The Team (8)

When all is said & done the success or failure of any business relies very much on the involvement of the staff. Big Blue Diving has a fantastic Dive team & we all know that every time we start a course we know this is big deal for you the students & therefore we got to make this experience the highlight of your holiday!  So lets see who these clowns are shall we...



Steven DeVelter. Self-proclaimed "Best Divemaster in the World" Steven works in our booking office hassling people off the street as they walk past. An extremely well trained diving professional having done most of his professional training with us! Steven was our Head Divemaster for almost 7 years enjoying 12 hour days, 7 day weeks, dealing with Instructor demands, managing logistics and leading scuba divers. He now heads our booking office in Sairee Village, responsible for our abusive and interesting Quote or Thought of the days signboards! On initial introduction you might be forgiven for thinking perhaps that Steven isn’t all there, which would actually be a very accurate observation! Serious & professional, fun & entertaining, scarily hairy & swings both ways Steven will probably be here for another 27 years self ‘proclaiming’ with himself.


ros250x200Ros Annenberg- one of our more experienced working girls having worked in the Diving Industry for almost half her life already. She is a hair dresser by trade but quit the world of bouffants & perms for tinted highlights & coifs, & became a DM then a PADI Instructor. Having slept with all the right people she soon found herself manager of one of Koh Tao’s most up & coming Dive Centers, pulling punters off the streets in the promise of offering them a good time. We test tried her at Big Blue if she promised not to burn the place down or flood it in my absence. A kitchen fire & a major flood later, Ros ended up in the Caribbean before heading back to Koh Tao for an awesome opportunity to run another Koh Tao Dive center. But it didn’t take long for her heart to take over & be where she truely wanted to be. So she’s back here with us again working at our Big Blue Booking Office hanging out on street corners & pulling in the punters with the promise of offering them the time of their life, as long as you pay for it!





Billy Cloud. Mr Billy Cloud (Cockney) who at 73 is the current world record holder for oldest living human to use bad language non-stop for 70 years. He's the Mnager at Big Blue Movies as well as the hardest working member of the team, and recently saved up enough money to pay for his long suffering girlfriend Sarah to have her swear receptors permanently removed. Never one to moan or complain Billy has been working on & off at Big Blue since the dawn of man as an Instructor (before he got fired) then a videographer (before the company he worked for got fired) and now back here again filming for us at Big Blue Movies before he'll more than likely get fired again! As they say all good things come in threes!


 wayneWayne Morris Tasmanian! Though he's never been there before in his life! Brought up in the sunny climes of Seaford Sussex Wayne is an incredibly talented and creative young man (cough), and designs many of our promotional flyers & posters & social media bollocks. Hand picked by the Boss to for his years of experience as an underwater person with a camera. He has many duties including: wrangling videographers, replenishing the cotton buds and bog roll, asking Billy to calm down, coiffing other videographers hair, dogsitting & inspiring the youth of today to become underwater camera persons like himself. Oi Loik Phish I do!





eco rachel Rachel Linarts. Our ‘Green Queen’. Rachel is the Manager of our eco arm Big Blue Conservation. An experienced BSAC, PADI & SSI Instructor, Rachel is also a trained Marine Biologist; which is nice! Organiser of our weekly beach & Dive site clean ups & our legendary Swim for Sharks event in the summer & numerous other events we host throughout the year, Rachel has what we recognise as an essential criteria for being an Ambassador of the ocean. She likes to hug trees & fishies. Got the job when in the interview she said she’d do the job for love not for money. Great. Set her up with some weird Techie bloke & now we got free labour!





jessJessica Leigh. Jess is our multi talented Shop Manager who's coming up for 7 years now at Big Blue. She is the front line at Big Blue & probably the first person you will meet when you arrive here. She deals with millions of questions every day, juggles rooms, bookings, customers, taxis, Instructors, Divemasters and housekeepers. She's also fluent in Thai and if she ever left we'd all have to jump ship! Amazing really to think that one of the biggest Dive schools in the world is basically run by someone who thought the capital of Afghanistan was Al Qaeda, that the English Language was invented by Cavemen, that there are only 3 stripes on the American flag and that stick insects are actually made of wood! Luckily Jess has absolutely no interest what so ever in diving! Weird that considering her one and only attempt at scuba and she ended up snogging her Instructor on a boat called Spank Me!

asThe Ae’s. In this shop are two Ae’s, let‘s introduce them to you. Two Ae’s, we call them Ae 1 and Ae2. These Ae’s will not bite you, they’re here to have fun, so without further ado, meet Ae 2 and Ae 1. Ae 2 would like to clarify that just because she is Ae 2 does not imply in any way she is inferior to Ae 1, just fatter. No surprise there as she owns the islands best Bakery- Chok Dee Bakery, so sampling all those crumpets, cheesecakes, & chocolate brownies has made her disproportionately larger than most of the rest of us! While hours spent on her Ipad has made her royal highness Ae1 as blind as one of those potatoes she sows on Farmville. Ae1 & Ae2, the best fat blind birds any shop could ask for.

jimJim Donaldson. Celebrating his 10 years at Big Blue Birthday this year Jim has almost 20 years experience in the Dive Industry now having worked as a Divemaster, an Instructor and a Manager and is now the General Manager & one of the owners of Big Blue Diving. He is the proud recipient of SSI's highest honour that of the Platinum Pro 5000 card. A “who’s who” of diving, containing the world’s most prominent dive leaders, scientists, photographers, manufacturers, retailers, and Jim! A father of 2 amzing little girls Jim is extremely talented, handsome, very rich, loved by the ladies and admired by the men, muscular, athletic, virile, looks good in a speedo, well endowed, licensed to kill, charming, witty, intelligent, speaks half a dozen languages and is adored by his staff! At least he better be or they're all fired!

wibWibeke Dahlin. A PADI Divemaster from Sweden, home to one of the world's stinkiest foods -Surströmming. The aroma of this pungent dish of fermented herring can best be described as a mixture of strong cheese and stale sweat. Her actual claim to fame is that she once shared a dish of this crap with Jamie Oliver on one of his shows! But Wib prefers showing off the fish underwater rather than eating them! Wib is the one who responds to our email enquiries... while lounging by the side of the pool soaking up the sun and supping on Strawberry Daiquiries and listening to the rocking Swedish sounds of Ace of Bass and Roxette! And you thought the sound of Surströmming was bad!




nick tringham

Nick Tringham, is a former Investment Banker who worked at Deutsche Bank then became a professional Scuba Diver once he’d managed to ruin the Greek economy and stashed away his barrels of cash! Nick heads our team of 4 Divemasters telling everyone else what to do while simultaneously abusing all the other members of staff in the shop. Another one of our own home-grown stash of DM’s Nick actually paid the boss over a million pounds to ensure he got the DM job here at Big Blue over all the other better trained, posh, plum mouthed, silver spooned, yuppie, toffee nosed waist coat wearing, spoilt Divemaster types we had in the offing.

stephStephanie Schlatter is our real head Divemaster, she just lets Nick think he is, because we all know that the girls wear the trousers! Steph is Swiss German and is a published Mechanical Engineer and also a qualified Gym Instructor so she is not only hot and super fit but she also has a brain. Steph is an excellent Divemaster and organizes the logistical operations at Big Blue with the rest of the DM team. You will not be disappointed with Steph taking you out whether it is for a refresher dive, a fun dive or even a candle lit dinner & a movie.

sunaSuna Karamustafaoglu. Another quality piece of Swiss engineering Suna was a translator in her previous life and can speak 5 languages fluently including Parseltongue. She has now been working as a Divemaster with us for 3 years, and is quite possibly the smallest adult diver we have ever had here and we even had some custom-made steps built in the shop so we can see her behind the counter! This little pocket rocket is a mix of Swiss- German, Turkish and Indian and is a favourite choice for those who like to choose their Favourite Divemaster!


Angel Martin. The newest member of the DM team, Angel (pronounced Ang-hell) is Spanish, he speaks Spanish and is very proud of being Spanish. After selling his posh food and wine shop in Barcelona our very own Manuel came to work with our Basil Fawlty (Jim). Having worked for us for 5 years off and on as a freelance DM he now finally has a full time position which we were all very happy about. Looks like a Spanish equivalent of Coco the clown Ang-hell is also Koh Taos version of Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite! (before he kills me for writing this he is actually Catalan).





andy250x200Andy Campbell, is our Big Blue Tech Manager and the proud recipient of the prestigious 2016 award for most SDI & TDI certs in South East Asia. He has been at Big Blue off and on for years working as both Divemaster and Instructor, and now offers a plethora of SSI and TDI Technical course ranging from Advanced Nitrox, Decompression Procedures, Extended Range, Advanced Wreck and Sidemount courses. Andy is a master a recovering treasure from the bottom of the ocean. It is estimated that he has found over 10 million bahts worth in Gro Pros, cameras, torches, reels, drop tanks, computers, masks and even a huge anchor at a secret location. He is our very own Finder. He has worked as a professional photographer in China and is also our drone driver. His beautiful wife is also quite possibly one of the nicest divemasters you could ever have the pleasure of diving with.




simoSimon Garrity has been part of Big Blue since the dawn of man as a Divepro mentor, a PADI Instructor, an SSI Instructor Trainer Certifier, an SSI Instructor Examiner, and the most experienced SSI Instructor Trainer in the world. His sense of humour is legendary and he could quite easily have been a stand-up comic if he had not chosen diving as his vocation in life. Not shy to get on the microphone you will usually see Simo as the instigator and host of one of our famous Divemaster Challenges dressed in fish net stockings and a miniskirt. I'm absolutely serious. Simo will leave you with great memories, great skills as a diver and rib ache from laughing so much.


iain250x200 Iain Goodfellow is responsible for training most of our Divemasters & Instructors who then go onto train all our students. So dont worry. We're all fecked!  Also an SSI Instructor Trainer Iain has worked at Big Blue as a PADI Instructor & SSI Instructor for about 7 years now and as the surname suggests is probably a Mafia mobster. Hailing from a background in social welfare Iain is naturally very chatty & extremely friendly & is one of the most patient & sensible Instructors we have around but you never know with these Scottish Mafia types, it could just be a façade. If you ever wake up with a horse’s head in your bed let me know!


mini250x200Ant Edgely, Mini Ant used to be a big shot Architect with many of his fine erections scattered throughout London & was offered a job by one of the UK's largest building firms but turned them down in order to become a Big Blue Diving DMT! Could have been a disastrous decision for Ant but luckily he excelled at his DM Training & went straight on to become an SSI Instructor and was immediately offered a job by another Dive shop on Koh Tao before we told them to bugger off! "He's ours!" Now works as one of our Full Time SSI & PADI Instructor's for Big Blue Pro training Divemasters Ant is still trying to keep his eye in the architectural game & totally designed our Mothership MV Waverunner. A bit of elbow grease here and a bit of imagination there & Ant has gone & created another fine erection!

antAnt Silwood, Welsh! Big Ant is a PADI & SSI Instructor having been professionally trained by some of the leading Scuba Diving Instructors in the business. He is also one of our Divemaster Trainers & having worked as a DM with us for a couple of years already really knows his stuff. Originally a Computer software salesman with an alleged talent at being able to fix computer problems, Ant has on numerous occasions proven this fact to be a complete joke & can't even spell PC let alone fix one! However he is very likeable, charming, relaxed, reliable & great eye candy for the ladies!


anne250x200Anne Marie Morak, used to be a Disney Princess at Disneyland Florida before ditching the world of fairytales for the life of make believe as a Scuba Diving Instructor. Anne is a Dual Cert Instructor with both PADI & SSI & is also one of our team from Big Blue Pro responsible for training all our Divemaster & Instructor Candidates. Originally from Holland Anne speaks 3 languages Dutch, Deutsch & Dinglish & has worked at numerous Diveshops around Koh Tao as well as a stint in the world famous Similan Islands on the west coast of Thailand working on one of the more luxurious Liveaboards that cruises around those areas. Packed all of it in when she heard the Number One Dive Center in the world was looking for someone of enormous quality to join the team and with a Bippedy Boppedy Boo here she is!


fishladPhil Smith, a horticulturist by trade, Phil ran his own landscaping business in the Lake District area of the UK! Gave it all up to go traveling the world and ended up here! Oddly enough was nicknamed 'Fishlad' by his mates at school way before he took up Scuba Diving as a career! They reckoned with a nose that big he looked like a sea creature. Should have called him Elephant Seal Phil!  Phil started work here at Big Blue as a Divemaster & became a PADI and SSI Instructor as well as one of our Sidemount Instructors. He is now the newest member of our mentor team, and a great addition. He is very laid back & patient is Phil. Excellent qualities to have as a Scuba Diving Instructor and as an elephant seal!





Steveo250x200SteveO Taylor Possibly the biggest reason Big Blue can be viewed as so successful is because our Manager works as an Instructor too. Steve is our Dive Operations Manager so he is responsible for everything to do with how we operate our Dive procedures & ensures everyone has a great time while adhering to standards. And who better to keep everyone in line than a big burly Yorkshireman with more ink than a frightened octopus. Stepped into the world of Scuba Diving a little later than most of us but has taken to it like a rather large duck to water. Steve is proof that’s it’s never too late for a career change and 3 years after his life changing decision to become an SSI & PADI Scuba Instructor is now managing one of the largest Dive Centers (Jeremy Clarkson voiceover)... in the world!

NeilNeil Draycott could have been the 6th member of the boy band Take That but producers decided they'd rather have someone who had absolutely no talent what so ever! So he formed his own band instead! Neil has calmed down a lot since reaching the dizzying heights of Rock stardom! Once hailed by NME as the next major British Ska band to hit the big time. A performing music legend at festivals, live gigs & concert halls, scantily clad in his socks Dr. Martens boots, & strategically placed Trumpet, Neil is now an unassuming SSI, PADI & BSAC Instructor and a power boating Instructor as well & with over 10 years’ experience on Koh Tao working in the scuba diving Industry is one of our very best Instructors here at Big Blue & the guy many of our interns aspire to be. Oh no sorry that’s Robbie Williams. 

lukeLuke White is one of our triple certified Instructors, PADI, SSI & BSAC. Luke comes from a place in England I only thought existed in fairy tales & children’s horror stories- Grimsby! Need I give any other reason as for why Luke finds himself gainfully employed in one of the world’s most amazing locations? Looks like he's just stepped out of a line up for a Sparta movie, Luke is nothing like the scary Barbarian his outward appearance would have you perceive! Calm, funny, relaxed, very easy going Luke has found himself right at home at Big Blue, & having just tied the knot last year is ready to settle down to a life of domestic abuse, physical violence, unpredictable mood swings, enslavement & enforced manual labour. Who’d have thought the similarities between Marriage & Grimsby were so alike!

sonwanSonia Scott, Ex- Great Britain Rugby International & sports physio, is also our resident Dive Medic & our most experienced instructors in the team. Sonia has worked in Scuba Diving as a Divemaster, a PADI & SSI Instructor, a Dive Medic Technician, a Liveaboard Dive Operations Manager & a Dive Center Manager. She’s certified thousands of novice divers & hundreds of diving professionals. She’s worked for Big Blue Diving in Koh Tao & Big Blue Diving in Khao Lak for over 10 years & she worked at the largest Dive operation on Thailands west coast & also opened their Dive Center in Komodo, Indonesia & is one of the few people in the world who have ever dived across the Equator in complete Open Ocean. …   … (sigh)

scotty250x200Scotty Frost. Reckon we were pretty drunk when we brought Scotty into the team! Oh yeah that’s right we were! He spoiled us all last Christmas by cooking up a slap up Christmas dinner for all the staff. We all got absolutely hammered as you do at Christmas & then next day there was Scotty all scrubbed up in his budgy smugglers & singlet ready to start work! Scotty has a background in the food & beverage industry which in Australia means getting drunk while cooking & judging on last Christmas slap up scram he was obviously very good at his job!.  A very well respected PADI & SSI Instructor within the Big Blue Dive team & a multi-talented Australian, (how’s that for a contradiction in terms) Scotty has been with us now for about 3 years & we still cant get rid of him!

erinErin Mihalik. Coming from the Third World nation of what was the great US of A, Erin comes from Nashville, Tennessee. Erin is our country music loving SSI and PADI Instructor, yeehaa. She is trained in Human Rights Law but got a bit confused when she was told to go sit her bar, we found her sat at our Big Blue bar advocating Free Beer For All, this didn’t quite work because she can’t drink for toffee and she is still to pay for her drinks once she loses her lawsuit in court. Now a much loved Diving Instructor she encourages fish and coral rights which she passes on to her students. Like most people with an ounce of common sense she detests Donald Trump with a passion and has been teaching at Big Blue now for almost 3 years and is a great asset to the team...  if you like line dancing!

liamLiam Kelly is an ex British Services Royal Marine, so he's hard as nails as well as a little hard of hearing which accounts for why his music tastes include Justin Beiber, Katy Perry, N-Sync, Backstreet Boys and Take That. And you thought the Royal Marines was full of tough nuts. This big softy will often be seen walking around in his pink crop top showing off his rippling physique, which is a delight to the ladies. He has now been an SSI and PADI Instructor with us for the past 2 years, but give him credit where credit is due apart from his dire music taste he's a great diving instructor,  very calm and very patient with his students, as our reviews can prove. After all whats not to like about a hearing impaired pumped up paramilitary pink pansy! (Crikey, having just written this I hope he's visually impaired too!)

 jai250x200Jai Kennedy, an Aussie Dive Machine- Jai! Jai, never says no to anything (bear that in mind ladies). Jai is always the first to step up & help out. Multi-talented is our Jai! Jai is a Tech Diver, a PADI Instructor, an SSI Instructor & a TDI Sidemount Instructor but way more importantly than that Jai can do the splits, without tearing his scrotum & is seriously bloody good at it too. You can catch Jai at night, quite literally,  dressed in tight crotch hugging leotards & masquerading as a swinger at the Koh Tao Flying Trapeze. Jai is also a great word, especially when said with an Aussie accent & should be used more often in everyday conversation which should then not be confused with a mild form of Tourettes Syndrome which is what the rest of us have!

nick B blogNick Bufton, separated at birth from Sid the Sloth, Nick is one of our fully qualified SSI and PADI Instructors. Trained by another rival dive shop here in Koh Tao and even worked there for some time as a Dive master then an Instructor then as an Instructor training Divemasters! A huge catch for us. He has a great track record with his Open Water students who continue with their Advanced Course and is also a very accomplished swimmer and holding the record for our 'Swim for Sharks' charity event we host every year, swimming 3.5 kilometres around the island of Nang Yuan in just 55 minutes to raise money for Shark conservation. Not a bad time for a slow moving mammal that lives in trees!


slards250x200Stephen Larder. Looks like he’s just stepped off a refugee boat & claimed Australian asylum hence the nickname he’s been branded with ‘Homeless Steve’. Arrived here at Big Blue a few Christmases ago and booked in for his change of lifestyle package, Open Water thru to Divemaster, looking very ‘Kylie’ with his long blonde flowing locks, blue eyes, bronzed tan & budgie smuggled down his bikini bottoms. Stephen has proved to be a very good catch for us and worked for a couple of years as one of our full time Divemasters. Now a full time Big Blue Diving PADI & SSI Instructor Stephen is very calm & relaxed & is just the kind of guy you’d want being in charge of your boat whether its heading out to Koh Tao’s famous divesites full of keen avid underwater explorers or guiding your Indonesian Fishing boat through the Torres Strait full of asylum seekers & and other Aussie soap opera star looking refugees!