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October 7th 2013

07 Oct 2013 ="post-tag" > Written by  ="post-tag" >

Staff Profiles

What better time is there to introduce you to the best dive instructors, divemasters and land-based staff the dive industry has to offer than now I hear you ask, there isn't, obviously! So over the next few weeks i'll be humiliating, I mean highlighting our best asset; the people that work here. Maybe one, two or three per day, on top of any other news that pops up- I just love making work for myself, but get used to it, it's happening- I was talking directly to my colleagues there.

Alphabetically from the top, meet Ami Bignell, (pictured in the red t-shirt), she's from Bristol, or Brissle as they like to say. SSI instructor, consummate professional during work hours, Judo killer on high alert at all other times, she used to compete at a high level in her youth apparently- mention Austin Powers "Judo chop" and she'll hate you forever, mention Tai Otoshi- a deadly leg sweep and she'll love you forever, but be prepared to be bored to death by endless tales of how she "could have been a contender" as an expert in the "gentle way"- just make sure you yawn with your mouth closed, it'll make your nostrils flair, but no-one will ever admit to staring at another person's nostrils. Trained as a divemaster and instructor at Big Blue, Ami got all uppity and worked briefly for a different dive school. Luckily for us we realised that was a bad move and bribed, blackmailed, or threatened her to come back and work for us (depending on which version you hear). Wise decision, she's cool as a cucumber underwater, knows her stuff and is not afraid to use it to produce competent divers every time. Just don't ever mention why there are never any cats or dogs around whenever she talks, she has the highest pitch voice ever known by science, estimated to be 200 octaves above middle C. So much so that she moonlights for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), in order to be able to communicate with any space dolphins that may be roaming the solar system, should they decide to attempt to make contact.


Ant Edgely, 44 (pictured holding scissors), did his SSI divemaster at Big Blue with Ami, his instructor course at Big Blue with Ami, and the Judas that he is, defected to another dive school with Ami, before being equally bribed into coming back to work for us full time- with Ami. He now admits that he never really understood or learned from his previous restraining orders... Regardless, we know a good thing when we see it- that may have seemed like an endorsement of stalking, it wasn't really, if you follow.. In a previous life, Ant was the scourge of all carpenters, electricians and plumbers, as he was an architect, designing beautiful buildings that were impossible to build outside of legoland. He's one of the few dive professionals that really enjoyed what he was doing before he decided to become a dive instructor, and has never been able to justify to anyone what the hell he's doing here on Koh Tao! Regardless, he quickly became a top class SSI instructor, in spite of having the unenviable task of being nicknamed "Mini Ant", even though he's not particularly small. He's occasionally also called plimsoll for top secret reasons, and Ant 2- just because we already have an Ant 1. Well liked by anyone he teaches, his laid back approach to teaching is the perfect demeanour for students to feel at ease whilst they get to grips with diving. He's been recently recruited to re-design the interior of Big Blue's latest naval acquisition- Waverunner. I can't wait until it returns from it's refurbishment with massage chairs, Playstation 3s in each seat, and a hot tub. We had to save space by having no compressors, but that's a small price (for Ant) to pay!


“Best experience ever”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 October 2013- Just finished my advanced open water at big blue, easily in the top ten life experiences! The people are awesome, the diving is fantastic, basically never wanted to leave! Donny our instructer is the man. Heading back next year for DMT training. Can't wait!

Koh Tao dive sites: White Rock
So named because many moons ago an Italian diver discovered three dive sites around Koh Tao and named them after the Italian flag, White Rock is a stunner of a dive site. Close to the Island of Nuang Yuan and Sairee Beach off the West coast of Koh Tao, it's larger than its sometimes given credit for, or smaller, depending on how far away from it you are, and whether you have any kind of underwater spatial awareness. It contains a stunnning diversity of marine life, and that's stunnning with 3 Ns. Split into two main pinnacles running North to South and separated by a patch of sand full of goby fish and prawns, it's a very popular site for open water dives 3 and 4, advanced courses, and fun diving. It ranges from 6 metres in the middle of the North, to just over 20 metres on the far South. You will see on any dive the usual suspects of butterfly fish, longfin bannerfish, rabbit fish, triggerfish and squirrelfish. But it's also home to a number of scribbled filefish, nudibranchs, porcupine fish, and chevron and yellowtail barracuda, along living in and amongst a wide variety of different corals.

white rock map

It’s the dive site of choice for night dives as it seems to be a school canteen for great barracuda, and diver’s torch lights appear to fulfil the role of dinner lady. I've briefed my SSI advanced adventurer and PADI advanced open water students about how they should keep an eye out for great barracuda as I hadn't seen them for a few dives preceding, only to look down and see one about half a metre below me matching my every turn like some kind of surrogate remora, or mini Ant in his pre-restraining order days- they're very intelligent and use diver's torch light to help them hunt, but they won't share their catch with you. You'll also see lots of blue spotted ribbon tail rays and blue spotted stingrays out on the hunt at night, which are always mesmerising. There's always a chance of seeing a turtle in the daytime on the Southern pinnacle or, somewhere on the NE portion of the Northern pinnacle. But at night there is a turtle that likes to sleep in a small cavern on the Northern Pinnacle, just be very careful not to shine your torch into its eyes so you don't wake it up and force it to head to the surface for air- what are you, some kind of heartless monster? Remember to wave your hand around like a maniac with your torch on your chest too, the bioluminescent plankton is amazing. But also be mindful that it only works at night, no-one is impressed by air traffic control signals in the middle of a dive.

Big Blue goes to White Rock regularly, and each divemaster has their own particular way of finding resident marine life. You can pop into the shop at Big Blue 1 or Big Blue 2 reception to sign up for fun dives, no later than 11am for the afternoon boat, and no later than 5:30pm the night before any morning boat.

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Read 1180 times Last modified on Tuesday, 24 October 2017 08:23

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