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Big Blue Diving Resort - Koh Tao - Thailand

Meet Our Newest Addition To The Team

 

30th December 2014deathstar

We hope you all had a great Christmas and are over your hangovers and food comas. Our Christmas Dinner was epic; Scott Frost our aussie instructor who was a chef in his previous life along with his side kick Lina cooked our dinner for nearly 40 members of staff. We were treated to lamb, pork and turkey with a Swedish input of meatballs and potato gratin and a whole other bunch of veggies and stuffing. Yum! But the best news of all was Big Blues present of a brand new boat. The boat which has yet to be named will be up and running in the New Year and will be the biggest boat in our fleet. This means we have four, yes four boats that can accommodate dive courses, fun divers and also run 3 dive day trips to Sail Rock. As you can imagine we are all very excited. All we need to do now is come up with a name for her. Suggestions on a post card please.

When we are taking certified divers fun diving it is sometimes surprising how many divers we see diving with too much weight because it’s what they were told they needed on their last diving holiday. Being weighted properly means that it isn’t all about kicking your way around a dive site, a more efficient way to move through the water is to kick and glide, thus reducing effort and air consumption. During the Advanced Adventurer course your Instructor will recommend that one of the chosen dives is Perfect Buoyancy and this is usually the first dive of the course, as this will help you determine how much weight you need for different diving conditions, and you will also experiment with different weight positioning to perfect your trim. It fines tunes your buoyancy skills and educated how just your breath can alter you buoyancy. Being able to control your buoyancy means that you are more comfortable in the water which also means you will enjoy your diving much more and also making you a safer diver. Ask your instructor about the buoyancy dive on your Advanced Course, or even the Buoyancy Specialty Course which is two dives of intense buoyancy skills. #realdiving

 

Congratulations SSI Instructors

 

Wednesday 24th December 2014instructors300x225

Congratulations to our two newest SSI Instructors Erik and Johan who passed their instructor exam yesterday. They had two days of exams in which they passed with flying colours just in time for them to celebrate Swedish Christmas today. Well done also needs to go to Iain their Instructor Trainer for preparing them to be the best #realdiving

Ho Ho Ho! From everyone at Big Blue Diving we wish you all a very Merry Christmas. We had our staff party the other night which the annual staff awards and tequila shots. The awards went to both the dive staff, the resort staff, the boat and equipment staff and to idiots that also deserved an award for being idiots! We love each other a lot.

Awards went to:
Best Retail sales- Tim
Best Team- Shop Girls
Best Dive staff- Ernesto
Best Newcomer- Rick
Biggest Contribution- Robyn (Drift)
Best Instructor- Petra
Best Sales- Wibeke
Good Samaritan- P’Tia
Best Land based staff- May
Best Boat Staff- Soe
Most Valuable Staff- P’Nut

 

Congratulations to Simo awarded the SSI International Training Director rating

 

Friday 19th December 2014SSImo

Big Blue Diving is bursting with pride today as our longest serving instructor Simon Garrity or SSImo as we call him has just been awarded the SSI International Training Director rating. This means he will be conducting SSI Instructor Trainer Seminars, primarily in and around SE Asia. This is pretty much the highest rating possible to achieve as an instructor with SSI. This course has taken place in the Philippines over the last week. Simon has asked me to pass on HUGE thanks go Al Stewart for all the support over the years and throughout the process, and also to the team at Big Blue Diving, he couldn't have done it without you! Congratulations SSImo on this rating there will be a few cold beers waiting for you when you get back. #REALDIVING

A new record has been set for the world's deepest fish. The bizarre-looking creature, which is new to science, was filmed 8,145m beneath the waves, beating the previous depth record by nearly 500m. Several other new species of fish were also caught on camera, as well as huge crustaceans called supergiants. The marine animals were discovered during an international expedition to the Mariana Trench, which lies almost 11km down in the Pacific Ocean. Until this expedition, the deepest fish had been found in the Japan Trench, also in the Pacific Ocean. A 17-strong shoal of pink, gelatinous snailfish (Pseudoliparis amblystomopsis) were recorded 7,700m down. This new record-breaking creature is close to the depth-limit at which scientists believe fish can survive. The dives made during the expedition were all conducted by unmanned vehicles, but a few humans have visited the world's deepest place.In 1960, US Navy Lt Don Walsh and Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard made an incredibly risky journey to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in a bathyscaphe called the Trieste. And in 2012, Hollywood director James Cameron made a solo descent to the seafloor in his sub called the Deepsea Challenger. He described the place as a desolate, alien world, and has taken a lot of characteristics from deep sea marine live in many of his films. Very cool and still so much to be discovered.

 

 

Diving Santas take over the world (well the UK)

 

Thursday 18th December 2014scubasanta

BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club) have just held their charity Scuba Santa event in the UK. With nearly 200 divers entering the water dressed up in Santa outfits, they are planning on raising over £2,000 for both the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institute) and DDRC (Diving Diseases Research Centre). Various dive centres around the country head down to Chepstow and Vobster Quay in Somerset for the event. I think we should have something like this next year here at Big Blue Diving and proceeds can go to our Eco projects.

As Christmas is rapidly approaching the social calendar is filling up fast. With Divemaster Challenges, Pub Quizzes and the Big Blue Staff party it is going to be a great build up to the Christmas dinner. if you are thinking about coming to Thailand for your holidays and t o Koh Tao to learn to dive accommodation at this time of year fills up quickly too so to avoid disappointment be sure to book your courses and fun dives and accommodation now. We still work throughout the holidays but some trips will not be running. There will be no diving on the morning of 23rd, 25th December or the 1st January. All other dive trips and courses will be running as usual around these dates.

 

 

Swedish Dive Professionals In The Making

 Monday 15th December 2014

ITC

Two of our ex- DMTs Johan Arsbog (aka JD) and Erik Sundkvist are half way through their SSS Instructor Training Course being taught by our very own Instructor Trainer Iain Goodfellow. Erik completed his Divemaster training in 2011 and went back to Sweden but has now come back to Big Blue after having enough of all the Swedish beauties. JD started his Divemaster training around 5 years ago but due to injuries and being unable to find the door out of a few bars, and finding a passion for technical diving, now he has finally completed his DM course and is taking the next step on the professional ladder. The two boys have been working very hard over the last few days. The course consists of lots of studying, academic presentation, pool presentations and open water presentations. Once they are ready they will sit their Instructor Exam which is split into 3 parts, written exam, classroom presentation assessment and open water presentation assessments. If you are interested in giving up your day job and starting a career that can take you all over the world, where the ocean becomes your office and where you get to meet people from all different walks of life, then find out more about becoming a dive professional by sending us an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

When a baby whale shark was discovered swimming in the open sea on Sunday in the Maldives, it was a big deal. According to a local news report, a whale shark that young had never been spotted in the region and the find began speculation that whale sharks may be breeding in the area. It was regarded as a “joyous occasion” by a local research centre. However, when the 45 cm baby was captured and later shown to be swimming in a resort pool , it was extremely distressing Whaleshark Conservation groups because whale sharks are a threatened species and are protected, as they can grow up to 12- 13 metres they most certainly do not belong in captivity. The docile filter-feeder whale shark was hand-captured by employees from Ganhei Island Resort, and originally said to have been kept only temporarily in holding tanks before it would be released. But later in the day, photos surfaced showing the whale shark in a saltwater pool at a different resorts pool, swimming with resort guests. It turned out that instead of releasing the whale shark, an attempt by its captors was made to sell the animal to the owner of another resort. However, that person demanded that the captors take the whale shark back to where it was caught, and set it free. To end on a very much happier note, the baby whale shark was released after being catalogued in the Maldives Whaleshark database as WS217. Researchers will be able to identify the whale shark in future years, if it returns and is spotted. Happy ending thankfully!

 

World Record For Living Under The Sea

 

Friday 12th December 2014undersea lodge

As diving professionals we spend most of our time in the water but have you ever thought of living under the water permanently. Two scientists have broken the record for the longest time spent living underwater. The biology professors, Bruce Cantrell and Jessica Fain, have spent nearly 10 weeks in Jules' Undersea Lodge, which bills itself as “the only undersea hotel on Earth” and is located just off the coast of Key Largo, Florida. Cantrell and Fain, decided to live underwater to learn more about marine biology and educate students about the ocean. The undersea hotel is anchored just offshore under 7.6 metres of water. There are two guest rooms and an eight-by-20 foot common room, access is gained via a wet room with a moon pool. It has many portholes that allow visitors to watch sea life. The facility is filled with compressed air (as is the case with a spacecraft), which posed some interesting challenges, for example, before learning that under pressure, food cooks much more quickly than on land, Fain inadvertently burned some toast and “exploded” a few hot dogs in the microwave. The researchers will return to the surface on Monday, December 15, putting the new record for living underwater at 73 days (breaking the record was their stated goal at the outset). “I think we’ll be happy to see the sky and sun again,” Cantrell said. (Article from underwatertimes.com)

Over the next few days we will be following the experience of one of our Divemaster Trainees who recently finished their course.

Part one- My Dive Master Training Experience-
“One January, in a hostel somewhere in Mexico, I met guy that changed my life, he made me fall in love and showed me a whole new world. After talking to him for a while, I was pretty convinced but I was super nervous about my first time, he assured me though that it was super fun and I would be completely safe. And he was right. I went diving, I think it was then that I knew I wanted to be a dive professional. I’m sure when most people say they met someone that changed their life, it’s because they fell in love with them, but for me it’s because I fell in love with diving. So my journey started. After doing my open water and advanced course in Panama, I eventually made my way to Indonesia for my rescue course; next I had to make the big decision where to do my DMT. So after a bit of thinking I had a couple of places in mind and I hopped on a train from Malaysia, having slept through my train stop I ended up in Chumphon instead. And although partially accidental, coming to Koh Tao and to Big Blue has been honestly one of the best decisions I have ever made.

My first week here was kind of felt like I had moved to a new school. Everyone already had friends, and seemed to know what they were doing effortlessly, there was homework and exams, and I had to get up early. But fortunately I was wrong and it was really nothing like school, all the people here were genuinely really nice and wanted to help me, and everything slowly started to make sense. Despite the early mornings, homework and kind of being the Divemaster’s and Instructor’s goffer, I still absolutely loved it. I think the one of the most surprising things though was when I started assisting on courses, I quickly realised that this was something I really enjoyed and couldn’t wait to do another one. I thought it was really strange but great to see someone’s first breath underwater and then see them go from that moment to the end of a course. I hadn’t really thought about doing my instructor course before but it is definitely something I am considering now.”

 

Stop Killing Our Sharks, Stop Shark Finning

 

Thursday 11th December 2014shark fins

Prince William has sharply denounced the rapid growth of illegal wildlife trading worldwide but praised Air New Zealand for leading the way in refusing to ship shark fins on its planes. Citing statistics from Interpol, the international police organization, William said recent seizures of illegal wildlife products were the largest the agency has seen. Every year tens of millions of sharks die a slow death because of finning. Finning is the inhumane practice of hacking off the shark’s fins and throwing its still living body back into the sea. The sharks starve to death, or are eaten alive by other fish, or drown (if sharks are not in constant movement their gills cannot extract oxygen from the water). Shark fins are being “harvested” in ever greater numbers to feed the growing demand for shark fin soup, an Asian “delicacy”. Not only is the finning of sharks barbaric, but their indiscriminate slaughter at an unsustainable rate is pushing many species to the brink of extinction. Since the 1970s the populations of several species have been decimated by over 95%. Estimates of the global value of the shark fin trade range from US$540 million to US$1.2 billion a year.

This is something that has to stop, please while you are on holiday or even at home if you see restaurants serving and displaying shark please, please, please DO NOT eat there as this will only encourage this kind of behaviour. Koh Taos most popular dive site Chumphon Pinnacle used to be famous for its sharks, 4-5 years ago I could honestly with my hand on my heart promise my divers that we would see at least one shark if not more when we would dive there, I would even go as far as to say if we did not see any sharks I would buy the whole boat a beer- I never bought beer because we always saw them. Now we only really have sightings around Shark Bay and Liem Thain Bay. Save the Sharks Save the World!

The island is getting pretty busy right now on the lead up to Christmas so if you want to go diving with us we strongly recommend that you book online to save disappointment of not having any accommodation. We start courses every day, so whether you want to learn how to dive and do your Open Water course or if you are already certified and would like to further your diving education with the Advanced or Rescue or even your Divemaster course you can start when you like. If you would like to just go fun diving as a certified diver we have 2 dives every morning and 2 dives every day that you can sign up for with our Divemasters. Night dives are also available upon request. So what are you waiting for send us and email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and come and join us for Christmas

 

Divemaster Challenge and Bio-degradable fishing nets

 

Wednesday 10th December 2014dm challenge

4 of our most recent Divemaster Trainees celebrated finishing their course in a Doctors and Nurses themed Challenge. Our new Divemasters JD, Paul, Lina and Tiffany were amazing sports putting up with what can only be called loving and admirable humiliation and abuse, in the form of syringe shots, spanking, and other rubber glove and lube hospital based games. It is a long tradition at Big Blue that the DMTs have the option of having a Challenge as a way of congratulating them on their hard work throughout their training. Training as a Divemaster is hard work but it is also one of the best courses there is in the diving industry, the DMTs and other members of staff become like a family and it is always a sad time when it is time to leave, that is why most people don’t leave Koh Tao and stay on to become Instructors which is exactly what JD has decided to do.

 

Thailand like many countries relies greatly on the oceans and rivers for their food source, and so being a fisherman is a popular career to many Thai people. Whether it is commercial for the masses, or just local, feeding only their friends and family, it will affect the fish populations, in some way. The island of Koh Tao rests approximately 65km off the East side of mainland Thailand, and is the furthest North of all islands on this coastline. The Gulf is popular for squid fishing, barracuda fishing, king mackerel fishing, and the fishing of snappers, all of which play a crucial role in this particular ecosystem.

However it is more the way they are caught that is really having disastrous and long term affects within our oceans, the use of trawler nets, purse nets, and long lines, which catch more than the targeted species and when snagged on the coral will be left at the bottom trapping more fish for during their lengthy lifespan. So a solution may finally have arrived, a bio-degradable fishing net with a tracking system so each snagged net can be recovered for repair, or if left below, can then be triggered to break down at productive rate. For more information on this new design look in to the Remora net.

 

 

Underwater Shopping

 

Monday 8th December 2014Xperia-AquaTech-Store

For 3 days only in Dubai Sony have opened The Xperia Aquatech concept store which lays at 4 meters underwater, you can only enter if you are a contest winner, VIP, or otherwise Sony-approved patron before you can enter the strange jellyfish-themed underwater structure. It has been opened to promote their underwater products. Yes it is only a marketing gimmick but as there are already underwater hotels why not shops. Not sure that all shops would work, I can’t see items such bread and toilet paper surviving being transported back up to the surface, maybe the way forward is a type of shopping housing using lift bags to bring them to the surface. Perfect for those remote islands where land space is an issue! So it looks like the way we shop as divers is about to change- or not!

So if you are travelling in Thailand at the moment and you’re wondering what you can do for Christmas that’s a bit different, why not come and complete your Open Water Diver course. This 4 day course will allow you to dive anywhere in the world with a dive buddy. The course includes 2 days of theory and academic sessions, a confined pool session, and 4 open water dives taking you to 18 metres. Your Instructor will guide you through the course in a relaxed and comfortable pace. The possibilities after completing the Open Water course is endless, if you decide to continue on to your Advanced Course we will continue your education with dive that really tone your dive skills and include a deep dive 30 metres, night diving, and even an intro to wreck diving. You may decide to go down the technical diving path and learn more about deco diving and mixed gases and deeper diving. Or then there is the conservation route where you can learn more about coral nursery plantations and fish and coral identification. Seriously with the planet being covered in over 70% water this is the job to be in! Drop us an email if you would like to know more This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Happy Birthday King Rama IX

 

Friday 5th December 2014thai-king

Today is a very special day in Thailand. We celebrate the 87th birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadey, also known as Rama IX. He is the longest serving monarch in the world serving for 68 years. The King’s birthday – also known as Father’s Day in Thailand – is a public holiday and Thais traditionally wear the royal yellow as a sign of devotion to the monarch, while roads are lined with royal flags. Happy Birthday. Long Live The King.

There has been a rise in Jelly fish in Thailand in the recent few weeks. While relatively harmless they will give you a nasty sting. Please be careful while you are out swimming especially with small children, use a mask and snorkel or goggles and keep your eyes peeled for the pesky little buggers. If you do happen to get stung by a jelly fish, get out of the water and remove any of the tentacles with tweezers (not your fingers), and pour vinegar over the area for about a minute, ice cubes can also help. Peeing on yourself or whoever has been stung does not work! Or buy yourself a rash vest from Drift which will cover your arms and chest up and also provide sun protection.

The Divemaster Trainees have a night out tonight at the mini golf; we have around 11 DMTs now so we use this as a team building, blow off steam evening. These guys work really hard throughout their course so what better way to treat them than to give them the night of to hit some ball around some windmills and giraffes!

 

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