, is busy producing. So we've got auditions lined up all week for suitable models. Divemaster Steven will be cleanly shaven with his middle parting nicely defined. Shopgirl Jess is putting on her sliced Salmon Lady Gaga suit. If you're looking for your big break in the modelling industry then better come visit Big Blue. We'll make you famous!
Updated Monday 13th May 2012-
SSI Scuba Instructors Needed
Big shout of awareness out there to all you thinking of becomming Scuba Diving Instructors. There are many different Diving organisations out there & I can really only talk for Koh Tao but.... if you are hoping to get work in Koh Tao then for heavens sake become an SSI Instructor. Absolutely nothing wrong with PADI of course but the thing is the PADI Instructors on Koh Tao grow on trees. They're everywhere. But the SSI Instructors are really hard to find. Make yoursleves employable! Become an SSI Instructor. & if you want my advice then you best drop me a line. I might know just the guy who can help you!
Low Season on Koh Tao
Well we timed that badly! Usually May & June is what we call low season so most of our Instructors bugger off for a month or so to rest relax see family & friends & then pop back to Koh Tao just in time for high season which kicks off early July. So this May we got Roz & Curtis getting jiggy with it in Komodo! We got Laura & Skui rocking round the clock in Bali. kNickers just got back from a romantic month long back packing jaunt with his Missus round the Killing fields of Cambodia (hmm romantic), Hangover James has disappeared! Bet he's in Vegas! & Olaf flew back to the lowlands! Then Chloe is off this afternoon to Baguette it up in France & Andreas & Jen are doing their PADI Crossovers. Leaving the skeleton crew diving twice in the morning & twice in the afternoon & some of them have even had to go diving at night aswell... with 20 meter viz...in flat seas..., in warm water... with whalesharks... and getting paid for it!? Lucky Bastards!
The Liquivision X1 Dive Computer
Updated 11th May 2012-
Best Whaleshark Season
Another Whaleshark! This is officially the best Whaleshark season we have had here this century! At least 1 per day for about 6 weeks now. It hink it was 2008 when we had a bumper crop of Whaleshark sightings numbering 52, or 1 per week. but the rate we're going this year looks like we might make it another 20 or so more! I wonder if the increase in Whaleshark sightings has anything to do with the decrease in the sales of Sharkfin soup in Asia? Hmmm. Thats food for thought!
Addicted to Diving
“Koh Tao - Big Blue Diving” Great Instructors, Awesome location! We completed our Open Water Course with 'Mama G', our instructor, and could not resist the temptation to get into the water for the SSI Advanced Adventurer Course completing 5 further dives, including a wreck, deep sea and night dive. We leave Koh Tao very satisfied and addicted to diving!
Todd and Jason are doing further exploration of Chumphon secret pinnacle this morning with a nice long 45 minute at 40m dive plan. The last time the boys explored and mapped some of this dive site they found 2 diving masks and a SCUBA regulator that must have been dropped from the boats that moor up on the buoy lines off the main site. This Afternoon it is final assessment on skills for our BSAC dive leader interns following their great efforts at the review dive yesterday, few minor issues but easy to iron out and we are expecting all 5's today. All this & the sun is out, & its free topless sunbathing day on the beach outside Big Blue! Happy Days!
Updated 10th May 2012-
Dive with Basking Sharks in the UK
Unfortunately not everyone was lucky enough to be in Koh Tao last month or this month & therefore haven't experienced diving with Whalesharks & for that I do sympathise, but don't fret cos if you live in England I have some absolutely amazing news for you! At this time of year you can get to dive with the second biggest fish in the sea & the biggest fish to roam British waters. The Basking Shark. Looks like something that just stepped out of the prehistoric age but then again I guess you would look a bit weather beaten, old & depressed if you lived in British waters all year long too! Anyway if you're interested in checking it out then head down to Penzance Cornwall & book yourselves a Basking Shark Adventure Course with any good BSAC Dive center! Tell them Big Blue Diving sent you & that the boss at Big Blue would really like a nice big discount when he comes over next year!
And another Whaleshark! This time it was Shark Island. Yesterday afternoon. About 4 meters long! Seems to have just hung around in one spot & unfortunatley the viz wasn't great which makes an encounter with a Whalesahrk that much more special cos you have to get up close to see it! So that's thirty something Whalesharks we've seen in April & twelvety so far in May. To be honest I've actually lost count we've seen so many! But twelvety sounds about right so far for May!
My favourite diving place in Thailand
Scuba Trip to Angthong Marine Park
Big Blue Tech would like to congratulate PADI Divemaster in Training Ben Prentice on winning the free place on the next Ang Thong trip which departs from Koh Tao on the 14th of May........... LESS THAN A WEEK AWAY!!!!! This is an absolutely stunning place and here on Koh Tao we are blessed to have it right on our doorstep. The whole area, both above and below the water is beautiful. One of those once in a lifetime experiences!!!! There are 3 places remaining for this 2 day 1 night trip. The cost is an extremely cheap 3000 Thai Baht, this includes all your diving and the actual trip with an evening BBQ and breakfast plus fresh fruit, tea & coffee and water for refreshments. Big Blue professional interns get special rates for this trip, this means all BSAC dive leaders, PADI dive masters and SSI dive control specialists can get all this with the added bonus of the great word DISCOUNT!!!! Just another benefit of becoming a PADI DIVE PRO here with Big Blue.
PADI IDC & SSI IT Courses running at the same time
Well we appear to be running 2 seperate Instructor Training Courses all at the same time! SSImon is training ACE Marine cameraman Billy his SSI Instructor Course & on this months PADI Instructor Development Course we have 5 candidates all representing Big Blue. We got Tessa from Down Under. Big Blue SSI Instructor Intern Andreas from Sveden, ex Big Blue Divemasters Jade from Blightey & Ant from Wales as well as Big Blue Green Queen Eco Jen representing Hobiton who has decided to add being a PADI Instructor to her existing ratings of SSI & BSAC Instructor. & they're all being trained by ex Big Blue Instructors Deano & Nacho & Course Director Guillaume Fargues from Gay Paris! Good luck everyone. I'm sure you are all gonna make awesome Instructors!
The Best operator I have dived with
Updated Tuesday 8th May 2012-
So we are now 5 months into 2012 or approximately 150 days. In those 150 days we've sent out approximately 450 Dive trips on vaious boats. Of those 450 trips 48 of them have been with a Whaleshark! Not including today where we've seen another 2 whalesharks 1 at Chumphon & the other at Sail Rock which brings the Whaleshark count this year to 50! Or 1 every 3 days! Not a bad statistic! I don't reckon there's going to be too many businesses around the world who can say they see a Whaleshark on average once every 3 days! Stick that in your pipe & smoke it Rupert Murdoch!
Second to none
BSAC Extended Range Course
Final day of BSAC Extended Range diver course for out techie interns at Big Blue Tech today. Donny, Rik, Jason and Todd have hit their 50m dive and have just 1 more dive this afternoon to graduate as Extended Range divers. These guys will be then certified to make extended bottom time dives to 50m using any mix of breathing gas from 21% to 100% for accelerating their decompression schedule. The guys have worked extremely hard to get to this level, doing up to 80 technical dives throughout their internships to gain the elite skill level required to make dives this deep. This is what technical diving is all about - depth time & enormous testicles!
Updated 4th May 2012-
Night Diving on Koh Tao
It's different down there at night. The first time you descend into the darkness you'll realize that it's almost a completely different world at night. Sound a little scary? The reef comes alive with a whole different cast of characters at night. Most of the fish you see during the day hide away to sleep at night and many that can't be found during the day can be seen all over the reef. Night-time is the best time to see the creepy crawlies, the crabs, lobsters, and shrimp all going about their business. Octopi come out and swim freely alongside hunting sharks and barracuda create an amazing show. "The Night Dive" See it soon at a Divecenter near you. Preferably this one!
"to say that Big Blue is fantastic is an understatement!"
Crikey. Feeling a little disorientated! Its like splitting up with your Missus. You grow to depend on them. Every day you wake up looking forward to seeing them, spending time with them, enjoying each others company. Hanging out together. Taking photos. & then suddenly nothing. Gone! Left. Departed. Vanished. Not a word. Not a letter. Not even a reason. In your world one day. Out of it the next. Where are you Whaleshark. We missed you today!
Updated- Thursday 3rd May 2012-
Cave Diving in Khao Sok
New Koh Tao Seafood Restaurant on Sairee Beach
Introducing Koh Tao's newest Seafood Restaurant on the Beach! Big Blue Seafood at our new Resort. Serving fresh fish barbecued to your liking right infront of you. Tables set up on the sand at low tide everynight from sunset on so come check out the amazing sunsets or the star filled sky above you & the cracking thunderbolts of lightening spread over the mainland many miles away from Koh Tao. Free glass of wine with every Seafood BarBQ order!
It's still Whaleshark Season
Its most definitely Whaleshark Season! We've seen more Whalesharks in the month of April than we did all of 2011! In fact we saw more whalesharks last month than there were days! In fact if you count the amount of Whalsharks that we saw all month & divide them by the amount of Open Water Divers we had, subtracted by certified Divers you'll see that we actually supplied each Advanced Diver with 1 whaleshark each! Now if that aint customer service or at least a bloody good reason to do your Advanced Course then I don't know what is!