When all is said & done the success or failure of any business relies very much on the involvement of the staff. Big Blue Diving has a fantastic Dive team & we all know that every time we start a course we know this is big deal for you the students & therefore we got to make this experience the highlight of your holiday! So lets see who these clowns are shall we...
Carly Marsh- A white South African so obviously completely racist, corrupt & filthy rich! A Gold Smith by trade! Obviously not a very good one or she wouldn't be working here! Nicknamed Prawn- something to do with that terrible South African Sci fi movie, nothing to do with a chick that has a mad body, but a bad face, you know like when you eat a prawn, you eat the body and throw away the head! Prawn is the hottest of our Divemaster team. She's also the smallest, ah maybe that's where the name came from! Absolutely crap at soccer Carly is our first employed Seffrican who can speak English or at least thinks she can which results in a completely effective failure to communicate. We usually just wait for her to break into tribal dance and sing/dance/unnecessary shouting/boobies!
Jessica Leigh- Jess by day , Lady Gaga by night! Though maybe not as savy as Lady Gaga! Jess thinks the capital of Afghanistan is Al Qaeda! Bless. First tried diving in Australia & ended up snogging her Instructor so thought she'd have another go when she got to Koh Tao for another Try Dive. Wasn't quite as enamored second time round with either the diving or her Instructor & hasn't dived since! Not sure about the snogging. Busy cruising the Koh Tao nightclubs doing her best Lady Gaga she spends her days running Big Blue 1! There aint anyone who could be a more enjoyable & reliable & hard working person to work alongside in the shop with every day... as long as she doesn't forget to put on her make up & brush her hair in the morning!
Phil Smith- a horticulturist by trade, Phil ran his own landscaping business in the Lake District area of the UK! Gave it all up to go traveling the world & ended up here! Oddly enough was nicknamed 'Fishlad' by his mates at school way before he took up Scuba Diving as a career! They reckoned with a nose that big he looked like a sea creature. We reckon a nose that big makes him look like a character out of an Asterix book! Very laid back is Phil. Doesn't let anything stress him out & is an excellent chap to have around the place during times of chaos or Roman invasions!
Bryan McLean- Bad Ass Bryan! A Techie! Hails from the UK & has been a BSAC Member Diver since '99. Bryan helps out in the Tech shack teaching rebreather, wreck, cave & nitrox specialties as well as some of the Deeper Technical diving. He's also an SSI & BSAC Instructor & with his background as a Chinook helicopter electrical Technician is a useful guy to have around when our compressors or boats go on the blink! Bryan has worked as an Ice cream van man, a Burger van man & was a sound Sound man at some of the largest underground dance parties in Europe. Legend has it Bryan is an awesome DJ, a thoroughly nice chap, a great lover & an even bigger heart breaker but I'm not sure what Bad Ass leg end from the Tech Shack wrote that!
Ant Edgely- the only guy here who loved what he did before he got here! Ant used to be a big shot Architect with many of his fine erections featured within the Four Seasons Hotel chain & was offerred a job by one of the UK's largest building firms but turned them down in order to become a Big Blue Diving DMT! Could have been a disasterous decision for Ant but luckily Ant excelled at his DM Training & went straight on to become an Instructor and was immediately offerred a job by another Dive shop on Koh Tao before we told them to bugger off! "He's ours!" Now works as one of our Full Time SSI Instructor's Ant is the gift that keeps on giving! Even spends his days helping out in the shop when he's sick, crook or injured! Weirdo!
Anke Moors- Completely fluent in over 700 languages Anke has a birds nest growing out the back of her head. Hails from a small town in France called Belgium, famous for little Private Investigators, Martial Arts & Chocolate porn! She has an incredible way of making sure everyone remembers her name- "My name is 'Wanker' without the 'W'! We employed her straight away! Anke is a very accomplished Tech Diver, as well as a PADI Instructor, BSAC Instructor & SSI Instructor. Started off at Big Blue working in our Beach bar but has come a long way since those days of drunken debauchery and now teaches all our courses in English, French, German, Dutch & Belgiumese. Always laughing, awesome character, reliable, patient & friendly everyone just loves our Wanker!
James Foleher- Manager of Big Blue Tech & is our BSAC Instructor Trainer as well as a PADI Instructor & Tech, Rebreather & Cave Instructor! James organizes all our trips to the Khao Sok National Park for our cave diving expeditions, & he also organises our bi annual trip to Singapore to dive the HMS Repulse which was sunk during the Second World War by the Japanese. While not teaching BSAC courses, Wreck courses, rebreather courses or Cave diving courses James will be pumping the Nitrox tanks being the islands busiest Nitrox supplier! With all that work to do its still great to see that like all good Yorkshiremen James still isn't afraid to be seen wearing women's clothing on most nights out... & mornings!
Ami Bignell- Lovely girl is our Ami though you'll need to adjust your audio frequency in the classroom a little. Part woman part dolphin Ami speaks like shes just inhaled a helium balloon! An SSI Instructor Ami originally joined us at Big Blue when she signed up to do her Open Water Course. Did some more diving around Australia but wasn't impressed so came all the way back to Thailand & signed up for her DM course & Instructors ticket! Took absolutely no time at all for her to get snapped up by another Dive center here on Koh Tao but hey we know a good thing when we see one & offerred her a few fish for her salary and a jump a squeak & few clicks later Ami's a Full time Instructor at Big Blue!
Jim Donaldson- has been running Big Blue for the last 7 years but has been in Koh Tao since the millenium. He has worked as a Divemaster, an Instructor & a Manager & now sits around wasting away his retirement years answering fan mail & updating the websites, Facebook & various blogs. He is the proud recipient of SSI's highest honor that of the Platinum Pro 5000 card. A “who’s who” of diving, containing the world’s most prominent dive leaders, scientists, photographers, manufacturers, retailers, and Jim! Extremely handsome, very rich, loved by the ladies & admired by the men, muscular, athletic, virile, looks good in a speedo, well endowed, licensed to kill, charming, witty, intelligent, speaks half a dozen languages & is adored by his staff! At least he better be or they're all fired!
Nick Bufton- Separated at birth from Sid the Sloth, Nick is one of our fully qualified SSI & PADI Instructors. Trained by another rival diveshop here in Koh Tao & even worked there for sometime as a Dive master then an Instructor then as an Instructor training Divemasters! Which is exactly what he's doing now. He has a great track record with his Open Water students who continue with their Advanced Course & is also a very accomplished swimmer & holding the record for our 'Swim for Sharks' charity event we host every year, swimming 3.5 kilometers around the island of Nang Yuan in just 55 minutes to raise money for Shark conservation. Not a bad time for a slow moving mammal that lives in trees!
Simon Garrity- Worked as a Divemaster at Big Blue before becoming an SSI & PADI Instructor and is now the worlds most accomplished SSI Instructor Trainer having certified over 100 SSI Instructors in only 2 years. SSImo has a very sharp wit & if he wasn't a diving Instructor would have been a stand up comedian! Probably not a very good one though! His loyalty & passion for Liverpool Football Club is rivalled only by his enjoyment & enthusiasm for scuba diving. He once worked for our west coast branch of Big Blue Diving in Khao Lak but decided life on the east coast was better as he gets a discount at the bar here! Loves a good night out... dressed in high heels, a wig, fishnet stockings, make up & a short tight dress... seriously!
Darren Milsom- or 'Bad Taste Darren' as we refer to him! Thinks the Back to the Future Trilogy were the best movies ever made & that Star Wars isn't worth watching! One of our Divemasters, 'Bad Taste', was in his previous life he a WPC for the British Constabulary. Not the sort of Policeman you see on the Bill. More a Dixon of Dock Green kind of character! Warm & friendly, could probably persuade a villain into making a nice cup of tea & having a good old sit down and a chin wag! Extremely polite and very calm, he'll always listen to both sides of any decision that needs to be made before planting any incriminating evidence on you, beating you over the head with his truncheon, squirting you with pepper spray and sitting you in front of a Steven Segal movie... on never ending re run!
Richard Todd- the man with the longest fingers on the island, possibly the country. And you know what they say about a man with long fingers- Good Masseuse! Which is what Rich did before becomming a PADI & SSI Scuba Diving Instructor. Originally worked at another Dive shop on Koh Tao, Rich defected & joined us here at Big Blue. Sorry did I say defected I meant sacked! We still went ahead & employed him though. Had no choice! Would have had a mutiny on my hands from the girls working here if I hadn't. You know... long fingers, masseuse & all! Rich is possibly our most recommended Instructor on Trip Advisor. Doesn't mean he's any good. Just means he's on Trip Advisor a lot!
Wibeke Dahlin- a PADI Divemaster from Sweden, home to one of the world's stinkiest foods -Surströmming. The aroma of this pungent dish of fermented herring can best be described as a mixture of strong cheese and stale sweat. Her actual claim to fame is that she once shared a dish of this crap with Jamie Oliver on one of his shows! But Wib prefers showing off the fish underwater rather than eating them! Wib is the one who responds to our email enquiries... while lounging by the side of the pool soaking up the sun & supping on Strawberry Daiquiries & listening to the rocking Swedish sounds of Ace of Bass & Roxette! And you thought the sound of Surströmming was bad!
Guy Bannister- A Moby lookalike, Guy is one of the islands finest Instructors who was working at one of the islands finest Dive centers but then quit & came & worked for us! Guy is a PADI & SSI Instructor & is the first choice for most of our Interns when they get to shadow one of our Instructors. Might be something to do with his laid back attitude, relaxed demeanor, extreme patience, widespread knowledge & musical genius- oh no sorry that's Moby! Before being a Dive Instructor & Musical Superstar Guy was a bit of a Banker but decided to pack it in just a few days before the Financial crisis. Not saying he's the one responsible but I bet he's got a few million quid stashed away in his Dive bag somewhere!
Rick Devanney- used to be a high flying Manager for one of the UK's largest Solar panel installation companies decking out the finest establishments of Uk's top celebrities & businessmen. In charge of a team of over 20 guys while installing a network of solar panels in the sunny climes of Devon one day, Rick said Bugger this, dropped trousers & left! Hasn't looked back since! He's now a high flying Dive Instructor here at Big Blue having spent the last year impressing us with how many courses one man can get under his belt in 12 months. He's a PADI, SSI, BSAC and Tech Diving Instructor, Cave Diver, Rebreather Diver, & is proving to be one of the best Solar Panel Scuba Diving Instructors we've ever produced!
Donny MacFadden- is a PADI, BSAC & SSI Instructor as well as well as a TDI & SDI Tech Diving Instructor. Donny has dual nationality as an Australian & a Thai! & even has long distance relatives living here on Koh Tao. Unfortunately though Donny's Thai could use it a bit of improvement as he's lived in Australia all his life. His English could do with a bit of improvement too, as he's lived in Australia all his life! When not Instructing Donny is also the lead singer & guitarist for a band that recently toured Australia so occasionally has to leave the world of scuba for that of Sex, Drugs & Rock'n'Roll, you know like Kylie! Relaxed, friendly, patient Donny has all the qualities that make a good Instructor. Shame about the accent!
Petra Bauer- from Sweden. The same town in fact as the guy who started IKEA. Petra started her Dive career as a PADI Instructor at another shop here on Koh Tao but soon saw the light & crossed over to do her SSI Instructor Course with South East Asia's leading SSI Instructor Trainer who coincidentally also happens to be working at Big Blue! So impressed were we with her Swedish assets, Petra was employed before she'd even finished her training! Petra is also responsible for organising the islands Swedish Summer Solstice whereby every single Swede comes over to Big Blue dressed up in togas and laurel wreaths to get really drunk & dance around a Maypole. Drunken Swedish girls in bikinis & togas! & you thought people came here for the Diving!
Caz Haigh- has been a part of Big Blue for about the last 5 years but its only this time she's actually getting paid for it! Originally came here to do her PADI Divemaster Course she left, misssed it here & came back & did a bit of Free lance Divemastering for us. Left/ missed it here then came back & did some graphic design work for us. Left, missed it then came back & now is basically the unofficial Manager of our new Big Blue Resort & restaurant. Busy girl is our Caz. Running around signing customers in & out, ordering spare parts for Air Cons, setting up systems in place, printing cert cards, designing menu's, flyers & brochures, and keeping the Instructors & waiters in line! And she thought living on a tropical island with an office on the beach would be fun!
Tuisku "Skui" Rantanen - Another one of our many Scandies! This one's Finnish! Same as Santa though she's not as fat round or hairy! Calls herself Skui cos not only is it a great name, no one can pronounce Tuisku without spitting all over the person they're talking to! Originally a professional Bassoon player, Skui used to play for the Finnish Philharmonic Orchestra which no one knew existed so didn't get an awful lot of work & ended up busking her way round Australia blowing on her Bassoon before becoming a Barrista, which she thought at the time was another musical instrument. Then on her way back to Lapland she popped in on us here at Big Blue, signed up to do her SSI Dive Control Course & then her SSI Instructor Course & 2 years later still thinks a Barracuda is supposed to be served with fresh milk & sugar!
Iain Goodfellow- One of our main pool of PADI & SSI Instructors, but this one is from the Highlands! Iain has been a Big Blue Instructor for a couple of years now & is also one in our team of 6 who train our PADI Divemasters & SSI Divecons. As the name suggests Iain Goodfellow is a jolly nice chap, as opposed to being a member of the Las Vegas Mafia, though there are doubters among us. Iain is one of the most patient Instructors around apart from that one time when his student woke up with a horses head in their bed! Very chatty, extremely friendly, looks good in a kilt, Iain is the island champion at Beer Pong. An accolade he wears with pride as would any true Scotsman... in a dress!
Neil Draycott- could have been the 6th member of the boy band Take That but producers decided they'd rather have someone with hair & their clothes on! So he formed his own band instead! Neil has calmed down alot since reaching the dizzying heights of Rock stardom! Once hailed by NME as the next major British Ska band to hit the big time. A performing music legend at festivals, live gigs & concert halls, scantily clad in his socks Dr. Martens boots, & strategically placed Trumpet, Neil is now an unassuming SSI, PADI & BSAC Instructor and a power boating Instructor as well & has over 5 years experience on Koh Tao working in the scuba diving Industry.
Ant Silwood- Despite the fact Ant is Welsh we still went ahead & employed him! Must be something about his likeable personality, charm, good looks & our necessity to have someone to pick on! Ant is a PADI & SSI Instructor having been professionally trained by some of the leading Scuba Diving Instructors in the business. I wonder who they were? Originally a Computer software salesman with an alleged talent at being able to fix computer problems, Ant has on numerous occasions proven this fact to be a joke & can't even spell PC let alone fix one! However he is very relaxed, reliable & great eye candy for the ladies!
Paul 'Tosh' Tanner- Originally born & bred in Essex, Tosh saw the light quite early & was here on Koh Tao before most of the Thai people! He's been a PADI DM, Instructor & Manager, at one of the world's biggest dive centers, then went on to run, manage & operate one of the most exclusive Dive resorts in the Caribbean for all sorts of celebrity has beens ! After the owners realized Tosh had an Essex accent not an upper class 'pip pip pass the toffees & rich tea biscuits' accent, Tosh found himself back on Koh Tao! He's a PADI Master Instructor, a Divemaster Mentor, and one of our 2 SSI Instructor Trainers who lead Big Blue Pro -Instructor Training Courses. The worlds largest SSI Instructor Training Center!
Luke White- Another one of our Triple certified Instructors, PADI, SSI & BSAC. Luke comes from a place in England I only thought existed in fairy tales & childrens horror stories- Grimsby! Need I give any other reason as for why Luke finds himself gainfully employed in one of the worlds most amazing locations. Looks like he's just stepped out of a scrum playing for the Georgian Rugby Team, Luke is nothing like the scarey Barbarian his outward appearance would have you perceive! Calm, funny, relaxed, very easy going Luke has found himself right at home at Big Blue, especially at the Big Blue Bar where he can be seen most nights playing darts like all good lager drinking chimney smoking northerners I know!
Steve Reid- often referred to as the islands only diving doctor, & most eligible Bachelor, Doctor Steve has been referring Diving patients on the island for the last 4 years. Steve is another one of our staff with over 10 years experience in the diving industry & has worked as a Divemaster, an Instructor & a Dive shop Manager & also Managed the islands only Subaquatic Safety Services for a couple of years. He's now our go to guy with all things Medically related & a PADI Master Instructor, an SSI Instructor, a Dive Medic Technician, & a Divemaster mentor Instructor here at Big Blue. Interestingly enough Steve could have been a professional footballer if he'd been any good, but he's not, so he wasn't... hence the diving!
Steven De Velters- Self proclaimed "Best Divemaster in the World" Steven is our Head DM. An extremely well trained diving professional having done most of his professional training with us! Steven has been our Head Divemaster for almost 2 years now & still doesn’t look like he wants to join the dark side & become a Dive Instructor so happy is he with the joys of 12 hour days, 7 day weeks, dealing with Instructor demands, managing logistics & leading scuba divers. Consequently this might lead you to believe that perhaps Steven isn’t all there, which would actually be a very accurate observation! Italian by birth, Geordie by nature Steven has very distinctive sense of humour. Which serves him well & is an excellent character to have about the place come those stressful days at the beach… I mean office!
Germaine Maguire- probably Koh Tao's most well known person! Everyone knows Irish G! If you don't know Irish G then you obviously haven't been to Koh Tao! Long time Instructor on Koh Tao, G has also did a stint teaching in South America & Australia, you know, for a Crack! Now a full time Instructor here at Big Blue and our only female Mentor in our Divemaster Training Programmes G has certified thousands of students already. She is a PADI & SSI Instructor & when she aint teaching she is also the owner of Moov! One of Koh Tao's most unique, hippest & funkiest clubs & restaurants. G is an island legend & if you end up being taught by her when you get here then be prepared to pay a little more. We charge extra for diving with celebrities!
Jennifer Matthews- The Queen of Green! Jen is Big Blue’s environmentally active eco warrior battling fishermen, polluters, & the Dark side while saving fish coral & the Empire! Manager of Big Blue’s Eco arm- Big Blue Conservation Jenny has helped set up Koh Tao’s Bio Rock, Buoyancy World, has started our own Coral nursery & inputs all info we get on Turtles & Whalesharks. She also organizes weekly Reef & Beach clean ups. She has a degree in Marine Biology & is a PADI, SSI & BSAC Instructor & teaches our Ecology Internship Programmes. She might be small but she’s got a big heart & the fish & corals love her.