Thursday 9th AprilGreetings-from-Thailand

Koh Tao is HOT HOT HOT right now and the diving is spectacular. The full moon rush is over so if you are planning on heading over to do some diving now is the time. The sea is as flat as a mirror and the sunsets are mouth-watering enough to have you heading to the bar after a great days diving for a cold refreshing beverage. Apart from the fact that I am sweating enough to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool I do have to say I love this time of year, having to add an extra 15 minutes to your walking time because you have to pop into every 7-11 and pharmacy for an air-con break!

The mass invasion of previous Big Blue staff has come to an end. The two weddings were spectacular! Congratulations for Emily and Craig and also to Hannah and Stephen, it is going to take a lot to beat that wedding! Next up will be Skui and Rod! Big Blue Babies will be launched soon. Bubble makers in the making!

The Thai New Year festival Songkran is just a few days away on the 13th April. Please be aware that travelling may be busier than usual due to this huge 2 day water fight! Be prepared to be hosed down with ice water (yes!!) and have talc put on your face as a sign of thanks. We only dive in the morning on this day so as to give our Thai and Burmese staff the afternoon and night off! It doesn’t take much to get these guys up for a party!!!!

 

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Tuesday 24th March 2015

march2015 itc

The Instructor Training classroom has been busy this week with a group of new SSI Instructor candidates who have been studying hard in preparation for their Instructor Exam. With a mixture of classroom, pool and open water sessions they cover all aspects of how to be an instructor. Jai, Jacqui and Mahdi have been led by Simon Garrity, Koh Tao’s, Asia’s’, and quite possibly the world’s Number 1 Instructor Trainer. Joining these candidates a few of our current SSI instructors Tim, Ami, Mike and Daisy are upgrading their present instructor rating to become Dive Control Specialist Instructors. Big Blue Diving certifies more SSI divers than anywhere else and with our SSI Divemaster programme also headed up by Simon and is band of merry mentors we also certify the most professional divers in the industry. We pride ourselves in the fact that Big Blue trained Dive master’s and instructors are possibly some of the best trained around, with other dive shops trying to poach them away from us. Following the completion of the exam the new instructors will have an internship at Big Blue where they can continue to learn and fine tune their skills by team teaching with current experienced instructors who can guide them in how to really be the best instructor possible. Erik and JD who were our last candidates now work full time at Big Blue, so it just goes to show that all that hard work pays off. #REALDIVING #REALTRAINING if you are interested in hanging up the staplers and office clothes and changing your career to something more fun contact our SSI trainers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Other BIG news!!! Jim Donaldson our fearless leader dusted off his regulators and BC yesterday and joined the rest of us hard working bunch on the boat to go fun diving! Big Blue Movies Billy Cloud used this as a perfect opportunity to give his videographer intern Anouk a chance to film some extremely experience people underwater! Dan and Tim two of our instructors from the good ole days joined Jim, Tamma and Matt on their underwater performance but due to their slightly over enthusiastic-ness the film and the fact that when Dan jumped in his fins fell off she decided it was rated x and has been put forward for our staff Christmas video instead as it couldn’t be shown in the bar without possibly offending some small children or people with no sense of humour! Big Blue knows how to put the fun in fun diving!- cheesy yes!

 

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Tuesday 17th Marchsaint patricks day

Today is St Patrick’s Day: Patron Saint of Alcoholics! Anyone from anywhere seems to be able to celebrate this day and join in on the craic! No matter where you are in the world, pretty much every city has at least one Irish Bar. The invasion of the Shamrock and Guinness is everywhere!! Even here at Big Blue, we have not been able to avoid this invasion over the years with Greek (who is Irish but has a silly name) running our Higher Ground Bar and convincing us to do The Riverdance an Irish caili for the Save Koh Tao Festival and Mama G who has been a resident on Koh Tao for more years than anyone can remember and who is now the owner of Moov. We have to put up with fiddle playing and jigs and calls of ‘to be sure’ and most morning G can be heard shouting to the restaurant staff ‘where are her Lucky Charms’!!! G has turned her nice chilled out club into a Green Grotto for today’s celebrations, and I think everyone except Nick ‘Sid Sloth’ Bufton will be there as he is still recovering from his momentous 30th Birthday celebrations on Koh Samui, come to think of it has any one actually seen Sid? Or is he still clinging to a tree wearing a dress and wig on Samui?

Big Blue is not just the best dive school on Koh Tao where you should come to learn how to dive. It also has some of the islands best Divemasters. The Divemaster are responsible for the daily running of the dive trips, making sure the instructor have suitable sites for students, and basically making sure the place runs smoothly. Once they get out of the shop and get on the boats they come to life. Our Divemaster team have vast amounts of knowledge on these dive sites and if you are going fun dive you will have a fantastic time. With a combination of fun/ Geordie humour, seriousness, passion and nerdy knowledge you will not be disappointed with these guys! Headed up by our most senior and most hairy man ever to walk the planet Steven Develter , the self-proclaimed ‘best Divemaster on Koh Tao and the world’ and followed closely but Nick, Stephen and Carly and with the awesome help of Sunna, Linna, Angel and Jai whether its stingrays or shrimps or the tiniest nudibranch, these Divemaster will show you.

So if you are already certified and want to be shown an abundance of life that Koh Taos waters have to offer these are the guys you should do it with.

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Friday 13th Marchequator dive

You may sitting at your desk or stuck in traffic jam scrolling through the web for holiday options and be asking yourself what is so great about diving? well let me tell you just a few things..

1. About 71% of the Earth's surface is covered in water, and the oceans hold about 96.5 of all Earth's water, not to mention lakes and rivers.

2. A study published by PLoS Biology, says a staggering 91% of the species in the seas have yet to be discovered, described and catalogued.

3. Once underwater, you’ll get to meet a dazzling array of fish and marine mammals. Encountering the bigger fish is certainly my favourite part of scuba diving, but you will not believe your eyes when you will discover the amazing biodiversity present in our oceans. Seeing marine creatures such at very close range, following them around and watching them eat and play while you gently swim past, is a unique experience that cannot be replicated in any aquarium.

4. By exploring the seas, you can actually protect wildlife! By choosing to see sharks, sea turtles, barracudas, and other sea creatures in their natural environment you are actively discouraging keeping wildlife in captivity.

5. The underwater world is very peaceful and quiet. Aside from your own breathing, you cannot hear a sound. It is such a great place where you can relax and forget about the ‘real world’ and leave your worries behind on the shore. I love the fact that you can empty your mind and just let yourself be amazed.

6. Scuba diving is like any other hobby: it gives you the chance to meet new people. So even if your friends or family don’t feel up for it, you can always try it out on your own. The lessons are usually for groups of four or five people that have exactly the same doubts and fears that you have. Don’t be afraid of putting yourself out there! After the lesson, you will probably go for drinks and talk about what happened underwater – a great way to end the session and make it even more memorable.

So what are you waiting for? Here at Big Blue we start Open Water courses every day and it only takes 4 days for you to get you full certification which will then allow you to dive all over the world wherever the is water! And as you have seen there is a lot of it, and whats more you get to do it on a beautiful island in the gulf of Thailand with some pretty amazing and experienced instructors. But be warned you may never want to leave once you see what is below the surface, just ask any of us who work here… a 2 week holiday for us turned in a career at the best dive school on Koh Tao!!

 

 

 

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8th March 2015

A few very lucky instructors and dive masters has just left to go on a liveaboard in Sipidan which was formed over thousands of years as living corals grew on top of an extinct volcano in Malaysia. If they are lucky enough (which we blatantly hope they are not) they have the chance of seeing white tip, black tip, thresher sharks and even scalloped hammerheads, more varieties of rays to shake a pointy stick and the odd turtle. This region is famous for its strong current so is not suitable for everyone. Jealous? Us? No, not at all! We have our Whalesharks to play with.

Last night saw another Divemaster Challenge in the theme of Oktoberfest! There were dirndls and lederhosen, thigh slapping, beer drinking antics all night to celebrate Hannah and Albert’s graduation. The Divemaster Challenge is technically not part of the course. It is an added extra that the trainees can choose not to do? So the embarrassment is all down to them and we give them a night to remember, or at least remember bits of it.

The island is about to have a mass invasion of old Big Blue family members as we prepare for 2 weddings in the space of a week. Emily and Craig are two instructors who met at Big Blue and we also have Hannah and Stephen, Hannah was a dive master here and Stephen was our local one man band, he could be found singing and playing his guitar at various venues around KohTao. It will be the first time many of the guests have seen our new resort and with returning ex-staff members it will be a week or 2 of antics! And where better to have a wedding than on the small tropical island of Koh Tao where the magic of the 10 metre club happened all those years ago..

 

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4th March 2015again

Our full day trippers to Sail Rock were treated to not one but 2 whalesharks yesterday. The baby whalesharks was only around 3 metres, but hung around for everyone to see and snorkel with. Congratulations you lucky advanced students and fundivers, even some DMTs had their whaleshark cherry popped! This is the 2nd day a whalesharks has been seen around Koh Tao. And this morning a spotted eagle ray was seen at Chumphon Pinnacle. With reports of people seeing sharks at Southwest ( or it was just a big cobia and their mask was foggy!) its turning into a great start at our new resort.

Koh Tao has 5 Thai Navy ships moored up on Sairee right now. These ships are similar to the HTMS Sattakut that was sunk back in 2011 to make an artificial reef and playground students doing wreck courses. The Thai Navy are here for their cadet training, whispers are going around about seeing if we could sink another one to add to the Sattakut. I think the guns and torpedoes on these ships might be a good deterrent. They are very impressive looking vessels and look spectacular lit up at night. I wonder if there are any submarines out there waiting to creep up on us during our dives!

 

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1st March 2015bb1 closed

A very BIG thank you has to go to everyone who was at our farewell party the other night. It was definitely a night to remember, well to be honest not many of us can remember any of it but the pictures kind of do!! With half price drinks and drinking till the bar was dry, I think we gave our old resort the send-off it deserved. (no diving the next day obviously)

If you are thinking about coming over to learning to dive or you are already certified and would like to come diving with us, please be aware that it is full moon on the 5th and the islands accommodation fills up very quickly. So be sure to get here early. If there is no accommodation at Big Blue we can still help you find somewhere to stay while you are here.

Funny story in the news about a diver in Vancouver that has her face hugged by a giant pacific octopus. Natasha Dickinson was doing research with her diving partner, Jackie Hildering, off the coast of Port Hardy, B.C., when the pair got up close and personal with a giant Pacific octopus. Hildering documented the encounter on her blog, The Marine Detective, in the hopes of educating people about the often misunderstood predator.
“So what to do when you find a giant Pacific octopus on your dive buddy’s head? Observe, marvel, take some photos, share and maybe it can help dispel some of the mythology and vilification about these fabulous marine neighbours,” Hildering wrote.

It’s not everyday you get an underwater cuddle from a marine animal!

 

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27th February 2015dmt night dive

The Divemaster mentors took the new Trainees, all 40 of them on an epic night dive the other night, they went to Shark Island where nobody else on Koh Tao would be diving, and had the site all to themselves and the conditions were perfect. This group of Divemaster trainees are working through a new teaching format which has been a great success. With the entire classroom based work and exams completed, they can now concentrate on developing their water based skills. As well as night dive workshops they have done Buoyancy and a Search and Recovery workshop. With all the theory understood they are ready sink their teeth into assisting instructors and working with the Divemasters in leading certified divers. Really good job guys Well Done.

This week has seen the first and last of many things, first dive trips departing from our new resort, the last ever DMT meeting at the old resort. First courses being taught in Chaba, and tonight will be our last drinks in the Big Blue Bar previously known to many as Deck Bar, Blue Bar and Higher Ground to name a few. The Farewell party is tonight at Higher Ground. There may be a few tears!

The full day trip guys went off at the crack of someone called dawn to enjoy the delights of Sail Rock, it has been a long time coming this year but the visibility is now up to 20-25 metres – nice! Lots of fish and a few GoPros found on the bottom too! Only thing missing on this trip was a Whaleshark! So its fingers crossed time that these big beauties start making the rounds past Koh Tao

 

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14th February 2015dolphins

Last night we held a Charity Valentine Auction in which participants from Big Blue, Rocktopus and Pheonix divers, sold themselves off to the highest bidder. From the start of the night it was clear it would be an adult only night and small children were banished off to bed. We raised a massive 38,000 baht which will be split between 2 charities that are close to all our hearts. Firstly the Koh Tao Animal Clinic who provide and unending amount of support and love to all the island animals and pets and also to Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians who are actively promoting and preventing the brutality of killing poor dolphins and whales in Taiji Bay, Japan. Yesterday was World Love for Dolphins Day. Members of staff were sold, abused, stripped and basically given no choice in what they were told to do as it was for such good causes. The night was incredible and we thank all of you for taking part and apologise to people who were out beaten in the auction war, and to anyone we may have blinded by the sight of certain instructors undress- all for charity!

So where are you? Sitting in an office cubicle staring dreamily at our pictures or you are deciding where to go next on your holiday, or maybe you are in Asia and trying to decide where to go next. Thailand should be high up there on your list. Not only is the weather fantastic, we have great food, great Thai boxing, and they love Mr Bean! But of course the diving here is great. Koh Tao is the perfect place to do your initial certification. Gaining your Open Water certificate is a great achievement and one of our passions as instructors is seeing you graduate and see our passion infect you. Speak to most of our instructors and divemasters and they will tell you how they came here for a 2 week holiday and just never left. If you want to do some more experienced diving we also have Big Blue Khao Lak which offer liveaboard and day trips out to the Similan and Surin Islands. Or we have our Technical diving team that can take you beyond the limits of recreational diving, and introduce you to deeper and more equipment intensive diving. On the other hand you may not want to dive with all the bulky equipment so we also have Freediving here. Basically if it has anything to do with water we can do it! So what are you waiting for, book that ticket and head over to see us. But warn your boss and family as you may not want to return!

 

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10th February 2015bb2arieal

As you may have seen on our facebook page a few days ago, it is official; we are preparing to move to our new resort which isn’t really new as it has been called Big Blue 2 for a few years already. We are building a new equipment room, new classrooms and offices and more accommodation and come the 1st March we will be down there permanently. Many of you who have done courses with us in the last few years will already know the location with our swimming pool for courses. Same faces, same diving just a new (ish) location which is only a 4 minute walk from Big Blue 1 on Sairee Beach where we can still enjoy our sunset beers when all the diving is done.

So many people have been through Big Blue Diving over the 21 years, you as our most valuable people our guests and students, but also as DMTs, as Divemasters and Instructors, our dogs (Ugly and BBD aka The General aka Big Black Dog aka Bebo, Sausage, Panda, MooMoo, and Uri), not to mention all our restaurant staff, boat staff and Captains. Big Blue is and always will be a special place to many of us, having made possibly some of the most amazing friends ever! That being said it is the people not just the place and apart from the location changing these friendships and memories are what brings us back year, after year, after year, yes it will be a sad time for many of us who have worked at Big Blue 1 whether it is for only a year or 10 years, we all have some very fond memories of working and playing at this resort. That is why we are inviting you all to our Farewell Bash on Friday 27th February at The Higher Ground Bar. This is open to everyone, so if you are trying to decide where to do your diving course, or if you are already a certified diver and you want to come fun diving, come and do it will us, this is a very exciting time for us and we would love it if you could be with us. #realdiving

Side mount course have been really kicking off the last few weeks and incorporating them with wreck Specialties our Techies have been busy. If you are interested in doing something a little different while you are over here this is an option. Instead of having the tank strapped to your back you have one mounted under each are, giving you better buoyancy in the water and with 2 tanks you can have much longer dives. If you’re interested contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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