21st January 2015beachclean

Big Blue Conservation had our monthly beach and reef clean up the other day which was joined by the divemaster trainees and some of our guests (anything to get a free dive hey). The team collected from Hin Wong Bay which is a beach that seems to collect rubbish during monsoon as the winds are coming in a westerly direction pushing the rubbish up on the beach on the eastern side of Koh Toa. Well done and thank you to everyone who took part. We need to keep our oceans and divesites clean its just a shame that the rubbish we pick up as a result of our own humanities actions. So in the bars and restaurants and shops say no to straws and plastic bags if you dont need them.

Today we meet our Divemaster Mentor Team. This bunch of muppets are responsible for the training of our professionals, they can be all that bad as some of our best fulltime divemasters and instructors were trained by them.

So without further ado lets meet Simo, G, Guy, Iain, Nick and Ant. To see pictures of their ugly mugs check out The Team section in about us at the top of the page.

Simon Garrity

What a character. Worked as a Divemaster at Big Blue before becoming an SSI and PADI Instructor and is now the worlds most accomplished SSI Instructor Trainer having certified more SSI Instructors than any one individual anywhere else in the world. Recently Simo also became an Instructor Examiner which means he gets to travel the world scaring the bejeezus outta possible instructor candidates! Simo is a natural stand up comedian and can be seen live on stage at Koh Tao’s Comedy Club at weekends & on other nights he hosts all our Divemaster Challenges at Big Blue, dressed in high heels, a wig, fishnet stockings, make up and a short tight dress. Seriously!

Germaine Maguire

Probably Koh Tao's most well-known person! Everyone knows Irish G! If you don't know Irish G then you obviously haven't been to Koh Tao! Long-time Instructor on Koh Tao, G has also done a stint teaching in South America & Australia, you know, for a Crack! Now a full time Instructor here at Big Blue and our only female Mentor in our Divemaster Training Programmes G has certified thousands of students already. She is a PADI & SSI Instructor & when she’s not teaching she is also the owner of Moov! One of Koh Tao's most unique, hippest & funkiest clubs & restaurants. G is an island legend & if you end up being taught by her when you get here then be prepared to pay a little more. We charge extra for diving with celebrities!

Guy Bannister

Guy is one of the islands finest Instructors who was working at one of the islands finest Dive centres but then quit & came & worked for us! Guy is a PADI Master Instructor & an SSI Instructor Trainer, so experienced is he that is the first choice for most of our Interns when they get to shadow one of our Instructors. Might be something to do with his laid back attitude, relaxed demeanour, extreme patience, widespread knowledge & bags of cash! Before being a Dive Instructor & Guy can be, & was, a bit of a Banker, but decided to pack it in just a few days before the financial crisis. Not saying he's the one responsible but I bet he's got a few million quid stashed away in his Dive bag somewhere!

Iain Goodfellow

One of our main pool of PADI and SSI Instructors, but this one is from the Highlands! Iain has been a Big Blue Instructor for about 4 years now and is also one in our team of 6 who train our PADI Divemasters and SSI Divecons & another one in our team of very experienced SSI Instructor Trainers. As the name suggests Iain Goodfellow is a jolly nice chap, and a member of the Las Vegas Mafia. 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 I ever wake up with a horse’s head in my bed I’ll let you know!

Nick 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! This is exactly what he’s doing now. 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!

Ant Silwood

Despite the fact Ant is Welsh we still went ahead & employed him! Must be something about his likeable personality, charm, good looks & our necessity to have someone to pick on! Ant is a PADI & SSI Instructor having been professionally trained by some of the leading Scuba Diving Instructors in the business. I wonder who they were. 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 relaxed, reliable & great eye candy for the ladies!

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20th January 2015dms

As promised the website is being updated and we have been tinkering around with our staff profiles. We have got to know them more of the months and years that they have been here so we have more abuse to give them.

So we have already met Stephen Larder, now its time for Steven, Carly and Nick.

Steven DeVelter

Self-proclaimed "Best Divemaster in the World" Steven is our Head DM. An extremely well trained diving professional having done most of his professional training with us! Steven has been our Head Divemaster for almost 27 years now and still doesn’t look like he plans on leaving anytime soon so happy is he with the joys of 12 hour days, 7 day weeks, dealing with Instructor demands, managing logistics and leading scuba divers. Consequently this might lead you to believe that perhaps Steven isn’t all there, which would actually be a very accurate observation! Italian by birth, Geordie by nature Steven has very distinctive sense of humour. Serious & professional, fun & entertaining, scarily hairy & swings both ways Steven will probably be here for another 27 years self ‘proclaiming’ with himself.

Carly Marsh

A white South African so completely racist, corrupt and filthy rich! A Gold Smith by trade! Obviously not a very good one or she wouldn't be working here! Nicknamed Prawn- something to do with that terrible South African Sci fi movie, nothing to do with a chick that has a mad body, but a bad face, (you know like when you eat a prawn, you eat the body and throw away the head!) Prawn is the hottest of our Divemaster team. She's also the smallest, ah maybe that's where the name came from! Carly is our first employed Seffrican who can speak English or at least thinks she can which results in a completely effective failure to communicate. We usually just wait for her to break into tribal dance and sing/dance/unnecessary shouting/boobies!

Nick Tringham

Another 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 works as one of our team of 4 Divemasters telling everyone else what to do while they abuse 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 DM types we had in the offing. 

As you can see we genuinely love our staff or at least we love insulting them, next will be our 6 Divemaster Mentors.

 

 

 

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14th December 2015stephen larder

Over the next few weeks we will be updating our Meet the Team page. Please have a mooch around and meet some of the Dive professionals you will be meeting once you arrive at Big Blue. Big Blue has a very unique atmosphere which is one of the reasons why we have not only stayed so long but why so many of our customers just keep coming back for more. Many even go on with their dive training so they can sack in the day job from wherever they come from and come to work here. We really do have the one of the best jobs in the world. We know how amazing that underwater world is and we want to pass our passion on to you. Whilst maintaining a level safety and professionalism while allowing you to have fun in the process.

Let us meet our newest entry-

Divemaster- Stephen 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 couple of 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. As one of Big Blue’s full time Divemaster 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!

 

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 13th January 2015

comp winner

Happy New Year from everyone at Big Blue. We hope by this time you have all recovered from your festive antics. As you saw from our last post we had a very special Christmas present in the shape of a big boat. The big boss man has decided to name her Enzo after the character from the freediving movies The Big Blue, where the freediver becomes friends without benefits with a dolphin.

Last year we ran a competition on who could send us a selfie with their Big Blue T-shirt in an interesting location. Our winner was Joakim Moller Boneng. When we told him he had won the competition he booked a flight back out to Thailand from his home country of Norway. He won free Deep Specialty, Wreck Specialty and Nitrox Specialty courses. He has also been enjoying some fun dives while he has been here. We will be announcing a new competition very soon with some great prizes up for grabs including a Divemaster Course. So keep watching this space for more information. My theme is to have a Big Blue T-shirt on a celebrity. Let’s see how that goes.. #bigblueselfie

 

 

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30th December 2014deathstar

We hope you all had a great Christmas and are over your hangovers and food comas. Our Christmas Dinner was epic; Scott Frost our aussie instructor who was a chef in his previous life along with his side kick Lina cooked our dinner for nearly 40 members of staff. We were treated to lamb, pork and turkey with a Swedish input of meatballs and potato gratin and a whole other bunch of veggies and stuffing. Yum! But the best news of all was Big Blues present of a brand new boat. The boat which has yet to be named will be up and running in the New Year and will be the biggest boat in our fleet. This means we have four, yes four boats that can accommodate dive courses, fun divers and also run 3 dive day trips to Sail Rock. As you can imagine we are all very excited. All we need to do now is come up with a name for her. Suggestions on a post card please.

When we are taking certified divers fun diving it is sometimes surprising how many divers we see diving with too much weight because it’s what they were told they needed on their last diving holiday. Being weighted properly means that it isn’t all about kicking your way around a dive site, a more efficient way to move through the water is to kick and glide, thus reducing effort and air consumption. During the Advanced Adventurer course your Instructor will recommend that one of the chosen dives is Perfect Buoyancy and this is usually the first dive of the course, as this will help you determine how much weight you need for different diving conditions, and you will also experiment with different weight positioning to perfect your trim. It fines tunes your buoyancy skills and educated how just your breath can alter you buoyancy. Being able to control your buoyancy means that you are more comfortable in the water which also means you will enjoy your diving much more and also making you a safer diver. Ask your instructor about the buoyancy dive on your Advanced Course, or even the Buoyancy Specialty Course which is two dives of intense buoyancy skills. #realdiving

 

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Wednesday 24th December 2014instructors300x225

Congratulations to our two newest SSI Instructors Erik and Johan who passed their instructor exam yesterday. They had two days of exams in which they passed with flying colours just in time for them to celebrate Swedish Christmas today. Well done also needs to go to Iain their Instructor Trainer for preparing them to be the best #realdiving

Ho Ho Ho! From everyone at Big Blue Diving we wish you all a very Merry Christmas. We had our staff party the other night which the annual staff awards and tequila shots. The awards went to both the dive staff, the resort staff, the boat and equipment staff and to idiots that also deserved an award for being idiots! We love each other a lot.

Awards went to:
Best Retail sales- Tim
Best Team- Shop Girls
Best Dive staff- Ernesto
Best Newcomer- Rick
Biggest Contribution- Robyn (Drift)
Best Instructor- Petra
Best Sales- Wibeke
Good Samaritan- P’Tia
Best Land based staff- May
Best Boat Staff- Soe
Most Valuable Staff- P’Nut

 

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Friday 19th December 2014SSImo

Big Blue Diving is bursting with pride today as our longest serving instructor Simon Garrity or SSImo as we call him has just been awarded the SSI International Training Director rating. This means he will be conducting SSI Instructor Trainer Seminars, primarily in and around SE Asia. This is pretty much the highest rating possible to achieve as an instructor with SSI. This course has taken place in the Philippines over the last week. Simon has asked me to pass on HUGE thanks go Al Stewart for all the support over the years and throughout the process, and also to the team at Big Blue Diving, he couldn't have done it without you! Congratulations SSImo on this rating there will be a few cold beers waiting for you when you get back. #REALDIVING

A new record has been set for the world's deepest fish. The bizarre-looking creature, which is new to science, was filmed 8,145m beneath the waves, beating the previous depth record by nearly 500m. Several other new species of fish were also caught on camera, as well as huge crustaceans called supergiants. The marine animals were discovered during an international expedition to the Mariana Trench, which lies almost 11km down in the Pacific Ocean. Until this expedition, the deepest fish had been found in the Japan Trench, also in the Pacific Ocean. A 17-strong shoal of pink, gelatinous snailfish (Pseudoliparis amblystomopsis) were recorded 7,700m down. This new record-breaking creature is close to the depth-limit at which scientists believe fish can survive. The dives made during the expedition were all conducted by unmanned vehicles, but a few humans have visited the world's deepest place.In 1960, US Navy Lt Don Walsh and Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard made an incredibly risky journey to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in a bathyscaphe called the Trieste. And in 2012, Hollywood director James Cameron made a solo descent to the seafloor in his sub called the Deepsea Challenger. He described the place as a desolate, alien world, and has taken a lot of characteristics from deep sea marine live in many of his films. Very cool and still so much to be discovered.

 

 

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Thursday 18th December 2014scubasanta

BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club) have just held their charity Scuba Santa event in the UK. With nearly 200 divers entering the water dressed up in Santa outfits, they are planning on raising over £2,000 for both the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institute) and DDRC (Diving Diseases Research Centre). Various dive centres around the country head down to Chepstow and Vobster Quay in Somerset for the event. I think we should have something like this next year here at Big Blue Diving and proceeds can go to our Eco projects.

As Christmas is rapidly approaching the social calendar is filling up fast. With Divemaster Challenges, Pub Quizzes and the Big Blue Staff party it is going to be a great build up to the Christmas dinner. if you are thinking about coming to Thailand for your holidays and t o Koh Tao to learn to dive accommodation at this time of year fills up quickly too so to avoid disappointment be sure to book your courses and fun dives and accommodation now. We still work throughout the holidays but some trips will not be running. There will be no diving on the morning of 23rd, 25th December or the 1st January. All other dive trips and courses will be running as usual around these dates.

 

 

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 Monday 15th December 2014

ITC

Two of our ex- DMTs Johan Arsbog (aka JD) and Erik Sundkvist are half way through their SSS Instructor Training Course being taught by our very own Instructor Trainer Iain Goodfellow. Erik completed his Divemaster training in 2011 and went back to Sweden but has now come back to Big Blue after having enough of all the Swedish beauties. JD started his Divemaster training around 5 years ago but due to injuries and being unable to find the door out of a few bars, and finding a passion for technical diving, now he has finally completed his DM course and is taking the next step on the professional ladder. The two boys have been working very hard over the last few days. The course consists of lots of studying, academic presentation, pool presentations and open water presentations. Once they are ready they will sit their Instructor Exam which is split into 3 parts, written exam, classroom presentation assessment and open water presentation assessments. If you are interested in giving up your day job and starting a career that can take you all over the world, where the ocean becomes your office and where you get to meet people from all different walks of life, then find out more about becoming a dive professional by sending us an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

When a baby whale shark was discovered swimming in the open sea on Sunday in the Maldives, it was a big deal. According to a local news report, a whale shark that young had never been spotted in the region and the find began speculation that whale sharks may be breeding in the area. It was regarded as a “joyous occasion” by a local research centre. However, when the 45 cm baby was captured and later shown to be swimming in a resort pool , it was extremely distressing Whaleshark Conservation groups because whale sharks are a threatened species and are protected, as they can grow up to 12- 13 metres they most certainly do not belong in captivity. The docile filter-feeder whale shark was hand-captured by employees from Ganhei Island Resort, and originally said to have been kept only temporarily in holding tanks before it would be released. But later in the day, photos surfaced showing the whale shark in a saltwater pool at a different resorts pool, swimming with resort guests. It turned out that instead of releasing the whale shark, an attempt by its captors was made to sell the animal to the owner of another resort. However, that person demanded that the captors take the whale shark back to where it was caught, and set it free. To end on a very much happier note, the baby whale shark was released after being catalogued in the Maldives Whaleshark database as WS217. Researchers will be able to identify the whale shark in future years, if it returns and is spotted. Happy ending thankfully!

 

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Friday 12th December 2014undersea lodge

As diving professionals we spend most of our time in the water but have you ever thought of living under the water permanently. Two scientists have broken the record for the longest time spent living underwater. The biology professors, Bruce Cantrell and Jessica Fain, have spent nearly 10 weeks in Jules' Undersea Lodge, which bills itself as “the only undersea hotel on Earth” and is located just off the coast of Key Largo, Florida. Cantrell and Fain, decided to live underwater to learn more about marine biology and educate students about the ocean. The undersea hotel is anchored just offshore under 7.6 metres of water. There are two guest rooms and an eight-by-20 foot common room, access is gained via a wet room with a moon pool. It has many portholes that allow visitors to watch sea life. The facility is filled with compressed air (as is the case with a spacecraft), which posed some interesting challenges, for example, before learning that under pressure, food cooks much more quickly than on land, Fain inadvertently burned some toast and “exploded” a few hot dogs in the microwave. The researchers will return to the surface on Monday, December 15, putting the new record for living underwater at 73 days (breaking the record was their stated goal at the outset). “I think we’ll be happy to see the sky and sun again,” Cantrell said. (Article from underwatertimes.com)

Over the next few days we will be following the experience of one of our Divemaster Trainees who recently finished their course.

Part one- My Dive Master Training Experience-
“One January, in a hostel somewhere in Mexico, I met guy that changed my life, he made me fall in love and showed me a whole new world. After talking to him for a while, I was pretty convinced but I was super nervous about my first time, he assured me though that it was super fun and I would be completely safe. And he was right. I went diving, I think it was then that I knew I wanted to be a dive professional. I’m sure when most people say they met someone that changed their life, it’s because they fell in love with them, but for me it’s because I fell in love with diving. So my journey started. After doing my open water and advanced course in Panama, I eventually made my way to Indonesia for my rescue course; next I had to make the big decision where to do my DMT. So after a bit of thinking I had a couple of places in mind and I hopped on a train from Malaysia, having slept through my train stop I ended up in Chumphon instead. And although partially accidental, coming to Koh Tao and to Big Blue has been honestly one of the best decisions I have ever made.

My first week here was kind of felt like I had moved to a new school. Everyone already had friends, and seemed to know what they were doing effortlessly, there was homework and exams, and I had to get up early. But fortunately I was wrong and it was really nothing like school, all the people here were genuinely really nice and wanted to help me, and everything slowly started to make sense. Despite the early mornings, homework and kind of being the Divemaster’s and Instructor’s goffer, I still absolutely loved it. I think the one of the most surprising things though was when I started assisting on courses, I quickly realised that this was something I really enjoyed and couldn’t wait to do another one. I thought it was really strange but great to see someone’s first breath underwater and then see them go from that moment to the end of a course. I hadn’t really thought about doing my instructor course before but it is definitely something I am considering now.”

 

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