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

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Thursday, 02 May 2013 08:05

April 8, 2013

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 Chumphon National Park remains one of Thailand’s best kept scuba diving secrets and offers an opportunity to get away from the crowds and see more marine life. A formation of 40 small islands sits just off the mainland coast, offering endless opportunities for scuba diving exploration and stunning scenery both above and below the water. Already mapped are a wide variety of dive sites ranging from shallow bays to coral walls, rocky caves and even deep sunken pinnacles for the more advanced diver. The Chumphon National Park dive sites are rarely visited so there are fish galore. You can see an enormous range of aquatic life with everything ranging from barracuda and trevally to shrimps, morays, sea-snakes, stingrays, turtles, scorpion-fish and even whale sharks visible around the Chumphon dive sites (and much more). Proximity to the coast, nearby river estuaries and shallow depths mean that visibility at the nearest Chumphon dive sites can be a bit inconsistent. But even when visibility does drop, exploring at a relaxed slow pace means you’ll appreciate the high density of diverse marine life and corals and enjoy great dives. (And on the clear days and more distant dive sites the diving can be unbeatable with visibility in excess of 30M). We’re out diving there tomorrow on our much in demand Full Day Trip. Full English Breakfast, Thai Buffet lunch, 3 dives, & chocolate cake for everyone!

“Awesome diving!”4 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor April 3, 2013 - Summary: I did my open water and advanced course at big blue diving, Koh Tao. The place is amazing and relaxed and the instructors are helpful and well educated. Thelma Clarke is an amazing instructor giving you all the information and tips to become a safe diver! She was also one of the reasons 3 guys from my open water group went directly to the advanced course requesting Thelma as the instructor!

The courses and big blue: I did both my courses in groups not bigger then 6 persons and found it really easy to get help if something was unclear. The lectures are given at a different location from where you go diving. It's only a 4 min walk on the beach between the two so its not really a big problem. At big blue they have 4 diving boats which makes it possible for several groups to go to different dive sites preventing your group from going to the same site all the time. This is a big advantage that really lifts your experience! At night all the divers and instructors gathers at big blue in the bar to relax and talk about the dives and maybe have a beer. They also have great food. The atmosphere is relaxed and everyone at big blue are super friendly so just go and have a chat with anyone!
The instructor: The person responsible for teaching me in both courses was Thelma Clarke. Thelma did a great job in both courses and she made sure that everyone understood what was happening and how to do it. It was safe learning! Thelma also made the dives to a great experience making sure that the group stayed together and showed us all fun fish and interesting marine life at the dive sites. Before and after all our dives she would give us a briefing/de-briefing making sure that everything (skills, fish, dive site, etc.) was crystal clear and if something was unclear she had an answer to your question.
Accommodation: When going to Big Blue for taking a dive course they will offer you accommodation. I stayed at a hotel called Praewa in a brand new 4-bed dorm. The dorm was equipped with AC, TV, fan, fridge, closets and a clean bathroom and I payed 100 baht every day I stayed at the course. This accommodation is the best I had since going to Thailand!

Yesterday was an exciting and awesome day out for Big Blue Tech, not only did five of our resident techies get the chance to dive the 70m long Japanese vessel known as the Torpedo which on its own is impressive. But along came the newest addition to Big Blue which is Big Blue Free Diving. We have to admit there was a real buzz on the boat as none of us had been in the water with these guys especially on the deep sites 50m . First impression of the wreck was WOW 10m visibility and lots of marine life around, even a very large NUDIBRANCH, as Phil,Big Blue Dive Master pointed out (which he was promptly slapped for, you can't take him anywhere without him looking for the small stuff ). Heading up for our first deco stops was when we started to see Pepe and Flavia in turns coming down to see us. Followed by at 5m the sight of bad ass Bryan doing what can only be described as the tech version of free diving ( not quite as elegant as he can be in a twinset). After this we packed up and headed South to our second deco dive of the day on the Unicorn, a cargo vessel that sits around 50m and can be a very hazardous wreck to dive with strong current and hit and miss visability. The last few dives on this wreck we have had 10m visibility and no currents we were looking forward to this one. First part of the decent was looking good, hardly any current and a thermocline at around 26m then it got dark or as Maxime ( our half French,half German ex student known as freman) pointed out " whoa that was black". Even so the guys enjoyed the whole challenge and yet again the crazies(freedivers) were there to greet them on their deco stops. All in all a massive success of a day. Thanks to everyone that made it happen and also for Pepe and Flavia for making our deco hangs heaps more fun. Pictures will be coming soon or check us out on Facebook These trips will be happening once a month to different wrecks and sites. For any more information contact James or Bryan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thursday, 02 May 2013 08:03

April 10, 2013

Whaleshark on Koh Tao

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 Well its been a slow start to the Whaleshark season especially compared to last year when we averaged a whaleshark siting throughout the year of 1 every 3 days but we did at least see a Whaleshark yesterday at Hin Wong Pinnacle. Amazing creatures the whaleshark. The biggest fish in the sea. Lives off the smallest fish in the sea. At this time of year with the water temperature averaging about 30 degrees & the krill & plankton blooms at their greatest & the visibility at its best now is quite definitely the best time of the year to be diving Koh Tao. Next trip out to Hin Wong to see the Whaleshark.... this afternoon! Jump on.

Best Place to do your Open Water Course

“best place to learn diving !” -5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor April 3, 2013 - my friend and i stayed there for 7 days for our open water and advanced course with SSI, and was the best decision we made to dive with big blue! The instructors we had were Donny and Christine , they were patient ,fun , friendly and so professional that i feel safe under the water even i had trouble in equalizing my ears ! The night diving was awesome too. If i am going to pursue another diving license , for sure i will join big blue again! 

Songkran

Only 3 more days to the biggest soaking of your life! The Songkran festival. An immense party here in Thailand to celebrate the Thai New Year. Traditionally, the custom was to pour water gently over other people but it has evolved into little more than a good excuse for an almighty water fight. Held in the peak of the hot season, Songkran is a literal chance for the country to cool off. Nobody is safe from a dousing. Water balloons are launched at suspecting and unsuspecting participants, hoses are turned on passers-by, and highpowered water guns are fired from bicycles, motorbikes and cars at pedestrians and other vehicles. Its going to be carnage! Can't freakin wait!

Thursday, 02 May 2013 08:02

April 11, 2013

Hammerhead Shark seen on Koh Tao

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  Rumour has it that a hammerhead was seen by another dive center a few days ago! How exciting would that be. My initial reaction was one of skepticism but having read up a little on the environmental preferences of the Hammerhead there really seems to be absolutely no reason why we shouldn't have hammerheads here in the Gulf of Thailand. Hammerheads are found worldwide in warmer waters along coastlines and are frequent visitors to the Philipines & Micronesia, & if they get them then why the hell don't we! So keep your eyes peeled divers. We're looking for hammerheads. First one to photograph gets a free ice cream.

Excellent Open Water Instructor

“Amazing diving!”-  Reviewed April 4, 2013 - Had a great time at big blue doing my open water and advanced courses. All of the staff are helpful and friendly. Accomodation is free if you're completing these courses which is an extra bonus. I had a really good group and an excellent instructor, Rich! He's patient if anyone has a problem (not that we had many) and is a great laugh, in and out of the water. I can see why he won instructor of the year, and deserves it again hands down. I'm going back to koh tao over New Years and really hope to get to dive with rich again! OOOOOHHHHHH YEEEEEAAAAAAH!

Koh Tao Weather Forecast

Don't want to be putting you off your visit to Koh Tao but.... you might want to keep an eye on the weather over the next few days. Apparently its not going to be very nice! We're being warned of 47 knot gusts of winds, (that'd be called a Cyclone in the US), 90 mm of rain (flood) and 4meter waves ( surfs up!). Its only going to be here a couple of days apparently which will be Saturday through to Monday which is a huge shame as Saturday is the Thai New Year. We'll be battening down the hatches. After all we aint keen on taking in the derriere like we did in that storm a couple of years ago when we got completely washed out, our trees fell over & our bungalows got toppled! Nope. Kind of keen to avoid that one!

Thursday, 02 May 2013 08:01

April 12, 2013

Celebrating Songkran on Koh Tao

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The man responsible for organising the third biggest party in the world is going to be playing on the wheels of steel here at Big Blue tomorrow for Songkran. From midday all afternoon Celebrity DJ John Huntington from Las Vegas will be putting on his mixing fingers & spinning those decks like its 1999! Party starts here at Big Blue from about 11am. Can't wait. Everyone loves Songkran. One of the best days of the year. Happy New Year Thailand!

Brilliant 5 weeks at Big Blue

“Stop the world, I want to get off” -5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor April 6, 2013 - Big blue is a little haven from the cold, miserable, economically depressing world that is outside Koh Tao! I have just spent a brilliant five weeks there, and can't wait to go back. Many many thanks to everyone but certain special mentions are deserved. To Jen, for changing my inner dive dialogue from "that's a pretty fish" to "ooooh, a batfish being cleaned by a wrasse, look how the colours change as it wriggles with pleasure, and what an interesting foliate coral that is in the background". Diving gets more and more interesting when you actually know what you're looking at! To Natalie, for getting me through a wreck, when that was the one thing I swore I'd never do! You turned a nervous diver into a bit of a deep/wreck/nitrox daredevil! To Daisy, for making a rescue course that was flipping hard work such fun too. I never thought a "hell dive"could make me laugh so much. My confidence in my skills increased yet again. To Becca, for being a great dive master, despite kicking me off the longtail to swim home on my last day :-). To the Tech Shack- Brian, James and Ian for a brilliant intro to technical diving and some awesome new Bond girl style photos for my dating profile! Finally, to everyone else who made my stay awesome. You know who you are. To quote Steven "you'll be back".....he's probably right. 

Helpful Tips for those with equalising problems

Ear woes are the No. 1 reason divers pull the plug on a dive, and in extreme cases, the sport itself. But with a few tricks and advanced techniques, almost anyone can make equalizing easier. In diving, the Valsalva maneuver is often used on descent to equalise the pressure in the middle ear to the ambient pressure. Performed properly — pinching your nose shut while exhaling — most divers can descend without any problems. But for some divers, the technique doesn't help. You should never continue with a descent if you are experiencing ear pain. But before you give up on a dive — or diving itself — try these tips. Listen for the "pop." Start early, Equalize at the surface, Descend feet first, Look up, Use a descent line, Stay ahead, Stop if it hurts, Avoid milk, Avoid tobacco and alcohol, & Keep your mask clear.

Thursday, 02 May 2013 07:59

April 15, 2013

Second World War Wreck identified in Chumphon Marine Park

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Well we've done our homework & finally we are able to inform you on the history of the USS Prab which is the 2nd World War boat we came across while diving in the Chumphon Marine Park. Originally the  USS LCI 670, this boat was used as a landing craft for the invasion of Europe & in the photo above is seen as it unloads its troops off the coast of Italy in July 1944 just after the D-Day landings in June of the same year. After the war she was taken in by the Thai Navy and was recently put to rest off the Chumphon Coast about the same time as our own Sattakut wreck here in Koh Tao. She rests in about 26 meters depth & has heaps of marine life & coral growth on her. & according to our DM's one of the very best sites they've ever dived! Better do it more often then!

The Diving was Amazing

“Very professional and fun diving course at competitive price - highly recommend”5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor April 8, 2013- I did the open water course with big blue in April 2013 and my instructor was James. Totally recommend the place and James it was awesome. Professional service whilst still fun and interesting and the diving was amazing. Had a great laugh with James as well, really made even the more boring stuff like the learning fun. I had trouble equalising my ears and backed out of the first dive because I couldn't get down, and honestly was ready to give in. But James made me go out on the second dive and promised he would get me down. It took him 21 minutes but he got me there, and he was genuinely happier than me. Dives were really good, boat was nice and just everything was top drawer, easily a 5 star rating and get James as your instructor, he was awesome and helped me do something I never thought I would be able to do after the first dive. Needless to say I went straight on to the advanced. 

 

7 Tips on Dive-Boat Etiquette

1. First, get permission. It’s common maritime courtesy when boarding any vessel (especially as a first-time guest) to ask permission before coming aboard. The boat might look like it’s ready, but the crew might still be making some last-minute preparations.
2. Know your limits. A dive boat, no matter the size, will have certain areas reserved for crew members only; you should not venture into those unless invited.
3. Wet and dry. Everyone on a dive boat expects to see some water on deck. However, most boats have strict limits as to where divers can roam while not totally dry.
4. Be gentle. There’s nothing more cantankerous than a marine toilet, or the “head.” And a stopped-up head is the quickest way to get everyone aboard feeling very unhappy in a hurry.
5. What not to do. These days, there’s little tolerance for cigarette (or other) smoking on many dive boats.
6. Know what H2O is what. Fresh water is usually scarce and should be used sparingly. Water in buckets on the deck is usually marked to indicate intended usage.
7. Keep it clean. This applies to your gear, your level of noise and your language. If you keep everything quiet and clean, you’ll offend no one.

Thursday, 02 May 2013 07:57

April 17, 2013

Liveaboard to the Burma Banks

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 The bad news is that the weather has gone pretty crappy. Seas went from flat calm to at least a meter of frothy choppiness & from 20 meters of visibility to approximately 5 meters! The good news is that its not expected to last & things should be back to normal in just a couple of days & that the 2 days of fairly heavy rain we just experienced has replenished our very depleted stocks of fresh water. The other piece of good news was that our team of techies managed to fill their 6 day Liveaboard trip to Burma with 12 seriously happy divers, 2 rebreathers and 2 twinset. Bad news is they left when the weather kicked in even worse than it is here! Still they're techies. They like it when things are cold, dark & dangerous!

Big Blue's Dive Instructors exceeding expectations

“Daisy diving instructor”5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor April 9, 2013- We have just started our deep penetration specialist at big blue and where lucky enough to get Daisy as our instructor. We have dives with rich and Steven both AMAZING and daisy was no different. Got a wonderful new prespective and had such a good time we decided to do our rescue diver. If you want to dive COME you big blue you won't a be disappointed. Divers are skilled, friendly, relaxed and just over all outstanding. Special thx to Rich, Daisy and Steven you are all above the cut. 
 

New Freediving Courses keeping us busy

Big Blue Free Diving seems to be taking off with great success. Had heaps of people coming in to ask questions all about it & have been running at least 2 people per day on courses for over a week now. Starting the Level 1 Course down to 20 meters every which takes just 2 days, then its the Level 2 Course which will take you down to 30 meters in another extra day & then for the well endowed among you we offer the Level 3 course 4 weeks of pure Freediving & your chance to learn the advanced techniques needed to get down to some serious depths & times you never thought possible. Find out more www.bigbluefreediving.com
Thursday, 02 May 2013 07:42

March 1, 2013

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 Congratulations to our new breed of SSI Instructors Thelma, Christine, Alex & Sofia who have passed their Instructor Exam with flying colors and also to SSI Instructor Trainers Simon Garrity & Paul 'Tosh' Tanner who continue their 100% pass rate. So now its into the big wide world they go looking for new & exciting destinations & opportunities to show their stuff! & with so many opportunities out there right now for SSI Instructors the world is their lobster! We got job offers in Hurghada in Egypt, Malapasca in the Philipines, the Oman, Lombok & Gili T in Indonesia, the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia & heaps more. So if you fancy a change in lifestyle, career & location then don't you think its about time you signed up for your Scuba Diving Instructor license! email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. & you too could look pretty in pink!

“Funsies in the Sunsies”-5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor February 24, 2013 - I think I'm having severe physical withdrawal after leaving Big Blue and Koh Tao. Don't be alarmed, I will (probably) be alright, but I did find myself scouring the Big Blue website like a lost puppy earlier. I also apologize for the title of my review. I thought I could pull off the word "funsies."I came to Big Blue at the end of January to do my open water course and found myself in a carefully selected group with our instructor, mini Ant. Although he had a gimp pinky finger, we were able to look past it on account of his superior dive-language. (That's like sign language for divers, but I just Bradgelina'd it) His knowledge of diving is apparent and I appreciated his uncanny ability to put up with 5 blondes who couldn't figure out how to zip up a wetsuit. Thanks to mini Ant, I am now not only a pro diver, but know that when it comes to defogging a mask, "the greener the cleaner." Knowledge is truly power. I went on to do my advanced course with Marty where I learned to navigate and become a modern day Lewis and Clark. I was also able to do fun dives with the self proclaimed "best dive master in all of Koh Tao...no wait, the world," Darren. Darren may be one of the most profound dive masters there are, so pay him a visit. He also gets overwhelmingly excited about finding razor fish, crocodile fish, and other minuscule things that I can't recall but know are undoubtably important to him. So you should all probably come to Big Blue. The water is waiting for you. And the bar, lets not forget about the bar. That's pretty important too... 
 
Bit of a shift in Dive staff here with the unfortunate news that DM Mentor & Big Blue Dive Medic Steve is having to hand in his notice as he's gone and done his back in & might need to have a couple of discs unherniated! Excruciatingly painful poor old Steve has resigned himself to the fact he won't be able to continue this Diving malarky as a career any longer. He will still however be staying on Koh Tao & working at the Chalok Physicians Clinic where we'll still be able to bother him with some of our more mundane humdrum type of Dive medical questions such as if it rains will that increase the pressure on my air spaces? So looking to fill the gap in our Divemaster training program now with another member of our existing staff. Any ideas?
Thursday, 02 May 2013 07:41

March 3, 2013

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Thanks to everyone at Big Blue who helped with the clean up on Saturday, we had 35 people and collected 14 kgs of rubbish from north Sairee beach, and 28 people and 25 kgs of rubbish and a big metal pole when we cleaned South Mae Haad. Cheers everyone! Such a great spirit of camaraderie among everyone who helped out. Amazing how much fun can be had picking up rubbish. Imagine if the rest of the world could feel the same experience!

“Big love for big blue!”5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor February 24, 2013 - So your thinking of diving with big blue ey? As an experienced traveler and self appointed expert level explorer, this place is at the top of my favorite things of all times list. Which is quite a high honor. Our diving instructor Mini Ant was extremely knowledgeable in all things diving, but also threw in some humor when he sensed our fading attention spans. In fact he was such a diving extraordinaire we were (pretty easily) compelled to continue on in our diving studies and partake in the advanced course as well. I highly suggest staying to complete both your open water and advanced courses, as they both go hand in hand and you will receive an even more spectacular diving experience. I mean who would say no to diving an old ship wreck? Or at night! Just don't drop your flashlight on that one.. But if you do, you are sure to have a always prepared dive master such as Alex Henk to find it for you before you even realize you have lost it. We also did some fun dives with dive master Darren, whose high energy level and witty comments helped stimulate my growingly groggy "island brain" and made for a hilarious day of diving. My biggest piece of advice is to allow plenty of time there. The courses themselves may only take a few days to complete, but seeing as you aren't supposed to drink during these seemingly long periods of time, you should allow for alcohol consumption buffer days between courses. That's what any responsible drinker/diver such as myself would do. 
 

Here's a question we get asked a lot: Is PADI the best training organisation? Well I will not attempt to compare PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) to other agencies such as SSI, BSAC, CMAS or NAUI (the big 5) as each has its own standards equal to or above the minimum established. I believe that the individual instructor has a big influence on the training received. I have seen many great instructors from all agencies and several bad instructors in all agencies. Each agency puts out their own guidelines to teach by. It’s what the instructor puts into it that makes all the difference. Good job we at Big Blue Diving have some of the best, most experienced Instructors in the world!

Thursday, 02 May 2013 07:38

March 4, 2013

 2013-03-04

A dream job opportunity! Calling all aspiring marine conservationists! A very rare job opportunity has presented itself as we are looking to expand our marine conservation department. We are looking for a marine project scientist for a year minimum, in-country PAID position, to start ASAP.

Essential requirements are:

  • BSc in a relevant field (Masters preferred)
  • Tropical marine fieldwork experience (previous experience in volunteer supervision preferred)
  • Divemaster qualification or higher (any agency is fine, SSI preferred) with own equipment
  • Can show dedication to conservation and highly motivated

Duties will include:

  • Volunteer supervision and training through our expedition conservation skill development program
  • Organising events and conservation activities such as artificial reef construction and beach and underwater clean-ups
  • Assist other Big Blue conservation staff and act as a role model and advocate for conservation
  • Assisting with reporting project updates and research
  • Maintenance of science equipment inventories and requesting re-supplies
  • Regular meetings with local stakeholders at the Save Koh Tao meetings
  • General training site maintenance and promotion
Personal benefits include
  • Author and co-author Big Blue Conservation publications and reports
  • Enhance research experience
  • Live on our beautiful tropical island as part of the Big Blue family
  • Diving opportunities and enhance your dive training
  • Liaise with local communities

If you think you have all this then please send a CV with a short explanation of yourself and career goals to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

“Awesome service”5 of 5 stars Reviewed on Trip Advisor February 27, 2013- We completed our open water and advance dive courses with big blue in feb 2013. We were very impressed with the organisation of the company as well as the laid back, enthusiastic yet highly professional approach of the instructors. Our instructor, Rick was absolutely terrific and can't be commended enough for his superb teaching and infinite patience. He is a real asset to the company and I can't recommend him highly enough. The diving was really varied as well and Koh Tao proved an excellent introduction to the world of diving.
 


"DIVERS WANTED" Anyone looking for work on Koh Tao or Khao Lak can now use this app on any android. "divers wanted". If you are a dive center who wants to use this to find freelancers or full time employees please mesage or e mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we can change your app to shop mode. If you don't have a Smart phone or you have an Iphone you can email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. & we will add you! This is FREE and 25 dive schools on Koh Tao are now using it. Two schools have even bought a samsung phone just to use the app.

Thursday, 02 May 2013 07:36

March 5, 2013

2013-03-05Last night was a very special night on Koh Tao. One night a year, if the conditions are right, the corals spawn. Here are Eco Koh Tao's Nathan & his son Kailash collecting the eggs just as they are released from a Symphillia coral colony. These eggs are ready for fertilisation in water tanks waiting on board the dive boat and will hopefully attach to pre-made substrate ready to be returned to the waters around Koh Tao. Awesome work guys. Photo courtesy of Alex Tyrrell - Dive4Photos

“Great value and experience”5 of 5 stars Reviewed on trip Advisor March 2, 2013 - I did my open water diving at big blue, had a really nice instructor called luke and had fun learning to dive. perfect location on the beach and 4 nights free accommodation and half price after that. I was in a group of 3 and we were given a private room which was really nice but my friend had a bad experience in the dorm which she said was full of mould. The instructors there are easy going and make your time there enjoyable. 

Thursday marks the start of our monthly wreck trips with our Techies from big Blue Tech. These trips were cancelled before Christmas as the conditions have not been favorable on the sites. I'm sure you can imagine we are all a little bit excited about heading out later this week! First on the schedule is our old favorite The Unicorn. This large freight ship was scuttled in an attempt to defraud an insurance company, sadly for the owners the fraud was discovered so they didn't get a sausage, but we got a dive site! Next on the schedule is the Torpedo. She is an old Japanese transport vessel sitting upright in 55m of water. No ones been to this site in three years which is why we are keen to get out there again. Anyone interested in joining us please drop us a message This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call at the tech shack.

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