September (21)

Big Blue Tech Photoshoot

What's the point in sitting in the tech shack all day servicing equipment and making it look all shiny, if you're not going to show it off once in a while? So, with that in mind, James Foleheleher- the only man I know that can fall asleep standing up, and Ian Jordan- the only man I know that could probably make me fall asleep standing up, decided to grab their fanciest twinsets and head to Chumphon pinnacle and the Sattakut wreck for a photoshoot. Filmed by divemaster Andy in his sidemount set up, and Big Blue Conservations's Lizzie filming Andy (this is getting confusing now), they set about bringing sexy back with all manner of underwater moves and poses that would put Derek Zoolander to shame. If you've never heard of technical diving, it's a form of scuba diving that allows you to go beyond the recreational depth limit of 40m, and also trains you to go into decompression. This opens up the doors to learn proper procedures for wreck diving and cave diving. Big Blue Tech teaches TDI and BSAC courses, for any kind of technical diving that you wish to pursue. You just have to put up with a pair of underwater posers that can't turn right! 

Big blue tech sattakut

“Big Blue- Scuba Nirvana!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 8 September 2013- Stayed and dived with Big Blue at the end of August- i already had my PADI OW and Adventure Diver and my boyfriend wanted to complete his, the plan being to do some fun dives together once he was done. I ended up being welcomed into his group, who had all decided to stay on to do their Advanced and fulfil the remaining dives i needed to also receive my Advanced. Rich, our instructor was great- really enthusiastic and so helpful as well as generally being a lot of fun. We did some brilliant dives, including the night dive and deep dive which were some of our faves. The vibe at Big Blue is so chilled, matching that of the whole of Koh Tao- my favourite Thai island. This is my second trip here and Koh Tao will always be a place i want to return to, with Big Blue being added to that. You can really see how people get sucked in and want to stay here, much like instructor Rich...go and find out for yourself: Accommodation is brill and discounted on dive days so great for budgeting...the courses are really reasonably priced too and worth every penny. The staff are all super friendly and you'll fall in love with the Big Blue dogs who seem to love being walloped with a flip flop! And to top it all off, the sunsets here are the most beautiful, and can be enjoyed after an awesome day of diving with Big Blue x x x

Deep Oceans Are Out of This World

The Gulf of Thailand is pretty shallow as far as oceans are concerned. If you were to travel from Suratthani or Chumphon, to Koh Samui or Koh Tao, it doesn't get any deeper than 55 metres, and the average depth would be more like 25-30 metres. That's perfect for recreational diving, and the deeper bits are perfect for technical divers. Any deeper than 55m and you'd have to travel quite far East into the South China Sea, there 80 metres is possible. Now compare these depths to the deep open ocean. The average depth of the Atlantic Ocean is 3,339m, the Titanic sits at 3,784m! The deepest point of the entire ocean is the Marianas Trench, lying 10,911km deep! Pretty mind blowing stuff, and definitely a little bit beyond even the craziest scuba diver. But these numbers are nothing when we start to look up into the sky. The deepest ocean in the solar system is thought to be on Jupiter's moon Europa. Are you sitting down?... good. Do you have a friend with smelling salts at the ready? ok ok- covered in a thick sheet of ice at the surface, it's thought to be 99 kilometres deep! Now considering we've only been to the deepest point in our ocean twice, i'd say there's a little bit more exploring to do out there!

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Mermaid School 
Who would have thought that holding your breath would be so popular!? Pepe and Flavia at Big Blue Freediving are rushed off their flippers at the moment, teaching SSI and AIDA freediving courses. It's actually quite incredible to think that, if you walked in off the street (or yellow brick road behind Big Blue!) and had never dived or even snorkelled before, within 2 days Pepe and Flavia will have you diving down to 20m on a single breath of air! That's what you can achieve on the SSI level 1 course. If that seems a bit much, you can do a discover freediving session, which is very similar to level 1 but without the depth. Once you've got the basics you can progress on to level 2, which focuses on relaxation (ommmmmmmmm!) and conserving oxygen in order to go even deeper, until you get to level 3; 40 blooming metres! All SSI Freediving courses include theory sessions on relaxation and breath-holding techniques, as well as advanced techniques for equalising your ears, and Pepe and Flavia are record holders in their respective countries so you are in very experienced and capable hands. Just don't bet that you can hold your breath longer than them!

Big Blue Freediving

“Great course, fantastic diving, brilliant people!”

5 of 5 stars Reviewed 8 September 2013- I undertook my SSI Open Water Course with Big Blue and it really was the highlight of my time in Thailand. Our instructor G took the course at the pace we required and created a great learning environment and really made the 4 day course incredibly good fun and very interesting. The resort, restaurant and bar were a great place to relax after a days diving and the accommodation was great value. All in all, I can't recommend Big Blue enough to anyone looking to dive in Thailand!

Naked Gills!
Wrongly called sea slugs, Nudibranchs are very common within the Gulf of Thailand, and can be seen on every dive site in Koh Tao. But that doesn't mean they are by any means dull. They are some of the most colourful creatures on Earth, which dictates whether they blend in to their surroundings, or display aposematic coloration; bright and distinctive colouring to warn potential predators that they taste horrible or are poisenous! They live all over the world from Antarctica to the tropics, but are most commonly found in warm shallow reefs- in other words, everywhere in Koh Tao! Ask any divemaster on Koh Panghan, Koh Samui or Koh Tao about nudibranchs and they'll start reeling off latin names- "oh yes, they are soft bodied marine gastropod molluscs, with the name coming from the Latin nudus- meaning naked, and the Greek brankhia- meaning gills!" You may or may not fall asleep before they finish talking.... ok maybe that's just Steven DeVelter! But divemasters definitely see it as a challenge to get their eye in to find the smallest ones possible, or look for a previously unseen species. One final fact, nudibranchs are hermaphroditic, and have sex organs for both sexes, but cannot fertilise themselves- and you thought you were weird!

Nudibranch Chumphon pinnacle Big Blue Diving

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Responsible Diving Practices Campaign

Big Blue Conservation's head honcho Lizzie has launched a campaign to encourage responsible diving practices, I would say accross koh Tao but it also applies to any dive site in the world! How often have you been diving and seen someone who's buoyancy is so bad that they bang into rocks or even coral, or they know perfectly well how to dive but just have a complete disregard for the damage they are doing to the marine life. This campaign is all about reminding those who should know better, and also educating those who just didn't realise how bad it is. Big Blue Conservation has been working closely with SSI, Save Koh Tao, and the Thai Government to create a number of artificial reefs around Koh Tao. These are structures that are deliberately placed underwater to allow marine life to grow on them, and can be steel bars, concrete, or even a whole ship! Over time, organisms such as coral and sponges will cover the material, which has a knock on effect; small animals will move in, followed by larger predators. Hey presto, a whole eco system! So please pass the message on that it's really not a good idea to touch anything underwater, and if you see anyone do it, please have a word with them. We need to preserve these beautiful dive sites so that they can still be enjoyed in the future.

 

Big Blue Conservation responsible diving practices

“Exceeded my high expectations”

5 of 5 stars Reviewed 7 September 2013- These guys (and ladies) are simply the best. We completed our PADI Rescue course with Tim and had a terrific time. More importantly, we learned a lot-highly recommend this course to all divers. And if you must take it, Tim teaches both PADI and SSI (and his own extensive skill review) and is the best dive instructor either of us have had coming from three different backgrounds between the two of us. After class, we did four days of fun diving (including the full day trip to sail rock) with Phil and Steven-with-a-v. The diving is beautiful, but it wouldn't be the same without this team of amazing dive masters and their fantastic support team. They are fun, animated, communicate beautifully under water, have a great eye for the small stuff, and are full of bad jokes. We had the absolute best time! We also stayed at Big Blue 1 and loved it. Highly recommended (as long as you aren't high maintenance). This place has a great atmosphere. Very hard to leave!

Sairee Beach Jellyfish? Graveyard
Ever walked along Sairee beach in the morning to go out diving and wondered what those squishy jellyfish-like creatures are? They're pretty hard to miss, especially the smell by the afternoon! although people think they are jellyfish, they're actually called salps! These multicellular organisms are the fastest producing animal in the ocean. They live in deep ocean water, coming up to the surface at night to graze on plankton. Salps form large chains in the water, recycling and transporting carbon to the deep sea in their fast-sinking fecal pellets! Pushed to shore by wind and sea currents, they appear in enormous numbers with the annual plankton bloom. Next time you see these squishy creatures, blow them a carbon-loaded kiss- whilst holding your nose!

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Sattakut wreck speciality big blue diving


Specialities anyone?

If you're already a qualified diver, you may be wondering what you can do to get the most out of your diving. If you weren't, i'm going to tell you anyway! Here at Big Blue, we teach a number of PADI and SSI speciality courses that are designed to give you the knowledge and practical experience to safely take your diving to new levels- literally! With the deep speciality, you will be qualified to dive to 40 metres (and understand what it means to get narced a little better!). This potentially opens up access to a lot of dive sites around the world, and will make you a much more conciencious diver. The Nitrox speciality enables you to stay much longer at a given depth compared with breathing bog standard air, as the tank you breathe from is "enriched" with a higher precentage of oxygen, therefore lowering the amount of nitrogen- it all becomes clear on the course! The wreck speciality teaches you techniques for navigating around shipwrecks, such as how to safely use a guideline, how to communicate in low visibility, and crutially, how to make your way back to the boat!- easily one of the most fun courses you can do. But if you've really got your head screwed on, you'll do the deep, wreck & nitrox courses combined. There's a big discount if you do all three at once, and in 3 days time you'll be able to go fun diving on Koh Tao's very own shipwreck the HTMS Sattakut, and watch all the other divers surface while you enjoy the rest of your nitrox!

“Got a new family on Koh Tao”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 September 2013- Adventure started in Bangkok when I went in the big blue office on koh San rd. I spoke to a wonderful Thai woman called Lin who was so helpful. She then booked me up to head to koh Tao. She also helped a friend of mine sort transport for other places too so very helpful. The guys down at big blue are very cool. Almost makes you want to go get a tattoo and a Mohawk (the Thai guys are always cutting each other hair at big blue so you maybe able to request one on site). For my open water course I had Rich who is one cool guy who clearly loves what he's doing and is always wanting to help. As well as teaching me about diving he also taught me how to do
a gainer (running backflip) off a boat. So don't expect just to learn how to dive on this trip. For my advanced which I originally didn't plan to do but loved it here at big blue so much I stayed on I had Kevin. (Ask Kevin how to say aluminium, really funny if you're English as he is American) Kevin was awesome. He took us on our night dive and his bright blue and purple shorts were easy to spot amongst the hunting barracudas and turtles we saw. Again you could see Kevin like rich really loves what he does and wants to help you any way he can. To be honest I'm pretty sure that all the instructors are amazing at big blue. But with rich and Kevin you can expect to do some stupid stuff like doing a horse and jockey race at 15metres with your buddy, read again if you didn't believe me. If you want to know anything about diving or koh Tao or anything really about travelling. Don't use lonely planet or rough guides. These guys know everything and its not what you know it's who you know. Really enjoyed my time at big blue and iv made some really good friends here who I hope to meet again. Maybe at 30metres.

17 Facts about Whalesharks

1. it's the worlds largest fish, growing to over 12.65 meters (40 ft)

2. weighs over 30 metric tons (66,000 lb)

3. eats mostly plankton

4. is a filter-feeder, sucking water in through it’s mouth then pushing it out through the gills.

5. gives birth to live young

6. lives to over 70 years

7. reaches sexual maturity at 30

8. is found in tropical and warm oceans

9. has pale yellow or white stripes and dots in a checker pattern all over it’s grey back

10. is docile and at times playful with divers

11. likes to live alone, groups have very rarely been seen

12. lives in open water

13. usually swims and feeds near the top of the water

14. has thick skin, up to 4 inches (10 cm) thick

15. swims slowly at about 3 mph (5 kph)

16. has a really big mouth, up to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) wide with 10 filter pads and around 350 rows of tiny teeth

17. it can be quite an invigourating experience to dive with one................................. !!!!!!!

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Big Blue Tech

intro to tech big blue tech technical diving TDI

The boys at Big Blue Tech are out teaching day three of TDI intro to tech today. The three day course teaches the core skills required of technical divers, allowing them to progress on to more demanding TDI courses; advanced nitrox and decompression procedures. They will be working on kit configurations, dive planning, and emergency skills, and will also need- and get, lots of buoyancy practice, as this is initially very challenging compared with the feel of recreational diving equipment. Lets also not forget the final "hell" dive, where the students are put under pressure with gas loss scenarios and entanglement issues! Very testing on the student, great fun for the teacher! So if you want to challenge yourself, have a lot of fun, and learn valuable new skills that will also benefit you in your recreational diving, and you don't miind being taught by a Northerner, contact James and Ian at Big Blue Tech.

“Simply awesome”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 September 2013- I came to Koh Tao for an open water diving course and mainly because of the lonely planet decided to go here. The vibe of the resort and on the boats is really great and the instructors are very good at what they do. My instructor was Rich and he was really good at getting the most fun out of every dive. I ended up staying two days longer to do my advanced as well and have no regrets. Especially the night dive was great fun (got to see a turtle swim right over us).

Koh Panghan Airport

Construction of an airport on Koh Panghan- Thailand's fifth-largest island, has stepped up a pace, with developers announcing their aim to complete the project by 2014. Historically it was always difficult and time consuming travelling to Koh Samui, Koh Panghan and Koh Tao, with fishing boats being the only method of transport. Then slow ferries came along which made the journey slightly less agonising, but it wasn't until the Lomprayah, Songserm & Seatran ferries, and the airport at koh Samui came along that access to these beautiful Islands became more comfortable. The airport at Koh Panghan will have a knock on effect for Koh Tao, making it much easier for people to travel from Bangkok to the Gulf of Thailand. The only thing that will be missing is the train tunnel from Koh Tao to the mainland!

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SSI Dive Professional Training

Ever wondered how people become diving instructors? Big Blue instructors are a real mixed bag. Some came on holiday and never went home, some were looking for something different to the usual 9 to 5 and knew exactly what they wanted to do. But they all have one thing in common. They're all on the run from the authorities.. no, that wasn't it! They all instantly fell in love with diving and get real satisfaction from seeing students progress from their first breathes underwater in a pool, to diving to 18 or 30 metres in the ocean. Top it all off with the incredible marine life that Koh Tao has to offer at dives sites such as Chumphon pinnacle, Sail Rock, Twins and White Rock, and that stuffy souless office surrounded by endless paperwork will quickly become a distant memory. As an SSI platinum instructor training facility, Big Blue offers a full range of instructor qualifications including specialities, all run by Simon Garrity and Paul "Tosh" Tanner, who between them have almost 30 years experience in the diving industry! If you want to find out more, have a chat with Simon or Tosh at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SSI dive professional training big blue diving

“Scuba nirvana, indeed”

5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 September 2013- I just completed my SSI Open Water and Advanced courses with Big Blue and had an amazing time. Thanks to my instructors Martijn, Ant (2), and Tosh. All three were great - really knowledgeable, experienced, and fun. Big Blue is definitely a big dive school, but that didn't detract from my experience in the slightest. I had a bit of a panic attack on the night dive of my Advanced course when my mask slipped off my head during the descent. Although Ant handled the situation extremely well, I was too freaked out to continue the dive and developed something of a mask phobia. So Ant arranged for me to dive one-on-one with Martijn, my Open Water instructor, to practice some mask skills. Martijn was great at making me feel comfortable and helping me get over my fear. I did another night dive for fun that same night. My instructors at Big Blue cared that I learned the requisite skills to truly enjoy and want to continue diving. They didn't just slap me with a certification and send me on my way. I can't imagine having a better experience with another dive school. Thanks, Big Blue!

Scorchio!
Looks like now is an even more perfect than normal time to come to Koh Tao. After an uncharacteristic May & June with intermittent rain and wind, July and August have been consistently hot and sunny, and September is looking like being more of the same. Diving-wise, conditions could not be more perfect. The laws of physics would have to be broken to make the sea any flatter than it is currently, and visibility on the dive sites is absolutely stunning; up to 30m at Chumphon pinnacle. The Gulf of Thailand is a lovely 30 degrees centigrade, so if you don't live here and haven't acclimatised (i.e. turned into a big local wuss), then you'll find it like getting into a warm bath! So if you're at home in Europe or America enjoying the Sun, it won't last much longer! So get yourself to Thailand and make your way down to Turtle island to work on those t-shirt, singlet, bikini and shorts tan lines!

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Big Blue Facebook

The Big Blue facebook page is a fantastic way for us to keep you updated on what we're up to. We regularly post about the latest activities and courses at Big Blue Tech, Big Blue Freediving, and Big Blue Conservation. We also put up any cool pictures taken by fun divers, and let you know when the next full day trip or beach clean up is happening. But we want more people to get involved and "like" us. So, while stocks last, if you're a fun diver, doing a try dive, or complete any course with us, you can claim a freebie in the form of a very handy key chain, or an environmentally sensible bag for life! All you have to do is show us that you have "liked" us on Facebook... They look cool, they're free, practical, and help the environment, so what are you waiting for!?

Big Blue Facebook
“Diving at its best!”

5 of 5 stars Reviewed 29 August 2013- We did the open water course and felt very comfortable from the beginnig. We were only 5 students in our group and had two awesome and very competent instructors (ask for Elena and Nick, aka as "Mr. Bean" or "Nick Carter") with whom we had lots of great laughs and fun! The dives were just awesome and the visibility was perfect so that we saw swarms of colorful fish and beautiful reefs. In a nutshell, it's a must do and I can totally recommend it to everyone! Our entire group was so amazed as we all went straight on to do the advanced course, after having enjoyed our open water diploma with a couple of well deserved beers! ;)

Plastic waste
If you go anywhere in Thailand, you'll quickly notice how readily any shop will place your purchase in a plastic bag, or give you a straw for your drink. This is a big big problem on Koh Tao, if that plastic gets into the ocean, it kills. Turtles and birds have been found dead because they swallow plastic and their digestive system gets blocked. Dive resorts all over Koh Tao are constantly having to remove them from Sairee beach as they wash ashore or are left after a days sunbathing or evening of partying. So please help to reduce the use of plastic. The next time you go to any shop, especially a 7-11, either have your own re-useable bag with you, or refuse a carrier bag, and say no to a straw!!

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