Welcome to Big Blue Diving, Koh Tao's most recommended PADI Dive Center, SSI Platinum Instructor Training Facility, PADI Instructors, BSAC Center of Excellence and a TDI/SDI 5 Star Instructor Development Facility, with accommodation for all budgets ranging from FREE dormitories to poolside Air conditioned rooms with sunset views al fresco classrooms as well as the most idyllic beachfront Restaurant & Bar.
In the Beginning... 1991 to be exact, we opened a small little dive shop at the end of the only pier on Koh Tao. At that time it was only the second shop on Koh Tao. We sat around most of the day waiting for customers to arrive on the island once a day! It wasn't long before scuba divers started hearing of this unexplored diving paradise around a little known island about 90 kilometers north of Koh Samui, Thailand. Then as Koh Tao started to get a mention in the travel books like the Rough Guides & Lonely Planets, we expanded a little & opened Big Blue Diving Resort on Sairee Beach.
By 2000, We opened our 5 Star PADI Gold Palm Resort, with a Beachside Dive center, bar & restaurant operating, with 2 purpose built Dive Vessels, leaving the choice of divesites upto our guests & leaving directly from our Resort. Big Blue Diving Resort comprised of 5 Beachside fan bungalows as well as over 20 fan rooms all with ensuite bathrooms & another 10 Air Conditioned rooms. Our own Big Blue Restaurant & Beach Bar quickly became a favourite with guests & locals alike with its ambient al fresco style dining quite literally on the waters edge & an amazing seat when it came to enjoying some of the worlds best sunsets at one of the islands most popular beachside bars.
Over the next couple of years tourism really boomed throughout Thailand and come 2001 we branched out & opened up another small Dive Center in the heart of a new up & coming little island called Koh Samui. From here we offered luxury speed boat trips to the best divesites around Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan, as well as the legendary Sail Rock, the best Divesite in the Gulf of Thailand & also the then famous Angthong National Marine Park. (The setting for Alex Garlands Best selling book- The Beach). We also arranged overnight packages & trips to Koh Tao so our Samui customers could really enjoy a taste of tropical island life.
Then in 2003 we opened Big Blue Diving Khao Lak, on the West Coast of Thailand in the sleepy seaside resort town about an hour north of Phuket. Here we originally offerred Full Day trips to the Similans but as we grew we started to offer Liveaboard cruises onboard our own private Liveaboard MV Halleluja, as well as faster daily speedboat services to the world famous Similan Islands & the more challenging divesites of the Surin Islands including the legendary Koh Bon (Manta Rays) Koh Tachai (Leopard Sharks) & in the words of Jacques Cousteau Thailands Number One Dive Site - Richelieu Rock (Whalesharks).
In 2004 Big Blue Diving Koh Tao took the next logical step and became Koh Tao's first SSI Instructor Training Center. Having been a major partner in the formation of the Koh Tao PADI IDC Group this was a real pioneering step for us, but we felt the way teaching diving was at that time administered, that there was enormous room for improvement. With SSI's focus on the Instructor rather than the system we believed that SSI could offer more enjoyment through education by relying more on the Instructor & the student relationship rather than the materials which at that point hadn't been updated for a loong time.
In 2007 we opened Big Blue Tech- our Technical Diving division of Big Blue Diving specialising in Wrecks, Tech, Depth, Nitrox, Trimix, Rebreathers, Caves, & Side mount diving. With its own dedicated Tech Diving boat we were able to concentrate on pioneering tech dives around Koh Tao & further afield within the Gulf of Thailand which ultimately led to excursions around Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia & the Phillipines, Big Blue Tech very quickly became one of Thailands leading Tech, Wreck & Cave Diving Operators winning numerous awards & commendations of achievement throughout the Tech Diving Industry.
By 2008 we opened up Big Blue Guesthouse also known as Preewa. A brand new clean, spacious & quiet little building set back about 100 meters from the beach & just a 2 minute walk from our main resort. Ten private rooms upstairs offerring Air con or fan & with double bed or twin options available, aswell as six 4 bed AC dorm rooms and in every room a TV, Big Blue Guesthouse was the perfect accommodation option for light sleepers & also for our regular Dive club Groups who were looking for something a little bit nicer & where everyone could stay at the same place.
2009 saw Big Blue Diving become a BSAC Center of Excellence. This is the top level of a BSAC Centre, authorised to train all diver grades and Skill Development Courses. Being accredited our BSAC rating at this time worked very well for us with so many military leaving the forces and looking for a change in lifestye & career. With the growth of the British Diver in Thailand Big Blue BSAC Thailand instantly became the Number One BSAC Instructor Training facility in Thailand & Asia and alongside Big Blue Tech are currently the only BSAC Centres of Excellence in Asia.
2010 saw the official opening of Big Blue Conservation, a non-profit Ecological awareness and educational organisation with in house Marine Biologist Jennifer Matthews. She organised the Charity Event Swim for Sharks which raises money and awareness of the inhumane practise of Shark Finning. We've won awards every year since we formed Big Blue Conservation from the Project Aware Foundation for outstanding contribution to Eco Awareness and since our conception have been awarded SSI's prestigious award for Most Environmentally Active Dive Center in Thailand.
In 2011 we also won other prestigious awards from SSI. Outstanding Contribution to Tech Diving, Best Dive Center in Thailand, Best SSI Instructor, Most Environmentally Active Dive Center, Dive Center with the most SSI Certifications & the most SSI Instructor Certifications in Thailand. The same year we were also recognised for the highest amount of Tech Diving & Rebreather certifications in Thailand by TDI. We also became the first Dive Center in the world to partner with the Coral Cay Conservation Society in the education of Marine conservation & Coastal resources.
2012 was a huge year for us in the making of Big Blue Diving when we opened our second Beach front resort also on Sairee Beach, Big Blue II. This new resort was a little more upmarket than our original resort. Big Blue II offers Air Conditioned Bungalows on the beach, Private AC and Fan rooms and 6 bed air con and fan dormitories with ocean views, a purpose built divers pool, and another excellent Beach side Restaurant and Bar. It was the future of Big Blue Diving and it was from here where we were also able to offer the accommodation at Koh Tao's legendary backpacker beachside bungalows Pranee Bungalows and Mama O'Chais. Icons of the backpacker circuit.
By 2013- we relaunched Big Blue Free Diving- our breathold center with National Champions from Spain & Brazil Pepe Arcos & Flavia Eberhard, who are both internationally recognised Free Diving record holders. Flavia is also an SSI FreeDiving Instructor Trainer making Big Blue FreeDiving the only FreeDiving Instructor Training Facility in Thailand. Big Blue Freediving is the only school in Koh Tao that has our very own swimming pool, where we conduct all of our confined water skills and our very own dedicated Free Diving boat, thereby providing you a comfortable training environment to ease into the art of freediving!
2014- we brought our video making enterprise in house by introducing Big Blue Movies. Spearheaded by one of the most creative underwater videographers we've come across. Billy Cloud brings with him a team of vast experience from BBC Documentary makers, professional photographers and experienced videographers aswell as some serious music afficianados. Big Blue Movies films our daily showreels for our Open Water courses as well as make our Promo reels, reels & adverts for all our media needs. If you are looking for an inlet into media then Big Blue Movies can offer you it all with individually focused internship programmes.
We also opened our very own retail store on one of Koh Tao's busiest high streets. We had noticed a demand for beach clothing & summer casual wear so decided to open a new venture with clothing designed especially for the beach. We also decided to launch our own brand of Dive wear which we hoped would rival Skate, Ski & Surf wear. Drift by Big Blue, also became the biggest distributor for all Go Pro Cameras and Go Pro accessories & very quickly became the busiest water sports & Beach clothing retail store on Koh Tao with clothing designed by us & featuring our very own iconic Big Blue dolphin.
2015 Came with great anticipated sadness at the impending knowledge that the lease for Big Blue 1 Resort was due and the option to extend was not being made available to us. Not to be defeated we reinvested heavily in a brand new Divecenter with offices, classrooms and relaxing area for our Big Blue Chaba Team from Japan at the very popular Blue Wind Resort on Sairee Beach. We also opened a brand new booking office on Sairee High Street right next to our popular retail store Drift, which we kept open from 9am till 9pm 7 days per week and staffed with 2 of the biggest characters in Diving you are likely to come across.
Last year 2016 we celebrated our 25th Anniversary and what better way to do it than by extendeding our new resort to accommodate a further 5 budget Beachfront Dormitories, and 8 backpacker rooms and extended our restaurant and incorporated our brand new Dive center here at the new Big Blue Diving Resort, Koh Tao. We sectioned off, in our diveshop, space for retail equipment and we also opened 4 brand new classrooms including a dedicated Big Blue Pro classroom for all our Instructor Development Courses and to top it all off we turned our Beachfront Bungalow into a classroom and social area for our Divemasters in Training.
Big Blue Diving- improving for 25 years! Year on year, on year, on year.