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Big Blue is Hiring

 

Job Opportunity
turtleAttention job seekers and beach bum wannabees, Big Blue Diving is hiring! We are looking for a new manager to take over Big Blue Conservation, as current manager Lizzie has decided to up sticks and go back to the UK to "study" at University. The ideal candidate needs to be prepared to commit to a 6 month- 1 year contract, full-time, to start in August.
Managing the conservation department at Big Blue is a big responsibility, and involves ensuring that the dive school as a whole is operating in an environmentally friendly way, including recycling of waste and water use. A large part of the role involves educating divers and the local community about marine conservation, along with organising, arranging and teaching conservation courses and internships.
The ideal candidate should have a passion for marine biology and marine conservation, and preferably have a degree in a related subject. They should also be a dive instructor in active teaching status, from any of the major diving agencies (BSAC, SSI, PADI etc). It would also be desirable but not essential that they be experienced in teaching and/or managing conservation projects.
If you are interested in applying for the position, or would like more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive a full job description.

The 10-point plan to become more eco-friendly
1. Make a conscious effort to reduce your Carbon Footprint- All the common sense stuff really, Turn lights off, get your home insulated, walk instead of driving short distances, use compact fluorescent bulbs, turn the heating down by 1 degree.

2. Eat only Sustainable Seafood- Global fish populations are effectively being wiped out because people are eating them in much greater numbers. This is of course completely unsustainable and we will end up with a dea lifeless ocean if we carry on. So when you are shopping or eating out, help to reduce the demand for overexploited species by choosing seafood that is both healthful and sustainable.

3. Use less Plastic- Plastic often ends up as ocean debris, which hugely contributes to habitat destruction and entangles and kills tens of thousands of marine animals each year. To help reduce this, carry a reusable water bottle, store food in nondisposable containers, bring your own cloth tote or other reusable bag when shopping, and recycle whenever possible.

4. Keep the Beach clean!- Whether you're a diver, surfer, or just like to lounge around on the beach, always clean up after yourself. Explore and appreciate the ocean without interfering with wildlife or removing rocks and coral. Go even further by encouraging others to respect the marine environment or by participating in local beach cleanups.

5. Don't Purchase Items That Exploit Marine Life- Certain products contribute to the harming of fragile coral reefs and marine populations. Avoid purchasing items such as coral jewelry, tortoiseshell hair accessories (made from hawksbill turtles), and shark products.

6. Be an Ocean-Friendly Pet Owner- Read pet food labels and consider seafood sustainability when choosing a diet for your pet. Never flush cat litter, which can contain pathogens harmful to marine life. Avoid stocking your aquarium with wild-caught saltwater fish, and never release any aquarium fish into the ocean or other bodies of water, a practice that can introduce non-native species harmful to the existing ecosystem.

7. Support Organizations Working to Protect the Ocean- Many institutes and organizations are fighting to protect ocean habitats and marine wildlife. Find a national organization and consider giving financial support or volunteering for hands-on work or advocacy. If you live near the coast, join up with a local branch or group and get involved in projects close to home.

8. Influence Change in Your Community- Research the ocean policies of public officials before you vote or contact your local representatives to let them know you support marine conservation projects. Consider patronizing restaurants and grocery stores that offer only sustainable seafood, and speak up about your concerns if you spot a threatened species on the menu or at the seafood counter.

9. Travel the Ocean Responsibly- Practice responsible boating, kayaking, and other recreational activities on the water. Never throw anything overboard, and be aware of marine life in the waters around you. If you’re set on taking a cruise for your next vacation, do some research to find the most eco-friendly option.

10. Educate Yourself About Oceans and Marine Life- All life on Earth is connected to the ocean and its inhabitants. The more you learn about the issues facing this vital system, the more you’ll want to help ensure its health—then share that knowledge to educate and inspire others.

 

Shark Guardians Coming to Koh Tao

 

Shark Conservation Presentation
shark-guardianKeep your diary free if you think you will be on Koh Tao on the 28th June, as we have some shark experts coming over to give a talk on shark conservation. The talk will be given by Brendon Sing and Elizabeth Ward-Sing, who are professional scuba divers and also shark divers and researchers.
They work for an organisation called Shark Guardian, which is dedicated to the conservation of sharks through education, promotion of research, and protection and sustainibility of marine ecosystems. The shark guardian presentation is designed for people of all ages to highlight the plight of sharks and reinforce how vital they are to a healthy marine ecosystem.
You will learn a lot from their presentation, even if you already know a fair bit about the subject area. You'll also be inspired by their passion for sharks to do all you can to help them and raise awareness. The presentation will take place at 7pm at Choppers bar in Sairee.

Why Sharks?
So why are sharks important in the oceans? After all, the media would have everyone believe that they are just mindless killers, and that it would be great if we got rid of them all.. Wrong! They have been around for 450 million years and are key to maintaining the right balance between predators and prey.
If all the sharks are gone, the population of the fish they eat would explode, meaning that any food lower down the food chain would dwindle, which, in turn would then reduce the populations of the very fish that were eating them. Before long the entire ocean habitat would be a ghost town, and on a large-scale, we would be looking at a lifeless dead ocean. Now isn't that a cheery thought!

 

June 12th 2014

 

Loose Feet
Save-Koh-TaoThe dance rehearsals are currently in full swing for the Save Koh Tao festival in a couple of weeks. Big Blue will be on the main stage with a dance rendition of footloose, choreographed by our head of marine conservation Lizzie May, with help from SSI instructor and, as the rumour goes, ex-professional dancer Lotte Niens. There'll be a girls dance, then a boys dance, and then for the ending, everyone together. It's a pretty good turnout of volunteers this year too, with a mix of instructors, divemasters, and divemaster trainees all getting involved. But we will be missing the star performer of the last two years, Neil Draycrott. He'll be too busy watching the world cup to even notice it's happening at all. It's going to be a pretty intense last few days to make sure that they're all ready to nail the actual performance, but they seem to be highly motivated- probably helped by visting the bar whilst waiting to get started each night!
If you're lucky enough to be around for the festival, it takes place on the 17th to the 19th of June, and there is loads of stuff happening, admittedly it will never be as exciting as the father ted episode with the fairground, with rides such as the spinning cat and the like, but there will be lots of amazing Thai food, dancing galore, and who knows what else on the main stage. There will also be things happening in the daytime, such as the release of baby turtles into the ocean.
So if you're around in the middle of June, be sure to go and cheer on the Big Blue footloose dance brigade.. or go and watch the world cup with Neil.

Evening light shows
We're getting some incredible electrical storms in the evenings at the moment. April, May and June are the hottest months of the year in Thailand and, in the Gulf of Thailand all that humidity is the perfect recipe for lightning, which is great news for people wanting to find a nice vantage point to just sit and watch the light show. Not so good however for the dogs on Koh Tao that run for cover at the first sound of thunder! It's probably also an excuse for anyone in a bar on Sairee beach to stay and have another drink in case they might get caught in the rain!

 

June 9th 2014

 

Full Day Trip
sail-rock300x225Yesterday's full day trip was a resounding success, with lots of happy fundivers returning to land following two epic dives at sail rock and one at Southwest on the way home. The visibility was good, the fish were everywhere and the Sun was shining. Not a bad way to spend a day! We run regular full day trips on our fundiver only boat- Porponawa. It takes us wherever we want to go way way faster than any other large dive boat on Koh Tao, and it's spacious enough to enjoy the surface interval between dives, whether that involves a bit of sun worshipping or relaxing under cover. We provide a hearty breakfast and delicious Thai lunch for the trips, and as many soft drinks as you can manage. Plus, on the way home we get the chocolate cake out!
We like to have small groups for fundivers; the maximum group size with a divemaster showing you the marine life on the dive sites is 4. And, if you want to do all of the dives on nitrox, no problem, only 200baht a tank!
We alternate the full day trips between Chumphon Marine Park, Sail Rock and Angthong Marine Park, and Big Blue Tech are now running 3-day trips to Angthong Marine Park, which involves staying on one of the beautiful Islands for 2 nights!
To get on one of the trips, all you have to do is sign up in the Big Blue shop, and then get excited.. in that order!

World Oceans Day
Yesterday was world oceans day, which involved highlighting the awe-inspiring beauty of the oceans and how much we depend on them, and also getting the message across that they are under threat, which means that we are under threat. Many people just don't realise how much rubbish gets thrown into the oceans, and how much they are overfished. Our dependence on them really cannot be overstated. They generate most of the oxygen that we breathe, regulate the climate, drive our weather, provide us with food, and allow potential new medicines to be developed in the form of pharmacutical drugs harnessed from a variety of marine life. Getting people to think about these things and realise the need to conserve the oceans is vital. If more people are aware of the issues, then politicians will be more inclined to take steps to preserve them for the future.

 

June 5th 2014

 

Save Koh Tao Festival
Save-Koh-TaoOh lordy, has it been a year already? Time again for the annual Save Koh Tao festival. This year it takes place over the 17th-19th June, and promises to be a rather splendid affair. There will be a ceremonial release of turtles and clams, underwater clean-ups, mooring line repair and installation workshops, a Tour de Tao bicycle parade, and a "miss" save Koh Tao contest!
High up on the list of events is the evening of the last day, where a number of dive schools put on a bit of a dance for the audience. The year before last, instructors, divemasters and divemaster trainees put on a performance of the evolution of dance. Last year it was the blues brothers, and this year is a surprise until you see it for yourself!
Each year we do something for the festival, we have more and more people wanting to get involved. SSI and PADI instructor Neil always seems to be the dance leader, as, bizarrely he seems to be a pretty good dancer. Plus, having been in a number of bands before coming to Koh Tao, he's used to being on a stage with a huge audience watching. But most of the other participants remedy's for stage fright seem to involve a couple of beverages beforehand to steady the nerves... 
The festival is a great time for locals to get to know each other, and also for visitors to eat some amazing Thai food, watch some traditional Thai dancing, and see some of the dive schools make fools of themselves.
If you're around, you won't be able to miss it, as everywhere else on Koh Tao will be deserted in the evenings!

Banded Coral Shrimp
On a fun dive yesterday I had a couple of huge banded coral shrimp pointed out to me, and I thought they looked pretty cool. So here are a few facts about the said beast:

- They look like a spider.
- I hear they smell like chicken coated in marmalade.
- They occur in temperate areas all over the world, from Canada, Brazil and Mexico to as far South as Sydney, Australia.
- They live in the intertidal zone up to 210 metres deep!
- They are pretty striking to look at, with red and white banding all over, which is probably war paint.
- They are also known as banded boxer shrimp because of their massive claws.
- IThey're scavengers, and will pretty much eat anything presented to it.
- They are all over the dive sites in the entire Gulf of Thailand, Chumphon pinnacle, Twins, White rock, and pretty easy to find.

 

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