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Big Blue Diving Resort - Koh Tao - Thailand

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...

Big Blue Pro Team

simoSimon Garrity has been part of Big Blue since the dawn of man as a Divepro mentor, a PADI Instructor, an SSI Instructor Trainer Certifier, an SSI Instructor Examiner, and the most experienced SSI Instructor Trainer in the world. His sense of humour is legendary and he could quite easily have been a stand-up comic if he had not chosen diving as his vocation in life. Not shy to get on the microphone you will usually see Simo as the instigator and host of one of our famous Divemaster Challenges dressed in fish net stockings and a miniskirt. I'm absolutely serious. Simo will leave you with great memories, great skills as a diver and rib ache from laughing so much.

 

iain Iain Goodfellow is responsible for training most of our Divemasters & Instructors who then go onto train all our students. So dont worry. We're all fecked!  Also an SSI Instructor Trainer Iain has worked at Big Blue as a PADI Instructor & SSI Instructor for about 6 years now and as the surname suggests is probably a Mafia mobster. Hailing from a background in social welfare Iain is naturally very chatty & extremely friendly & is one of the most patient & sensible Instructors we have around but you never know with these Scottish Mafia types, it could just be a façade. If you ever wake up with a horse’s head in your bed let me know!

nick BNick Bufton, separated at birth from Sid the Sloth, Nick is one of our fully qualified SSI and PADI Instructors. Trained by another rival dive shop here in Koh Tao and even worked there for some time as a Dive master then an Instructor then as an Instructor training Divemasters! This is exactly what he’s doing now. He has a great track record with his Open Water students who continue with their Advanced Course and is also a very accomplished swimmer and holding the record for our 'Swim for Sharks' charity event we host every year, swimming 3.5 kilometres 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!

antAnt Silwood, Welsh! Big Ant is a PADI & SSI Instructor having been professionally trained by some of the leading Scuba Diving Instructors in the business. He is also one of our Divemaster Trainers & having worked as a DM with us for a couple of years already really knows his stuff. 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 complete joke & can't even spell PC let alone fix one! However he is very likeable, charming, relaxed, reliable & great eye candy for the ladies!

 

mama g

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 done 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 MSDT & SSI Master Instructor. Be prepared to be shot in the kneecaps with her toy gun, have a dance off and generally act like a big kid under the water.

 

fishladPhil 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 and 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. Should have called him Elephant Seal Phil!  Phil started work here at Big Blue as a Divemaster & became a PADI and SSI Instructor as well as one of our Sidemount Instructors. He is now the newest member of our mentor team, and a great addition. He is very laid back & patient is Phil. Excellent qualities to have as a Scuba Diving Instructor and as an elephant seal!

Big Blue Instructor Team

steveo

SteveO Taylor Possibly the biggest reason Big Blue can be viewed as so successful is because our Manager works as an Instructor too. Steve is our Dive Operations Manager so he is responsible for everything to do with how we operate our Dive procedures & ensures everyone has a great time while adhering to standards. And who better to keep everyone in line than a big burly Yorkshireman with more ink than a frightened octopus. Stepped into the world of Scuba Diving a little later than most of us but has taken to it like a rather large duck to water. Steve is proof that’s it’s never too late for a career change and 3 years after his life changing decision to become an SSI & PADI Scuba Instructor is now managing one of the largest Dive Centers (Jeremy Clarkson voiceover)... in the world!

NeilNeil Draycott could have been the 6th member of the boy band Take That but producers decided they'd rather have someone who had absolutely no talent what so ever! So he formed his own band instead! Neil has calmed down a lot 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 & with over 6 years’ experience on Koh Tao working in the scuba diving Industry is one of our very best Instructors here at Big Blue & the guy many of our interns aspire to be. Oh no sorry that’s Robbie Williams. luke

Luke White is one of our triple certified Instructors, PADI, SSI & BSAC. Luke comes from a place in England I only thought existed in fairy tales & children’s horror stories- Grimsby! Need I give any other reason as for why Luke finds himself gainfully employed in one of the world’s most amazing locations? Looks like he's just stepped out of a line up for a Sparta movie, Luke is nothing like the scary Barbarian his outward appearance would have you perceive! Calm, funny, relaxed, very easy going Luke has found himself right at home at Big Blue, & having just tied the knot last year is ready to settle down to a life of domestic abuse, physical violence, unpredictable mood swings, enslavement & enforced manual labour. Who’d have thought the similarities between Marriage & Grimsby were so alike!

sonwanSonia Scott, Ex- Great Britain Rugby International & sports physio, is also our resident Dive Medic & one of our most experienced instructors in the team. Sonia has worked in Scuba Diving as a Divemaster, a PADI & SSI Instructor, a Dive Medic Technician, a Liveaboard Dive Operations Manager & a Dive Center Manager. She’s certified thousands of novice divers & hundreds of diving professionals. She’s worked for Big Blue Diving in Koh Tao & Big Blue Diving in Khao Lak for over 9 years & she worked at the largest Dive operation on Thailands west coast & also opened their Dive Center in Komodo, Indonesia & is one of the few people in the world who have ever dived across the Equator in complete Open Ocean. …   … (sigh)  …  …  …   I’ll get my coat.

alexAlexander Henk spent a lot of his childhood growing up in impoverished regions of the world like Sri Lanka & Cambridge but ate his way out of poverty & now lives on one of the world’s greatest islands (as voted by Trip Advisor). An SSI Instructor & a PADI Instructor & one of the most helpful members of our Dive team. Always ready to jump in and eat your food & help out & the first person to knick your coke & then volunteer themselves whenever needed. Looks like a brick shithouse and I doubt you would want to scrum up against him on the rugby pitch but you might consider a snuggle. He is after all one big life size Ewok, I mean Gummy bear!

 ernestoErnesto Guijarro Adame-When not sleeping or playing guitars or flamenco dancing, Spanish Ernie teaches both SSI & PADI Courses from Open Water all the way thru to Divemaster and won our 2014 Staff Award for Best Dive Staff which is an equivalent victory to say that of winning the PFA Player of the year in World Football. Here is a guy that’s truly loved by everyone. Patient, hardworking, funny, social, enthusiastic, flamboyant, helpful, humourous & warm hearted. He’s like the Antonio Banderas of Scuba Diving, you know if he had more hair & was better looking. So maybe not Antonio Banderas, more like Manuel in Fawlty Towers.

scotty250x200Scotty Frost. Reckon we were pretty drunk when we brought Scotty into the team! Oh yeah that’s right we were! He spoiled us all last Christmas by cooking up a slap up Christmas dinner for all the staff. We all got absolutely hammered as you do at Christmas & then next day there was Scotty all scrubbed up in his speedos & singlet ready to start work! Scotty is also the head cook at the very popular Thalassa Hotel, here in Koh Tao. Scotty is a very well respected PADI & SSI Instructor within the Big Blue Dive team & a multi-talented Australian, (how’s that for a contradiction in terms).

erinErin Mihalik. Coming from across the pond from the great US of A, from Nashville, Tennessee Erin is our country music loving SSI and PADI Instructor, yeehaa. She trained in Human Rights Law but got a bit confused when she was told to go sit her bar, we found her sat at our Big Blue bar advocating Free Beer For All, this didn’t quite work because she can’t drink for toffee and she still to pay for them. So instead be encourages fish and coral rights that she passes on to her students. She has been teaching at Big Blue now for 2 years now and is a great asset to the team.

liamLiam Kelly is an ex Royal Marine, his music tastes include Justin Beiber, N-Sync, Backstreet Boys and Take That. You will often see Liam walking around in his pink vest top to show off his rippling physique, which is a delight to the ladies. Has now been an SSI and PADI Instructor for 2 years. But give him credit where credit is due he also is a great diving instructor, he is very calm and very patient with his students as our reviews can prove. Who could not like a Pink wearing Marine Beiber.

 

jai250x200Jai Kennedy, an Aussie Dive Machine- Jai! Jai, never says no to anything (bear that in mind ladies). Jai is always the first to step up & help out. Multi-talented is our Jai! Jai is a Tech Diver, SSI Instructor & TDI Sidemount Instructor but way more importantly than that Jai can do the splits, without tearing his scrotum & is seriously bloody good at it too is Jai. Jai can be seen by night dressed in tight crotch hugging leotards & masquerading as a swinger at the Koh Tao Flying Trapeze. Jai is also a great word & should be used more often in everyday conversation which should then not be confused with a mild form of Tourettes Syndrome which is what the rest of us have! Jai! Jai Jai! JAI!

Big Blue Divemaster Team

Nick Tringham

nick tringham

Another former Investment Banker who worked at Deutsche Bank then became a professional Scuba Diver once he’d managed to ruin the Greek economy and stashed away his barrels of cash! Nick works as one of our team of 4 Divemasters telling everyone else what to do while they abuse all the other members of staff in the shop. Another one of our own home-grown stash of DM’s Nick actually paid the boss over a million pounds to ensure he got the DM job here at Big Blue over all the other better trained, posh, plum mouthed, silver spooned, yuppie, toffee nosed waist coat wearing, spoilt DM types we had in the offing.

 

Stephanie Schlattersteph

Steph is our real head Divemaster, she just lets Nick think he is, because we all know that the girls wear the trousers! Steph is Swiss German and is a published Mechanical Engineer and also a qualified Gym Instructor so she is not only hot and super fit but she also has a brain. Steph is an excellent Divemaster and organizes the logistical operations at Big Blue with the rest of the DM team. You will not be disappointed with Steph taking you out whether it is for a refresher dive or on a fun dive.

 

Suna Karamustafaoglusuna

Suna, a translator in her previous life she has now been working as a Divemaster with us for 2 years, She is quite possibly the smallest adult diver we have ever had here and we even had some custom-made steps built for the shop so we can see her behind the counter! This little pocket rocket is a mix of Swiss- German, Turkish and Indian and can speak every language including Darlek and Parseltongue!

 

Angel Martin

angel

The newest member of the DM team, Angel (pronounced Ang-hell) is Spanish, he speaks Spanish and is very proud of being Spanish. After selling his posh food and wine shop in Barcelona our very own Manuel came to work with our Basil Fawlty (Jim). Having worked for us for 5 years off and on as a freelance DM he now finally has a full time position which we were all very happy about. He is also Koh Taos version of Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite! (before he kills me for writing this he is actually Catalan).

 

 

 

Big Blue Tech Team

Andy Campbellandy250x200

Andy is our Big Blue Tech Manager. He has been at Big Blue off and on for years working as both Divemaster and Instructor, and now offers a plethora of SSI and TDI Technical course ranging from Advanced Nitrox, Decompression Procedures, Extended Range, Advanced Wreck and Sidemount courses. Andy is a master a recovering treasure from the bottom of the ocean, it is estimated that he has found over 10 million bahts worth in Gro Pros, cameras, torches, reels, drop tanks, computers, masks and even a huge anchor at a secret location. He is our very own Finder. He has worked as a professional photographer in China and is also our drone driver. His beautiful wife is also quite possibly one of the nicest divemasters you could ever have the pleasure of diving with.

Big Blue Conservation Team

 

eco rachelRachel Linarts

Our ‘Green Queen’. Rachel is the Manager of our eco arm Big Blue Conservation. An experienced BSAC, PADI & SSI Instructor, Rachel is also a trained Marine Biologist; which is nice! Organiser of our weekly beach & Dive site clean ups & our legendary Swim for Sharks event in the summer & numerous other events we host throughout the year, Rachel has what we recognise as an essential criteria for being an Ambassador of the ocean. She likes to hug trees & fishies. Got the job when in the interview she said she’d do the job for love not for money. Great. Set her up with some weird Techie bloke & now we got free labour!

 

Big Blue Movies Team

 

Bill Cloud

billy

 

Mr Billy Cloud (Cockney) who at 73 is the current world record holder for oldest living human to use bad language non-stop for 70 years. He's the hardest working member of the team, and recently saved up enough money to pay for his long suffering girlfriend Sarah to have her swear receptors permanently removed. Never one to moan or complain Billy has been working on & off at Big Blue since the dawn of man as an Instructor (before he got fired) then a videographer (before the company he worked for got fired) and now back here again filming for us at Big Blue Movies before he'll more than likely get fired again! As they say all good things come in threes!

 

Jay Pophamjay

The enigmatic Mr Jerrod 'I'm gonna take you on a journey' Popham. He's too epic to use more than one letter in his name. He's hardworking, devoted and extremely creative. If he was ever: on time/ not in love/ not hopelessly chaotic, he might not be nicknamed: Sloppy/ Soppy/ or Silly B****cks. He holds the record for latest ever showing of His Dive DVD, clocking in at an incredible 1:30 a.m. No sorry that was the Directors Cut. The Widescreen version was released at all major cinema outlets in the bar a fashionably 15 minutes late.

 

Wayne Morriswayne

Tasmanian! Though he's never been there before in his life! Brought up in the sunny climes of Seaford Sussex Wayne is the manager of this incredibly talented and creative crew (cough). Hand picked by the Boss to run Big Blue Movies because of his years of experience as an underwater person with a camera. He has many duties including: wrangling videographers, replenishing the cotton buds and bog roll, asking Billy to calm down, coiffing Barry's hair, putting on Jay's underpants in the morning & inspiring the youth of today to become underwater camera persons like himself. Oi Loik Phish I do!

 

 

Big Blue Shop Staff

Jessica Leighjess

Jess is our Shop Manager and deals with millions of questions every day, juggles rooms, customers, taxis, Instructors, Divemasters and housekeepers. She's also fluent in Thai and if she ever left we'd all have to jump ship! Amazing really to think that one of the biggest Dive schools is basically run by someone who thought the capital of Afghanistan was Al Qaeda, that the English Language was invented by Cavemen, that there are only 3 stripes on the American flag and that stick insects are actually made of wood! Luckily Jess has absolutely no interest what so ever in diving! Weird that considering her one and only attempt at scuba and she ended up snogging her Instructor on a boat called Spank Me!

The Ae’s

Iasn this shop are two Ae’s, let‘s introduce them to you. Two Ae’s , we call them Ae 1 and Ae2. These Ae’s will not bite you, they’re here to have fun, so without further ado, meet Ae 2 and Ae 1. Ae 2 would like to clarify that just because she is Ae 2 does not imply in any way she is inferior to Ae 1, just fatter. No surprise there as she owns the islands best Bakery- Chok Dee Bakery, so sampling all those crumpets, cheesecakes, & chocolate brownies has made her disproportionately larger than most of the rest of us! While hours spent on her Ipad has made her royal highness Ae1 as blind as one of those potatoes she sows on Farmville. Ae1 & Ae2, the best fat blind birds any shop could ask for.

 

Jim Donaldsonjim

He has worked as a Divemaster, an Instructor and a Manager and is now the General Manager & one of the owners of Big Blue Diving. He is the proud recipient of SSI's highest honour 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 and 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 and is adored by his staff! At least he better be or they're all fired!

Wibeke Dahlinwib

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 and supping on Strawberry Daiquiries and listening to the rocking Swedish sounds of Ace of Bass and Roxette! And you thought the sound of Surströmming was bad!

 

Big Blue Booking Office

Steven DeVelter

steven

Self-proclaimed "Best Divemaster in the World" Steven works in our booking office. An extremely well trained diving professional having done most of his professional training with us! Steven has been our Head Divemaster for almost 27 years now and still doesn’t look like he plans on leaving anytime soon so after having enough of the joys of 12 hour days, 7 day weeks, dealing with Instructor demands, managing logistics and leading scuba divers, he now heads the booking office with is interesting Geordie humour, and interesting Quote or Thought of the days boards! 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. Serious & professional, fun & entertaining, scarily hairy & swings both ways Steven will probably be here for another 27 years self ‘proclaiming’ with himself.


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