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March 2012

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Friday 30th March 2012-a

There's got to be very few things in this world that quite literally take your breath away and unarguably Free diving is one of them! Next month Big Blue Freediving will be launched with International Free Diver Akim Adhari a man who can, not only hold his breath for over 7 minutes, but has also freedived to a depth exceeding 100 meters which makes him one of the best Breathhold divers in the world & we are very proud to have Akim launching our new Breath-hold Diving School with soon to be Freediving Instructors Serena & Tosh here at Big Blue Diving! So next time you want to hold your breath & go diving with Whales look us up first!

"New BSAC Instructor at Big Blue Diving! Congratulations to Emma who has just finished her BSAC Open Water Instructor crossover. At the same time as qualifying has a BSAC Instructor, Emma also qualified as a BSAC Oxygen Administration Instructor. Emma who is currently working at Big Blue Diving, crossed over to BSAC as she is involved in numerous Marine Conservation projects and she thought that BSAC was a great vehicle in achieving her goals in these projects. BSAC Thailand would like to take this opportunity to wish Emma all the best in the future and her diving career." Les Skelton - BSAC Thailand Director.

Come dive with sharks!!! in the last 5 days Ant, DM, has dived with a whale shark for over 50 mins on Sail Rock, the best dive site in the Gulf of Thailand!! & 15 black tip reef sharks at a secret location! We'll be returning to Sail Rock tomorrow where the vis has been a crystal clear 25m and would love to have you join us. Another reef tip shark dive is planned within the next 2 days.... Better pop down to Big Blue for your piece of the action!

Wednesday 28th March 2012-
BSAC Full Face Mask course is now available in Thailand: BSAC Instructors, James Foleher and Rachel Linarts tried out “Big Blue Tech” (BBT) newly purchased “Neptune 2 - Full Face Mask units. BSAC Thailand is due to launch a Full Face Mask course next month, in conjunction with BBT. Full Face Masks (FMM’s) are different than the traditional dive mask in that, the FFM encloses the mouth and nose which means that you can breathe through either. The demand valve is fitted to an oral / nasal mask instead of the traditional mouthpiece that is fitted to a normal regulator. This internal oral/nasal enables the diver to breath normally as if they were on the surface. For (FFM’s) that has a built-in communication system, will allow you to talk normally between you and your buddy or the surface supports/ dive boat. This underwater communication is extremely useful when the divers and conducting various underwater projects or tasks; such as, conducting underwater surveys, diving in low visibility, marine conservations survey’s etc. The course consists of the following elements, 1 - Theory lesson, 1- Dry practical, 1–Equipment prep and fitting, 1 – Shallow water practical skills, 1- Open water dive. For more information please contact Andy or James at Big Blue Tech.

Fantastic weather we've been having on Koh Tao lately. Absolute glorious sunshine completely flat calm surface conditions, amazing underwater clarity & from the surface looking directly down you can see at least 15 meters below almost everywhere around Koh Tao! Theres heaps of fish all over place with a 40 meter long wall of Barracuda off of Baracuda Rock at Chumphon Pinnacle & there's a twisting typhoon of Giant Trevally a little further south of the Barracuda's & because viz is soo good a the moment you can even find yourself with the Barracudas on one side of you & the Trevally on the other. As I said. Awesome conditions here right now.

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date Sea-Dweller is a line of divers watch manufactured by Rolex, with an underwater diving depth rating of 610 metres (2,000 ft) for the vintage models and up to 3,900 metres (12,800 ft) for the most recent Sea-Dweller DEEPSEA model. With a price ranging from over 5000 GBP to just under 10000 GBP for the more discerning shopper, this is a watch that quite honestly is as ridiculous as it sounds! Quite certain that if I ever found myself at that kind of depth the last thing on my mind is whether my watch is still working! Then again I'm not James Cameron & can neither afford that kind of timepiece nor have testicles that large that would make me want to go that deep!

Tuesday 27th March 2011-
One more outstanding trip organised by Big Blue today for a Full Day Trip to Sail Rock with a very friendly whaleshark to boot! Well not to Boot as such but to look at photograph & admire! Booting it would be a little unfriendly. A little cruel. And quite possibly impossible! Never seen a Whaleshark booted before! 30 meter visibility at Sail Rock today. The Gulf of Thailand's Number 1 Divesite according to Lonely Planet, & Steven DeVelter, Big Blue's self proclaimed Best Divemaster in the world!

So it was this time last year when the massive storms hit Koh Tao, the island got flooded & the Navy boat had to come over & evacuate the majority of holiday makers who'd been stranded here on Koh Tao. Here at Big Blue we lost 5 bungalows, the decking around the restaurant & the outside decking of the diveshop. We also had a 3 meter deep trench running through the middle of the resort where the river reached the sea. We ended up literally closing our resort down for 3 weeks while we tidied up the damage done & then were back up and operational again as if nothing had ever happened. Oh how time flies.

Accommodation is going to be getting real tight next week guys. Its the big Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan before Songkran, the Big Thai New Year holiday, & everyone who's anyone makes their way to Koh Tao for the big celebrations on the isalnd. So bearing in mind the Full Moon Party is on the 6th April, & Songkran is the 13th April that is gonna be a very busy week. Its going to be awesome too. Great weather, awesome diving & busy busy busy especially with the rooms so like I say. If you are coming over next week then you better book ahead or share a bed!

Monday 26th March 2012-
Jessica Leigh- Big Blue Shop girl. Discover Scuba Diver. Did a Try Dive in the Great Barrier Reef but ended up fancying the Instructor more than the diving! Since then hasn't even put on a mask & will not be persuaded for love nor money to take her Open Water Course! So having a Shop girl in a Dive Shop who would rather spend her days in the shop than on the boat or diving makes her quite literally the most invaluable shop girl, (Jeremy Clarkson voiceover)... "in the World!" Born & bred in Manchester, speaks English like she's on Coronation Street, a regular on the Jeremy Kyle show, often comes to work in one of her Lady Gaga outfits, Jess is just the type of girl you don't mind handing money over to for a good time!

So there's really only 1 more month left to go do a Liveaboard in the Similan Islands. 4 days & 4 nights of nothing but eating sleeping & diving. A couple of beach trips onto one of the islands a few Manta's a few sharks, 9 beautiful deserted islands, great weather, great diving, great staff & usually great customers, though I'm never going on another Liveaboard where the predominant nationality is Italian! Too much unnecessary bending over with nothing on but a pair of well worn figure hugging speedos! Its enough to put you off your Liveaboard as well as your breakfast! Drop us a line re our next Liveaboard departure. Prices starting at just 20000 Bt per person including equipment & Marine Park Fee!

10 General Fish Facts.
1. There are over 30000 known species of fish…
2. It is estimated that there may still be over 15,000 fish species that have not yet been identified.
3. There are more species of fish than all the species of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals combined.
4. Fish have been on the earth for more than 450 million years…
5. Over 1000 fish species are threatened by extinction…..
6. The study of history of fishes is known as ichthyology
7. Fish have a specialized sense organ called thelateral line which works much like radar and helps them navigate in dark or murky water.
8. Relative to their body size, fish have small brains compared to most other animals.
9. The eyes of a fish never close even when they’re asleep..
10. Fish drown when they are taken out of water, due to an overdose of oxygen.

Wednesday 21st March 2012-e

***Emergency*** If anyone has seen or comes across a slightly squished Indian Walkman hobbling around White Rock somewhere could they please alert the authorities or at least bring the poor flattened creature to the ER. Last seen stumbling away from the rather enlarged knee cap of Big Blue Diving Eco Queen Jennifer Matthews! Really Jen, here at Big Blue Diving we'd prefer it if you didn't touch the Marine Life please. Got to be honest... I'm a little disappointed you didn't know that already! Pah. Call yourself a Marine Biologist.

“Top quality instructors put you at ease.” I just completed a PADI Open Water at Big Blue. It was an absolutely amazing experience. Having never been diving before I was naturally a bit nervous about the prospect of being 18m under water. Tosh (my instructor) and Darren (instructor in training) couldn't have been any better. They made the whole experience an absolute pleasure. From start to finish they were 100% behind each of us which gave us the confidence we needed. On my first dive I experienced problems equalising my ears. I was ready to quit and wanted to swim to the surface but both Darren and Tosh were on hand to calm me down. Soon enough, I was relaxed and able to enjoy my dive. Thanks guys! Can't wait to go diving again!' Trip Advisor- March 19, 2012

When you do a dive course, you have a choice to do that with different dive organizations. We offer PADI, SSI, BSAC, SDI & TDI. These organizations have developed their own teaching materials, standards and certifications which their instructors use to conduct the courses. There are quite a few organizations in the world and they all have different philosophies and standards. In general, the differences are not too big and no matter which organization you take a course with, you will use the same kind of equipment and see the same marine life under water! Want to find out more. Send us a mail or ask your Instructor when you get here. See you soon!

 Tuesday 20th March 2012-
Great to see how despite the vast number of boats parked at Twin Peaks this morning the Whaleshark was absolutely fascinated by all the commotion both above the water & below with many visits to the surface as well as hanging out with divers for pretty much the whole dive this morning. So one could assess this interaction as one of interest & curiosity rather than the behaviour of feeding or being cleaned, which is generally what they are doing when we as divers encounter Whalesharks. But this morning there was definitely more to it than that. This morning was the unmistakeable sign of curiosity. The Whaleshark was as interested in us as we were in it. An awesome Whaleshark encounter. And you? How was your morning?

Be warned! The Hot Deals & huge Discounts we are currently offerring on our website for both Recreational courses & our Internship Programmes for our professional Courses are only going to be available for just one more week! Actually less! By next Monday the new Hot Deals won't be as Hot as the present Hot Deals. Infact they will be very much Luke Warm Deals still answering by the name of Hot Deals! So act now. Book your Hot Deal now before they cool down!

It was an early night for 10 of our lucky customers from Big Blue Tech who headed out 1st thing this morning for a 2 day trip to one of the beauties of Thailand, Ang Thong Marine Park. These guys are on a mission to find caves in the limestone islands. The marine park consists of 42 limestone islands spanning a whopping 250sq km. This stunning area has many secret caves and hidden beaches all to be found and hopefully our team can bring back some amazing results, as well as amazing memories for all involved!!! And we have just had our first report in that they have found the 1st of many caves that we will be exploring. We will keep you updated with progress as we receive info here at basecamp.

Monday 19th March 2012-
Congratulations to all of our Instructors who have been singled out by SSI Thailand again for an outstanding year of Scuba training making Big Blue Diving one of the largest certifying Diving Centers in the World & we are really proud to say some of the most experienced Scuba Diving Instructors in the world as well. And really nice to be commended by the Director of SSI Thailand Mr Gary Hawkes who came over to Big Blue to hold a little awards ceremony for those who have really impressed. SO congratulations to Ros, Iain, Nick & Simon who have all certified over 200 students in 2011 & an additional award for Simon for being the largest SSI Instructor Certifier ... (put on your Jeremy Clarkson voiceover)... "in the World!" Well done to all concerned & special thanks to Gary for spreading good cheer!

Great news for everyone on Koh Tao! We're getting some proper Medical care at last! The Koh Tao Emergency Medical Services being set up this week is comprised of British, South African and Thai Diver Medical Technician’s, Emergency Medical Technician's and Paramedics with over 30 years of combined remote and pre-hospital medical experience. Their aim is to apply this wealth of knowledge to improve the quality and effectiveness of medical services available to the expatriate and tourist communities of Koh Tao. They are a non-profit organisation, which will ensure that all funds raised go back in to the improvement and advancement of their services and into our care. At last! Medical professionals that won't refer to a broken arm as a Chinese Burn!

So the New Resort seems to be going down well. 21 backpacker rooms, & about 8 medium budget bungalows & another 8 more slightly on the pricier side but still, bearing in mind some of these bungalows are directly on the beach its not too pricey. Then the pool seems to be going down well with Instructors, students & sunloungers & then the real bonus we appear to have completely stumbled on is the chef in the Retaurant. He's a new recruit for us but man he is amazing! The food is A-M-A-Zing! Absolutely fantastic! So not only do we still serve the Best Pizza on Koh Tao at Big Blue 1, we also seem to be serving the best food on Koh Tao at Big Blue 2! Hmmm Penang Curry Chicken!

Friday 16th March 2012-h

Well its just gone absolutely Manta Ray mental over in the Sea of Cortez, Voted one of the top diving spots year after year there are few places left in the world where an entire archipelago is virtually free of commercial fishing, leaving the waters left to those who want to swim and watch the action unfold in the deep, clean waters of the Sea of Cortez. The optimum months for seeing Manta Rays and Whale Sharks in La Paz islands, are May thru November, where as you can see you have a fairly high to higher chance of seeing Mantas!

According to The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and The UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport, "Enriched Air Nitrox" has been added to the banned substance list, due to it's high stimulant properties in the enhancement of atheles abilities: Instantaneous muscle capacity and strength increase, reduction in breathing rate, hyperoxia of blood and tissues, increased mental function, intelligence, psychokinetic function, lower heart rate and slower metabolism. Unfortunately nitrox dosesn't show up in typical urine tests. Its use however in scuba diving is unregulated at this time.

A recent study by Big Blue Conservation has revealed that there is hope for some populations of corals that suffer bleaching events, as Koh Tao experienced in 2010. Dr. Bert Hoeksema of NCB Naturalis, Netherlands, Dr. Thamasak Yeemin of Ramkhamhaeng University, Bangkok, and Big Blue Conservation's Jennifer Matthews followed the recovery of mushroom corals after the 2010 mass bleaching event, and found that when temperatures had returned to normal, Koh Tao’s mushroom coral fauna appeared to have recovered and no trace of bleaching was visible anymore! Great news for our mushroom corals, and for coral reefs in the face of climate change! If you fancy reading the article, published in the Phuket Marine Biology journal, click on our publications page in the Eco Projects section on our website, www.bigblueconservation.com

Wednesday 14th March 2012-
Hmm... right well that went well! Had a bit of a restless night after the opening day of our new Resort & we only filled 4 rooms. But slept a little easier on Day 2 when the old place the new place & the guesthouse all completely sold out! & its only just today that we've started getting a few openings at last. So its been a good week. Boats were full, rooms were full, Restaurant, Bar, Bakery & Cafe were all busy. A few teething problems with the rooms & the check ins here & there & then a bit of a late start for Instructor Chloe in confined at the swimming pool on Day 3 but other than that, yes... Not a bad start at all!

And to top it all off we end our first week open with a Whaleshark for all those that signed in on our very first Open Water Course at our new resort! How's that for customer service. Well done Instructors! A five meter Whale Shark & a real one this time too! We didn't even need to get the Divemasters to blow up the inflatable. So happy campers all round. Students, Instructors, Divers, Divemasters & Whalesharks!

On the 20th of this month Big Blue BSAC have a small cave finding expedition to Ang Thong marine park. One of the beauties of the Gulf of Thailand. With limestone comes caves and we are hoping to find some of these caves and enjoy some time in the pristine waters surrounding these stunning islands. We are taking our technical boat and sleeping out under the stars. This trip is part of our Dive leader trainee's graduation as a planned diving trip, good luck guys.

Friday 9th March 2012-j

Well... like all great publicity stories a few photos have been leaked out by the Koh Tao Papparazzi of our New Resort officially open... Today!!! Welcome to Big Blue Diving Pranee Resort, our brand new, 3 story hotel with seven 4 person dormitories, seven 3 person rooms & seven Air con luxury rooms with Cable TV & hot water shower which can sleep upto 4 people if desired. In addition we have 16 bungalows with varying budgets, fan or AC, cold or hot water, & with or without TV. All bungalows have either seaviews or pool views, & we have 2 beachfront bungalows right next to our new Spa on the beach (to be opened next month). In addition we also have a huge beachfront bar, restaurant, coffee shop & bakery, 2 classrooms, heaps of al fresco classrooms & one 12 by 8 meter swimming pool with a maximum depth of 2.5 meters.

So what better day to open than the day after the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan. So anyone looking for a nice new place to stay & do their Dive Course or come diving with us then you know where to come. Prices start from just 100 Bt per bed at our new resort & we still have some FREE beds available at our Original Big Blue Resort. So give us a ring on 077456 415, send us an email on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or just go to the booking page on our website & book your room & diving now while you still can!

And meanwhile life continues as normal at our Big Blue HQ with our other original resort also on the beach with 5 budget bungalows, 18 double fan rooms, five 6 bed Air conditioned dorms, & five Airconditioned private rooms. & at our 16 bed guesthouse conveniently located right inbetween Big Blue 1 & Big Blue 2. Eight doubles, eight twins, eight with Air Con, & eight without! All new, modern, clean & comfortable with TV's, & hot water.

Monday 5th March 2012-k

" Hello everyone, I promise you that this is the LAST message I will send you begging and harrasing for support. I have been named one of the top ten finalist in the WORLD for The Best Dive Job...yes, you heard me I'm one of the final 10 on the whole planet. There are only 9 other people standing between me and my dream...not to mention 25,000$ in freebies, dive courses, equipment...oh and free 7 months living and diving in Bali!!! You have all be amazing commenting on my page and it is because of you that I have gotten this far. SO THANK YOU!!
But now that I'm at the most critical point in the battle people have disappeared! Other finalists have comments pilling up by the hour and I'm falling behind. You have all helped me come this far, please help me make it to the finish. PLEASE go here: http://www.bestdivejob.com/2012/?p=532 scroll to the bottom and leave a comment. I NEED YOUR HELP!! You can comment everyday. Get your friends to help, your family, your dog!! Please share the link on your facebook profile as well to see if we can put me back in the front of the race. Have a meeting at school and get everyone to vote for me, get your classmates to vote, take your iPad to the pub and get everyone on the support bandwagon, be creative and please help!! PLEASE!!! Now I'm begging [;)] THANK YOU!!- Joe Zeiler"

Not only 1 whaleshark seen at Chumphon today but 2! & before you ask I checked & nope, no one was drunk! Two Whalesharks! Awesome. Well awesome for most people, apart from Richard from Melbourne who was out doing only his 3rd ever Open Water Dive & got to dive with both Whalesharks at the same time. Richard feels although the experience of diving with 2 such large creatures at the same time & to be so close to them was one of the most exhillerating experiences of his life he is worried that from here on in the world of scuba diving is all down hill from here on in! Hmmm Richard. You have so much to learn! Diving with 2 Whalesharks at the same time is just the beginning! When was the last time you saw a dophin swim through an air ring?

Official opening day for the new resort is this Thursday. Should be relatively easy to pull off a staff meeting on Wednesday night as its Full Moon Party that night. So we'll have a staff meeting at the new resort on Wednesday night to talk about logistics, & meet some of the new faces, experience some of the best tasting food on Koh Tao at our new Restaurant & maybe sup down on a flask or 2 of beer! Can't wait to show you all. First photos will be out soon. I know you are as excited to see the photos as I am to show them but keep your knickers on. You'll see them soon!

Friday 2nd March 2012-
"Heya Big Blue!! Blue Season Bali just announced the first top ten finalist in their Best Dive Job in the World Competition and guess what! IT'S ME!!! I now have 14 days to convince them that I'm the best choice out of the final, final cut of applicants. Everyone can help me out by visiting my finalist page and posting a comment of support. I'M SO CLOSE I CAN TASTE IT!!! Thanks so much for all your support guys. The last 5 months are finally paying off! BATTLE BATTLE BATTLE! WIN WIN WIN.

Stop the sale of manta ray leather! We need to protect rays, not wear them. Manta rays are threatened with extinction, but that doesn't stop businesses from selling their parts. Alibaba.com, the world's largest business-to-business commerce website, sells boots and wallets made out of manta ray leather. This is inexcusable, and they should know better. Three years ago, Oceana supporters and other ocean activists successfully petitioned Alibaba.com to stop selling shark products. Now we're calling on you again. We need your help to tell them the world is watching, and they need to stop selling products that threaten ocean species. We did it once—we can do it again. Sign today, and tell Alibaba.com founder and CEO Mr. Jack Ma to be an ocean leader and stop selling manta ray products.

Well the curtains are up, the well is full & the TV's are on order, so is the wi-fi, the Air cons work, electricity has been installed, the boys are over from Samui putting the cover over the concrete base, the decking has been built, the food is amazing, the shop girl, the kitchen staff, the housekeepers, the cashier & the handymen have all been hired & trained, the counter is built, the cupboards are locked & the safe is secretly hidden! The classroom looks awesome, the gardener is busy, & the meeting with all the Big Blue Staff has been set for next Tuesday, the signs are being constructed & painted, & the sala should be finished by close of play today. leaving just the foot bridge to the sala & the sandstone paintjob just to go & then finally after almost 10 months of behind the scenes construction we can finally open our gates to the wonderful world of Big Blue 2!

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