September

September (33)

Monday, 17 September 2018 05:03

The 5 Best Restaurants on Koh Tao - Part Two

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The Cheap Places

One of the great things about traveling and backpacking Thailand is the sheer amount of great places to eat which won’t break the bank, and Koh Tao is no different than the rest of the country. With new options appearing what seems like every other week (and disappearing too, unfortunately) what we’re going to look at now is what I consider to be the best places to fill your stomach without emptying your pockets.

 

Duck 995, Sairee Village Thai/Chinese, Vegetarian Options

Number 1 on this list for a damn good reason, this small and typically Thai-looking restaurant won’t win any prizes for décor, but has built up an excellent reputation for itself on Koh Tao for delicious, cheap food served quickly with minimum fuss and maximum taste. Always busy, this locals favourite serves what I consider to be the best duck noodle soup I’ve ever tasted (and I consider myself quite the connoisseur of noodle soups, I’ll have you know) and one taste of literally anything from their menu will show just why they’re rated so highly with those who know their food.

Main courses go for between 70 and 150 baht, or if you want the whole roast duck it’ll cost you just 700 baht. The menu is quite heavily duck-orientated but other options are available for those who don’t wish to eat these cute little quacking-machines.

 

Our Choice – There’s no doubt that the Spicy Duck Noodle Soup is a real joy, with an explosion of flavours on the taste buds with every bite. With a delicious broth to die for, noodles of your choice, bean-sprouts, peanuts and the perfect amount of seasoning it’s something you’ll come back for again and again.  Go for the larger 90 baht version, as you’ll no doubt want more.

 

 

 

Da’s Sandwiches, Mae Haad by the Pier and Sairee Walking Street Sandwiches, Fast Food, Vegetarian Options

 

Another Koh Tao local’s favourite, after fattening up everyone by the pier in its original location Da has now opened up a second outlet in Sairee, with exactly the same qualities as the original – massive, delicious sandwiches at a very low price of just 70 baht. Impossible to eat two, these wonder-sarnies are just packed with fresh ingredients making it a perfect pre/post dive bite, but don’t be surprised if it ruins your dinner – they’re really that big.

Not really a place where you’d sit and eat (though the staff are lovely and always happy to chat) I like to order takeaway and stroll down to the beach to munch on mine – just be aware that they usually close at 14.00 though!

 

Our Choice – The chicken breast, bacon and cheese in a fresh white bun is a sandwich that could sustain a man for weeks, and has reached ‘legendary’ status here on the island. Stay away from it if you’re on a diet…

 

 

Seasons, Sairee Village Thai, Isaan, Vietnamese, Seafood, BBQ, European, Vegetarian…you name it

A main-stay of the Koh Tao community for many years now for those in the know, Seasons (also known as ‘All Seasons’ in a previous incarnation) has probably the most comprehensive menu that I’ve ever come across, with pages and pages of Thai food from the far north to the more Indian-stylings of the south, incredible Vietnamese rolls and soups (the phở bò is wonderful), the obligatory European salads, sandwiches and burgers, BBQ mackerel, pork and chicken dishes…if you can think of it, it’s probably on there somewhere.

One of the more rustic restaurants on the island, the friendly owners have over 20 cats and dogs which may put a few people off (the dogs are rather fragrant) but once you dig in to the menu you’ll see why so many locals rate this as one of the best cheap places to get traditional fare on Koh Tao, with prices ranging from 60-350 baht for main courses. It’s also one of the few joints on the island where the food is actually cooked by Thai chefs, rather than using the Burmese cooks most establishments employ.

 

Our Choice – It’s a tough choice with so many excellent dishes on the menu but I’ll stick my neck out and declare their Panang chicken curry as the best on Koh Tao, with fresh spices and that phenomenal homemade curry paste combining beautifully with the sweetness of the coconut milk and citrus of the kaffir lime leaves. Lovely stuff!

 

 

Yang’s, Mae Haad Thai, European, Vegetarian and Vegan options by request

 With a decent selection of Thai and European foods Yang’s is a firm favourite on Koh Tao, especially with the Spanish-speaking contingent here. Famous for delivering extra-large portions at really low prices leaving you with more money to spend on the nicer things in life (like diving), the reputation here is well deserved, with the restaurant often being filled with the more bohemian looking traveler trying to fill themselves up whilst spending as little as possible – try the chicken schnitzel and if you want to eat something the size of a frisbee.

Can get busy between 19.00-21.00 when service can get a bit slow, so best to order direct from the counter when it’s packed out. Mains cost from 60-250 baht, with the most popular dishes just under 100 baht.

 

Out Choice – The fried fish (usually mackerel) with chilli and basil on rice is really quite delicious, with the perfect amount of spices and fish that comes very well-cooked - unusual for cheaper restaurants that just love to overcook fish, in my experience.

Sairee 711 Foodcourt, Main Road Thai, Isaan, European, Japanese

 

Now this one might be cheating a little bit as the foodcourt isn’t just one place to eat but a handful of different outlets, but rules are there to be broken right?

This foodcourt popped up a few years ago, starting with ‘Krua Thai’ restaurant to the left of the 711, and then quickly followed by the fried foods brigade with their deep-fried delights, papaya salads, pad Thai, mango and sticky rice, strange-looking sushi and more…it’s basically a ‘who’s who’ of classic Thai streetfood all at bargain prices from 20 baht upwards.

Personally, I prefer to eat from Krua Thai which has a huge menu with a lot of unusual and classic northern Thai/Isaan food which can be hard to find at the run-of-the-mill Thai joints on the island. Service is always friendly, and they have a beautiful and friendly young Siberian Husky to play with as you wait for your order (which always comes out very quickly much to the dog’s dismay).

 

Our Choice – The fried spicy catfish curry with sticky rice is one of the most delicious Thai dishes I’ve ever eaten, with so many different textures and flavours throughout the dish you can’t fail to be impressed. Highly recommended!

 

 

Friday, 14 September 2018 02:29

The Best Five Restaurants on Koh Tao - Part One

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The Slightly More Fancy Places

With so many phenomenal restaurants, cafes and food stalls here on Koh Tao I’m going to delve a little deeper into the wonderful world of stuffing your face with delicious foods, and look at what are widely considered to be the best places to spend your hard-earned holiday funds, from the high end places to the cheaper plastic chair affairs that are so widespread here in Thailand.

Here in part one we’ll take a look at the best places for those looking to splash out a little on their evening meal: 

Barracuda Restaurant, Sairee   Thai, Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian, Fusion, Mediterranean, Seafood, Steakhouse

 

With two locations in Sairee (in the village by the Ladyboy Cabaret and also now found at Darawan, near Bans) this excellent Thai-fusion restaurant seems to be going from strength to strength. Describing themselves as a “laidback and stylish diving alternative” with a menu to suit all tastes, they have delicious options for meat and fish-lovers as well as vegetarians and vegans - their spinach and roasted vegetable lasagne is wonderful!

What I notice every time I go there is the quality of the service from the mainly Burmese waiters employed there – they’re very attentive and not at all intrusive, which can be hard to pull off and is pretty rare here in Thailand!

With mains costing between 250 and 600 baht and a small beer just 70 baht the prices aren’t too high at all, making it a must-try restaurant for all visitors to Koh Tao – I’m certain you won’t be disappointed!

 

Our choice – The braised lamb shank is fit for a king, and always seems to be cooked so perfectly it just falls off the bone. Highly recommended!

 

Breeze, Mae Haad Global fusion, Seafood, Meats, Vegetarian and Vegan options

Found on the beach in Mae Haad this place is one of the newer additions to the list of incredible eateries here on Koh Tao and is proving to be a big hit with locals and tourists alike. They describe themselves as serving “modern global cuisine, relaxed dining right on the beach in Mae Haad and beachside dining with great sunset views” which is a pretty good description, albeit worded a little strangely.

Main courses go for between 200 to 450 baht per person and beers start at 70 baht so it’s well worth every penny, with special praise going for their sharing boards – the Mezze board in particular is proving to be very popular for those wanting to have a light bite with one of their fabulous drink options.

 

Our choice – The Mediterranean style snapper with asparagus is outstanding but for me it’s all about that amazing Mezze board, with Lebanese-style aubergine, grilled halloumi and a lot more!

 

The Gallery, Sairee Gourmet Thai, Vegetarian and Vegan options

Found in Sairee Village the Gallery has been open for over 6 years now, and is always an incredibly popular destination for those wanting to experience Thai food with a touch of class. Described by the owners as a place to “explore a marvellous array of flavours and experience excellent service in our cosy and chic, gourmet, authentic Thai restaurant” it’s somewhere where you can enjoy Thai food in a quaint setting surrounded by some tremendous artwork from co-owner/photographer/Koh Tao veteran Chris Clark, who also has a photo gallery and cute little bar attached to the restaurant.

Prices for the mains start at around 200 baht and go to just over 400 baht, but when you consider what you’d pay for Thai food of this quality anywhere else in the world you’ll see what a bargain this is.

 

Our choice – You’d be a fool not to go for the ‘Trust the Chef’ option, which delivers 4 starters, 3 mains and 2 deserts which the chef chooses based on your tastes; it’s bloody marvellous and an excellent way to experience all the different flavours and levels of Thai cuisine.

 

 

 

 

Baia Burger Concept, Sairee Village American, Breakfasts, Juices, Craft Ales, Vegetarian Options

With quite a few burger places on Koh Tao before the arrival of Baia Burger in 2017 it wasn’t easy to see where they’d fit in, but rest assured there is no burger joint like this probably in the whole of Thailand making it a ‘must-visit’ during your stay. Their forte is of course the delicious Australian Wagyu beef burgers which are accompanied with some of the highest quality ingredients that can be found on Koh Tao, as well as a very tasty line in ‘mac and cheese’, salads and desserts.  Prices may seem high with burgers starting from 250 baht and rising to around 450 baht, but my God they’re worth it.

Staff are friendly and attentive without being too intrusive, and it’s located in a great people-watching spot in the heart of Sairee Village.

Our Choice – For those wanting a bit of spice with their burger the ‘Koh Tao Heat’ is a perfect choice, with a freshly baked brioche bun housing a mouth-watering beef patty, a secret chilli sauce offset with a lovely mango chutney, plus aged cheddar and bacon bits. Comes with regular or sweet potato fries with truffle sauce on the side.

 

Fizz BeachLounge, Sairee Beach European, Asian, Thai, Vegetarian, Vegan & Gluten Free options

 

Right in the middle of Sairee Beach can be found this great bar/restaurant which is always full of locals looking to enjoy the sunset with a bite to eat from their extensive menu. One of the few bars on the beach that isn’t blasting crappy commercial house music, their soulful yet groovy playlists give it a really laidback, chilled vibe perfect for the stunning sunsets Sairee enjoys almost every night of the year.

Whether just for a few drinks (try the espresso martini!) or a bite to eat, there’s not many better places in the area to enjoy the natural beauty Koh Tao has to offer in a relaxed setting. Prices range from around 200 to 600 baht for a main course, and a small beer will set you back just 80 baht.

 

Our choice – The Cottage Pie with steamed vegetables is an excellent choice for those looking for some comfort food both filling and delicious, in a stunning setting.

 

 

 

Tuesday, 11 September 2018 00:19

Weird Dolphin Story of the Day No. 2

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Not a day goes by without our Facebook feeds being clogged up with photos, videos and stunningly boring anecdotes from the numerous Big Blue instructors that have upped and left us to go and ply their trade in the playground for rich American tourists, the beautiful Cayman Islands in the Caribbean.

One story that immediately caught my attention was the one that I will now do my best to share with you, but anyone who is expecting something related to diving here on Koh Tao best just quickly click away right now.

 

Famous in the area is a male bottlenose dolphin nicknamed ‘Stinky the Loner Dolphin’, who has managed to get himself quite the reputation in these parts. Dolphins are not so common around Caymans, so his appearance delighted many swimmers, snorkelers and divers, but as it turned out Stinky was also very happy to meet these people too. A little too happy, in fact.

 

This lone male is one of the rare cases of a bottlenose dolphin being expelled from its pod, which is presumably due to his naughty behaviour which has been getting worse since he first appeared on the scene around 2012. It’s thought that he’s around 20 years old (estimated by his scars, and how worn down the teeth are) which means he’s sexually mature, but unfortunately without a mate to get his end away with he’s turned his attention to quite simply whatever the hell he fancies rubbing up against: moving boat propellers, anchors, mooring buoys and - you guessed it – any human that gets a little too close to this pervy little mammal.

 

A typical Stinky encounter goes something like this:

  1. Stinky locates human.
  2. Stinky tries to ‘ride’ human and introduces them to ‘Little Stinky’, which is a nice name for his schlong.
  3. Human is pushed to the bottom of the ocean floor or to the surface for extra romance action.
  4. Stinky attempts to give human love bites.
  5. You are married to a dolphin

 

Cayman Islands videographer Michael Maes is one of the locals who can attest to the rather flirty dolphin and his sexy ways. He was scuba diving with his wife and a friend near Grand Cayman when he spotted Stinky, and tried to catch his wife's attention:

"I turned my head away from her and Stinky was there, maybe 15 inches (38 centimeters) away from me," Maes said. "His eyes straight into my eyes, so I went crazy, like, 'Hello! There's a dolphin.'

"My wife, he tried to eliminate her," Maes said happily. "He charged her like five times, but forcefully."

 

The dolphin then tried to bone Maes, who at one point had to put his back against a coral wall to protect his inviting poop-hole.

"But a dolphin, he just joins you," Maes recalled with a tear in his eye over his lost love.

 

Luckily for all those out there with a fetish for watching dolphins trying to force there slithering wiener into people, he managed to catch it all on video which you can see here –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlaZis3KQl8

 

He writes on his Youtube page:

“It remains a wild animal and Stinky is in an awkward situation which can turn him into a playful killer-machine…Please be prudent people and get out of the water when you see him. Believe me, if he decides, you don’t stand the slightest chance!”

Which to me sounds suspiciously like he’s acting the jealous boyfriend and trying to keep Stinky all for himself.

 

Marine biologists have actually known that dolphins are very horny creatures for a while now, with research showing our open-minded friends engaging in masturbation, rape, gangbangs and periods of bisexual and homosexual behaviour with other dolphins, and there’s even the odd report of (also odd) humans returning the favour too, which I’ve been assured has got nothing to do with Bill Cosby.

 

 



 

Here at Big Blue (for the first time in what seems like forever) we have a job vacancy here on Koh Tao, and it’s for arguably the best job the world has ever known: Full Time Divemaster!

The role of the Divemaster here at Big Blue sounds almost too good to be true, to be perfectly honest with you all, and certainly not something where you are actually paid real cash money to perform – you have to dive an incredible tropical divesite (with water temperatures not dropping below 26 degrees here) with a small group of certified divers, and located amazing marine life.

Then comes the hard part – you must then raise your arm, extend a finger and point at whatever you’ve found, whilst simultaneously attracting the attention of your group so they too get to look at it.

Yes, that’s pointing at beautiful things for a living, and getting paid to do so. You can see why we don’t often have any openings in such a wonderful job, as not many of our DMs ever want to leave!

 

Of course, it’s not all pointing at whalesharks, turtles and stupid bloody Nemo. Once every four days to give your ears a bit of a rest we get you to do a day in the Big Blue Diving reception. This entails meeting new divers, explaining what our trips can offer, organising the boats, the equipment needed for each, and the divers allocated to the correct boat. So that’s talking to people about diving, counting things, and a little adding up and multiplication for which a calculator is available (if necessary).

 

Let’s summarise the DM role a bit:

  • Dive beautiful dive sites
  • Find stuff
  • Point at stuff
  • Call people over to look at stuff
  • Count stuff
  • Use a calculator
  • Talk to people about stuff underwater
  • GET PAID

 

I’m sure you’ll all realise that competition for this job is likely to be fierce, so anyone interested in becoming our latest ‘luckiest person in the whole wide world’ should come and see us in person (so we can stare at you and judge you) with your CV, or drop us an email via this website, and we’ll stalk you on your Facebook.

 

Monday, 03 September 2018 03:56

Things to Remember - Koh Tao

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For those of you visiting Koh Tao for the first time there are a few things to be aware of that will really help you get the most out of your visit, and to make sure the time you spent with us on our little piece of paradise leaves you with nothing but fond memories and hopefully a holiday destination that you'll return to again and again. Here I present to you a few things to consider when here:

  1. This is Thailand

It may seem like Ibiza or Cancun at times to some party-goers, but remember that the Thai people are in general quite reserved, and don’t appreciate people causing too much of a commotion. Try not to get into any arguments or raise your voice if things don’t go your way – it won’t help your case at all, and will often make the person you’re arguing with dig their heels in even more so they don’t lose face.

  1. Drink Responsibly

You’ll no doubt discover that Koh Tao is a great place to dive AND to party, but also be aware of just how strong those alcohol buckets are, and how close to being petrol the ’vodka’ or ‘gin’ is that go into them! The Red Bull used isn’t full of amphetamines as the popular myth goes, but does contain a hell of a lot of taurine and caffeine too, a lot more than we’d get back in our drinks in Europe or the US, for example.

  1. Keep an eye on your Things

Tourists can be seen as an easy target for scumbags (like in most of the countries in SE Asia in my experience) and therefore we should be extra careful with our belongings. A great way to lose your purse or bag is to go swimming naked at night, and use the lockers or safe in your hostel/hotel too – backpackers steal from each other surprisingly often too – my one million pairs of missing flip-flops attest to this, as I’m certain there aren’t many Thais out there with size 47 feet! This of course also mean keeping an eye on your drinks when out partying, don’t accept drinks from strangers and don’t leave them unattended at any time – this goes for everywhere in the world, and both men and women.

  1. Be Extra Careful if You’re Driving

Firstly the roads are Koh Tao are absolutely not suitable for beginners, with large potholes, steep inclines to get to the nicest beaches and a lot of sand and other debris on the roads, making them easy to skid on. There are however a large number of scooter rental places here on Koh Tao, and the majority will happily put you on a bike (regardless of being able to drive or not), take your passport as deposit and send you on your way. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve seen people pull out from the bike rental to immediately crash, and then comes the extortionate fees: small scratch on the paintwork? 5000 baht! Broken light? 6000 baht! Butterfly wing touched the seat? 1 million baht!

If you can drive then stick to one of the reputable companies if you’re planning to explore the island by bike (Oli’s, RPM, Island Travel, Koh Tao GoRent, KP Travel) and if can’t…then don’t try to learn here for your own safety and the health of your bank balance too!

 

  1. Drug Use

Most Thailand backpackers will be well aware of the drug scene in the country, in particular smoking the Bob Marley cigarettes, as me Mam would call them. They’re also usually aware that things like ‘Reggae Bar’, ‘Rasta Bar’ or any establishment with the word ‘High’ in their name is often an elaborate code name for the ganja, but remember this does not mean that they’re above the law. If you really must have a bit of a smoke then even if the place you bought it from seems to be untouchable by the local law enforcement, the patrons definitely are NOT. If you get caught with something, you’ll be facing a court case, a large fine and of course the chance of prison time, which is no fairy-tale! In addition no matter how nice it seems to have a wee smoke on the beach, it’s really not worth the risk of being busted so use common sense and simply don’t take the chance in public at all.

 

  1. Getting Home at Night

Treat your journeys home in Thailand (especially after dark) just as you would back in the real world – get a taxi, or walk/get a lift with friends.  I’m sure not many of you would jump on some random strangers bike and let them drive you God knows where, and here shouldn’t be any different. Yes, the taxis are expensive here but safety when travelling should always be at the forefront of your mind, especially when alone in an unfamiliar place and certainly when you’ve had a few drinks too. Bite the bullet and get that bloody taxi, or team with up friends for the stroll home.

 

 

All in all, Koh Tao can be a truly wonderful place if you show respect, exercise common sense and don’t do anything you wouldn’t do in your home countries, no matter how laidback this extraordinary island appears – by following these guidelines you’ll be assured that your trip to Koh Tao will leave you with nothing but happy memories that’ll last a lifetime.

 

Welcome to our home, Koh Tao!

Sunday, 20 September 2015 10:38

Welcome To Our World

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Sunday 20th September 2015originalliabarrett

Working as a diving professional has to be one of the best jobs in the world. We get to play around in the water nearly every day having the freedom and tranquillity of being completely weightless and submerged in silence for the duration of the dive. No phone calls, no emails, just peace and quiet surrounded by an environment so foreign to anything seen on land. Believe it or not but teaching new students how to dive while rewarding is also mentally and sometimes physically hard work.  Not only are we taking new divers to breathe under the water for the very first time, we have to make sure you have understood what we have been teaching you in the pool and the classroom, that you are comfortable and relaxed and most importantly you are diving within safe limits. But it is also AWESOME! The days are long but the first jump in from the boat and the first descent into the new world is unbelievably cool! I have lost count on how many times I have given the time to go up sign and received the thumbs down sign along with head shaking ‘no we don’t want to go back up’. The most common question asked by our students here has to be 'Do you not get bored doing the same thing every day?' The answer quite simply is no. Every day and every dive is completely different, yes the dive sites may be the same but you never know what you might find under the surface, and for many of you it is the first time you have seen any of these marine creatures up close and personal. I have been lucky enough to have seen heaps of turtles but I am more excited for you, my students to see one for the first time, being in his/her world and knowing that they are comfortable with you stay and just hang out and watch them eat and swim or chill out on the bottom. Finding a new baby fish on a dive site also gets our juices flowing, seeing a baby harlequin sweetlips or a new baby Nemo still puts a smile on our face. Ask any member of staff now they ended up working for Big Blue and nearly all of them will say that they came here on holiday/ travelling and fell in love with the sea and Big Blue and just never left. Whether it was from doing the open water course here or already being a certified diver the atmosphere is unbeatable and no one ever wants to leave, it may also have something to do with the taste of a nice cold beer after a day’s diving while watching the sun set over the beautiful Gulf of Thailand. Most of us did our Divemaster training here and hung out working or just fun diving and then taking the next step and becoming an instructor. A career change or break from the daily grind back home is never a bad thing and whether it is for 6 months or 6 years the experience you gain whilst working in this industry is second to none and all transferable to any other job in the world, from customer service, sales, multicultural relationships health and safety to managing logistics and paperwork.

So do you want a change and do something different or turn your hobby into a way to travel the world and make some money then why not visit bigbluepro.com for more information on how to have the best job in the world!

Photo courtesy of Lia Barrett

 

Monday, 07 September 2015 08:01

This Weeks Favourite Fish- The Yellow Boxfish

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Monday 7th September 2015yellow-boxfish

It is Hot Hot Hot right now and the diving is lovely, a couple of Whalesharks have been hanging around lately so everyone is out on our early boats to try and catch a glimpse of the gentle giant.

Many of you travellers are now trying to squeeze as much into your holiday in a short space of time. For those of you who only come to Koh Tao for a night or two we offer a one day try dive, this is not a certification but a taster of what diving is all about. With a maximum of 2 people per instructor we guide you around one of our shallow dive sites, with the option of completing a second additional dive. If after this day you are hooked (which most people are) change your travel plans and stick around for a few more days a get your full Open Water Diver certificate. With nearly all currencies being particularly strong right now it is the best time to come over and get your licence. All of our courses start every single day so no need to worry about availability.

Everybody has their own favourite fish to see and one of the most popular on Koh Tao is the Little Yellow Boxfish. The yellow boxfish AKA Ostracion cubicus, can be found in reefs throughout the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean as well as the south eastern Atlantic Ocean. It has been known to reach a maximum length of 45 centimetres (18 in). As the name suggests, it is box-shaped, with tiny little dorsal fins and puckering pink lips. When they are juveniles, it is bright yellow in colour with blue spots. As it becomes older, the brightness fades and on very old specimens the colouration becomes blue as the spots get larger. The fish's diet consists of marine algae, worms, crustaceans and small fish.

Interestingly as a defensive mechanism when stressed or injured it releases an extremely poisonous protein from its skin that proves lethal to any fish in the surrounding waters.

In 2006, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its Bionic concept car, which was inspired by the shape of the yellow boxfish. It was assumed that due to the extreme agility with which boxfish can manoeuvre, that their shape was aerodynamic and self stabilizing. However, if you have ever seen one try and swim you may think this is a rather stupid idea and funnily enough when an analysis by scientists was performed they actually found that the boxfishes agility is instead due to the combination of an aerodynamically unstable body and the manner in which the fish use their fins for movement. Good job Mercedes, maybe you should have done your research first!

Tuesday, 01 September 2015 04:59

Welcome To Our New Shop

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1st September 2015new shop

So it is official the new dive shop is now open and it looks amazing. Lots more space for the shop girls so Jess and the Aeys are happy and the Divemasters have their own little area to work in, it’s all open air (until it rains) and very cool, no air-con needed right now but I’m sure we will be installing some when it gets hot and toasty here. It didn’t take long for us all to get used to it and it’s as if we have been in here for ages.
 
We have recently amended our on-line booking form to include the check the box once you have read through the medical statement. It clearly states that you need to read the statement so please be sure to just to make sure that there are no problems once you get here. If you do answer any yes’ on the form you can print it off and have it signed by a doctor at home before you travel here. This medical goes for ALL courses and for you if you are already a certified diver. We have your health and safety as priority here, so please help us to help you.

It may be getting that time when everyone is heading back to school, but we also have school days everyday here. We have just signed up a new bunch of Divemaster Trainees, who will be working and studying alongside our dive professionals. The course includes classroom lectures, in water workshops and skill demonstrations, but the best part of the course is the unlimited diving every day. The trainees shadow our current team of Divemasters and learn how to lead safely and find all the cool fish, stingrays and nudibranchs. The course also sees them assisting our instructors during all the various courses we have on offer. Divemaster is the first step to being a professional and is the first step to getting paid work in the diving industry. Many of our Divemasters decide to work and gain experience for a few months before they go on the next step of training to become an instructor. The course is designed to allow the trainees to cover all aspects of diving. Many who assist courses realise early on that they want to be an instructor, as the feeling we get when we see the faces of brand new students seeing their first ever parrot fish or turtle is priceless and is the ultimate reward. If you think you have what it takes to be a dive professional, patience, good sense of humour, you are a hardworking team player and have a zest for life you are already half way there. Contact us at bigbluepro.com for more information on the packages we have. Our office is way better than yours!

 

Monday, 29 September 2014 09:30

Big Blue from the Air

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Dive Sites from above
sail-rockHere's something you don't see every day, a photo of Sail rock from the air! It was taken by Big Blue SSI instructor and professional photographer Andy Campbell. He's got one of those "quads", or as I like to call it, a radio controlled helicopter. They seem to be the latest gadgets that people are playing with, and someone has had the brilliant idea of attaching a Go pro to the underneath of it, making it possible to literally look down on the things we see every day! Understandably he was very cautious with it at first, as high tech electronics and water don't tend to mix to well. But over time he's been getting more daring with it, to the point where he'll happily now take it on board the boat and fly it off the deck during his surface interval! We've now got some amazing shots of our fun diver boat Porponawa, and our tech boat Big Blue. When you have such beautiful locations as Chumphon Marine Park and Sail rock in the background, the end result is just stunning. We've also got incredible footage of both our dive resorts, and Sairee beach from the air! If you want to see some of these shots, have a look here at the video uploaded by Big Blue Movies of the 3 day trip to Chumphon Marine Park, organised by the Big Blue Dive Club. If you want to be in any of the aerial shots, then you'll have to come to Big Blue and go diving!

Koh Tao history in brief
It can be quite hard to find out detailed information about the history of Koh Tao, but if you do dig around, you can find some fairly consistent stories of how if came to be the place it is today. It was likely a stopping off point for Malay fishermen for centuries, due largely to its isolated position in the Gulf of Thailand. In the 1800s, there would have been a couple of small villages, while later on in the 1890’s King Chulalongkorn visited the island – which is marked with a monument on Sairee beach. The island remained a quiet place for decades, with a few fishing families and farmers and not much else.
After the Siamese Revolution of 1932, the country moved from being an absolute monarchy to a constitutional democracy (of sorts). Koh Tao was used as a political prison in a similar way to Koh Tarutao in the South. In 1947, the prisoner inhabitants were given a Royal pardon and shipped off out of exile to the neighboring islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Samui. The island was once again abandoned.
The legend then goes that two brothers from Koh Phangan sailed to Koh Tao and settled on the land that is now considered Sairee beach. They farmed and fished and lead a fairly simple lifestyle occasionally trading with those on Koh Phangan.
The Vietnam war came about, which created a tourism boom in Thailand during the 1960s and 1970s for American GIs on R&R. Early backpackers began to explore the Islands in the gulf of Thailand, with dive trips originating from Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. The first full moon party being held on Phangan in the late 1980s. Gradually tourism began to increase on the Islands, and the island began to become more and more developed. First with a few simple shops and dive huts, then resorts, and later bars and other non diving related business. Larger ferry companies such as Lomprayah, Seatran and Songserm began to serve the island with overnight buses originating from Bangkok to fill the many spots on a growing dive industry. The island developed its two main areas of Sairee beach (which is now full of nightclubs, resorts and dive shops) and the sleepier “local” side of Chalok Ban Kao as well as the busy port of Mae Haad.

 

 

Thursday, 18 September 2014 16:10

Chumphon Marine Park 3-day trip!

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3-day trip and full day trips
chumphon-marine-parkAll dive bags are packed, the breakfast and lunch have been ordered, and hopefully everyone participating will have had (by the time this goes to press) a good nights sleep and not overslepted for the 6am departure to begin their three day, 8 dive trip to Chumphon Marine Park! Organised by the Big Blue Dive Club (running out of Big Blue Tech), the trips have become a monthly event, with the aim of allowing people to dive some of the less frequently dived areas within the Gulf of Thailand. The previous trip to Angthong Marine Park was a great success, and this trip looks to be even better, for the simple reason that we already know that the diving is epic there!
Big Blue Diving is the only dive resort on Koh Tao that goes to Chumphon Marine Park, and in all of the full day trips we've run there, we've never known the visibility to be bad. In fact its always been amazing! Also, because the dive sites are not often dived, the fish are more curious of divers. Plus, well, you know, it's a protected area, so the marine life is thankfully extremely abundant. It also has a purposely sunk wreck called the HTMS Prab, which is now a haven for all manner of marine creatures, and sits much shallower than the HTMS Sattakut.
If this is all making you jealous don't despair, although you've missed out on this trip there will be others. Additionally, on the 21st we are running a full day trip out there on our fun diver boat; Porponawa; the fastest dive boat in the universe! Three dives, breakfast, lunch, chocolate brownies, water and as many soft drinks as you can cope with! If you're interested, you just need to go to the Big Blue office to sign yourself up.. then all you have to do is turn up on the day!

Blue Whale numbers on the rise
It's not often we get good news about the state of the marine ecosystem, but here's some encouraging research. California blue whales are believed to have increased in number to up to 2,200! Historic whaling of these incredible animals saw 346,000 of them killed in the colder waters surrounding Antarctica, but since the practice was banned in 1966 they have increased their populations dramatically. The Californa whales live accross a huge area, from Alaska to Costa Rica. The number of blue whales caught in the Pacific was much lower, approximately 3,400 between 1905 and 1971, and their numbers are not as accurately known as for the California whales. But it's a good sign that protecting them has paid off. Let's hope their increase in numbers continues.

 

 

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