December (18)

The Top 5 Dive Destinations (for non-divers too!)




As anyone who loves to dive knows, planning the next trip away is always very exciting, with so many options for world class diving now in easy reach reasonably cheaply. Pouring over old diving magazines and websites may well be heaven for the scuba addict, but what if you've got a non-diver (boo!) in tow who also needs something to do as you're having the time of your life underwater?

Hopefully this blog is exactly what you'll need in this situation, with my list of the best dive spots where non-divers can also have a whale of a time, just without whales!


The Galapagos                                                           



Very often found at the top of every divers bucket list, Galapagos is THE place to visit if your budget allows. The 'cradle of evolution' is not only a top dive destination, but also a great place to view wildlife in general. The Galapagos' various islands are quite different - while some have picture-perfect beaches and remote wildlife reserves, other are volacanic and rock covered.
Many plants and animals are endemic (native to the area), so you won’t see them anywhere else in the world and the opportunities for wildlife viewing are arguably unmatched anywhere in the world. Above water, it's a must to see the massive Galapagos tortoise which lives over 100 years and is of varying sizes and shapes, depending on which island you visit. You can also hike up the Sierra Negra volcano on Isabela Island or explore the underground lava tubes of Santa Cruz, formed when cooler, outer parts of lava flows hardened into thick rock walls, providing insulation to keep a flow going inside. Remember to bring your torch!
Although most divers dream of a liveaboard trip to the Galapagos, with non-divers in your party it's often not an option. However, there are plenty of shore or day-trip dives available as well. Divers and snorkelers should see turtles, the amazing marine iguana, hammerheads, rays, whale sharks, penguins or sea lions.





Booking a scuba diving vacation in Egypt is high on most divers hit-list, and if your non-diving partner loves history and culture then you’re both in for a treat with what Egypt can offer you! Stunning Egyptian cultural and historic sites (no need to mention them here I imagine) are within reach of many of Egypt’s scuba diving hot spots. Divers should in particular check out 'Big Brother' with its oceanic white-tip sharks, hammerhead sharks, silver-tip and even the very rare thresher shark on occasion. Another popular site is Daedalus (known for it's abundance of large fish and the dozens of hammerhead sharks that can be seen on a good day), and of course the SS Thistlegorm, which is often rated as one of the best wreck dives in the world. Its deepest point is sitting at approximately 37 metres, making the majority of the ship accessible to those holding a SSI/PADI Advanced Open Water certification!




Well known for its boat, shore and live-aboard diving opportunities along the Belize Barrier Reef and, of course the Blue Hole which can be seen from space! Divers can expect to see lots of sharks, turtles and reef fish no matter where they choose to dive; however, Belize also offers the more active family lots of options when it comes to activities like cave tubing, horseback riding, ziplining and rafting.
There are Mayan temples and rainforests to explore, and families can visit Placencia where it's an absolute paradise for manatee lovers, due to its protected lagoon where three rivers merge. It’s home to about 1,000 manatees, and the population is stable so it should be possible to see these bizarre creatures all year round. Ambergris Cay, Belize’s largest island, is also a great base for a vacation. There are lots of restaurants, snorkeling, windsurfing and kiteboarding, as well as access to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve where you can snorkel or dive with sharks and huge stingrays. For those who love the beach or relaxing on a hammock whilst waiting for the divers to return Belize is ideal, with some of the best beaches on Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, Placencia, Hopkins and in southern Belize.

Oh, don't forget English is their first language too, so it's easy to plan all this when you get there!



Cairns, Australia                                                           

Unfortunately a lot harder to be understood as the locals speak an English dialect called 'Straylian', Cairns is a mecca for scuba diving due it's close vicinity to the phenomenal Great Barrier Reef. Day trips to the Outer Great Barrier Reef are a great choice for the diver or snorkeller who is short on time, and there are a huge variety of trips on offer that will keep everyone happy, diver or not!
Most day trips focus on the 'Inter Reef Gardens', heading off to places like Green Island, Michaelmas Cay, Fitzroy Island, and reefs in close proximity to these places. It's also worth checking for day trips on the faster boats, which make it possible to get out to the Outer Reefs in one day - the corals are much better here. For marine life, cross your fingers for one of the thirty species of whales, dolphins and porpoises that have been recorded in the Great Barrier Reef, including the dwarf minke whale, Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, and the humpback whale.
Back on dry land, The Cairns Botanic Gardens is worth a view, and there's also the opportunity for white water rafting, bungee jumping and my personal favourite the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway with it's incredible views, stunning colours and terrifying heights - pay the extra for the glass-botttomed 'Diamond Car' for your chance to watch the wildlife frolicking in the tree tops.




Koh Tao, Thailand

Biased? Never!
An easy ferry ride from our bigger brother Koh samui, Koh Tao really is a great place to spend some time either above or below the surface, with a lot to do for all different types of visitor. With over 20 dive sites within a one hour radius of the island it's a piece of cake to get a couple of dives at our best sites and be back and finished by 11am, leaving the rest of the day free for some family time and island exploring. With some incredible viewpoints, mouth-watering cooking classes,, trapeze lessons, climbing spots, Muay Thai training, parties every night and beautiful snorkelling on fantastic beaches during the day...well it's certainly somewhere where even the laziest of souls can keep entertained. More information on some of the fabulous dive sites can be found right here on last weeks blog!


So, as you can see even if your group may not all be diving there are plenty of excellent options around the world where everyone can be kept happy whilst the divers can try to convince the others to take the plunge and finally take that Open Water license - did I mention that Koh Tao is the cheapest place in the world to do this?

Bon Voyage, and keep on diving!




gals300x225As we draw closer to the end of the year we just want to take this opportunity to thank each & every one of you who have contributed to another successful year for us at Big Blue Diving. Everyone who dived with us whether it was on an Open Water Course, Advanced Course or Rescue Course. For all those who were part of our Divemaster or Instructor Candidates at Big Blue Pro. To all our fundivers, & experienced divers & Full Day trippers. All our Freedivers at Big Blue Freediving, all our Techies at Big Blue Tech. For everyone who bought a memory of their time spent with us through Big Blue Movies. Every bit of effort shown to keep our beaches clean & our impact on the island low thru Big Blue Conservation. For everyone who bought something from our retail store Drift. But the most thanks to all my staff for doing what we all love, and for being an awesome group of people who pull together when needed. To every boat boy, housekeeper, admin staff, DM & Instructor thanking you for all you’ve done in 2016 & wishing you all a very Happy New Year for 2017.


newbnz300x225Banzai, the Big Blue Diving Mothership tha we’ve been running now for almost 20 years just got back from her annual hair do. Every November December we send all our boats away to the boatyard spa. A retreat for boats where they spend a month getting pampered with a few touch ups, a bit of elbow grease here & there, a massage, a wax, an internal endoscopy, all their tubes tied up & made to look sparkly & an enema! 4-6 weeks later, one brand new sparkly boat! Welcome back Banzai & not a bad start to the year with another Whaleshark sighting at Chumphon Pinnacle this morning.


scobby300x225Staff Party tonight! My favourite night of the year where we celebrate a job well done. From the housekeepers, and taxi drivers, the admin & the waiters, the cooks, the bar staff, the boat boys, the captains, all the DMs & Insts, the handymen & the gardeners, the equipment boys, the tank boys, & the shopgirls tonight we are all going to let our hair down & get together for a nice big soiree. There will be a lovely slap up buffet for everyone with a large selection of beverages available. Then the boys at Big Blue Movies have made a 20 minute VDO compilation of the last year which should be fairly entertaining. Then its Tequila time as we hand out this years Staff awards to those who’ve made a special contribution to all our success this year & then, well…  never really remember much after that but apparently there’s music & dancing. Lazy day tomorrow folks. No diving in the morning. Sleep in, thanks to all & Merry Christmas.


kristiws300x225So the weather is still a little hit & miss but we have been assured that there is a change a foot and that monsoon is very nearly over. And because of the weather here in Koh Tao the diving has understandably not been the clearest but has been a little green as you can see in this photo taken yesterday. Crap weather, green water & Whalesharks! 2 of them!


beach clean up300x225So while everyone else is off to Koh Phangan to party the night away at this month’s legendary Full Moon Party, us hard working souls at Big Blue Diving went to Hin Wong Bay to clean up the beach. Between 18 of us we picked up over 40 massive bin bags of rubbish! Now it’s not fair to assume that is all Koh Tao’s rubbish cos it’s not. The majority of the rubbish picked up has been crap that has made its way here from the mainland thanks to the recent storms we’ve had here over the last few weeks. So do hope all you revellers out there had a great night last night but hope even more you cleaned your crap up as you partied. You know what they say, “it aint a party till everyone’s put their shit in the bin!” They say that right? Been a very long time since I partied last!


padi sdi ssi300x225There is no best scuba diving certification agency! Whether you choose scuba schools international SSI, PADI, BSAC, NAUI, CMAS, TDI or SDI instructors from all organizations should be able to teach you to become a capable and enthusiastic diver.  What may sway your decision is price & because PADI are the only agency where you are required to purchase your training materials it makes PADI the most expensive, and also the one that will add to your baggage allowance while travelling. All other agencies offer a rental service. you borrow the materials & give them back at the end of the course. But in the end, there is only one thing that lets you evolve into a great diver, and that is spending time under water, doing what you love best, be it watching fish, visiting wrecks, taking pictures or filming. The possibilities are endless!


wsviz300x225Guess its been almost 2 weeks since we saw our last Whaleshark and bearing in mind the weather we have been having it isnt entirely surprising. Guess we figured that would be it on the Whaleshark sightngs for a while. So what a lovely surprise to see this little fella hanging out waiting for us at Chumphon Pinnacle yesterday, chilling out & waiting to hang out with the divers again. What amazing creatures they are. The Behemoths of the Deep.


xmas300x225So with Christmas & New Year just around the corner its probably a good time to address a few of the usual questions we get about now. Yes we are open all through Christmas & New Year, no days off at all! & and yes the rains and crap weather will have stopped by then, always has so no reason why it shouldn’t this year either. Yes there will be a few parties you are more than welcome to join us for including our usual Christmas party where Santa always appears & yes it gets busy so definitely advise booking for anytime between 22nd Dec & 2nd Jan as soon as possible! Can’t wait to see you all this Christmas guys. It’s going to be so much fun!