21.01.17Neil Anne300x225Another Whaleshark was dived with at White Rock this morning making this our 30th Dive of the year so far with a Whaleshark. Which makes it a statistical average of 1 whaleshark dive every 3 days for 2017. Not a bad average. Which also does go to show that Whalesharks do seem to be growing again in their numbers. Not quite to the extent of days of old but probably the best so far. In days of old if you talk to the old Thai Fishermen they would fish around Koh Tao & see Whalesharks in their 10's. The increase in Shark fin soup seems to have been the major factor for the loss in numbers over the last couple of decades but now that Shark Fin soup is becomming less popular due to worldwide condemnation & outrage we keep our fingers crossed that the Whaleshark numbers will once again rise to their 10's per whaleshark sighting. 'Fins'gers crossed!

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train300x225At long last the board of directors for the Gulf of Thailand have approved the long awaited plan for the underwater tunnel that will link the 3 island of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan & Koh Tao to the mainland. The tunnel will start from the Mainland hub in Surat Thani then it will be a mere 10 minute drive to oh Samui, another 10 minutes to Koh Phangan then it'll take about 30 minutes to Koh Tao & then from there to Chumphon should only take about 45 minutes. The designer of the plan Mr Yu Bin Had said the tunnel should be completed within 5 years, about the same time as the Koh Tao airport opens!

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P1040227300x225Awesome week of diving so far. While one boat went out in search of the Whaleshark which they found at Chumphon Pinnacle this morning another of our Diveboats went out & found a meter long Blacktip Reef Shark at Shark Island. Blacktips aren't often encountered when Scuba Diving as the noise of your breathing scares them off but today we were very lucky & encountered this beauty. A meter long as well which is a decent size for a Blacktip.

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wsOPW 22 11 16 Sonia Reiss300x225Having just dived our first dive at the day yesterday at the awesome swim thrus of Laem Thien, our captain was informed that there was a Whaleshark swimming around all by himself at Southwest Pinnacle so we made a trip out there & low & behold there she was. A beautiful Whaleshark all to ourselves. Not a bad mornings diving for anyone let alone our brand new Open Water students. Its not every Saturday morning you get to scuba dive through arches & canyons & then get to hang out with a whaleshark for 45 minutes.

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ssi inst300x225Introducing Big Blue’s newest SSI Instructors. Three weeks of gruelling diving & al fresco teaching and a 2 day exam has enabled them to become scuba diving professionals & a ticket to dive & work in the most luxurious destinations in the world. What’s not to like about being a Scuba Instructor? If you fancy a career change then Go Pro & join us. You won’t regret it for a minute. Best thing I ever did & that was in 1997. 20 years later & I’m still loving work in the Dive Industry.

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kt fest300x225The Koh Tao International Music & Underwater Festival is a massive 3-day 3-night festival that combines house, hip-hop reggae and traditional Thai music with diving and environmental endeavors.

The festival will run midweek from March 28th to March 30th and has an incredible line-up featuring international names like Arrested Development, Gilles Peterson, Kevin Yost, Pillowtalk and Trus’me as well as local names like Paradise Bangkok T-Bone, and Rasmee Isan Soul. Artists like Alex Face, Bordalo II, Cart 1, Monsieur Lupin and Yukijung are also billed. Away from the stages there is plenty more performances including sword fighting, exhibitions, workshops, film screenings, visual art, mapping and graffiti with the environment the center of all the elements. Hope to see you all there!

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taofestival line upThis month Koh Tao will host its first Tao Festival. 3 days and nights of fun and frolics at 2 different venues. The Tao Festival runs March 28th, 29th, 30th.

The Tao Festival mixes music from Thailand & Myanmar’s best Indy Bands to abstract Hip-Hop, Electro and House. Dance, performance, visual art, mapping and graffiti while placing the environment at the centre of its concerns. Three days and three nights of celebration for one single cause: the protection of the environment. To be more efficient and in order to rally as many people as possible to its cause.

The sites of the festival are all designed to be environmentally sustainable, with 60 compost toilets at the main venue, the festival will only allow use of biodegradable disposables or re-usable cups and plates on stalls. For instance, snacks will be served in plates made of banana leaves, with biodegradable cutlery and glasses. We want NO plastic whatsoever to be brought on site.

The night site buildings will remain standing and will be turned into the Ocean School for the rest of the year. This responsible eco village will provide workshops and school intervention to educate both locals and tourist alike.

Tickets are available from Big Blue and also opposite the big 7-11 in Sairee.

www.taofestival.com

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ruth300x225Congratulations to the winner of our trip for 2 on a 4 day 4 night Liveaboard cruise with Khao Lak Scuba Adventures to the Similan & Surin Islands. All money raised from the raffle for this charity event goes to a little girl who means very much to us all at Big Blue, 3 year old Isla Donaldson who is battling leukemia for a year now. Thanks so much to everyone who bought tickets but most of all thanks to the kindness & generosity of our friends at Khao Lak Scuba Adventures who donated this amazing prize. Absolute legends especially Fabian the Manager & most of all the owner MR. Oh. Your kindness knows no bounds. Thank you everyone & have an awesome trip Ruth.

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ltg300x225Congratulations to everyone at Big Blue Diving Koh Tao for receiving this years most prestigious award from Luxury Travel Guide for the Dive company of the Year.
The Luxury Travel Awards recognise and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the affluent travel and tourism industry. Their team of experts have scoured the globe and travelled extensively in order to identify everything from the very best hotels, airlines and tour operators through to highlighting the most reputable transfer service companies. And this years honors falls to us. Thank you LTG & well done everyone at Big Blue.

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smoothy

Its not everyday we have someone come to Big Blue who can claim to have more years diving experience than most of our instructors put together, and started before most of us were born.

Ernest Smith AKA Smoothy is 81 years old and has been diving for 60 years.

Smoothy joined the Royal Navy back in 1956 when he was 15 years old by the time he was 21 he was a shallow water diver and a rebreather diver. Back then being a Ships Diver meant that you were tied to the ship via a rope and the signals were used by giving tugs on the rope to the support on the surface, following that he became a Free Swimmer which is more recognizable to us these days as it now meant being off an attached line and diving with a buddy. After another 15 years serving in the Royal Navy he left to join the Metropolitan Police.

During his time in the Police he drove the police boats on the Thames River for 2 years and then joined the Underwater Search Unit (USU). Being a HSC Diving Supervisor, he was responsible for the crews doing the searches, which often involved recovering weapons and a fair few number of bodies. During this time he began training the young Navy Cadets starting as young as 12 years old.

He even set up the first Diving Section with the Cadets and has gone on to open many of the Sea Cadet Training Centre’s in The UK. After ‘officially’ retiring from the police 30 years later he is still found in the pools helping with training sessions with the kids.

Nowadays his diving is more for fun and in warmer climates. Smoothy has been coming to Koh Tao now for 10 years to enjoy some clearer warm water diving. Smoothy did most of his diving with Master Divers diving from the MV Trident and then on it when the owners sank it. Over recent years he has been propping up the Big Blue Bar telling tales to wide eyed eager instructors, who would crowd round to listen.

Smoothy has become somewhat of a legend around here, and we were very sad to hear that this will be his last trip out to Thailand and is having to hang up his mask and regs (sadly due to reasons out of his control….his wife). Koh Tao itself has lost a few popular names over the years and it was a trip to say goodbye and it was an emotional one. I am one of the lucky ones who got to dive with you. Thank you Smoothy. From diving with my youngest diver Jake who is aged 9 and Smoothy who is 81 last week, was one I will never forget.

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