17/18 Moo 1, Koh Tao Suratthani, 84360 Thailand         Info @ Big Blue Diving        +66 (0) 77 456 050

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Tuesday, 30 July 2013 03:41

Our Beach front restaurant and bar

The best place on the rock to relax

 

Tuesday, 30 July 2013 03:39

Sunset on Koh Tao

A beautiful sunset on the beach. And a great social life with us in our resort!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013 03:39

Sunset View

Big blue at its best

Tuesday, 30 July 2013 03:27

Our pool

The Big Blue swimming pool

 

Beautiful

Wednesday, 10 July 2013 09:27

Looking for a Change?

beach life

Looking for a change of pace? Fancy the idea of going to work in your T-shirt & boardies? Picture yourself living on a tropical island paradise?
Well then we might have just what you're looking for. Big Blue is actively looking for German speaking SSI & PADI Scuba Instructors, a Conservation Manager with a fierce passion for saving the environment, a Retail Sales Manager with a solid administrative & creative background and a Marketing genius ready to launch Big Blue Diving up to the next level. Does this sound like you? Then get in touch & email us immediately with your CV.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013 09:25

Turtle Release

turtles

Looks like our turtle releasing projects organised here in Koh Tao through our friends at the Save Koh Tao Group could actually be somewhat responsible for the massive increase in turtle sightings we've been getting round Koh Tao. There were 3 of the little fellas at Hin Wong Pinnacle today. Nice. With all these wreck sinkings, sharks, whales.
whalesharks & turtle sightings we've been getting round here lately can only help cement Koh Tao as a major international Dive destination!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013 09:24

Big Blue Freediving

POSTER

Big Blue Freediving. Run by Pepe Arcos from Spain, a Gold Medal holder & held the National record at the indoor Freediving World championships with a distance of 179 Meters & also holds a personal Record at Constant weight with a depth of 80 meters, & Flavia Eberhard holds the National record in Brazil with a depth of 69 meters & holds 8 static apnea records including her 6 minutes on a single breath. Both Pepe & Flavia are the only AIDA International Judges on Koh Tao. With these 2 as your Big Blue Freediving Instructors  we're ready to show you how you too can Freedive like a champion.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013 16:03

October 17th 2013

 


Meet Neil and Luke

Unable to enjoy a beer in the Big Blue bar without someone or other harassing me about instructors Luke and Neil not having their own staff profiles on the blog, I can’t take it any more. So let me introduce you to two members of staff that will make you wonder about the future of mankind, yet thankfully make you glad you decided to learn how to dive.


neil-draycottNeil Draycott-
 The best of boast worlds, Neil is literally “the most fun you can have while diving”. Having spent a number of years battling with toblerone addition, he once drove to Dundee in his bare feet, shouting “no way” into his rear view mirror whilst cutting up anyone that dared attempt to overtake him. But he’s bounced back from all that and now sports bare feet on purpose, even though they remind him of gammon. Back in the UK, Neil used to be a roadie for some kind of band with a brass section, which apparently did pretty well as long as it didn’t interfere with his anger management sessions. But he decided his future lay elsewhere, and ended up living in Koh Tao- drawn as he was by a deep seated urge to live in a static home. He probably sets the benchmark at Big Blue on how to teach a thorough PADI or SSI open water course, and is a sought out instructor for divemaster trainees to learn from. When the course is over, he’ll happily talk about diving for hour after hour, and I would encourage anyone that sees him in the bar to approach him and do exactly that, especially if you’d like to know how to save a choking cat.

 

luke-whiteLuke White- An absolute fitness fanatic this one, when he’s not teaching people how to dive you’ll find him in the gym destroying cereal with his bare hands. Obviously a people person, Luke was born to teach diving. His infectious smile and chiselled features win over anyone. Once the open water course is over they just can’t wait to sign up for their advanced course. Before he came to Koh Tao he was a bit of a celebrity in the UK, as he used to present promotional videos on boating holidays in the Norfolk Broads, and in no way whatsoever riled the local farming community to a point where he had to leave the Country. Outside of work his main hobby is organising his forthcoming wedding. So dedicated to ensuring it's the perfect day, he can often be heard saying “I can’t go to the bar tonight, I’ve got to go home and look at catalogues on fingerless gloves”.. pretty cutting edge stuff, wedding-wise. The highlight of the wedding will be the first dance, which is almost definitely going to be Cliff Richard- “wired for Sound”. Anyone that does a diving course with Luke automatically gets an invite. The only thing missing is a bride.

 

The future of diving?

Answer me this, how many times have you been diving along, happily navigating around the dive site, and then all of a sudden you've got absolutely no idea where you are? There are no rocks that you remember, the visibility is worse that terrible, and your brain recoils in horror every time you look at your compass and realise that you have absolutely no idea where you are. Happens a lot as a divemaster trainee, and the occasional divemaster or instructor gets caught out too. Now imagine that you descend anywhere on the dive site, and all you see is blue water with no reference point anywhere to be seen. But you're not stressed out because you look at your dive computer and not only do you have a map of the dive site on your display, but you have a little icon that tells you where you are.. underwater GPS! Science fiction? Laziness? Call it what you will but maybe one day in the future it will be the standard way of diving.

Researchers at Buffalo University in the US are developing an underwater wifi system that uses sound waves rather than radio waves to send and receive data. Technology often tries to imitate nature and this is no exception. Radio waves are more readily absorbed by water compared with air, but whales have no problem communicating over large distances via sound. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) already use acoustic buoys to send data from tsunami sensors on the sea floor to buoys on the surface. But the aim is to use a standardised system so that different agencies can communicate their data with each other, hence the research. The aim is to create more reliable tsunami warning systems, but these kinds of technologies always have offshoots- did you think diving would have become so popular if you still had to wear lead shoes and don helmets with surface supplied air!? After all, the amount of people that still rely on paper maps when driving compared with people using satnav is tiny. Luddites the lot of them!

 

Tuesday, 15 October 2013 06:42

October 15th 2013

Anatomy of an advanced course

Yesterday's blog gave a brief overview of how we run an open water course at Big Blue. Today it's the turn of the advanced course.

Big-Blue-advanced-course300x225-15-10-13If you just finished your open water course with us and signed up to do the advanced course, you'll be pleased to know that it starts at 10am, so you get a little bit of a lie in after celebrating becoming open water divers... hurrah! First off you'll meet your instructor, who'll go through the paperwork and give you the choice of dives you can do. The advanced course is five dives, and you'll need to do the deep dive and navigation dives, but then you can choose the other dives you want to do, such as a wreck dive, fish identification dive, buoyancy dive, night dive, or photography dive. Generally, weather permitting, we would recommend you choose the buoyancy, night and wreck dives to get the most out of the course. Once you've chosen, you'll be given a dive computer to be used on each dive, and a compass for the navigation dive. The instructor will show you how they both work, and then you'll spend some time walking on the beach like a zombie getting to grips with how to use different navigation techniques. If you haven't got any equipment we can get you set up with everything that you'll need, then it's lunchtime woo hoo.

 Afternoon, day one- You'll meet up again and go out on the boat at around 12:45pm to do the buoyancy and navigation dives. You already learned how to control your buoyancy on the open water course, but you'll be give lots of tips on how to fine tune it, with the whole dive being dedicated to allowing you to practice. Once you've had plenty of time to do this, the rest of the dive is spent seeing what's on the dive site. Remember, you can use what you learned on every subsequent dive you do. After an hour on the boat sunbathing, you'll head back into the water at a different dive site to do the navigation dive. You'll already have been taught how to use your compass on the beach, but underwater is a whole different kettle of fish, you have to keep track of where you're going, think about your buoyancy, think about your buddy, keep the same depth, avoid other divers, and any other obstacles you come across! We'll also show you how to use features of the dive site to help you with navigating, so called natural navigation. It's great fun and you'll probably never want to dive without a compass again!
Evening, day one- At Big Blue we run night dives every other night, but if you have to leave the next day, we can usually fit one in for you on the first day. The night dive is the closest you will come to being in space without being a billionaire able to hitch a ride on a Russian rocket. It's amazing! Not unsurprisingly, you'll need it to be dark, so we go out at around 6pm, and you'll begin the dive as it's still getting dark, just to let you get used to it before it goes completely dark. Oh yeah, and you'll be given a torch! The fish you see in the daytime tend to hide at night, and the fish that sleep in the day come out to hunt, such as barracuda. You may also see crabs, blue-spotted stingrays, and the occassional octopus. There's always a chance of seeing a sleeping turtle too! If you've seen the Leonardo Di Capprio film the Beach, you can also see the bioluminescent plankton- unforgettable- the plankton, not the film.
Day two, morning- Early start again (so soon after dives three and four of open water!?), but well worth it, this is the deep dive. Your instructor will take you down to as close to 30 metres as you're comfortable with, and teach you deeper diving and ascent procedures. Then as you shallow up, you'll use the rest of your air to fun dive around the dive site to see what amazing marine life is around. You'll end up much more confident in your own diving abilities, and with any luck be asking if anyone else saw that "massive whaleshark"! After an hour's surface interval on the boat, you'll head over to the wreck for the fifth and final dive of the course, the wreck dive. We're very lucky on Koh Tao, we have a wreck that was purposefully sunk as an artificial reef. It's an old US Navy landing craft infantry boat, bought by the Thai Navy and donated in 2011. Called the HTMS Sattakut, it sits at between 27 and 30 metres, and has a big gun at the bow (that's the front..), and a smaller gun on the stern (the rear..). A host of marine animals have made it their home, and it's an incredible experience seeing this huge rusting metal thing underwater that you're so used to seeing on the surface. A little bit of history too, Very cool.

So that's it, you'll finish at around 12pm on the second day. If no-one is in a hurry to go home the night dive may be at 6pm that night, but generally it takes a day and a half to complete. Given your card at the end of the course, you'll be certified to dive to 30 metres and certified to dive at night. You'll feel like you're starting to really get the hang of this diving malarky and be hungry for more, and more, and more. Did you know we do fun diving as well!? For any more information on the advanced course, contact us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

How much do you know about Koh Tao? Some facts for your eyes

1. Koh Tao means Turtle Island. Not because it looks like a turtle from above, but from the shape of the land as seen from neighbouring Koh Phangan.
2. It’s pretty small- 21 square kilometres.
3. On June 18, 1899 King Chulalongkorn visited Koh Tao and left as evidence his monogram on a huge boulder at Jor Por Ror bay next to Sairee Beach.
4. Between 1933 and 1947 it was used as a political prison.
5. In 1947 Khun Uaem and his brother Khun Oh reached Koh Tao from Koh Phangan and started farming coconuts, fishing and growing vegetables.
6. In 1980 overseas travellers began visiting the Island, and thus beginning tourism on the Island. The population grew steadily from there.
7. It’s the cheapest place in the world to learn how to scuba dive.
8. It’s an important breeding ground for Hawkesbill and Green turtles.
9. Known for being a good place to learn how to dive, it also has some of the best dive sites in the world- Chumphon pinnacle and Sail rock.
10. If you come here, you’ll really be loathe to leave, probably cancel your flight and become a dive professional.. that’s what everybody else does!

 

Monday, 14 October 2013 07:55

October 14th 2013

Anatomy of an open water course

If you're planning on coming to Big Blue to learn how to dive, how do we teach you? What do you do on what days? Here's a brief overview of how it all works. When you arrive at Big Blue, hopefully you will have made a booking online through our website, especially when the Island is at it's busiest (after Full moon parties on Koh Panghan, or December- March and July- October).


Open-water-courseIf you haven't, don't worry we'll do everything we can to accommodate you whilst you dive with us. Stepping off the ferry in Mae Hadd you'll find the Big Blue taxi waiting for you to give you a free lift to the resort on Sairee beach- a 5 minute drive away. One of the instructors will meet you, ply you with free orange juice, sit you down and give you a brief outline of the course. Once you've filled in a checking in form, you can wander off to your accommodation and relax until 5pm. Then you'll do a short orientation session, which involves filling out the course paperwork, getting started watching some the videos and being told more about the course- only takes about 2 hours. Then you can wander off, eat, sleep, get a massage, or whatever it is people do to relax on a tropical Island. Hopefully you'll be fresh as a daisy for the next morning.

Day one- You'll meet at 8:30am and be introduced to your instructor and the rest of the group you will be learning with. You'll be shown all the diving equipment you will be using, taught how it works and is set up, and we'll give you a little bit of dive theory. Then you'll do a pool session. This is designed to teach you the skills you need to learn to be able to dive safely, and it's all very gradual and done at your pace, designed to build up your familiarity and confidence. We start in the shallow end, then when your ready move on to the deep end. The length of day one varies but you should be finished by 5pm at the latest. Then you can relax again for the evening.
Day two- Begins by meeting your instructor at 8:30am to go through some more dive theory and get you ready to do your exam. Great, you come on holiday to do an exam... it's 50 questions multiple choice, and aimed at a 10 year old. I think you'll be fine! Once you've passed with flying colours (and you will), you break for lunch and meet your instructor at 12pm to get the equipment you'll be using. You'll then get onto one of our taxi boats at 12:30 and head out onto one of our big dive boats for your first two open water dives. We'll take you to a shallow, sheltered bay somewhere on the Island that will be flat calm and hopefully bright sunshine. You'll be given a dive briefing, get into your equipment, and be shown how to get into the water. Ready for dive one? Good, way better than the pool, you can really get to grips with your buoyancy and the feeling of being underwater in the sheltered ocean for the first time. Still reeling in disbelief about how amazing dive one was, and also annoyed at yourself for not doing this ages ago, you can stuff your face with fruit and biscuits that we provide, and chill out for a bit, hopefully minus a wetsuit tan. The boat will then move to a different dive site, ready for dive two. Dive two gives you the chance gain more confidence with your buoyancy and become more streamlined in the water as you learn to kick nice and slowly. You'll also recap on some of the skills that you practiced in the pool. When you get back to land it's important that you learn how to rinse your equipment properly- you may own your own someday, then you can sit in the restaurant with your instructor and log the dives. You'll be back on land around 5pm.
Day three- Early start... eek! We'll take you to some of the best dive sites for dives three and four. By dive three you will feel more confident and know what your doing more, so we'll take you a little bit deeper than you went on dives one and two. We'll also show you some of the incredible marine life that Koh Tao has to offer. Again you'll have an hour on the boat and then get straight back in the water at a different dive site for your fourth and final dive of the course. After recapping another couple of skills from the pool, you can spend the rest of your dive practising what you learnt on the course and enjoying what you see down there. When you get back to the surface- congratulations, you're an open water diver; qualified to dive to a depth of 18 metres for the rest of your life! Back on land at around 11am, After washing your equipment and logging your dives, your instructor will debrief you on the course, give you your certification card, and tell you what comes next if you want to gain any additional diving qualifications. Now you can relax and celebrate!

After the open water course, the advanced course is the next natural step. No theory, just five dives with a different theme to each one, run over one and a half days. It introduces you to things like underwater navigation, how to dive at night, tips for fine-tuning your buoyancy, and depth experience. You'll end up being certified to dive to 30 metres, which opens up a lot more dive sites around the world to you, and be a much more confident and competent diver. It also gives you another chance to celebrate in the bar! So, what are you waiting for?

Things that kill more people than sharks every year:

Vending machines- Topple over onto 13 stupid, I mean unlucky people every year.
Falling out of bed- 450 per year in the US alone. Ban bunk beds?
Electrocution by toaster- 791 bright sparks per year.. see what I did there? Probably not a good idea to put a knife inside to get the toast out.
Having a bath- 340 people per year- though it's unclear how- presumably drowning, or slipping. Don't think eating the enamel would be too good for you either.
Mosquitos- kill 655,000 people per year!
Obesity- Figures range from 30,000 to 100,000 people per year- put the cake down!
Deer- 130 people meet one of these up close and personal on the bonnet/hood of their car each year!

Sharks kill 5 people per year on average, with most events believed to be a case of mistaken identity. Our perceptions of sharks are changing fast. Previously thought of as mindless killers, they are actually now known to be curious but cautious of humans, and pretty tolerant of us when in their domain. Key point there, it's their domain, not ours. It's always good to have a healthy respect for sharks, but there are videos on youtube of people freediving with great white sharks, which debunks a few myths about them! The more we understand about sharks, the more we realise that we are far more of a threat to them than the other way round, through shark finning, longline fishing and our previous attitudes towards them. If you want to get involved in shark conservation and do your bit to help preserve these beautiful animals, talk to Lizzie at Big Blue Conservation. You can contact her This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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