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Thursday, 07 May 2015 07:15

Dive Responsibly

 

Thursday 7th May 2015WHALESHARK

The sun is bright, the weather is hot and the visibility is glorious. Whalesharks have been hanging around for a while and the resort is full of very happy divers. This is probably one of the best times of year to visit Koh Tao so instead of sitting behind your desk in your little cubicle in the job that you hate, just book that flight and get over here and share this magical island of treasures with us. Especially now, it’s not every day you get to see one of the biggest fish in the see while you are finishing off your open water course but that is what happened to some very lucky students this morning at Southwest Pinnacle.

With the sightings of whalesharks and a very bad youtube video being posted by a dive professional based in Vietnam, we at Big Blue and Koh Tao as a community would like to remind everyone that whilst diving or snorkelling you must never touch the marine life and corals. Coral may look like rocks and you may think they are strong enough for you to stand on while you are snorkelling or diving, but they are not, you are standing on a very fragile animal that has taken years to grow, they have enough to deal with having the hungry parrotfish munching on them all day. We can not ignore the pressing topic of climate change and global warming and for us as divers we sadly get to see this impact everyday. Over fishing, pollution, total disregard to an eco system that is vital to our survival. So what can you do to help, well here a just a few things..

 

$    1.  Be sparing with water, limit your usage in the shower, turn the water off while you lather yourself up and only turn it on to wash off the suds, even better share a shower with someone!

$    2.  Do you really need to flush EVERY time you use a toilet at home or in your hotel room? Ok I’m not telling you to leave a nasty stinking floater in the bowl for the next person to admire but remember the saying “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down’.

$    3. Please put on your sun cream an HOUR BEFORE your go in the sea, the chemicals in sun cream that protect our skin actually damage to corals own sun defence system making it more susceptible  to bleaching and disease.

$    4. Say no to plastic, this no matter where you are will always eventually end up in the ocean, these end up being teeny tiny microscopic bits of plastic that the fish ingest which in turn we ingest by eating then.

$    5.  Do not touch marine life of any form. Do not touch artificial reef which include wrecks, coral nurseries and objects sunk to promote marine life.

$    6. Throw nothing into the seas except yourself. No cigarette butts, no trash, nothing!

 

 

Sunday, 26 April 2015 08:56

Good Job All Our Earth Day Cleaners

 

Sunday 26th April 2015earthday

To all our returning students and divers please remember that we are still alive and kicking and that we have moved location just a little further up Sairee towards the North (not quite the Great Ice Wall but the boss man Jim is our King of The North, just don’t tell him he already was killed at the Red Wedding!!) It is further away from Lotus Bar which means the we are no longer next to the nasty stinky pipe and we have a much cleaner and quieter beach. You might still spot a couple of wildlings at the other end of the beach around last orders and possible some wobbly bucket holding white walkers but we are a much more civilized bunch in the North! Ok enough Game of Thrones references now. Star Wars next…

Well done to the Koh Tao community who supported Earth Day 2015 with a huge clean up. This time instead of the usual beach and dive site clean ups we went in land and headed to the roads looking for trash. To be fair we didn’t have to look far as unfortunately the roads and drains were pretty full, in one section alone outside a dive school we will not mention we filled 17 rice bags with rubbish! Plastic was the biggest culprit, bottles and straws and bags. 2 of these items are not necessary, you do not need a straw to drink out of a can or a bottle so don’t use them, if you do for shakes and fresh coconuts throw them in the bin!!! Plastic bags may be a convenience but you do not need them. Reusable bags are all the rage now and will easily fit into your bag for when you stop off in 7-11 for an air-con break. Do you really need to put a packet of cigarettes and your toasties in a plastic bag? No!!! Just say no to straws and no to plastic bags. To go one further we at Big Blue Restaurant have started using paper straws for our shakes, which are fully biodegradable. Go Big Blue. Huge thanks to Rachel and Big Blue conservation for getting us all involved and for being part of the community clean up, we even had the local Police cleaning with us.

As the Similan season comes to an end a few of our lucky DMTs and Instructors have headed off over the Khao Lak to jump on the last trip. With whispers of mantas, turtles, ghost pipefish and seahorses let hope they all found what they were looking for. As is typical at the time of year they arrived to a massive down pour which left them no other choice but to shelter between 2 golden arches and scoff yummy processed food that wouldn’t be seen dead on Koh Tao. The Swedish vegans in the group just licked the windows as the dripping rain water tasted better than the cardboard they normally eat. Have a good trip.

 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015 08:52

Sawadee Pee Mai everyone from a very wet Koh Tao

 

14th April 2015liam songkran

So much for a hot Songkran!! The saying goes when it rains it pour it did it pour down yesterday! In celebration of the water festival the heavens opened and mother-nature soaked us all with her massive water pistol! Thankfully the buckets of ice water ran out fairly early and the best place to yesterday was in the sea as it was warm. A group of us went down to raid a few other dive schools and then returned to join in the festivities for the Thai New Year. Most of us were in bed by 6pm having partied hard with our Thai staff.

The top bods from SSI have been over to Koh Tao to help promote the new DiveSSI dive app for your mobiles and tablets. This app is really great and allows you to see your certification cards and you can do your homework and study at home as you can download the digital manuals once you have been registered, in all major languages. You can also log your dives and be kept updated on any chances with the dive community. Koh Tao is now predominantly an SSI teaching island, and Big Blue has one of SSI’s most experienced instructor trainers who has been with us here for over 15 years. We still teach PADI courses and most of our instructors are able to teach both SSI and PADI. #REALDIVING

Whaleshark soup right now and Southwest seems to be the main location for these beauties as well as Sail Rock so we are planning a full day trip on Thursday the 16th April. The full day trip includes 3 dives breakfast, lunch, soft drinks, brownies and some of the best dive guides on Koh Tao! The FDT is 3800 baht

 

Thursday, 09 April 2015 11:10

Get Ready For A HOT Songkran Festival

 

Thursday 9th AprilGreetings-from-Thailand

Koh Tao is HOT HOT HOT right now and the diving is spectacular. The full moon rush is over so if you are planning on heading over to do some diving now is the time. The sea is as flat as a mirror and the sunsets are mouth-watering enough to have you heading to the bar after a great days diving for a cold refreshing beverage. Apart from the fact that I am sweating enough to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool I do have to say I love this time of year, having to add an extra 15 minutes to your walking time because you have to pop into every 7-11 and pharmacy for an air-con break!

The mass invasion of previous Big Blue staff has come to an end. The two weddings were spectacular! Congratulations for Emily and Craig and also to Hannah and Stephen, it is going to take a lot to beat that wedding! Next up will be Skui and Rod! Big Blue Babies will be launched soon. Bubble makers in the making!

The Thai New Year festival Songkran is just a few days away on the 13th April. Please be aware that travelling may be busier than usual due to this huge 2 day water fight! Be prepared to be hosed down with ice water (yes!!) and have talc put on your face as a sign of thanks. We only dive in the morning on this day so as to give our Thai and Burmese staff the afternoon and night off! It doesn’t take much to get these guys up for a party!!!!

 

Tuesday, 24 March 2015 05:38

SSI Instructor Training in Progress, Making People Awesome

Tuesday 24th March 2015

march2015 itc

The Instructor Training classroom has been busy this week with a group of new SSI Instructor candidates who have been studying hard in preparation for their Instructor Exam. With a mixture of classroom, pool and open water sessions they cover all aspects of how to be an instructor. Jai, Jacqui and Mahdi have been led by Simon Garrity, Koh Tao’s, Asia’s’, and quite possibly the world’s Number 1 Instructor Trainer. Joining these candidates a few of our current SSI instructors Tim, Ami, Mike and Daisy are upgrading their present instructor rating to become Dive Control Specialist Instructors. Big Blue Diving certifies more SSI divers than anywhere else and with our SSI Divemaster programme also headed up by Simon and is band of merry mentors we also certify the most professional divers in the industry. We pride ourselves in the fact that Big Blue trained Dive master’s and instructors are possibly some of the best trained around, with other dive shops trying to poach them away from us. Following the completion of the exam the new instructors will have an internship at Big Blue where they can continue to learn and fine tune their skills by team teaching with current experienced instructors who can guide them in how to really be the best instructor possible. Erik and JD who were our last candidates now work full time at Big Blue, so it just goes to show that all that hard work pays off. #REALDIVING #REALTRAINING if you are interested in hanging up the staplers and office clothes and changing your career to something more fun contact our SSI trainers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Other BIG news!!! Jim Donaldson our fearless leader dusted off his regulators and BC yesterday and joined the rest of us hard working bunch on the boat to go fun diving! Big Blue Movies Billy Cloud used this as a perfect opportunity to give his videographer intern Anouk a chance to film some extremely experience people underwater! Dan and Tim two of our instructors from the good ole days joined Jim, Tamma and Matt on their underwater performance but due to their slightly over enthusiastic-ness the film and the fact that when Dan jumped in his fins fell off she decided it was rated x and has been put forward for our staff Christmas video instead as it couldn’t be shown in the bar without possibly offending some small children or people with no sense of humour! Big Blue knows how to put the fun in fun diving!- cheesy yes!

 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015 05:15

Happy Paddy's Day

Tuesday 17th Marchsaint patricks day

Today is St Patrick’s Day: Patron Saint of Alcoholics! Anyone from anywhere seems to be able to celebrate this day and join in on the craic! No matter where you are in the world, pretty much every city has at least one Irish Bar. The invasion of the Shamrock and Guinness is everywhere!! Even here at Big Blue, we have not been able to avoid this invasion over the years with Greek (who is Irish but has a silly name) running our Higher Ground Bar and convincing us to do The Riverdance an Irish caili for the Save Koh Tao Festival and Mama G who has been a resident on Koh Tao for more years than anyone can remember and who is now the owner of Moov. We have to put up with fiddle playing and jigs and calls of ‘to be sure’ and most morning G can be heard shouting to the restaurant staff ‘where are her Lucky Charms’!!! G has turned her nice chilled out club into a Green Grotto for today’s celebrations, and I think everyone except Nick ‘Sid Sloth’ Bufton will be there as he is still recovering from his momentous 30th Birthday celebrations on Koh Samui, come to think of it has any one actually seen Sid? Or is he still clinging to a tree wearing a dress and wig on Samui?

Big Blue is not just the best dive school on Koh Tao where you should come to learn how to dive. It also has some of the islands best Divemasters. The Divemaster are responsible for the daily running of the dive trips, making sure the instructor have suitable sites for students, and basically making sure the place runs smoothly. Once they get out of the shop and get on the boats they come to life. Our Divemaster team have vast amounts of knowledge on these dive sites and if you are going fun dive you will have a fantastic time. With a combination of fun/ Geordie humour, seriousness, passion and nerdy knowledge you will not be disappointed with these guys! Headed up by our most senior and most hairy man ever to walk the planet Steven Develter , the self-proclaimed ‘best Divemaster on Koh Tao and the world’ and followed closely but Nick, Stephen and Carly and with the awesome help of Sunna, Linna, Angel and Jai whether its stingrays or shrimps or the tiniest nudibranch, these Divemaster will show you.

So if you are already certified and want to be shown an abundance of life that Koh Taos waters have to offer these are the guys you should do it with.

Friday, 13 March 2015 08:43

A Few Reasons Why You Should Learn To Dive

 

 

Friday 13th Marchequator dive

You may sitting at your desk or stuck in traffic jam scrolling through the web for holiday options and be asking yourself what is so great about diving? well let me tell you just a few things..

1. About 71% of the Earth's surface is covered in water, and the oceans hold about 96.5 of all Earth's water, not to mention lakes and rivers.

2. A study published by PLoS Biology, says a staggering 91% of the species in the seas have yet to be discovered, described and catalogued.

3. Once underwater, you’ll get to meet a dazzling array of fish and marine mammals. Encountering the bigger fish is certainly my favourite part of scuba diving, but you will not believe your eyes when you will discover the amazing biodiversity present in our oceans. Seeing marine creatures such at very close range, following them around and watching them eat and play while you gently swim past, is a unique experience that cannot be replicated in any aquarium.

4. By exploring the seas, you can actually protect wildlife! By choosing to see sharks, sea turtles, barracudas, and other sea creatures in their natural environment you are actively discouraging keeping wildlife in captivity.

5. The underwater world is very peaceful and quiet. Aside from your own breathing, you cannot hear a sound. It is such a great place where you can relax and forget about the ‘real world’ and leave your worries behind on the shore. I love the fact that you can empty your mind and just let yourself be amazed.

6. Scuba diving is like any other hobby: it gives you the chance to meet new people. So even if your friends or family don’t feel up for it, you can always try it out on your own. The lessons are usually for groups of four or five people that have exactly the same doubts and fears that you have. Don’t be afraid of putting yourself out there! After the lesson, you will probably go for drinks and talk about what happened underwater – a great way to end the session and make it even more memorable.

So what are you waiting for? Here at Big Blue we start Open Water courses every day and it only takes 4 days for you to get you full certification which will then allow you to dive all over the world wherever the is water! And as you have seen there is a lot of it, and whats more you get to do it on a beautiful island in the gulf of Thailand with some pretty amazing and experienced instructors. But be warned you may never want to leave once you see what is below the surface, just ask any of us who work here… a 2 week holiday for us turned in a career at the best dive school on Koh Tao!!

 

 

 

Wednesday, 04 March 2015 08:39

Whalesharks and Eagle Rays

 

4th March 2015again

Our full day trippers to Sail Rock were treated to not one but 2 whalesharks yesterday. The baby whalesharks was only around 3 metres, but hung around for everyone to see and snorkel with. Congratulations you lucky advanced students and fundivers, even some DMTs had their whaleshark cherry popped! This is the 2nd day a whalesharks has been seen around Koh Tao. And this morning a spotted eagle ray was seen at Chumphon Pinnacle. With reports of people seeing sharks at Southwest ( or it was just a big cobia and their mask was foggy!) its turning into a great start at our new resort.

Koh Tao has 5 Thai Navy ships moored up on Sairee right now. These ships are similar to the HTMS Sattakut that was sunk back in 2011 to make an artificial reef and playground students doing wreck courses. The Thai Navy are here for their cadet training, whispers are going around about seeing if we could sink another one to add to the Sattakut. I think the guns and torpedoes on these ships might be a good deterrent. They are very impressive looking vessels and look spectacular lit up at night. I wonder if there are any submarines out there waiting to creep up on us during our dives!

 

Wednesday, 04 March 2015 07:52

End of an Era, New Beginnings

 

1st March 2015bb1 closed

A very BIG thank you has to go to everyone who was at our farewell party the other night. It was definitely a night to remember, well to be honest not many of us can remember any of it but the pictures kind of do!! With half price drinks and drinking till the bar was dry, I think we gave our old resort the send-off it deserved. (no diving the next day obviously)

If you are thinking about coming over to learning to dive or you are already certified and would like to come diving with us, please be aware that it is full moon on the 5th and the islands accommodation fills up very quickly. So be sure to get here early. If there is no accommodation at Big Blue we can still help you find somewhere to stay while you are here.

Funny story in the news about a diver in Vancouver that has her face hugged by a giant pacific octopus. Natasha Dickinson was doing research with her diving partner, Jackie Hildering, off the coast of Port Hardy, B.C., when the pair got up close and personal with a giant Pacific octopus. Hildering documented the encounter on her blog, The Marine Detective, in the hopes of educating people about the often misunderstood predator.
“So what to do when you find a giant Pacific octopus on your dive buddy’s head? Observe, marvel, take some photos, share and maybe it can help dispel some of the mythology and vilification about these fabulous marine neighbours,” Hildering wrote.

It’s not everyday you get an underwater cuddle from a marine animal!

 

Friday, 27 February 2015 04:22

Divemaster Trainee Workshop Success

 

27th February 2015dmt night dive

The Divemaster mentors took the new Trainees, all 40 of them on an epic night dive the other night, they went to Shark Island where nobody else on Koh Tao would be diving, and had the site all to themselves and the conditions were perfect. This group of Divemaster trainees are working through a new teaching format which has been a great success. With the entire classroom based work and exams completed, they can now concentrate on developing their water based skills. As well as night dive workshops they have done Buoyancy and a Search and Recovery workshop. With all the theory understood they are ready sink their teeth into assisting instructors and working with the Divemasters in leading certified divers. Really good job guys Well Done.

This week has seen the first and last of many things, first dive trips departing from our new resort, the last ever DMT meeting at the old resort. First courses being taught in Chaba, and tonight will be our last drinks in the Big Blue Bar previously known to many as Deck Bar, Blue Bar and Higher Ground to name a few. The Farewell party is tonight at Higher Ground. There may be a few tears!

The full day trip guys went off at the crack of someone called dawn to enjoy the delights of Sail Rock, it has been a long time coming this year but the visibility is now up to 20-25 metres – nice! Lots of fish and a few GoPros found on the bottom too! Only thing missing on this trip was a Whaleshark! So its fingers crossed time that these big beauties start making the rounds past Koh Tao

 

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