Saturday 8th November 2014molly-adding-to-the-nursery

Next Monday our very own conservation queen is organising an Eco Day for guests and DMTs. This will involve a dive on our coral nursery where you will learn how to clean, maintain and replant coral which will attract new marine life. With reefs around the world being threatened, many scientists feel that much of the world’s reefs could be lost in the next 100 years. The destruction of reefs are due to humans primarily with trawling, dynamite fishing and chemical waste as well as divers and snorkelers who damage the reef and who thing it’s perfectly ok to stand on and break at their convenience. The only thing snorkelers and divers shown touch in the water is each other and they should only leave behind their own bubbles nothing else. A number of organisations including Save Koh Tao and other dive operators on Koh Tao have begun constructing small coral nurseries to test the feasibility and success of different methods. So far 3 different types of structures have been test-built and all have been successful. Come in and ask to speak to Rachel if you want to come and join us or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

With monsoon supposedly being here and this being our low season now, not all the instructors are working. So what better way to spend the afternoon than in the pub watching the rugby! New Zealand v England in the Rugby League first and then England v New Zealand in the Rugby Union. Now our big boss here is a kiwi and there are a few Brits here so I am going to polite and leave it there.So its off I go to see if I keep my job or lose it but the end of the day.

 

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Friday 7th Novemberkrathong

Last night saw the sky lit up with lanterns and decorated floats to celebrate Loy Krathong.
Loy Krathong is one of the most popular festivals that Thailand celebrates annually on the twelfth lunar full moon. “Loi” means to float and “Krathong” is a lotus or crown shaped vessel. The traditional Krathong are made from a slice of the trunk of a banana tree or a spider lily plant and decorated with banana leaves, these are natural materials and will biodegradable. It usually contains a candle, incense sticks, flowers and coins. When the moon is high the candles and incense are lit to offer thanks to the Goddess of water: Phra Mae Khongkha. Our thanks are for drinking and general use and safety in and around the water and forgiveness for the misuse of water through wastage or pollution. After making a wish, the Krathong is launched and we watch them drift away.

The Noistar Animal Clinic Pub Quiz was a great success and saw a great turnout in the Big Blue Bar, there was a few questionable questions, but as the Quiz Masters claimed that they were ALWAYS right (or at least Wikipedia is!!) There was no arguing! The entry fee was to be split with half going to the clinic and the other half as prize money but the winning team gracefully donated their prize money to the Animal Clinic giving them 3400 baht, along with t-shirt sales and further donations. A massive thank you to everyone who turned out for the night and supported the animals of Koh Tao, Eco-Rachel for organising the night for the clinic and also to Instructors Mini Ant and Oli for their internet searching skills in coming up with all the questions.

Are you already a Divemaster with over 100 dives and been diving for over 1 year since your open water cert and are interested in becoming a diving instructor? Big Blue Pro are starting an SSI Instructor Training Course (ITC) on 14th December. The course is usually conducted over 10 days and followed with the Instructor Examination (IE) straight after. Instructor training is designed to emphasise learning and development to prepare you to function as an instructor.
You gain knowledge, skills and coaching techniques to teach effectively;
The focus is on 'real world' application;
Your performance is measured throughout the programme to assist you to improve your abilities;
You are given an introduction to the business of diving, including economic, social, cultural, legal, governmental and environmental concerns as well as marketing and customer service.
Once the course has finished, if you decide to stay on Koh Tao Big Blue will give you an internship which allows you to see how courses are taught at Big Blue with your own Instructor mentor to help give you pointers and logistical infomation to running your own courses. You will recieve around 30 certification under the supervision of your mentor. An excellent way to begin your teaching career.
For more information about the course email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or check out www.bigbluepro.com

 

 

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5th November 2014noistar

If you have visited anywhere in Thailand you will have come across plenty of cats and dogs lounging around. Koh Tao is no exception, most resorts have their ‘family dive shop pets’, but on Koh Tao there are no animal shelters, no nationally run charities, but we do have Noistar Animal Clinic. This clinic was established in 2004 as a permanent veterinary clinic and has been helping to look after the pets and other animals on the island ever since. The amazing place is completely self-funded via donations, and with Big Blue having quite a few furry friends who have all used the vets before we thought it would be a great idea to help them raise some money by having a Pub Quiz night tomorrow night (6th November).

Entry is only 100baht with 4 people maximum per team, if you and some friends fancy coming down and testing your knowledge against our resident nerdy quiz master you need to sign up by 7pm and the quiz begins at 8pm in the Big Blue Bar. The winning team will receive a cash prize and you will have the chance to donate some of your beer money to a well-deserved charity. See you tomorrow night.

We have a new group of Divemaster Trainees starting with us right now; they are beginning an intensive course which covers all aspects of diving. This includes theory covering the physics, physiology, and dive planning theory as well as learning how to demonstrate skills in the water to an instructor level. They also learn how to give thorough boat and dive briefings and how to guide certified divers safely on fun dives. This course is hard work but it is also good fun working alongside dive professionals from all walks of life, with skills that can be transferred to any job in the real world, it is truly an amazing experience. I can say that because I did my Divemaster course here and I still haven’t left Koh Tao. If you want to try something different and get out from behind the office desk why not find out more about the Divemaster course at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

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Close-encountersIt’s been a few days and in typical jinxing style it has rained for the last two days, and today the sun is again beaming down. So now I am going to say it will be snowing tomorrow, just so our Thai staff can see the white powdery stuff that we left Europe for to stay and work here as dive professionals. If it does snow tomorrow will drink me coffee and tiger out of my trainers! We did get to see a very cool and very large tornado off Sairee. The twister was way off from Koh Tao but it had everyone on the beach taking photos. We do get to see quite a few of these but this was by far the biggest we have seen in a long time. Thank you to Andreas Fiskeseth for this picture.

On Koh Tao, Halloween is one of the biggest nights along with Songkran and Christmas Day and it was celebrated in style, it was also a leaving party for our instructor Rich who along with his merry band of men came dressed up in unmentionable costumes of an extremist nature (!!). Our resident fun diver and ex-DMT Aida also left us to go off on another one of her adventure around the world, this time over to New Zealand, being a rocket scientist has its advantages!

Have you ever wondered how long you can hold your breath for? The longest time holding the breath underwater was 22 min exactly by a Danish guy called Stig Severinsen at the London School of Diving in London, UK, on 3 May 2012. What about how deep you could dive without a tank and just a lung full of air? Natalia Molchanova of Russias national team recently made a new world diving to a depth of 237 metres in dynamic apnea, that’s nearly 5 lengths of an Olympic sized swimming pool! Do you think you could do better? Or would you like to give freediving a try, maybe you are unable to scuba dive but would still like to experience the underwater world, then Big Blue Freediving could be just for you, courses are scheduled for your needs and can be booked ahead of time. If you would like more information on freediving just drop us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

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Friday 31st Octobermovember

Monsoon? What monsoon? The weather here right now is amazing, the sea is flat as a ladyboys chest pre surgery and the diving is beautiful. 2 of our boats are off having their yearly facelift, ready for the Christmas crowd, and many of the instructors are preparing for this years Movember. Any excuse to grow facial hair and shaving it into weird and downright scary moustaches’. None of the boys here are shy in the slightest so keep your eyes peeled for some interesting designs. DM Steven will be keeping his Jesus beard as he stores his lunch and snacks there for when he is a bit peckish on a dive.

Its always great to hear what you though during your time with us diving here at Big Blue. Here are a few of our most resent students write up on Trip Advisor.

Dennis R, The Netherlnds 27th October-
Diving at BB- “A perfect mix of Russel Crowes rough looks, Robbie Williams' sweet voice, Jacques Cousteau's diving knowledge and Britney Spears' mental health. Simon (26975;) was an ace instructor for my open water and advanced courses. Loved diving at Big Blue! Thanks Simo!”

Avery B, Canada 25th October-
Great Expectations- “My girlfriend and I came here to do our basic underwater course. We both expected it to be good, but it completely beat our expectations. We ended up forgoing out trip to Koh Samui in order to do the advanced underwater course. Oli was our instructor for the basic and advanced courses, and he was great. He didn't push us too hard, but he didn't baby us either; it was the right balance. The basic course had some great dives, but the best by far were our advanced course dives. Going deep water, diving in night, and diving around a wreck were the highlights of our trip to Thailand. Big Blue could not have been better and Oli was a fantastic instructor.”


We pride ourselves in giving you the best experience both in and out of the water, so thank you for all your kind words.

 

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Wednesday 29th October

richtoddSad day at Big Blue today as one of our favourite instructors is leaving us after being on Koh Tao for just over 4 years. Rich has been offered a very good diving job which was hard to turn down, but we all know that if it doesn’t work out (which we secretly hope it doesn’t) he will welcomed back with a week of DSDs and a warm Chang. For those who have been to Koh Tao whether it is to learn to dive, just have a holiday or work as a dive professional, it is a very hard place to leave. Apart from the amazing beaches, crystal clear waters, amazing food, great night life, it is the friends you meet once you are here. There are some friendships that have been forged here that will never be broken and leaving after being here for so long is tough. But the invisible bungee cord is attached at the pier and it’s not long till you are pulled back to this amazing little island in the gulf of Thailand. From all of us a Big Blue Diving and Koh Tao we wish you the very best of luck Rich, but choosing Halloween for you leaving do is just going to end in tears!!

If you are interested in doing something a bit different and want to learn about increasing your knowledge of scuba diving Big Blue Tech are starting a number of TDI courses from the 7th November, these include Intro to tech, advanced nitrox and decompression procedures, finishing up with extended range.These courses will give you a greater understanding of what technical diving is all about allowing you to dive deeper than the recreactional limits of 30 metres using a variety of different methods. For more information on our Tech courses send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

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Saturday 25th October

stickers-on-tanksWith only another 60 days left until Christmas is here we thought it would be nice to give you all a chance to win 10 free fundives with us here. Its not a quiz so no need to send your answers to us on a postcard, but we do want you to send us some pictures of yourselves. While you are here we want you to ask us to give you some Big Blue Diving stickers and then your mission is to take a picture of yourself with the stickers stuck in interesting places? so if you are off to India and you can stick one on the Taj Mahal (without being arrested though please- although inside a prison cell would be a good place to put a sticker too) or if you happen to know someone in the celebrity circles stick it to them. Be as imaginative as possible and give us a giggle too, so if you want to win 10 fun dives grab those stickers and get sticking! Email us your pictures to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. we will announce the winner of this competition in the end of November. Good luck!!

The big bossman was in the bar last night for a quiet (ahem) drink with his beloved team. Its funny how the rounds get bigger when the boss is buying the beer! He was treated to a Dirty Dancing treat when Patrick Swayze wannabe instructors Sid Bufton and Matt Waters began lifting our newly certified Open Water ladies. Luckily no injuries occured as there was plenty of safety catchers willing to help the poor damsels if the were dropped by their dance partners! See what we put on just for you Jim, now have a safe trip back to Samui with clear plastic seasick bags and unseasoned boat travellers. Until next time.

Really bad joke of the day-

How many people does it take to circumsise a whale?

Four skin divers :)

 

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Friday 24th Octoberscuba-zombies

Time again to say congratulations to some of our newly graduated Divemasters in the time honoured tradition of a Big Blue Divemaster Challenge. Supposedly dressing up as zombies Jai, Brett, Tania, Mikey and Alex were beaten, abused, whipped, spanked and bitten, they moaned and groaned as any good zombie can, then they decided to leave P'Dangs and come to the bar and join us for a little party. Dave, David, Stefan, Ory and Elle, after getting their acts together decided on a homeless theme. Reminders of an old DM who slept at the petrol station and ate out of bins. The Dive Master course is a very rewarding course that develops a wide range of skills both in and out of the water and what better way to say well done but with a night full of games and frivolity! Well Done to you all.

It is the time of year when the wind direction changes leaving the ocean on Sairee beach looking like a mirror and sunsets that drags people away from their dinner and beer to take pictures. And people wonder why we left our mundane lives to come and live here...... hummmm! We have had a few random days of much needed rain but the diving is still amazing. Perfect conditions for all the types of diving we have to offer whether it be a beginner diving course, freediving or technical diving. So don't just think about it get your ass on that ferry and come play.

 

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Dive Sites from above
sail-rockHere's something you don't see every day, a photo of Sail rock from the air! It was taken by Big Blue SSI instructor and professional photographer Andy Campbell. He's got one of those "quads", or as I like to call it, a radio controlled helicopter. They seem to be the latest gadgets that people are playing with, and someone has had the brilliant idea of attaching a Go pro to the underneath of it, making it possible to literally look down on the things we see every day! Understandably he was very cautious with it at first, as high tech electronics and water don't tend to mix to well. But over time he's been getting more daring with it, to the point where he'll happily now take it on board the boat and fly it off the deck during his surface interval! We've now got some amazing shots of our fun diver boat Porponawa, and our tech boat Big Blue. When you have such beautiful locations as Chumphon Marine Park and Sail rock in the background, the end result is just stunning. We've also got incredible footage of both our dive resorts, and Sairee beach from the air! If you want to see some of these shots, have a look here at the video uploaded by Big Blue Movies of the 3 day trip to Chumphon Marine Park, organised by the Big Blue Dive Club. If you want to be in any of the aerial shots, then you'll have to come to Big Blue and go diving!

Koh Tao history in brief
It can be quite hard to find out detailed information about the history of Koh Tao, but if you do dig around, you can find some fairly consistent stories of how if came to be the place it is today. It was likely a stopping off point for Malay fishermen for centuries, due largely to its isolated position in the Gulf of Thailand. In the 1800s, there would have been a couple of small villages, while later on in the 1890’s King Chulalongkorn visited the island – which is marked with a monument on Sairee beach. The island remained a quiet place for decades, with a few fishing families and farmers and not much else.
After the Siamese Revolution of 1932, the country moved from being an absolute monarchy to a constitutional democracy (of sorts). Koh Tao was used as a political prison in a similar way to Koh Tarutao in the South. In 1947, the prisoner inhabitants were given a Royal pardon and shipped off out of exile to the neighboring islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Samui. The island was once again abandoned.
The legend then goes that two brothers from Koh Phangan sailed to Koh Tao and settled on the land that is now considered Sairee beach. They farmed and fished and lead a fairly simple lifestyle occasionally trading with those on Koh Phangan.
The Vietnam war came about, which created a tourism boom in Thailand during the 1960s and 1970s for American GIs on R&R. Early backpackers began to explore the Islands in the gulf of Thailand, with dive trips originating from Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. The first full moon party being held on Phangan in the late 1980s. Gradually tourism began to increase on the Islands, and the island began to become more and more developed. First with a few simple shops and dive huts, then resorts, and later bars and other non diving related business. Larger ferry companies such as Lomprayah, Seatran and Songserm began to serve the island with overnight buses originating from Bangkok to fill the many spots on a growing dive industry. The island developed its two main areas of Sairee beach (which is now full of nightclubs, resorts and dive shops) and the sleepier “local” side of Chalok Ban Kao as well as the busy port of Mae Haad.

 

 

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3-day trip and full day trips
chumphon-marine-parkAll dive bags are packed, the breakfast and lunch have been ordered, and hopefully everyone participating will have had (by the time this goes to press) a good nights sleep and not overslepted for the 6am departure to begin their three day, 8 dive trip to Chumphon Marine Park! Organised by the Big Blue Dive Club (running out of Big Blue Tech), the trips have become a monthly event, with the aim of allowing people to dive some of the less frequently dived areas within the Gulf of Thailand. The previous trip to Angthong Marine Park was a great success, and this trip looks to be even better, for the simple reason that we already know that the diving is epic there!
Big Blue Diving is the only dive resort on Koh Tao that goes to Chumphon Marine Park, and in all of the full day trips we've run there, we've never known the visibility to be bad. In fact its always been amazing! Also, because the dive sites are not often dived, the fish are more curious of divers. Plus, well, you know, it's a protected area, so the marine life is thankfully extremely abundant. It also has a purposely sunk wreck called the HTMS Prab, which is now a haven for all manner of marine creatures, and sits much shallower than the HTMS Sattakut.
If this is all making you jealous don't despair, although you've missed out on this trip there will be others. Additionally, on the 21st we are running a full day trip out there on our fun diver boat; Porponawa; the fastest dive boat in the universe! Three dives, breakfast, lunch, chocolate brownies, water and as many soft drinks as you can cope with! If you're interested, you just need to go to the Big Blue office to sign yourself up.. then all you have to do is turn up on the day!

Blue Whale numbers on the rise
It's not often we get good news about the state of the marine ecosystem, but here's some encouraging research. California blue whales are believed to have increased in number to up to 2,200! Historic whaling of these incredible animals saw 346,000 of them killed in the colder waters surrounding Antarctica, but since the practice was banned in 1966 they have increased their populations dramatically. The Californa whales live accross a huge area, from Alaska to Costa Rica. The number of blue whales caught in the Pacific was much lower, approximately 3,400 between 1905 and 1971, and their numbers are not as accurately known as for the California whales. But it's a good sign that protecting them has paid off. Let's hope their increase in numbers continues.

 

 

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