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Wednesday, 27 December 2017 07:52

The Dissection of Andy Campbell, Tech Diver Extraordinaire



After the stunning surprise of not getting sacked after the last inadequate blog was uploaded, there's actually been a bit of feedback from you lot, our desperate readers - surely you've something better you could be doing, doesn't the sink need re-grouting or something?. Most have asked to know more about not just Big Blue, but the people who make it what it the stunning success that it is - the instructors and divemasters.

Today, after careful consideration on whom I will do my best to offend in any way possible, I have chosen to follow around for the day Andy 'Angry' Campbell and his delectable partner in a fart-filled office, Mr Paco Rabanne Garcia. For those lucky enough not to know these incredible 'men' (i've seen no proof), Andy is in charge of the Tech Diving department of Big Blue - it's like recreational diving, but for those with tiny penises, and Paco is his assistant/BFF

07:00 - Andy's long suffering protege Paco gets in first, to make sure that the Tech Shack is clean enough for the imminent appearance of Lord Campbell, and to warm up his slippers in the microwave. The lingering smell of a thousand chuffs hangs ominously in the air from the previous days 'off-gassing'.

07.55 - Paco is Andy's first victim of the day, having a little cry when he hears Andy pull up in his Citroen 2CV.

08.00 - Andy appears, notices the bags under Paco's eyes, and laughs a laugh that makes all his plants wither and the milk go sour. Somewhere, an angel dies.

10:00 - After 2 hours of shouting an inanimate object (the shower) for having the audacity to change temperature slightly when he was washing his goolies, Andy pulls on some filthy BB Tech t-shirt, a pair of shorts Neil would be proud of, pokes a kitten in the eye (he always has one on hand for this exact reason) and heads out to the beach, leaving Paco alone in his misery - coincidentally also Paco's favourite time of day!
10:30 - His first students of the day arrive - it's a couple of our divemaster trainees! They already look frightened as Andy scowls at them for being youthful and being on time.

10:31 - Both are already in tears for 'not knowing everything already', despite just arriving. One of them is sent home for wearing bright colours, and huge no-no in the Tech diving community - black doesn't show the grease stains from Andy's 1950's hair pomade, you see.

10:32 - The real teaching begins, as Andy gleefully pulls out the pièce de résistance of technical diving - a Texas Instruments Scientific Calculator, that can do graphs and stuff.

11:30 - After being cheered up quite significantly by the much more affable calculator, the students dry their tears on Paco's favourite wetsuit, now used solely as a cleaning rag to 'put him in his bloody place'.

12.00 - After mastering the calculators dreamy functions, Andy now blindfolds his students and goes home for a break, leaving them to pack their diving kit without the use of their eyes - presumably as by the time they've finished this course they would've cried both the bastards out.

12:30 - After a brief trip to the local school to tell the kids the truth about Santa, Andy reappears with a puppy he found on the street.

12:31 - The puppy implodes, after listening to just one minute of Andy's patter.

13:00 - Diving! The still blind-folded students, now seriously regretting all of their life choices that led up to this harrowing experience, follow the trail of a million DMT tears before them and somehow end up on the boat unharmed physically, but mentally already dead. One of them has forgotten the calculator, and is immediately made to leave Thailand forever via swimming.

13:30 - After putting on some totally ridiculous shorts and what appear to be some some of bondage/gimp suit, they start to descend. After ten minutes of diving and about an hour of hanging on to a rope underwater doing sums, the trainees tears now raise the water levels on the island by a good few centimetres, washing away the sandcastle Andy had spent the whole of yesterday forcing Paco to build. You're in trouble now Paco!

15:00 - The surface interval - 90 minutes of Baron Campbell moaning about the prices of calculators, the positive benefits of the Brexit and how people need to 'harden the f*** up!', all whilst eating a fistful of Jammy Dodgers and drinking a cup of 'Lady Grey' tea, which he gets imported at great cost and takes out of Paco's wages.

17:30 - His students vow never to return to the oceans, and have another wee cry at the thought of all the math they need to do at a depth of 3 metres, for ages. Andy punches the air with delight, and takes out a passing Puffin much to his pleasure.

18:30 - The diving day is over, and all the tanks need to be re-filled for tomorrow. Paco immediately does it, and escapes a good thrashing.

19:00 - Andy retires to the bar, and over a white wine spritzer manages to bore half the people there with his tales of mathematics, the best sand and the easiest way to make a girl cry. The rest of the bar he (of course) makes cry, belittling them for not having clown-shorts with massive pockets, for wearing a colour other than black and for actually enjoying the marine life, a huge faux pas with Tech divers around the world.

21:00 - Andy's bedtime, and Paco's second-favourite time of the day as he can stand over him sleeping and try to drown him with his tears.


It was at this point in my spying when it all became too much for your dear writer. It truly was the longest of days, one that'll never leave me till the day I die, and has made me aware of the true brutality of the world today, a world of tears, black stuff, hanging on to ropesdoing sums, Paco's tortures and of course the hero of the day, Big Blue's most valuable team member and Andy's mentor, the Texas Instruments scientific calculator.




Andy and Paco are actually excellent Tech divers, and also very interesting too. Everything written here is a load of old clap-trap, to be honest. To get more information on the Tech diving we offer here please contact Andy himself via Facebook on our 'Big Blue Tech' page, or the old fashioned way via our email.


Monday, 18 December 2017 08:51

How to survive Bangkok Part 2 - Ping Pong!

Continuing on from the last woeful effort, something not to be missed whilst spending a day or two in Bangkok, is of course the cultural phenomenom that is the Ping Pong Show. Readers not interested in vaginal shenanigans should turn away now, and I apologise is anyone's offended by this section. I'll try not to swear too much, and to save the ears of the children i'll only use Jamaican English Patois when referring to the ladyfrontbum. If you've got Jamaican kids, they're f*cked.
For those not interested in seeing some poor soul pulling a Millenium Falcon out of their bumboclaat and an X-Wing from their flapping bobs, just go anyway and be happy in the knowledge that you're helping to support some of the poor, unfortunate souls (and all of their kids) who've somehow ended up in this business. To find one, it's all about Patpong Night Market. A rubbish market unless you want fake as f*** Rolex and Louis Vuitton stuff, it's best to start choosing your potential ping-pong venue as you walk around it, looking for the ones on ground level which tend to be a little more reputable, in the absolute loosest sense of the word. 

I recommend, of course, 'Super Pussy', named after the owners quite incredible cat, which I've been led to believe can pull an entire other cat out of its punaani.

Now, there are many ways to be scammed at these shows, which are all notorious for taking money from tourists. My expert tips (and if my wife asks, i've never been before) are:

- Try not to go alone, get a couple of other pervs to come with you.
- Tell them you've been before, and know how it works with the 'exit scam' surprise bill.
- Explicitly ask the tout as well as the owner of the show what the cover charge is, what the drink fee is, if there is any exit charge, if there is a show fee, etc.
- Make sure if they say it's 200 baht (usual price for one drink and entry) for the show, it's for all the shows and not just one performer!
- Prepay drinks as you go along so you aren’t hit with large fees when you try to settle up later.
- The chance of having a huge surprise of a bill that you are demanded to pay is very high, They know they’re lying; they do it to everyone who comes in. Just laugh at them for trying and leave!
- Take small change (20s, 50's) as the performers expect to be tipped, and get upset if you don't. 20 - 50 baht is fine per girl.
- Don't take the girl home with you, or anywhere else for that matter - she'll have a small otter in her bloodclaat still (probably).

All together, if you're good and stick to your guns you'll probably end up paying a few hundred baht per person, if not you're talking at least 1000 baht each and you'll have to marry the ugly one with the battered galamitty.
The shows are not at all sexy, so don't expect a monk-on boys. Having a few really bored looking girls (usually not that pretty) pulling razor blades, shooting darts, writing you letters (really) and blowing out candles with their pum-pum is something that you can never un-see, and very likely never ever ever want to see again. It's interesting to see once, like that Britney Spears getting out of a car photo,and that's usually more than enough for anyone.

Just don't try to join in without practising at home first, maybe start with a cherry and work your way up?



The views expressed here are the views of one, poor unfortunate who somehow still works for Big Blue. Big Blue take no responsibility for and in no way agree with anything here, now and in the future,




Saturday, 16 December 2017 00:06

How to survive Bangkok Part 1 - Khao San Road

So, as high season is now rapidly approaching us a lot of new divers will be heading our way down from Bangkok, the world's greatest//smelliest/most exciting capital city. It can often be a little intimidating for those who've never been to Thailand before, so here's a few tips for those looking to make the most out of its wonders!

Firstly, as most of our divers tend to stay in the Khao San Road area, it's well worth checking out the shopping this crazy street has to offer - great bargains can be had for absolutely everything that you could possibly need for your holidays, and the partying options there are quite staggering. This street is a hub of unwashed, dreadlocked, fishing-pant wearing humanity which means Khao San Road is the perfect place to do some people watching with a nice cold Singha in your hand - Khao San Centre bar is perfectly located right in the middle, so pull up a seat and watch the world (of ladyboys, prostitutes and tuk tuk drivers) go by!
Be aware that prices here on Koh Tao are usually a little more expensive as everything has to be ferried in to us, so try to pick up those last few items needed in Khao San before heading our way. Watch out for the conmen, in particular the fake Indian 'yogi's', who will use every trick in the book to 'Guess your mother's name kind sir!', what you ate for breakfast, your pets favourite toy...it's actually pretty impressive how easily they draw people in with their compliments, but then, before you know it they're trying to get money out of you by betting that they can tell you things that you're sure they'll never 'guess' -they will, and it'll end up expensive (or trouble) for you.

When the bustle and scammers of the Khao San becomes too much, there's a lovely little park just a ten minute walk away from the street called Santichaiprakarn Park - easy for you to say! Built around some of the old city fortifications, Santichaiprakan Park is popular with tourists and city dwellers, especially in the evening when the park fills up with families, young Thais and foreigners. It's a nice place to unwind, and let the noises of Bangkok melt away over a good book/yet another beer.

The next street along, Soi Rambuttri, is also well worth a look around. Despite being located so close by these two streets are different worlds! Rambuttri gives you a taste of how Bangkok used to look before all the development, with leafy banyan trees shading the pavements and the vibe sways more towards local than backpacker, despite a number of them now choosing to stay here rather than on the famous street itself. It's like the Khao San's more attractive, well behaved sibling! The u-shaped road takes around 30 minutes to walk along. and has a great mix of guesthouses, restaurants, bars and street food stalls, as well as the ubiquitous one million tailors that are everywhere around this area - do they make wetsuits? No, they don't.

To explore further around Bangkok i'd suggest walking ten minutes past the Democracy Monument ( a nice stroll down Ratchadamnoen Road, the other street next to Khao San) to the water taxi, which zips around on the Chao Praya river, flanked by old-style Thai houses,huge monitor lizards, the odd rat or three and all for the grand price of 12 baht to get you into the main shopping part of the city, Siam Square. These boats are a great way to get around the famous Riverside area with its many historical attractions, temples and architecture, and also to explore the 'klongs' (canals) for a glimpse of Bangkok from yesteryear. The closest stop to Khao San is called 'Paanfa', and the boats run every 20 minutes or so - a great, cheap way to explore and see how the locals live without being stuck in traffic for half of your life, as happens regularly in Bangkok, and also a good way to link up with the cities excellent Metro and Skytrain to avoid Bangkok's notorious traffic problems.

Next blog I'll be looking at the famous Sky Bars and a couple of other interesting places well worth checking out that don't involve ping pong balls.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017 06:32

The Daftest Stuff We've Been Asked...

As Koh Tao is an island filled with fresh new scuba divers, most of whom are diving for the first time in their lives, we're constantly being quizzed about the oceans and the marine life that can be seen underwater.  As you can imagine, most questions are inevitably along the lines of "Where is Nemo? Can I find Nemo? Can I Kiss Nemo? Does Dory live here? and other stuff related to that legendary Disney documentary.. 

However, every so often we're asked something that surprises even the most experienced Koh Tao dive professionals, and here's a collection of my favourites from over the years:


- Where's the beach? Is the sea next to it?

- How long does an hour massage last?

- How does Koh Tao not float away, is it chained to the floor?

- How do I know when to breathe?

- If it's high tide on this side of the island, then it's low tide on the other side right?

- How many fish will I see?

- If it rains too much will the fish die?

- I have a phobia of boats, the open ocean and fish. Do you think diving's a good idea for me?

- How deep do you have to go to dive under the island?

- If I run out of air can I not just blow into the tank to refill it?

- Where's my Darth Vader thing? (looking for his regulator)

- Does it rain underwater?

- Is this waterproof? (after giving them a dive computer to use)

- What island is this? (after driving just 5 minutes from Koh Tao)


And my favourite, which I've actually been asked on more than one occasion...

- How come the freediving isn't free? You should change the name.



Big Blue Diving, giving idiots the chance to open their mouths without thinking for 26 years and counting. Never stop guys!




Friday, 08 December 2017 08:26

Sun's Out, Regs In!

Finally it seems monsoon season has finally passed, and the skies are blue again here on Koh Tao. There was a big yellow ball of fire in the sky today (the Sun, I believe, unknown to us English) and the puddles are retreating faster than Neil’s hairline – though I’m not actually sure there is any hair now, just dust and cobwebs.
Even without a whaleshark we’re always blessed with a large amount of incredible marine life, from the tiny nudibranch to the giant groupers that like to lurk on our deeper divesites. The corals are all looking pretty healthy right now, and our divers are coming back from their trips with smiles plastered all over their faces on a regular basis. We have been lucky enough to share our favourite local site “Chumphon Pinnacle’ with a barracuda the size of a surfboard for a few weeks now, with teeth pointing in all sorts of weird directions – it could eat an apple through a bloody letterbox! This ugly brute of a fish even makes Phil appear good looking, which is no mean feat as he looks rather like a gargoyle that got stung by some bees.

So, gearing up to what promises to be another busy Christmas and New Year here on Koh Tao, there’s a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks. There may not be snow, and I’m not sure Santa will make it to all the girls and boys (we’ve all been a bit naughty) but to see those blue skies and spectacular sunsets we seem to get every night now…well it’s an opportunity not to be missed on your travels around Thailand.

In case Santa is reading, a few of our team have been writing their wish-lists for the presents they’re hoping to receive in their stockings:

Steveo Taylor, manager extraordinaire and Big Blue’s most spherical man, is after new suspension for his bike (again) and a pint glass of sherry.

Simon ‘Simo’ Garrity says he wants peace to all men (or a piece of all men?) but being from Liverpool we know he really means a bag of crack and a jazz-mag.

P’Tia, our hardest working taxi driver, wants a day off. He won’t get it.

Moe, Burmese legend and our equipment specialist, refused to answer as he was asleep on a bag of regulators with a cat perched on his lip.

Stefano, the dreadlocked Italian, said something in such a ridiculous accent I immediately forgot it, and he sidled off to listen to his Bob Marley LPs. Please Lord bring him a haircut.

Angel, Catalan divemaster and Marlboro man’s apprentice just coughed, and muttered something about ‘bloody Madrid’.

So Santa, if you’re reading this, we promise we’ve all been good (compared to say, Hitler) and if you can bring us a few more months of great weather we’ll all be more than happy!


Big Blue

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