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November 14th 2013

14 Nov 2013 Written by 

Big Blue bar
big-blue-bar-tomEveryone has a local pub, even people that live 1,000 miles away from civilisation will have a local pub, even if it's 1,000 miles away. Considering Koh Tao is only 21 square kilometres in size, we have a lot of places to choose from for ours. Luckily, it's on the premises, as Big Blue has it's own bar... hurrah! The bar is the eipcentre of life at Big Blue, at the end of the diving day it's were we'll have a beer with our students and fun divers whilst we log their dives and debrief them on how they were underwater. Then, when they all go back to their accommodation to have a shower, it's where the instructors and divemasters congregate to have a good old chinwag and discuss their oh so hard day at the office.
At the end of the open water course we have videographers filming the students on their final two dives, then that evening in the bar, the big screen comes down and we play the video on the projector, which is a great way to end the course and nice to see the students enjoy their 15 minutes of fame. Similarly, when our divemaster trainees (DMTS) have finished their internship to become dive professionals, we also hold a challenge at the bar, which has to be seen to be believed. It's just some good natured ribbing at their expense involving copious amounts of alcohol, but it's always good fun and they are the most game out of everyone to partake.
So who works at such a fine establishment I hear you ask? A lovely Irishman called Thelma, and three Burmese guys with better English than Thelma; Sea, Zor, and Tom. Sea is new and hasn't learnt as many English swear words as his predecessor Sin, but i'm sure he'll pick them up pretty soon with Neil and Luke's help. Zor is what can only be described as a one man party; when he's finished in the bar he can be seen wandering around all the other bars on Koh Tao with a bucket of some kind of whisky that's designed to strip the paint off cars, enabling him to dance the night away. Thelma is the manager, and only works part time as she's also an SSI instructor. When she's working in the bar you can't miss her, as she'll be on the same side of the bar as you pretending to read a book so people think she's clever, but the book will be upside down. Tom (pictured) has worked in the bar since the beginning of time, and is the Burmese equivalent of Sam out of cheers. Also, seeing as his English is better than most English speaking natives, he is the master of keeping rowdy drunken people in line with only a look.. .
When you come to Big Blue, you'll notice straight away once the sun is setting how the bar really sets the atmosphere for the place, it's way better than anywhere else on Koh Tao, and pretty much the only place all of our staff like to have a beer, which says a lot.

Red Breasted Wrasse
red-breasted-wrasseIf you've done any kind of diving course on Koh Tao that requires you to sit in the sand practicing some skills, you'll more than likely be very familiar with the red breasted wrasse. It's like a miniature cow that looks dopey, but is clever enough to realise that your movements will disturb the sand and allow it to forage. They are certainly not shy about swimming  between your legs whilst displaying their buck-teeth. You'll see them on every dive site in the Gulf of Thailand, and considering their abundance, it's surprisingly difficult to find out more about them, but here's a few facts that you may not know about them:

- They like to hang around coral reefs, and forage for prey by taking pieces of rubble in their mouth in the hope of exposing their poor victim, that was previously using it as shelter.
- They grow up to 40cm in size.
- They live at depths ranging from 4 to 60 metres, though it's rare to see one below 40m- they don't have their SSI deep speciality.
- They feed on crustaceans, sea urchins, hard-shelled invertebrates and molluscs, and probably biscuits thrown overboard, which is not very good for them!
- Mating begins with the male circling the female, then they will partake in a bit of mutual head-bobbing for a while, then eventually they spawn whilst swimming alongside each other and rising in the water column.. weirdos.
- They seem to hypnotise all new divers when they see them for the first time whilst kneeling in the sand. What you're probably not aware of is that all red breasted wrasse are trained divemasters, and as long as they watch over the group, we'll keep buying them comics.

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Read 814 times Last modified on Tuesday, 24 October 2017 08:24

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