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February 2010

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Sunday 28th February 2010-

a"F.A.O Inst Paul.
I know i said i would never dive again but after you got me through my open water my fear of the sea is now officially cured. After we left Koh Toa I became a prolific snorkeler and yesterday managed to do 3 dives in Borneo without any tears and I actually relaxed and managed to enjoy it. You'll never belie...ve it but I was actually wanting to go deeper and stay down longer! So cheers Paul I couldn't of done it without you and maybe I'll be back at big blue to conquer my nemesis, Chumpon pinnacle. Until then be lucky and thanks a million your a legend!
Suzanne Parker"

"Hi BB,
Just an e-mail to show my appriciation to you guys. I had a great time doing my open water and advanced open water course with you guys. Also I want to give a big compliment to our instructor, which was Andrew Evans.. it was a great experience learning diving from him and seeing how enthausiastic he becomes during the teaching of other and how much patience he has with everyone. Thank you big blue and hope to see you again :-) ! Regards,
BartVan Den Boomen"

" Hey there,
I have been meaning to get in touch for awhile to say cheers for the paradise that was our holiday to Thailand last November, koh Tao was defiantly the most amazing laid back place I have ever been too. Big thanks to Kim and Nick who some how got us through our open water, few close calls underwater. Again cheers for the great times and the everlasting memories (that tattoo of a shark isn’t fading fast) any hope to get back out there as diving in the freezing North sea off Aberdeen isn’t too inviting – plus we have to show you all how to drink!!!!!!!!!!! Missing the changovers. Cheers,
Iain McAllister"

Thanks Guys! Means alot to get your emails & glad you all enjoyed your time so much with us in Koh Tao.


bSaturday 27th February 2010-

Hats off to our team of Techies at our Big Blue Tech Diving department who this morning successfully managed to locate the missing nightboat that sank around Koh Tao about 6-8 months ago. That's quite a feat & we'll be arsed if we're giving the coordinates away to the other dive shops if they want to dive it! Sorry guys but its a dog eat dog world & we're going to be keeping this little Pedigree Chum very tight lipped!

"Hi Big Blue Divers !! I really feel the need to give my compliments to Andy (Andrew) again. I just came back from Koh Tao after finishing my courses with you. Before i started I didn't expect at all that i will get confident in the water. I dived once before, years ago, and that wasn't the best experience. So i was a bit afraid but only because of Andy i did it :-D I am soooo happy. His enthusiasm is unforgettable !! and his patience..i can learn from him, amazing. I had no doubts to do the advanced course because i could join his group again, yes. If i come back. I come you to guys, definitely. Thanks to Andy ! Cheers, Vivian Bosters,The Netherlands"

Our Green Queen, Heather & her team of Green cleaners are organising another Koh Tao reef & beach clean up with another 40 odd volunteers all ready to come & join the party in an effort to rid the island of all the crap that's been collecting here since the last time we did an organised beach & reef clean up. If everyone would just stop throwing their crap in the sea & on the beaches we could find a lot more productive things to do but ho hum... I guess we're at least a generation or 2 away from that goal! Thanks Heather & thanks volunteers! There'll be a free beer for you at the bar when you get back!

cThursday 25th February 2010-

Project AWARE Foundation honors dive operators around the world who display commitment and excellence in their efforts to protect underwater environments within business operations and their community. “The Environmental Achievement Award is about rewarding vision, excellence and pursuit of conservation. More importantly, this award ensures the enjoyment of underwater environments for future generations,” said Henrik Nimb, Project AWARE Foundation Director, Asia Pacific.

The following Asia Pacific Environmental Achievement Award 2009 winners operate in an environmentally responsible manner and demonstrate an outstanding commitment to conserving underwater environments through education, advocacy and action.
1. B&J Diving Centre – ABC, Malaysia
2. B&J Diving Centre – Salang, Malaysia
3. Big Blue Diving Resort, Thailand
4. Blue Season Bali, Indonesia
5. Crystal Dive Resort, Thailand
6. Deep Sea Divers Den, Australia
7. Dive Tropex Tokoriki, Fiji
8. Dive! Tutukaka, New Zealand
9. Eco Scuba, Korea
10. Gangga Divers, Indonesia
11. Kon-Tiki Krabi, Thailand
12. Malapascua Exotic Dive Resort, Philippines
13. Matava, Fiji Islands
14. NZ Sea Adventures, New Zealand
15. Ocean Elements, Malaysia
16. Plunge Diving, Australia
17. Scuba Cat Diving, Thailand
18. Sea Hounds, Singapore
19. Sea World Dive Center, Philippines
20. Subsurface Fiji, Fiji Islands
21. Thresher Shark Divers, Philippines
22. United Divers, Australia

The number of amazing initiatives and actions implemented by the Project AWARE Environmental Achievement Award Winners is inspiring. Congratulations! For information on planning your own environmental project or becoming more environmentally sustainable contact Project AWARE.


Wednesday 24th February 2010-

Still incredibly busy here in Koh Tao & it doesn't look like its calming down in any way either. The boats to Koh Tao are full & the rooms on the beach are all full. The buses & trains from Bangkok are full even the planes from Bangkok to Samui are full 3 days prior to departure. In fact the island is getting so busy right now especially here in Sairee that I wouldn't be surprised if we started to tip up!

"Thank you Big Blue for an amazing time at Koh Tao. Friendly staff, atmosphere and professionalism made my holiday and diving awesome. Special thanks to Andy and Jodie who trained us into becoming confident and safe divers. You’re simply the best!! - and I can’t wait to return to this paradise island. Cya. Kind Regards. Karstein Jenssen, Tromsø - Norway" Cheers Karstein & thank you for taking the time to write in & give us your views on your time spent with us. Even if you did have to exaggerate the truth about Andy & Jodie!

Australia has set a deadline for Japan to stop whaling in the Southern Ocean by November this year, or face international legal action. Despite a 1986 international moratorium on commercial whaling, Japan kills hundreds of whales each year, ostensibly for scientific research. Australia and New Zealand have consistently opposed Japan's killing of hundreds of whales each year via a loophole in an international moratorium which allows "lethal research". Japan's new government has maintained its support for whaling, which has deep cultural significance for the Japanese people, since coming to power in September.Anti-whaling groups have made a habit of joining the Japanese ships and trying to prevent them from catching whales. This has led to several violent confrontations, including the ramming by Sea Shepherd of the whalers butcher boats. Too right!

Monday 22nd February 2010-e

Well the island is still crazy busy so please make sure if you are coming over to do some diving or take a diving course that you please book on-line as the rooms are getting hard to find, soon we will be dusting out the tents ready for the full moon rush.

SSI is ever on the increase with two new Dive Control Specialist Trainees having their course orientation today Christian and Greg and also Jen who is our new PADI Divemaster trainee. The trainee programme is growing by the day, its creates an awesome social and working environment as they prepare to become diving professionals. Welcome to the team guys.

Its official Beccy and Erik are a facebook couple, Paul is officially going to be a facebook Daddy, Deano is a facebook orangutan taff! Anyone would think we have a slight addiction to facebook!

Rehearsals for the festival are going wild, after only 2 practices we have pretty much got the moves already. Heather our choreographer extraordinaire has been working us all hard. I think everyone in Koh Tao could hear her “ and booty bounce and booty bounce….” From the top of Pauls roof the other night.


Saturday 13th February 2010-f

The PADI big wigs are here on Koh Tao this week launching their new fashion accessory the PADI Bikini! & they managed to rustle up about 10 of their Bee-atches together to do some beachside bikini modelling & even persuaded our Emily to join the party. It all started very tame with the usual hand on hip poses but before too long the girls were showering each other down with frothy bubblebath & running around with no clothes on. It was every mans dream fantasy & the perfect advert for the new PADI bikini! Every Diveshop should recommend the all new see through PADI bikini! Comes with 10 wet near naked PADI Dive Instructors!

Our team of techies are still wandering around the best divespots in Thailand. They've now finished their Liveaboard trip on the MV Pawara as it cruised through the Similan & Surin Islands & have checked out some of the sites in & around Ao Nang in Krabi Province & are off to the Khao Sok National Park to do a few more caves & really explore the depths of some of these fresh water lakes. After all that quality diving I reckon these guys should be just about able to dive Japanese Gardens or Mango Bay on just 1 tank of air when they get back!

Japanese officials have reacted angrily to an attack on one of its whaling ships by Sea Shepherd anti-whaling activists in the Antarctic. The group threw butyric acid - made from rancid butter - at the ship. Japan has six whaling vessels in the Antarctic, which is allowed under the rules of international whaling. Whalers and activists regularly clash during the whale-hunting season. The latest clash reportedly lasted for several hours and involved two Sea Shepherd vessels and four whaling ships. In a statement on its website, Sea Shepherd said it had fired warning flares when three of the whalers attempted to destroy one of its helicopters with a water cannon. The group said it then launched a small boat from its ship, the Steve Irwin, and "annoyed the harpoon vessels with rotten butter bomb attacks". It said the substance, which it has used on previous occasions, was unpleasant but harmless. Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson said the group had prevented any whaling from taking place for the past week. "Our goal now is to make it two weeks and then three weeks. We will not tolerate the death of a single whale," he said. Right on!

gThursday 11th February 2010

"Hi everyone at Big Blue! Thank you for making our stay at Koh Tao so absolutely fantastic! A special thanks to Erik and Søren for teaching us how to dive and to Andy, Steven and Aila for showing us around afterwards. Big Blue really is an amazing place with nice people, nice food, nice diving, nice everything. Apparently even the bottle coolers are nice and very popular among the monkeys in Prachuap Khiri Khan. Hope to see you all next year for our DMT's. All the best Michael and Gitte" Thanks so much for taking the time to write in. We really appreciate it & look forward to seeing you both again next year for your DM courses. PS. Bring the monkey!

After the unbelievable success of Grease last year, which was choreographed and performed by the Big Blue Crew, a few other dive shops have decided they want to give it a go. So preparations for this year’s Koh Tao Festival have begun. Our very own Green Queen Heathers’ head is about to burst with ideas for this years act. Secret meetings have been held and rehearsals are about to begin. Watch out Koh Tao this year is going to be a Thriller! Nudge, nudge, wink, wink!

Absolutely disgusted to see how many people throw their cigarette butts into the sea on their way over on the ferries & catamarans to Koh Tao! In the space of a 2 hour boat journey I must have witnessed over 30 cigarettes flicked into the sea with no regard for the environment! From the uneducated locals I probably wouldn't have been so surprised but to see it from supposedly educated westerners was dispicable. Every cigarette butt thrown into the sea is enough to kill a turtle! Save our turtles put your cigarettes butts in the bins! Or even better put your cigarettes in there too!


Saturday 6th February 2010-

Competitive freedivers, William Winram and Pierre Frolla, deliberately set out to dispel the myths surrounding  sharks when they decided to embark on their daring underwater adventures. The pair dived without cages or any other protection devices, coming face-to-face with the sharks wearing nothing more than a wetsuit. The great white shark is known for its size, often exceeding 20ft in length. The best-selling novel Jaws and subsequent Steven Spielberg movie helped perpetrate the image of the great white as a man-eater. In reality, humans are not appropriate prey for the sharks, who feed on dolphins, porpoises, whale carcasses and seals... & pizza!

Canada fancies a Big Mac & he's taking all the tech divers with him! Our Techies are off on another trip to the Khao Sok Marine Park for some more cave diving & then following it up with another Liveaboard trip aboard the MV Pawara, probably the nicest boat operating in the Similans & Surin Islands.There is a lot of gear to take with them and because there's so many of them, Canada, Andy Cav, Helen, Yvonne, Thomas & Duncan, they are really having to streamline their equipment this time. So the boys have binned the boardies for speedos & the girls aren't packing their bikini tops. Shame they got to take a bed pan for Andy Cav tho or they could have really have reduced their weight!

URGENT: Buoyancy World will be going down on the 7th of Feb. That's right, the day we thought might never arrive finally has. This Sunday, the 7th we will be using the car ferry to place the Buoyancy World Structures down to the site just north of Twins. It doesn't leave much time for planning, but since we have already gone over this last fall it should not be too much trouble. Remember, it is not the 7th that we need lots of divers, it will be the 8th-10th that we want lots of skilled volunteers. We hope you can make it!


Friday 5th February 2010-

The churning rumour mill that operates with such aplomb here in Koh Tao is telling us that there were 2 Blue Whales hanging out around Koh Nang Yuan Island last month. In fact there is even Video footage of a Blue Whale out in the distance & I'm all for encouraging positive rumours so lets jump this band wagon & help spread the word! Everyone help tell everyone else! There are 2 Blue Whales at Koh Tao right now! And a whaleshark, & a school of Bullsharks... and a swordfish... and a hammerhead... a sealion...a jellied eel. These rumour mills will only go so far.

" Thank you Jim and the whole team at Big Blue for making it the best holiday ever. We couldn't have asked for anything more! Special thanks to Sonia and Andy, best instructors in the world! See you very soon!! Salome, Antoinette & Albert." Thanks guys. Glad you had such a good time & happy to hear you'll be coming back. See you all again soon!

Following the almighty success of our afternoon double dive to Chumphon Pinnacle yesterday, today we follow up with another ingenius idea right out of left field! An afternoon dive at Southwest Pinnacle followed by a little light relief at Shark Island. Should be awesome. No one will expect us, not even the fishes! Fundivers only no courses! Serious diving! Serious fun! Think I've heard that SSImewhere before!


Thursday 4th February 2010-

Rumour has it the BBC Wildlife Documentary team are on their way to Koh Tao to film the Bull sharks at Chumpon Pinnacle. Apparently Chumphon Pinnacle is the only known divesite in the world where divers can swim amid the sharks without getting attacked & eaten! Sounds a little scarey to be honest so in true Big Blue style we've decided to launch a sweepstake to see who will be the first one in the team to get nibbled! My money is on Big Paul! On a Bullsharks menu I'm sure the succulent looking Paul would come just below a tenderloin New Zealand Steak but above an English Dime Bar! Crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside. A little bit like an armadillo!

France has added its voice to calls for a ban on the global trade in bluefin tuna, the numbers of which have dwindled through overfishing. France wants a ban after an 18-month delay to allow scientists time to study the data on tuna stocks. The bluefin tuna trade might be curbed at world conservation talks in March. France is among the Mediterranean countries that fish bluefin tuna for export to Japan, the main market. France's tiny neighbour Monaco is leading the push to get bluefin tuna added to the list compiled by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites). Italy has also backed the call. "There is still powerful international lobbying from a big country, which has allies" - a veiled reference to Japan, which takes about 80% of the bluefin tuna catch from the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Conservationists say bluefin numbers have fallen to about 15% of their pre-industrial fishing levels. Stop eating Sushi! Eat Beef!

Whaleshark at White Rock yesterday! Which is exactly why we have organised 2 dives this afternoon to Chumphon Pinnacle. The Whaleshark whisperererer has been reliably informed that the Whaleshark has moved on to pastures new & will be spending a few days at its holiday retreat to the north, Chumphon Pinnacle! For a Whaleshark the thought of a belly full of krill & a nice relaxing Pilotfish wash & Remora rub down & diver Jacuzzi is just what the Fish Doctor ordered. & we'll be the only ones there to witness it! Guaranteed whaleshark dive or your money back! ( Just don't tell anyone!) Now why would you dive with anyone else?

kTuesday 2nd February 2010

Sometimes its great to get off the island and do something different, and a trip up to Bangkok to see Avatar was the perfect excuse. Did I mention we went to see Avatar....in 3D.....on the IMAX cinema screen...in 3D?! The only possible opportunity for four full time instructors to leave Koh Tao all at the same time had to around the Full Moon lull, definitely before the Full Moon rush so we absolutely made the most of it.

Step 1 - Stay somewhere other than Khao San Road
I've nothing against Khao San, its been the ruin of many a poor man, and Lord, occasionally I've been one. This time, baby, we wanted to be bulletproof so we stayed in the 'grown-up' part of BKK instead, which is Suk 11, apparently. Top Tip: Take your passport even if you're not leaving the country - Damn you Officious Hostel Woman! Bangkok's second 'Coolest Bar' Cheap Charlie's is right on the corner, just down the road from The Pickled Liver Real British Pub. First night - got drunk, pretended to punch each other.

Step 2 - Eat no Thai food at all
Off Siam/MBK for shopping and eating. Starbucks in the morning, then MacDonalds an hour later, followed by Siam Paragon Food Court and Vietnamese Pho, followed by MacDonalds just 'cos it was there, followed by... You get the idea. Its amazing what you miss when you live most of the year on a tropical island - apparently we mostly miss junk food.

Step 3 - Watch Avatar in 3D at the IMAX
Couple of hours to kill so we went bowling (I won, easily. Nick, you suck), drank 2 Towers of Singha and watched as Big Paul walked out still wearing his bowling shoes (curious? Find out why, soon). Then, the main event. Loaded up with more beer, BBQ Doritos, sweet AND salted popcorn and whatever else we could carry we picked up our enormous 3D specs and took our seats. I'm told the movie is fantastic but by then I was fairly smashed so I really can't offer an opinion. Seemed like I had fun, though.

Step 4 - Go to a proper indoor Nightclub
After being refused entry for wearing shorts, going all the way back to the hotel to change into jeans and trainers, I finally persuaded the doormen to accept the 900 baht! cover charge and let me in to 'Bangkok's coolest club' - Q bar. (Big Paul was fine, he was wearing stolen bowling shoes!). In our defense, Hed Kandi were playing live, so how bad could it be? Well, if watching middle aged men dance like your dad at a wedding in casual jeans and business shirts is 'cool' then I need to leave Koh Tao more. They did seem to be doing rather well with the young ladies however, can't think why. I was ALMOST missing Lotus Bar. Much piss taking ensued, Jodie got drunk, again. I was the epitome of sobriety.

Step 5 - Do something completely different
Off to Siam Park City then. 900 baht gives you unlimited access to the world's second largest rollercoaster, the world's biggest wave pool, a park the size of three Koh Tao's filled with amazing rides, an entire water park and.... NO QUEUES! After a few hours of riding rollercoasters again and again (no queues!) we hired speedos and a fifties women's bathing cossie for Jodes and ran to play on the water slides - brilliant.

Step 6 - Buy an appropriate souvenir
What says 'We had a great time while you were all working' better than a laser engraved block of plastic with our four grinning mugs captured inside it in glorious 3D. Best 1000 baht we ever spent in MBK...

There was more, obviously, so much more, but as the old saying goes... What happens in BangkoK (and can possibly get you sacked, arrested or mercilessly mocked by your friends), stays in Bangkok.

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