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Thursday 24th Februarya-

It’s always a sad time to see our DMT/Dive Cons leave but they can’t say they don’t leave Koh Tao without a party and last night did they party!! Last night Hugh Hefner and his playboy bunnies were out in force as we saw 6 of our trainees graduated in the traditional in DM Challenge. Hal, Tibo and Steven looked good in hot pants with tails and sparkly bunny ears, as did Steph, Sofia and Floor dressed up in the shortest skirts they could find. (Any excuse for men to dress up as women) they were also joined by Nate who was completed his BSAC Instructor training. DM mentor Nick reluctantly agreed to play Hugh Hefner, he had to sit and watch the bunnies sucking, groping, soaping up and suffer not 1 but 7 erotic lap dances, something was stirring in that smoking jacket and it wasn’t a snorkel!! Congratulations to the bunnies and to Nate for really getting into it, literally ripping his shorts off for the crowd.

Big Blue Diving would like to say a massive, massive thank you to everybody from our neighboring dive schools and restaurants who came down armed with buckets and fire extinguishers to help us put out a potentially serious fire in our kitchen the other day. It’s so good to know we have this strong community spirit on Koh Tao and that people can rally together to help out. Thankfully no one was hurt and it was successfully put out by fast thinking staff and helpers all before the fire engine came down to secure things. We are very happy to say we are still fully functional and the restaurant will be up and running again in 4 days. Good thing we have our pizza oven which makes the best pizzas on Koh Tao. Pizza and Beers all round!!!

Today we celebrate with you a victory for the oceans! Sea Shepherd has turned the tide and provoked a debate in Japan about whaling. It seems like our friends down the the Antarctic Whaling Sanctuary have finally succeeded in their fight to protect our marine creatures after an article in the Japanese Mainichi Daily News reports – “From both a medium- and long-term perspective, Japan should improve its protection of marine resources to a level meeting international standards. Japan has come under mounting criticism from the international community not only over its whaling program but also over tuna fishing. In order to avoid unjustifiable criticism from overseas, Japan should improve its whole policy on marine resource protection.”
Five years ago the average Japanese citizen gave little thought to Japan's whaling program in the Southern Ocean. Nor did they think much about the slaughter of the dolphins in Taiji or the fact that Japanese demand for blue fin tuna has brought this species to the brink of extinction.
Sea Shepherd has changed all that through years of patient, focused, and determined actions to defend marine species from plankton to the great whales. This season the Japanese Whalers have killed 30 to 100 whales, out of a quota of 985, saving about 90 per cent of the whales and leaving a huge dent in the pockets of these murderers. One of our very own Dive Masters James Brook is in his second season with Sea Shepherd, proud of ya buddy!!


Saturday 19th February-b

Yet another Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan hits tonight which means in the next couple of days its gunna be raaaam jamothed on Koh Tao! And fresh off the back of another successful full day trip and the peace and quiet we have here on the actual DAY of full moon itself, I think we’re ready for it! The only difference you’d notice is the drop in visibility we experience every month, for a few days, around full moon time… Why? Every month a full moon triggers mass reproduction among corals! The coral produces sperm/egg packages which come out of the corals' tissue and float to the surface. At this point they start to fall apart because of the water movement and when the sperm and eggs are released from these packages, they meet with either sperm or eggs from other colonies and fertilization takes place. The fertilized eggs then become free-swimming larvae, called "Planulae". Interesting stuff I tell thee! And after last years extensive coral bleaching across the globe, it’s nice to see the little buggers makin-a-sweet-lurve again!


Speaking of all things green and eco, something to make little Jen go weak at the knees, tonight we are proud to be welcoming back Dr. “Bert” Hoeksema to our parts once again! Dr. Hoeksema's specialities are marine biodiversity, marine biogeography, coral taxonomy, coral phylogeny, coral symbionts and reef coral ecology…a bit of a mouth full, I know! But good old Bert is going to be giving us a talk on the coral reefs and how best to protect and preserve these wonderfully diverse and spectacular marine habitats. Cheers Bert! After all, we do rely on our oceans reefs for a large portion of the oxygen we need to breathe… Take a second to think on that…


So, as the sun sets on yet another beautiful day on our tropical paradise of koh tao, we bid farewell to our illustrious leader, Captain James T Donaldson (Just in time to miss the full moon rush I might add!)…With the misses and baby in tow, the boss is off to spend 6 weeks in Kiwi Land visiting friends and family, getting back into New Zealand Lamb and spreading word of Tottenham Hotspur’s historic 1-0 victory over AC Millan in the Champions League a few days ago! He hasn’t shut up about it all week!!! Well, all of us here at Big Blue are hoping you have a wonderfull holiday and you return as fresh as a daisy to the same well oiled machine you left behind. With Roz and Yvonne now at the helm, what could possibly go wrong?! Er…watch this space…

Thursday 17th February 2011-c

With the Easter holidays coming up soon accommodation on Koh Tao is going to be extremely hard to find especially if you are either traveling in a group or a family. So what we have up our sleeves might be just the ticket! Thai style Villa with large garden & swimming pool, complete seclusion, peace quiet a tranquil setting & just a 3 minute walk to the hustle & bustle of Sairee Beach & Village! We got a 3 bed villa with its own kitchen & then 2 double bed villas all with their own balconeys & a view over looking the pool! An idyllic spot for an idyllic quiet holiday in the middle of the craziness that is Koh Tao in peak season! Ask for our private villas or better yet check out www.baansawainam.com

"Dear Jim, After a rather nasty tussle with a bug I picked up on the way home I am now fully recovered and able to let you know what a great time I had with Big Blue a couple of weeks ago. What was supposed to be 8 days on the beach with a couple of fun dives turned into 14 dives over 6 days, including a Sail Rock trip and and Advanced Open Water course! What can I say, some of those DM's are very persuasive (especially on the wrong side of a few beers)! I have got some excellent photos from the camera we rented which will help me to bore my friends rigid over the coming months as well as keep my enthusiasm fired up, possibly even making up for the lack of a suntan caused by spending all my time underwater! Please pass on my thanks again to all the guys - especially but not exclusively Steph, Nick, Greg, Jade, Steve, Jen, Ant, Serena, Sonia etc etc etc. Unfortunately no-one here at home took up my offer of renting my flat for 6 months, so it was with a heavy heart that I said goodbye to Ko Tao. The whale sharks eluded me despite our best efforts but sailfish, turtles and hunting barracuda all more than made up for that. You never know - maybe see you next year for the Rescue course! Kate"

March may be the best time of the year to be on Koh Tao, not only for the great weather and whale shark migrations, but also for the annual Koh Tao Festival. Come join in this years Save Koh Tao Festival; a two day, Two night celebration of the islands diverse culture and community. Featuring live music from Thai and foreign Raggae, Ska, and World Music Bands as well as DJ's to keep the dancing going till sunrise! So when you've danced your flip flops off at the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan the week before, join us on Sairee Beach on March 25th and 26th. Don't miss dive schools performances (including the most amazing show by Big Blue of course!), Mr and Mrs Koh Tao, and loads of other competitions! All money raised through the event will go directly towards the funding of the three Save Koh Tao branches, Education, Land Conservation and Marine Conservation. For last year’s festival we released 49 sea turtles, created a nursery with 1,000 baby giant clams, and raised enough money to add grades 7 and 8 to the local school, for the first time ever. During the day we host talks from experts and professionals to raise awareness, display posters and information for anybody interested in marine and land conservation, and have fun activities for visitors of all ages.

Wednesday 16th February 2011-
Keep an eye out for this years must see movie, the 3D action-thriller "Sanctum," from executive producer James Cameron, which shows a group of underwater cave divers over a dangerous expedition to the largest, most breathtaking and the very least reachable cavern system on the planet. "When a tropical thunderstorm pushes them deep down into the caverns, they have to struggle raging water, dangerous terrain and creeping panic while they try to find an unknown escape path to the ocean. Master diver Frank McGuire (Richard Roxburgh) has explored the South Pacific's Esa-ala Caverns for several months. However when his exit is shut down in a flash flood, Frank's team including 17-year-old son Josh (Rhys Wakefield) and financier Carl Hurley (Ioan Gruffudd) are pressured to drastically change plans. Having diminishing resources, the team must get through an underwater labyrinth to really make it out. Before long, they are up against the inevitable issue: Can they stay alive, or will they be stuck for good?" Look for it at all good Cinema Screens & Big Blue Restaurant!

'I went to Koh Tao speculatively looking at maybe doing some diving. Big Blue were extremely friendly and welcoming even on the catamaran where the bloke was handing out information about Big Blue. I turned up, had a sleep and then started my open water course. Nothing was rushed, the instructor was top notch and everything was explained well. The boats (especially the smallest) could at times be quite busy, but it's really nothing to worry about as you are still only in a group of 4 and it does not feel like a production line of divers. Finished the OW, diving had me hooked so I stayed to do the Advanced Course and some fun dives. Everything was to the same amazing standard as the open water course and beyond. Highly recommended.' Oli on Trip Advisor.

Awesome news from our friends at Sea Shepherd! "Japan's whaling fleet is believed to be quitting the Antarctic under heavy conservationist and diplomatic pressure, just halfway through its worst season. The Japanese government has decided to cut short the season and the fleet is heading back to port, sources in Tokyo told the International Fund for Animal Welfare. The sudden departure has raised hopes Japan may be moving to end its widely opposed, 23-year-old "scientific research" program, which has killed about 10,000 Antarctic whales. Under pressure from all fronts, the Japanese whaling fleet is apparently withdrawing early this season from the internationally recognised sanctuary around Antarctica. We hope this is a first sign of Japanese government decision makers recognising there is no future for whaling in the 21st century and that responsible whale watching, the only genuinely sustainable use of whales, is now the best way forward for Japan" So Whales saved! Now lets see if we can't stop them slaughtering the dolphins next!

Tuesday 15th February 2011-e

Love is in the... water! Congratulations to 2 of Heather's Open Water students who yesterday got engaged underwater on Valentines Day! How tweet! & can't put this down to suffering from Nitrogen Narcosis & doing something you didn't mean to do as they were only at 12 meters! Obviously thought long & hard about it & decided to bite the bullet & go the whole hog & asked for her hand in marriage & slipped a snorkel keeper on her finger in case he dropped or lost the ring! Wise man. Right up until the time he proposed! No only kidding! Congratulations guys very happy for you both. Champagne & free T-shirts all round!

Manta-ray-tastic over in the Similans right now in case anyone is interested in a 4 day 4 night Liveaboard to the 9 beautiful Similan Islands & the 3 best dive sites in Thailand- Richeleiu Rock (Whale sharks), Koh Tachai (Leopard Sharks) & Koh Bon (Manta Rays). Backpacker prices are around 20000 Bt per person including equipment & Marine Park Fee. Private Cabins on 4 star Liveaboards will set you back about 35000 Bt including MP Fee & Equipment & for 5 star accommodation & Service you are looking at 50000 Bt & up per person all in! Book now, the speed with which some ASian countries are consuming shark fins the Manta Rays Whalesharks & Leopard sharks won't be round much longer! Sniffle sniffle.

Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan in a couple of days so get your face paint & glow sticks out everyone this month its going to be massive! Koh Phangan is practically sold out already & Koh Tao is bracing itself for the party people onslaught. We got our Instructors braced, our DM's are manning the decks, our shop girls are making rooms available & just when its going to get really really busy our Manager is off for a 6 week jolly to NZ! How's that for timing! Good luck fella's, I'm orf!

Sunday 13th February 2011-f

'Hey, guys! This is Iñigo. I recently completed the OPEN WATER and I absolutely loved it. You are a wonderful team! I just wanted to thank you all very much for the wonderful time we had diving in Koh Tao. Definitely I will recommend everyone to go diving with Big Blue and I will also try to keep up with the diving with you guys.'

Ok lets just assess the situation. Queensland, Australia & the world famous Great Barrier Reef has just been hit by a massive cyclone & floods reaching some 20 meters above sea level at some places. Hmm, not good! Then there was the bad press release Thailands west coast dive sites received in some major international papers saying the dive sites had been destroyed by coral bleaching & were therefore being closed to divers. Absolute bullocks, as no one has been diving those divesites for ages anyway, but still bad for business. Very bad! & then there was the 'Revolution' experienced in Egypt over the last month & consequently the lack of tourists heading out diving in all those Red Sea resorts. Again... not good! So no diving in the Barrier Reef, the Similans or the Red Sea. I wonder if that might be why we are bursting at the seams here in Koh Tao!

"Big Blue Diving! What a great base for diving and enjoying Koh Tao. The bungalows were basic but comortable. Hammocks on balconies and a brilliant location by the beach were major pluses. The excellent restaurant/bar and fire-twirler entertainment mean you don't have to go far for a good meal and an enjoyable evening. My wife and I did our first dive with Big Blue and completed the SSI Open Water course. Enjoyed that so much that we stayed on to do the Advanced course and several more dives afterwards. Course was great. All the essentials to stay safe and confident, but we still felt like we were on holiday while doing it. Jodie's a brilliant instructor. Relaxed and good-humoured, she made both courses really enjoyable and easy-to-follow. We owe our newfound love of diving to her great teaching and the brilliant dive sites. The other dive leaders were also very personable and took us on great dives. Very welcoming and friendly place. We'll definitely be back." Madman, Canberra, Australia.

Thursday 10th February 2011-g

With all the chaos in Cairo you might be looking for a new place for your club or group to go diving then Big Blue Diving in Koh Tao Thailand is inviting you to come here and join us with our new 7 day, 7 night diving package for certified and experienced divers. We’re offering unlimited fun diving with all the trimmings in our resort. Big Blue Diving is a BSAC Center of Excellence, SSI Platinum Facility, PADI Dive Center, TDI 5 star IDC Center, SDI Center, BSAC Technical Center and award winning ecological center for green and eco initiatives. Big Blue Diving have 3 large boats departing 3 times daily along with a lively bar, restaurant and hotel or bungalow accommodation to suite any style. We’re located directly on the beach, that means there is no distance to walk to the water.

The promotion is as follows.
7 Days, 7 Nights Diving Package
- Unlimited Diving (pinnacles, wrecks, caves, coral)
- Unlimited Boat or Shore Diving
- 10% off all equipment purchases
- Free T-shirt and water bottle cooler
- Night Dives
- Full day Trip to Sail Rock
- All equipment Rental
- Airconditioned Hotel Accommodation, satellite TV, Fridge, Balcony with sea view, Hot Water
- Breakfast Daily
- Wifi
- Taxi service around the island
30,000 Baht
Save 3000 Baht with your own equipment (DIN or INT tanks available)
BSAC Members get free Nitrox!

14 Days, 14 Nights Diving Package
- Unlimited Diving (pinnacles, wrecks, caves, coral)
- Unlimited Boat or Shore Diving
- 10% off all equipment purchases
- Free T-shirt and water bottle cooler
- Night Dives
- Full day Trip to Sail Rock
- All equipment Rental
- Airconditioned Hotel Accommodation, satellite TV, Fridge, Balcony with sea view, Hot Water
- Breakfast Daily
- Wifi
- Taxi service around the island
55,000 Baht

Save 6000 Baht with your own equipment (DIN or INT tanks available)
BSAC Members get free Nitrox!

Tuesday 8th February 2011-
Well the weather has certainly turned back to normal again, with flat seas, sunshine and gentle breezes would you really want to be anywhere else other than here? So far 2011 has been one for the big stuff. Another Whaleshark sighting at Sail Rock 2 days ago that’s about 6 now this year, 4 Brides Whales at Southwest Pinnacle, Bull sharks and sail fish at Chumphon Pinnacle, Mermen at Twins and Mermaids at White Rock. Speaking of sharks our Divemaster team are taking our fundivers off on a sunrise trip tomorrow morning leaving here at 6am beating the other dive shops to the Chumphon just in time to watch the sharks finish feeding around the pinnacle.

Eco Jen celebrated her 12th birthday yesterday by having a ‘hat’ party. She was wearing a huge ‘Jameriqui’ hat and high heels and was still smaller than everyone in the bar. Sore head this morning for those who weren’t diving today. Happy Birthday Jennifer!

Hi Jim. When I have good experience diving or doing anything I think it is important for those that made it possible to be recognized for their efforts. As you know my friend and I spent almost a week staying and diving with your Big Blue team on Koh Tao and had a wonderful time. Tho the viz was not always the best our diving experience and time there was outstanding and fun. Your staff there did a great job each day not only with us but with everyone around us. As we dove primarily with them, I would especially like you to know what a great job both Greg (our south african DM) and Anthony (our british DM) did not only leading the dives but in the office as well. From the moment greg checked us in to the last dive they both brought that combination of professionalism and personality to everything we did with them that is uncommon and so positive. additionally their attention to safety was uncompromised at all times. They made the dives fun and looked after each and every diver on every dive. Like any job I am sure they have days they are not as 'happy' as others but you would never have known that on any day we dove with them. They were great! We have dived many places and know a good dive shop from bad one and a fun engaging dive crew from a 'bored' one. they both were as good as any DMs we have been with. All of the crew on every trip did a good job! PLEASE let Greg and Ant know the comments that I have made. They deserve to know their efforts were appreciated and outstanding. I videoed the Chumpon dive briefing greg gave on the boat for my friends to see what it is like. It is excellent and shows what a great and engaging job greg did (which was typical of every dive). We are on Phuket and going on a liveaboard to the Similan Islands in a few days. We are happy our diving and trip to Thailand started with Big Blue on Koh Tao! All the Best, Ken F.

Sunday 6th Feb 2011-i

On our way out to one of Koh Tao's legendary dive sites on the east side of the island this afternoon. Laem Thien Caves. A beautiful shoreline divesite around at Cape Laem Thien. A site about 100 Meters long where over millions of years large boulders & rock formations have eroded away & fallen into the sea landing ontop of each other creating large underwater swim thoughs & canyons. All in all there is a total of 16 swim thru's at Laem Thien, some are a little tight, some have large whip rays lounging around in them & some have lobsters & mantis shrimp. And all of them will give you that fun & exciting feeling you got when you were a kid on family driving holidays & your folks would drive thru a really long tunnel! Whoa whoa!Chugga chugga chugga!

Two great white sharks swimming in the ocean spied survivors of a sunken ship. “Follow me, son” the father shark said to the son shark and they swam to the mass of people. “First we swim around them a few times with just the tip of our fins showing.” And they did. “Well done, son! Now we swim around them a few times with all of our fins showing.” And they did. “Now we eat everybody.” And they did. When they were both gorged, the son asked, “Dad, why didn’t we just eat them all at first? Why did we swim around and around them?” His wise father replied, “Because they taste better without the shit inside!”- lol! Sharks spotted today at Chumphon Pinnacle! Brown trouser yourself today with Big Blue Diving!

So in addition to being a PADI Dive center, & an SSI Platinum Center & we have now been recognised by the British Sub Aqua Center as the only BSAC Centre for Excellence in ASIA as well as being a BSAC Technical Centre. Big Blue Diving has been an active BSAC centre since 2009 but only became a centre of excellence in 2010 and now has their own website and dedicated BSAC instructors to welcome new divers. Big Blue BSAC Diving Centre will be working with different clubs to provide charter trips around south east asia, sponsor education events and promote ecological awareness with both wreck preservation and environmental assessments. With research grants and international funding Big Blue BSAC will be looking to the community to help us complete the tasks of 2011 along with our regularly scheduled training programs. www.bigbluebsac.com

Saturday 5th Feb 2011-j

Beautiful 3 bedroom villa with own private pool available for rent this Easter holiday! Quiet, private, secluded, away from the crowds, but only a 3 minute walk to Sairee Beach & its famous bars, restaurants & probably the best Dive Shop 'in the world!' (Jeremy Clarkson voiceover). All bedrooms have double beds, ensuite bathrooms & a view of the pool, & there is 1 shared kitchen, & an outdoor lounge & barbecue area. Available this Easter holiday for just 7000 Bt per night! 10% discount to Big Blue divers... & a handshake!

Another day & another whaleshark. Sail Rock again! Its almost getting tedious. Some divers are actually complaining now that they haven't been able to take any photos of other Marine life here in Koh Tao cos the bloody Whalesharks keep getting in the way! How inconsiderate! Blimmin Whalesharks. They just love being the center of attention! Might account for why some people have spent over 2 1/2 hours underwater today diving face to face with these 5 meter behemoths!

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 were killed last year from ingesting plastic bags. So a massive thanks to everyone that helped out at the beach and underwater clean up event yesterday, Koh Nang Yuan is now a cleaner paradise. We had a whopping 52 people participate in our monthly clean up this month, and with 6 million tonnes of debris entering the oceans each year, we needed each one of them. So a big thank you to all who helped out - and they got to see a sail fish too!!

Thursday 3rd Feb 2011-k

I'm so reluctant to say anything cos our luck has just been so good lately that the merest mention of it might turn the tide completley but... Whaleshark! Again! The Sea gods & Marine life gods must absolutely love us right now! So extremely rare is it to actually see a Whaleshark & here we are on this tiny little island in the Gulf of Thailand diving with these creatures on an average so far this year of 1 per week! THe legendary Jacques Cousteau dived for 20 years before he saw his first whaleshark & here we are seeing 1 a week! Jacques, mon ami, you were obviously diving with the wrong Dive shop!

"HI Jim! I just left Koh Tao today and sorry that I didn't get to say good bye to you personally. But I would really like to thank you. Because if it wasn't for your great email replying to my first email asking about dive master training with big blue, I don't think I would of come to Koh Tao. That meant, i won't have gotten so into Scuba diving and stayed for 3 month instead of 1 and would have missed out on the best times of my life with people that I will for sure remember forever. So thank you for being so good at your job with the whole website and emails! It definitely affected my life for the better! I love scuba diving now to the point of considering changing my career path. haha... My parents won't be particular happy about it, so I need a debatable argument to convince them that its a good idea. Thanks again for everything!!! I wish everyone at Big Blue the best of the best! Lin W.'

And out of absolutely nowhere the heavens opened & pissed all over the plains of Koh Tao yesterday! One minute it was a gloriously hot sunny day as it should be at this time of year & then the next it was as if the island had been teleported us all to the north of England! Absolutely bucketed down! But today you'll be pleased to hear is another beautiful hot sunny tropical day & not a rain cloud or English Northerner to be seen anywhere!

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