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Big Blue Diving Resort - Koh Tao - Thailand

Christmas Plans are beginning

 

29th November 2014

santa_diving
Christmas Dinner preparations are under way. The menu is being drawn up by our very own Super Chef Scotty as I write. Turkey, lamb, pork and all the other stuff that goes with a Christmas Dinner. The decorations are being dusted off, Christmas hats are on order, and playlists are being composed. Christmas is the time of year when we really do hate the fact that we live on a tropical island, no snow, no scrapping ice off the windscreen on the way to work, no standing in the cold at bus stops. Instead we have to burn our bums on the red hot bike seats, have to deal with sand in our board shorts, spicy Thai food that makes us sweat more than we already are and beer that gets cold really quickly. It really is a hard life we lead here on Koh Tao, so please spare a thought for us at this festive time of year.

Today’s beach clean-up was a great success; we picked up litter from the top end of north Sairee back to Big Blue Resort. A tank trolley was filled to the brim with plastic straws, cigarette butts, empty beer bottles, bits of rope, polystyrene, empty plastic bottles and much more that doesn’t take a huge effort to walk an extra 20 metres to a rubbish bin. Well done Rachel for organising the clean-up and even bigger THANK YOU to everyone who took part in the beach clean-up and also the underwater reef clean up. Your free conservation bag is waiting for you.

Island news now, the road the comes from the main road down to our resort which was dug up a few years ago to fit a ‘drainage system’ that funnily enough didn’t work, that was dug up and filled it with sand which turned it into a bog of sand resulting in us having to use alternative roads to get back on to the main road. Well it has now been completely resurfaced with concrete which means we are back to having complete access from the main road again all the way down to our resort. Lets see what other bright ideas they come up with to stop water run off when it rains!

 

Beach and Reef Clean up

 

Thursday 27th November 2014

Big Blue Conservation will be holdingcleanup this month’s Beach and Reef clean up on Saturday at 10 am. If you want to come and join in with the fun and get the ultimate good feeling then we will be meeting at Big Blue one, where we will clean North Sairee beach. Then we will jump into the water in the afternoon for the Reef clean which is completely FREE for all certified divers.

We had some very happy divers the other morning when they spotted a baby 3 metre Whaleshark at Chumphon Pinnacle. They are usually not around this time of the year but who knows what goes through the brain of a whalesharks when it’s out swimming along. Open Water divers who were on the boat were lucky enough to see it, 3rd dive ever and they see a Whaleshark, not bad going, especially as we have instructors here with thousands of dives who have still never seen one or it took years of diving before they finally had their Whaleshark cherry popped.

Today is Thanksgiving for those American friends of ours. They will be tucking into turkey with all the trimmings and pumpkin pies. Interesting fact to know was that if Benjamin Franklin had his way, the turkey would be American national bird. An eagle, he wrote in a letter to his daughter, had "bad moral character." A turkey, on the other hand, was a "much more respectable bird." The thought of any country having a turkey as its national bird is quite amusing. Gobble gobble gobble!!

 

Jellyfish nappies, interesting!

 

Friday 21st November 2014Finding-nemo-dory-squishy

We have been noticing a few jellyfish around Koh Tao recently, nothing dangerous but still little pesky stingers. After a conversation with one of my Advanced Adventurer students after a night dive she informed me about jelly fish nappies/ diapers. Yes nappies made from the bodies of jellyfish.

The eco-friendly product is being developed by an Israeli nanotechnology start-up company, and was inspired by research conducted at Tel Aviv University that studied the super-absorbent quality of jellyfish flesh. Jellyfish nappies were found to be twice as absorbent as most brands currently on the market, and they biodegrade in less than 30 days, which means fewer nappies take up space in landfills.(Don't worry, researchers remove all the stingers first.) They are manufactured by first breaking down the jellyfish flesh and then adding antibacterial nanoparticles. The resultant raw material is being called "Hydromesh," a name that is decidedly less yucky-sounding than the stuff it's made from. The products are particularly appealing because jellyfish populations have been booming worldwide as a result of overfishing and global warming. As fisheries decline, jellyfish encounter fewer predators and less competition for resources. The gelatinous organisms are also more adaptable to global warming. Researchers warn that if trends continue, the oceans of the future will be primarily the domain of jellyfish. Whether it’s right or wrong to kill jelly fish for our use, it’s still a pretty cool idea. So there you go Squishy from Finding Nemo really is your friend.

Every day is a school day here at Big Blue even for the instructors; Alex and Ernesto have completed their Side Mount course with Phil, and are now half way through Advanced Nitrox and Deco Procedures with Rick waffling on about the mechanics of bubbles amongst other big technical words. Recreational diving is only one part of what diving has to offer. Learning a new set of skills keeps us on our toes and expands our knowledge of our passion even more. If you are interested in expanding our sponge like brain and learning to dive drop us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Massive Thank you Waverunner Crew

 

Thursday 20th November 2014wavey

With it being our low season in the Gulf of Thailand we have sent some of our boats over to Chumphon for their yearly repairs and paint jobs ready for Christmas. With these boats being away our remaining boat has been working constantly every day starting at 6.30am and at night with advanced divers and fun divers going out on night dives. If you have ever been on our boats you will know the Captains and boat crew work tirelessly and always have a smile on their faces while they are filling your tanks and helping you in and out of the water. The instructors decided to have a whip around and bought the Captain and crew a big thank you present. The crew were clearly touched a soon tucked into to the goodies. Thank you for all the hard work Waverunner Crew kap.

This morning our advanced divers visited our local wreck HTMS (His Thai Majesty Ship) Sattakut. originally launched in 1944 the battleship was commissioned by the US Navy and was used during WW2. It was then bought by the Royal Thai Navy in 1946 and was used as a patrol boat until 2011. The Thai Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) purchased the ship with the intention of donating it to Koh Tao to act as an artificial reef, in order to promote tourism. The vessel was stripped of its engines, furniture, electric cabling and thankfully its ammunition! After being cleaned and sent to Koh Tao, it was sunk on the 18th June 2011. This wreck is now full of life boasting schools of juvenile fusiliers and barracuda, giant pufferfish, Jenkins whip rays all using the shelter from other predators. Being 30m to the bottom at the stern, this is perfect for deep dives and obviously the wreck dive option on the Advanced Course. Penetration of the wreck is strictly prohibited for recreational diver and only allowed for divers with technical dive training.

It’s a bit windy here at the moment to as a keeping up with Big Blue Health and Safety protocols we sent some monkeys up the palm trees to cut down the coconuts before they fall! Yes we have trained monkeys (also known as Nick Bufton) to cuts down the coconuts when it’s windy. Health and safety of course, if one of those lands on your head you would only know about it once you have regained consciousness! Ouch! Bonus for us though as we have free coconuts going for anyone who sees them, but make sure you get them fresh as you will go Milky Joe -coco-loco if they have gone off!

 

Freediving truly breath taking

 

Sunday 16th November 2014freediving

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to freedive down and hang out with the fishies with no bubbles, no equipment. Just you, a mask and fins. What is freediving or apnea diving? It is having the ability to dive whilst holding your breath, without any artificial apparatus. Freediving gives complete freedom underwater. It encourages you to ‘live in the moment’ by helping you to remain calm in the mind and truly connect to your body. A range of aquatic activities such as snorkeling, surfing, spear fishing, synchronised swimming, meditation & yoga, benefit from and, require techniques taught in Freediving.

Big Blue Freediving offer a variety of courses, with no experience required other than being able to swim! Level 1 Freediving course is an introductory course. In this course you will learn the appropriate skills and knowledge to dive safely to depths of up to 20 metres. We have complete confidence that all students can effortlessly reach 20 metres!

• theory sessions on Freediving Equipment, Physiology of Freediving, Freediving Skills and Freediving and Your Freediving Environment,
• freediving breathing techniques, for before and after diving,
• dry breath hold and relaxation session,
• dynamic apnea (horizontal under water swimming) and safety procedures,
• two (2) open water depth dives (along a secured line) where you will progressively learn about technique including adequate finning, body positioning, becoming more streamlined and carrying out safety procedures.

Sometimes due to medical reasons you may not be able to take the scuba diving certification, if this is the case freediving is another way to experience the underwater world. If you would like more information on freediving and the courses we off please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Our group of Divemaster trainees have been studying hard the last few days. Physics and physiology lectures, skill demonstrations in the pool, boat skills days as well as attending some marine conservation lectures. Once all the coursework and exams are complete the course is very much hands on experience with assisting courses, leading fun dives, organising and running dive trips. It a very worthwhile course and leads to employment in possibly one of the best industries in the world! Not that we have any bias at all here, but we do have the best jobs on the best island in the world!

 

 

104 metre Tech Dive In Song Hong Sinkhole

 

Wednesday 12th November 2014rick-hong-song

One rainy night our Technical diving manager Rick Devanney had a quiet night in front of the TV watching one of his all-time favourite movies The Little Mermaid and while Sebastian the crab was singing away about it being better down where is wetter under the sea, Rick thought he would see just how better it would be all the way down at 100 metres. So off he popped over to the mainland to visit Song Hong Sinkhole which is a 200 plus metre deep sink hole located in Thung Yai, Southern Thailand, in the middle of no-where! It is about a 3 hour drive from Khao Sok National Park which is also famous for its cave systems. Song Hong is a site for experienced technical divers and full cave divers and not for the faint hearted. Rick successfully completed a 104 metre dive. He had 5 tanks with him using advanced Trimix procedures. The dive lasted a total of 1 hour 30 minutes, with 1 hour and 10 minutes of that being decompression stops back up to the surface. Now he has his feet back on the sand of Koh Tao planning his next adventure.

We have had some familiar faces popping up in the resort recently Mama G-spot has returned from the mother land of Ireland bearing gifts of sweets: strawberry boot laces, flying saucers, black jacks, rhubarb and custard sweets ah the list goes on thanks G for the sugar rush you gave us, it’s great to have you back. We also have the Big Swede JD (Johan) who first came to Koh Tao to start his DMT a number of years ago, he is one of our longest serving Divemaster Trainees and is now back to hopefully complete his course this time. It’s always nice to see familiar faces returning to use, it’s that invisible bungee cord I mentioned before when you try and leave bringing you straight back again.

Finally as yesterday was Remembrance Day, we paid our respects in various places at 11am. Some of on boats, others on land all stood in silence to remember the fallen soldiers over the past 100 years. Thank you for those who took part in what is the 100 year anniversary of the ending of the First World War.

 

Eco Day with Our Eco Queen Rachel

 

Saturday 8th November 2014molly-adding-to-the-nursery

Next Monday our very own conservation queen is organising an Eco Day for guests and DMTs. This will involve a dive on our coral nursery where you will learn how to clean, maintain and replant coral which will attract new marine life. With reefs around the world being threatened, many scientists feel that much of the world’s reefs could be lost in the next 100 years. The destruction of reefs are due to humans primarily with trawling, dynamite fishing and chemical waste as well as divers and snorkelers who damage the reef and who thing it’s perfectly ok to stand on and break at their convenience. The only thing snorkelers and divers shown touch in the water is each other and they should only leave behind their own bubbles nothing else. A number of organisations including Save Koh Tao and other dive operators on Koh Tao have begun constructing small coral nurseries to test the feasibility and success of different methods. So far 3 different types of structures have been test-built and all have been successful. Come in and ask to speak to Rachel if you want to come and join us or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

With monsoon supposedly being here and this being our low season now, not all the instructors are working. So what better way to spend the afternoon than in the pub watching the rugby! New Zealand v England in the Rugby League first and then England v New Zealand in the Rugby Union. Now our big boss here is a kiwi and there are a few Brits here so I am going to polite and leave it there.So its off I go to see if I keep my job or lose it but the end of the day.

 

Last nights Loy Krathong

 

Friday 7th Novemberkrathong

Last night saw the sky lit up with lanterns and decorated floats to celebrate Loy Krathong.
Loy Krathong is one of the most popular festivals that Thailand celebrates annually on the twelfth lunar full moon. “Loi” means to float and “Krathong” is a lotus or crown shaped vessel. The traditional Krathong are made from a slice of the trunk of a banana tree or a spider lily plant and decorated with banana leaves, these are natural materials and will biodegradable. It usually contains a candle, incense sticks, flowers and coins. When the moon is high the candles and incense are lit to offer thanks to the Goddess of water: Phra Mae Khongkha. Our thanks are for drinking and general use and safety in and around the water and forgiveness for the misuse of water through wastage or pollution. After making a wish, the Krathong is launched and we watch them drift away.

The Noistar Animal Clinic Pub Quiz was a great success and saw a great turnout in the Big Blue Bar, there was a few questionable questions, but as the Quiz Masters claimed that they were ALWAYS right (or at least Wikipedia is!!) There was no arguing! The entry fee was to be split with half going to the clinic and the other half as prize money but the winning team gracefully donated their prize money to the Animal Clinic giving them 3400 baht, along with t-shirt sales and further donations. A massive thank you to everyone who turned out for the night and supported the animals of Koh Tao, Eco-Rachel for organising the night for the clinic and also to Instructors Mini Ant and Oli for their internet searching skills in coming up with all the questions.

Are you already a Divemaster with over 100 dives and been diving for over 1 year since your open water cert and are interested in becoming a diving instructor? Big Blue Pro are starting an SSI Instructor Training Course (ITC) on 14th December. The course is usually conducted over 10 days and followed with the Instructor Examination (IE) straight after. Instructor training is designed to emphasise learning and development to prepare you to function as an instructor.
You gain knowledge, skills and coaching techniques to teach effectively;
The focus is on 'real world' application;
Your performance is measured throughout the programme to assist you to improve your abilities;
You are given an introduction to the business of diving, including economic, social, cultural, legal, governmental and environmental concerns as well as marketing and customer service.
Once the course has finished, if you decide to stay on Koh Tao Big Blue will give you an internship which allows you to see how courses are taught at Big Blue with your own Instructor mentor to help give you pointers and logistical infomation to running your own courses. You will recieve around 30 certification under the supervision of your mentor. An excellent way to begin your teaching career.
For more information about the course email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or check out www.bigbluepro.com

 

 

Pub Quiz for Animal Clinic Charity

 

5th November 2014noistar

If you have visited anywhere in Thailand you will have come across plenty of cats and dogs lounging around. Koh Tao is no exception, most resorts have their ‘family dive shop pets’, but on Koh Tao there are no animal shelters, no nationally run charities, but we do have Noistar Animal Clinic. This clinic was established in 2004 as a permanent veterinary clinic and has been helping to look after the pets and other animals on the island ever since. The amazing place is completely self-funded via donations, and with Big Blue having quite a few furry friends who have all used the vets before we thought it would be a great idea to help them raise some money by having a Pub Quiz night tomorrow night (6th November).

Entry is only 100baht with 4 people maximum per team, if you and some friends fancy coming down and testing your knowledge against our resident nerdy quiz master you need to sign up by 7pm and the quiz begins at 8pm in the Big Blue Bar. The winning team will receive a cash prize and you will have the chance to donate some of your beer money to a well-deserved charity. See you tomorrow night.

We have a new group of Divemaster Trainees starting with us right now; they are beginning an intensive course which covers all aspects of diving. This includes theory covering the physics, physiology, and dive planning theory as well as learning how to demonstrate skills in the water to an instructor level. They also learn how to give thorough boat and dive briefings and how to guide certified divers safely on fun dives. This course is hard work but it is also good fun working alongside dive professionals from all walks of life, with skills that can be transferred to any job in the real world, it is truly an amazing experience. I can say that because I did my Divemaster course here and I still haven’t left Koh Tao. If you want to try something different and get out from behind the office desk why not find out more about the Divemaster course at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

4th November 2014

 


Close-encountersIt’s been a few days and in typical jinxing style it has rained for the last two days, and today the sun is again beaming down. So now I am going to say it will be snowing tomorrow, just so our Thai staff can see the white powdery stuff that we left Europe for to stay and work here as dive professionals. If it does snow tomorrow will drink me coffee and tiger out of my trainers! We did get to see a very cool and very large tornado off Sairee. The twister was way off from Koh Tao but it had everyone on the beach taking photos. We do get to see quite a few of these but this was by far the biggest we have seen in a long time. Thank you to Andreas Fiskeseth for this picture.

On Koh Tao, Halloween is one of the biggest nights along with Songkran and Christmas Day and it was celebrated in style, it was also a leaving party for our instructor Rich who along with his merry band of men came dressed up in unmentionable costumes of an extremist nature (!!). Our resident fun diver and ex-DMT Aida also left us to go off on another one of her adventure around the world, this time over to New Zealand, being a rocket scientist has its advantages!

Have you ever wondered how long you can hold your breath for? The longest time holding the breath underwater was 22 min exactly by a Danish guy called Stig Severinsen at the London School of Diving in London, UK, on 3 May 2012. What about how deep you could dive without a tank and just a lung full of air? Natalia Molchanova of Russias national team recently made a new world diving to a depth of 237 metres in dynamic apnea, that’s nearly 5 lengths of an Olympic sized swimming pool! Do you think you could do better? Or would you like to give freediving a try, maybe you are unable to scuba dive but would still like to experience the underwater world, then Big Blue Freediving could be just for you, courses are scheduled for your needs and can be booked ahead of time. If you would like more information on freediving just drop us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

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