October

October (50)

Thursday, 18 October 2018 13:30

Where are they now? Part Deux.

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A look back at some of our glowing stars at Big Blue Diving over the last 10 years or so to catch up and see whether they are the still the supreme athletes of the Scuba Diving Industry, somewhat saggier and greyer perhaps, but having pursued their dream & travelled that flight path that they mapped out for themselves in tight apple catchers, are they still the Top Guns of their diving Domain, having left Big Blue? Or have they become the Donald Trumps of the Industry? So far gone up the nether regions of their own backside that the only way for them to see daylight again is with a re-enforced rinse of the good old fashioned Thai Bum gun!

It’s time to play Top Gun or Bum Gun!

Guillaume ‘G’ Fargues- French by nature. G may well be the reincarnation of Annekin Skywalker, if he’d cycled round the streets of Tatooine in his blue & white stripey shirt, red crevatte, beret & Baguettes poking out his basket! G worked for Big Blue from about 2005-2009 before, like Annekin, he was brain washed into doing something he didn’t really want to do, and joined the Dark side.
As part of a new elite group of Scuba Instructors, G was the original cast off mold of the perfect SSI Instructor and was very much ‘untouchable’ as a Top Gun here at Big Blue Diving Koh Tao, taking on the responsibility of training all our up and coming Divemasters and prospective Instructors.
But the attraction and lure of the PADI Empire became too much and after staffing a number of IDC’s with Sith Course Directors Jonas Samuelsson & Tim Hunt, from Bans Diving, G then completely hung up his bikini bottoms at Big Blue, and turned his back on SSI to become a PADI Course Director.
Which upon reflection was when it all went downhill for our favorite Frenchie. G is sadly now one of the worlds most experienced PADI Course Directors, having literally certified 1000’s of new PADI Divemasters & Instructors at the Bans Instructor Development Course, alongside supermodel Course Director Natalie Hunt. I think we can confidently say that had he not gone down the PADI root he probably would not have met his wonderful wife Winnie, or had his amazing little boy Fabian, or the golden Lab, Pastisse or earnt all those Dollar bills, or that awesome house or the mountains of respect, or the constantly glowing reputation he’s earnt, or even won the World Cup, (the FIFA one, not the rugby one, ha-ha – don’t be silly).
But the French are reknowned for giving up easily, so maybe G is regretting the day he ever crossed over to the Dark Side and is in desperate need of a good old French rinsing with the bum gun or will his Top Gun legacy continue? Those days and weeks and years of memories are up there in the Big Blue Legacy vault forever. These memories… you can’t touch this. (oh-oh oh oh, oh-oh).
What do you reckon? Top Gun or Bum Gun?

Thursday, 18 October 2018 11:59

Whaleshark Whisperer

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Whaleshark Whisperer strikes again! I told you it would be going to Chumphon Pinnacle & lo & behold there it was, trying to hide behind a rabbitfish no less! Shame we weren't there to see it but at least we know it was there according to the reports of another dive boat in the area. Whalesharks have been seen around the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Eastern Pacific Islands of the Northern Galapagos, Malpelo, Cocos, the Revilligigedo Islands, the Sea of Cortez, Hawaii, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, the Maldives, the Seychelles, western Australia at Ningaloo Reef, the east coast of South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Malaysia, Comores Islands and of course here on Koh Tao, Thailand. Whaleshark whisperer says next siting will be tomorrow morning at Chumphon again! Anyone fancy a bet?

Thursday, 18 October 2018 13:50

Plastic Bag ban on Koh Tao

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Did you know one million plastic bags are used every minute of the day and almost three millions tonnes of plastic are used to bottle water globally each year? Would it surprise you that 80% of all marine debris is plastic? In some areas of the ocean, plastic outweighs plankton 6:1, and on Koh Tao, 3 turtles that we know of were killed last year from ingesting plastic bags. So we reckon a massive thanks is in order to the people of Koh Tao who have come together to say no to plastic. You will find it very difficult to a get a plastic bag here now. Even the 7/11's don't give out plastic bags anymore. Nor will you find it easy to get a plastic straw now. Most places are now offering straw free drinks or if you must insist on a straw you can get stainless steel straws, Plastic from plants straws or bamboo straws! PLUS, you will find a lot of restaurants on Koh Tao now won't serve water from plastic bottles anymore. Most of your drinking water on Koh Tao now is served in recyclable glass bottle! So its great to see Koh Tao. Lets see if we can't get more places in Thailand to follow our lead, and see what more we can do to rid the world of plastic!

Thursday, 18 October 2018 16:00

Yoga and Scuba Diving

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The average diver at 10 meters in warm, calm seas can expect an average tank of air to last about an hour. But as any diver can tell you, scuba diving is anything but average. Deeper dives, stronger currents and chilly water can drastically reduce bottom time. New divers, a little panicky and prone to “panting” rather than easy breathing, have been known to suck a tank dry in 15 minutes. Obviously, increasing your physical fitness is one way to get more out of every breath, but even fit divers can find themselves breathing too fast or too shallow from the stress of diving. That’s where yoga comes in. Like scuba, yoga places emphasis on proper inhalation and exhalation, as breathing is considered the essential connection between body and mind. “Practiced regularly, yoga promotes deep, slow breathing, and teaches you how to calm your mind. Yoga also strengthens and stretches muscles that are important in diving. This all adds up to more quality time admiring the marine life on your next downward dog.
Thursday, 18 October 2018 11:13

Sunsets & Whalesharks

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So its hats off and trousers down for the DMT's who were taken out yesterday for a very special trip with Andy from Big Blue Tech for a sunset dive followed by a night dive at Koh Tao's best dive site Chumphon Pinnacle. And what made it extra special for everyone was the sunset dive was spent with a Whaleshark! Ergo- the hats off. But the fact that you guys didn't manage to see the whaleshark on the night dive means trousers down.
Its a tough life that of the Divemaster in Training. But you are being taught a very valuable lesson in life guys and we just don't want you to forget it- Scuba Nirvana- Life is amazing. Live it & have fun!

Thursday, 18 October 2018 10:19

Where are they Now?

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Once destined to be the shining lights of the Scuba Diving Industry with a glorious career mapped out for them in neoprene and rubber what happened to some of those Top Guns who’ve served their time as part of the Big Blue crew with honor and distinction? Did they continue their path to moist greatness and false adoration or did they disappear up Kim Kardashians butt? Into an immenseness so vast, so deep, dark and large that bringing them out of that cavity of enormity would require a high pressured bum gun attached to two 15 liter Scuba tanks just to flush them out.  
It’s time to play Top Gun or Bum Gun!
Paul ‘Tosh’ Tanner- Sentenced to about 3 years at Big Blue between 2010 and 2013 Tosh joined us with a glittering track record having worked at Crystal Dive Koh Tao & Reef Divers on Little Cayman, one of the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean. Tosh came to Big Blue Diving as a highly decorated PADI Master Instructor and to further his career signed up for his SSI Instructor with legendary SSI Demigod Simon Garrity & within his 3 years with us had matured into the Grand Poobah at Big Blue Pro as an SSI Instructor Trainer, the equivalent of a PADI Course Director. The future for young Toshie at this time was so bright he really did have to wear sunglasses, even when he didn’t have a hangover… every other Wednesday!
But then tragedy struck. Late in 2013 Toshie was hoodwinked, made to drink beer, blackmailed and coerced into leaving Koh Tao for a “better” job.  With tears in his eyes, and his PADI satchel on his back, and wife and kids in tow he upped and left his grand family home & shiny golden Labrador in Koh Tao   for some trashy shit shack with a gecko, in Indo somewhere. He was now the Regional Manager for the PADI Cartel in Indonesia. El Toshie.
But he was crap at that, so PADI set him up in a previously non-existent position ensuring superior personal customer service to a lot of non-existent dive centres in the more troubled areas of Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, East Timor, India, Sri Lanka & Pakistan, & he’s about to be announced as the new PADI Regional Director for Chechnya, Afghanistan and Iraq, (to be confirmed).
Now labelled as the Territory Director for PADI Asia Pacific in Region 12, 29 and 30, the Oxford English dictionary have better defined the term ‘Tosh’ by lower casing it & describing the word to mean ‘rubbish’ or ‘nonsense’, or the slang meaning ‘crap’, as in “what a pile of tosh!” or “Pass me that Bum Gun please, I need to spray the tosh off!”
So. Its comment time. You decide. Is Tosh still a Top Gun or is he in need of the Bum gun?

Over 70 years after it was sunk by the British Navy, a Nazi U-boat has once again become a major threat to its surroundings after it was revealed the submarine is leaking dangerous levels of toxic chemicals into the sea.

 

The wreck of the U-864 submarine is sitting off the coast of Norway about 3km from the town of Bergen, and was been ripped apart when torpedoed by the British submarine HMS Venturer in early 1945. It is known that U-684 was sailing for Japan carrying jet parts when it was discovered by British code-breakers at their Bletchley Park decoding centre in London, who had intercepted a German message related to the U-boats mission. It was struck by 1 of the 4 torpedoes fired by the HMS Venturer in what is said to be the only fully underwater submarine battle that ever took place. All 73 crew members onboard were killed.

 

 

 

It was first re-discovered in March 2003 by a Royal Norwegian Navy minesweeper after being alerted by local fisherman, and the 2400 tonne wreck is now sitting at a depth of around 152 metres. It contains 1800 barrels with 67,000 kilos of mercury which are leaking into the sea at a rate of about 4 kg a year. This deadly ooze has contaminated over 30,000 square metres of the sea bed and huge amounts of marine life so badly that the Norwegian government has declared a boat and fishing ban in the area.

 

 

 

Originally it was planned to raise the wreck and salvage the mercury, which is by far the most environmentally friendly solution, but recent events and a seemingly eco-ignorant government have led to a Dutch company named ‘Van Oord’ to be hired to bury the wreck and 11 acres of the seabed in 100,000 tonnes of sand and rubble to stem the leakage – not a permanent solution at all unfortunately, especially as we’re dealing with possibly the largest mercury deposit in the whole world, and potentially one of the world’s worst environmental catastrophes!

 

 

The operation is scheduled to begin in 2018, will take a year to complete and will cost around $32 million. A similar process of entombing has apparently been successfully used around 30 times in the past to contain mercury-contaminated sites over the last 20 years, researchers say.

 

However campaigners and specialists warn that despite these measures mercury could still leak out from the vessel for decades to come, becoming an “underwater Chernobyl” as it was previously described by a Norwegian Coastal Administration spokeswoman. Norway has the funds to salvage the mercury, but not the interest in stopping what will no doubt be a disaster in the future.

 

 

So what can we do to help?

 

Unfortunately there’s not a great deal we can do alone (unless you’re a member of the Norwegian government) but if you could take a moment to sign this petition -

 

https://www.change.org/p/the-norwegian-government-stop-covering-the-mercury-from-the-submarine-u-864

 

 

Also anyone supporting the salvaging of the mercury (rather than taking the cheapest/worst option of just covering up the problem) can download an appeal written by the ‘Global Mercury Scandal’ group, who are very active in fighting this decision. The appeal can then be distributed to environmental groups, companies, press and politicians around the world, and can be found here -

 

https://www.globalmercuryscandal.org/appeal

 

 

 

Save the Oceans!

 

 

 

Saturday, 13 October 2018 10:20

Koh Tao and 711 Say 'No' to Plastic Bags

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Anyone who’s spent time in Thailand will be familiar or perhaps even have an intimate relationship with everyone’s favourite convenience store, the all-conquering 711.  Having supplies of the ubiquitous cheese and ham toasties 24 hours a day, every single day of the year is certainly not to be sniffed at by most Thailand backpackers, who seem to be fuelled almost entirely on a concoction of Pringles, cheese toasties and buckets of cheap booze– thankfully Thailand isn’t a country famous for its cuisine or they may all be missing out on something…

 

However, in an extraordinary move that has surprised the whole of Koh Tao, and after decades of asking politely, demanding, begging, pleading and grovelling it seems that the powers that be at 711 have finally taken our advice and stopped giving out unnecessary plastics. I’m sure there’s not a person amongst us who hasn’t returned form a 711 trip to find some sneaky frigging plastic spoon or straw slipped into your bag without your knowledge, and often when you didn’t even buy something that warranted the use of one! Packet of cigarettes? Plastic bag. Can of Coca-Cola? Plastic bag and straw. A couple of bottles of Singha to drink immediately? Triple-bloody-bagged, with a handful of straws lurking in them. Multiply this by the 10,000 or so 711 stores just in Thailand, and you can see where the root of the problem lies.

 

Of course we cannot blame 711 entirely for this, as consumers it is up to us to refuse the bags and straws we’re offered. We all no doubt know by now that plastics are a huge worldwide problem and the oceans especially are in particular trouble of succumbing to the invasion of plastics dumped in it by us ungrateful humans, but by cutting out our supplier it’ll certainly help a huge amount.

 

As responsible visitors to this amazing island there are also plenty of other ways to help combat the plastics problem facing all of us – for example you could join in one of the regular beach clean-ups, divers can dive for free (!) on the underwater clean-ups that Big Blue and a handful of other places offer, or you can invest in your own reusable ‘Trash Hero’ water bottle (as seen below) and enjoy the free water fill-ups offered by almost 50 of the dive schools on Koh Tao, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lipe and more!

 

So next time you go shopping at 711 remember to take your Big Blue tote bag with you (available for free from us when you like our Facebook page) or you’ll be faced with a massive 15 baht fee to use one of the stores bags. Hot food still comes in a little plastic bag, but we must take baby steps here guys, first Koh Tao, next stop the world!

 

 

 Do your part here on Koh Tao with our conservation team here at Big Blue, for more information click here

 

 

 

Friday, 12 October 2018 11:59

Dive Center of the Month

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Couldn’t be happier than we are right now to be awarded the very prestigious Dive Center of the month for September 2018 by Rateyourdive.com a successful Divers forum and very well respected throughout the Scuba Diving Industry especially in the UK.

So expect to see us in print in the October issue of Britain’s bestselling print dive magazine: “DIVER” (get your digital October issue here: https://pocketmags.com/eu/diver-magazine)

and in the famous and free online dive magazine: “DIVE.in”.

So thank you everyone for writing in & if you haven’t already written in then please do so. If there is one way you can thank your Instructor or any of us here at Big Blue and show your appreciation for your time spent with us then do please drop us a review & mention your favorite member of staffs name. His name is Jim!

Wednesday, 10 October 2018 07:16

FREE 7 day holiday on Koh Tao if you win

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For your chance to win a free holiday on Koh Tao you really need to enter this competition. All you have to do is like & tag a friend on our Facebook Group for your chance to win a 7 night stay in one of our 3rd AC rooms overlooking the pool and a 20,000Bt Dive voucher for you & your buddy to use as you please for any diving activity we offer for the duration of your stay. We will announce the winner on Facebook Live on 1st November & the lucky winner will then have time to work out exactly when & who they will bring to Koh Tao for this awesome FREE holiday!

Enter now guys & I hope you win!

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