June (4)


Monday 29th June 2015hoff crab

A hairy crab that was dubbed "The Hoff" after the bare chested US actor from Baywatch when it was first found in Antarctic waters has now been given a formal scientific description and name, from now it will be officially known as Kiwa tyleri. The crab will probably always be remembered by most people as “The Hoff’ as scientists have no humour cells and are no fun to invite to dinner parties (just ask Oliver Brown our resident chemistry geek). Seriously though, the scientific community's interest in this animal is altogether more serious than one of Oli’s dinner parties because its existence raises really important questions about how life survives, evolves and spreads through deep-sea environments. "The entire belly of the crab is covered in setae that are designed to brush up and harbour bacteria on a large scale," Southampton's Dr Sven Thatje explains.

The Hoff’s (Kiwa tyleri) habitat is a sharply constrained comfort zone inside what are otherwise fiercely hostile surroundings. The creature was found on East Scotia Ridge in the Southern Ocean, at a depth of 2,000m. The waters down there are normally about zero Celsius, and to make a living the crab must crowd around so-called hydrothermal vents. These are volcanic rock systems that draw water through cracks in the seafloor, super-heat it, load it with dissolved metals and other chemicals, and then eject it back into the ocean. Specialized bacteria are able to exploit this hot fluid, and a whole ecosystem is then built on top of them. The crab feeds by "farming" the bacteria on its setae, using comb-like mouthparts to scrape off the microbes so that it can eat them. What is more, the crab has spines on its legs that allow it to climb the chimney-like structures that are common at these hot vent sites. This means it can get into just the right position where the conditions for good food production can be maximized.

So the United States of the World that is America has just passed the law for same sex marriages. Well Done America now you can all be as miserable as the rest of us when you get married, no more hiding!



Sunday 28th June 2015wreck22300x225

Sorry it has been a while since the last update the Rock has been super busy and is only going to get busier which means if you are wanting accommodation with us you really need to book in advance (not the night before you arrive) as the island is filling up fast, maybe we should order a job lot of hammocks, tents and lilos for the pool!

4 years ago on the 18th June 2011 Koh Tao witnessed the sinking of the HTMS Sattakut (LCI 742). This military ship was first commissioned USS LCI 351(Landing Craft Infantry) by the US Navy in 1944 and was used in 3 missions during World War 2:

Western Caroline Islands Operation which was to capture and occupy southern Palau Island, 6th September –14th October 1944.

Okinawa Gunto Operation to assault and occupy, 26th March – 14th June 1945

Iwo Jima Operation to assault and occupy, 19th February – 3rd March 1945

The ship was soon decommissioned and was transferred to the Royal Thai Navy around May 1947. It was renamed HTMS Sattakut LCI- 742 where it was used as a patrol boat and was used in the 2004 Tsunami rescues. She was given to the Thai Conservation Department who then gave it to Koh Tao in 2011. This amazing wreck is the most popular artificial reefs on Koh Tao. Sitting at 30m and the shallowest point at the coning tower being around 21m and being spitting distance from Hin Pee Wee allows for the end of a dive to be nice and shallow. This dive is a must for any advanced diver and Technical divers. Advanced Divers are not allowed to penetrate (go inside) wrecks as specialist knowledge is needed, but with specialty dives and technical courses entering and swimming around the inside is pretty cool!! Nearly every single advanced course we teach visits the wreck, and why not, it’s not every day you get to dive on a bit of history that is on our doorstep.

So the Koh Tao Festival was another success! Big Blues Unsynchronised Swimming Team received the biggest cheer of the two days despite having a smaller crowd than the opening night! Well done and thank you to all those who were involved with the dance/ foolery, the lifeguards for holding up the set and looking fine while doing it- Ehem! The laughing behind the curtain continued well into the night for those lucky people who weren’t diving the next day. Also a Massive thank you also must go to Big Blues Mr And Miss Koh Tao good job for getting up on stage. Plans for next year’s show are underway with a few interesting ideas floating around. Full Monty anyone? Star Wars the Musical?



17th June 2015uv-light

The latest craze right now sweeping Koh Taob is UV night dives. Fluorescence is a phenomenon that occurs when we shine blue, near UV lights on the corals. Some of the corals have a certain protein that absorbs the blue light and re-emit the light in a different wavelength (colour). This causes the corals to glow in the most amazing colours like green, yellow, orange and some even pink or red. Corals that normally appear dull brown in the daytime or under white light can take on vivid rainbow hues.

Using special blue UV light torches and funky yellow visors that go over your normal mask you’ll see a magical array of psychedelic colours. With glowing coral, sponges, fish, shrimps, crabs and other sea life, you won’t be disappointed. By the way, this is not the bioluminescence that you see on some night dives, it is only visible using the blue light torches and mask filters. Divers still use normal torches so they can compare the differences. The phenomenon of coral fluorescence is still full of mystery and the reasons why certain coral fluoresce are to this date unknown, could it be that the corals are protecting themselves from sunburn and coral bleaching? Does the fluorescence help the corals with photosynthesis in dark places? Do the anemones lure food into their stinging tentacles by attracting them with the fluorescence? What is the reason that a shrimps’ pinchers shine a fluorescent yellow? How come a scorpion fish that does its utmost to blend in with its surroundings emits a bright pink colour under a UV light? Some scientist and researchers speculate that the fish could be communicating through fluorescence. It is truly fascinating and just goes to show that we still have absolutely no idea about the complexities of this ecosystem we play in every day.

Big Blue Conservation offers UV night dives now and are available on request with our Divemasters. You do need to be an advanced diver to do UV night dives. You will be in for a treat and be blown away!!




Friday 12th June 2015save koh tao

It's getting close now. The site for the annual Save Koh Tao Festival is under construction, with stalls made from palm tree leaves and coconuts, marine animals made from recycled materials, the traditional floating jellyfish lights. Our rehearsals for the big show are well underway with nightly practices on the beach with the sun setting and a beer in the hand, without giving too much away it will involve water, jumping, dancing, dunking and shower caps! Have you guessed it? Yes we will be Big Blue's Unsynchronised Swimming Team! Costumes and props have been prepared by our DMTs, music is being mixed and edited by our videographer Barry aka Barrycuda, and the steps have been hilariously choreographed by our very own Jacqui.

The festival on 18th- 19th June is a celebration of Koh Tao and help promote awareness to conserve our environment. Full days of activities such as cycling tours, underwater and land clean ups, giant clam rehoming and baby turtle releasing, there are exhibitions and workshops on sustainable living. This 2 day festival has been running for 12 years now and we are very proud to say we have given performances for the last 6 festivals kicking it all of was Grease which led the way for other dive shops to join in, needless to say we were always the best, of course. If you are around the area be sure to come over as these two days are great. The site is opposite Big Blue so you won't have to walk very far.

We also come together as a community and have meetings with local business operators. Koh Tao is not just about diving so we work together to help keep all aspects of the islands activities running smoothly. A little bit of education goes a long way. Educating local fishermen how destructive and dangerous the nets are to divers and the reefs. Simply avoiding actual dive sites and fishing legally in other places. We respect that the island was inhabited by fishermen first and it is a joint effort to work together so everyone is happy. SAVE KOH TAO