17/18 Moo 1, Koh Tao Suratthani, 84360 Thailand         Info @ Big Blue Diving        +66 (0) 77 456 050

Big Blue Diving - Koh Tao - Thailand - Steven Develter

Tuesday, 16 January 2018 12:16

Sail Rock - Koh Tao and Koh Phangan's Premier Divesite

 

The 'Rock Star' divesite of the Gulf of Thailand, Sail Rock is renowned for being the best dive site in all of the Gulf of Thailand. It's just a gentle cruise from Koh Tao, and a site which we only visit on our world-famous Full Day Trips. Every scuba diver that visits our piece of paradise should visit this site at least once, it's really that good!


With no other dive site for miles around all of the larger species in the area are attracted towards this site, making it by far the best place to see whalesharks and the other big stuff that hangs around our sites - last year there were at least 102 whalesharks sightings here, the most ever seen in the history of Koh Tao/Koh Phangnan diving! Once home to bullsharks that we hope will soon return to us (damn you over-fishing!) it's covered in pelagics - schools of chevron and pickhandle barracuda, batfish, queenfish and fusiliers...and not just the 20-30 we're used to seeing closer to Koh Tao, each school usually containing hundreds! The edges of the site are usually home to prowling King Mackerel over a metre long and huge, fat grouper lurking at depth, which are always looking to feed on the smaller fish that blanket the dive site - an incredible sight when you see them zooming through the ocean to pick off the stragglers at the edges of the schools of fusiliers, often working together with the rocketship of our dive sites, the super-fast queenfish!

 

My favourite part of this wonderful site isn't the main pinnacle (which can be seen jutting out of the ocean like a large pimple) but what is commonly known as the 'Secret Pinnacle', a two minute swim from the main site. The top of the secret pinnacle is at around 18 metres depth, making it a little deep for the Open Water divers (but still possible!) it's literally swarming with marine life. There's no better place to watch the ocean's residents in action, everything living on this submerged granite pinnacle is chasing each other, trying to eat the smaller things, hiding in the corals to escape predators - it's like actually being inside one of those phenomenal Blue Planet documentaries! It's also the part of the dive site where we've seen more whalesharks than anywhere else, so you can understand why we love to spend the majority of our dive there!

When you start to tire of the marine life that's surrounding you (the Divemasters often return from these trips with a stiff neck, there's so much to see) we usually then head to a quite unique feature on this amazing site - 'The Chimney'. A vertical swim-through which starts just 6 metres from the surface and ends at a depth of 17 metres, it's home to a few types of shrimp but personally I personally believe the only way to enjoy it properly is to do one of those beautiful, head down descents where it feels like you're skydiving, surrounded by the granite with beautiful 'cathedral beams' of light filling the swim-through, then zooming out (don't forget to equalise fast!) straight into one of the batfish cleaner stations, where it's usually possible to see the colours of the fish totally disappear into a bizarre white version of itself as it's being seen to by the cleaner wrasse, the colours then returning as when it moves away!

Sail Rock is located 1 hour from Koh Phangan, 90 minutes from Koh Samui and 2 hours from Koh Tao. For your chance to dive this premier site you'll need just an Open Water license, and to book with us at least the day before the scheduled trip.

 

Sunday, 14 January 2018 00:49

An Introduction to the Divemaster Team

Hello, and thanks for reading at least this far in the latest wonderful blog that is slowly oozing from my filty digits. Today i'd like to talk about the coolest and most important people in the whole of Big Blue, the Divemaster Team.

As you may know, the DMs are responsible for making sure all the boats are organised, sites scheduled, equipment prepared, trainees spanked and instructors are all signed up onto the appropriate boat for their courses - basically the running of the whole dive centre, with a touch of babysitting thrown in too. On top of this they also have their underwater role, which is definitely the best job in the world and the only reason our DMs do this job - they get to lead certified divers around all of our best divesites, and have to find amazing stuff to point out. If anyone says that pointing at beautiful things for a living isn't the best job in the world then i'll show you a liar, it's pretty much being paid cold hard cash-money (a pittance, mind you) for enjoying your hobby everyday! When it comes to pointing at things there's are no better people on the island than the Big Blue divemasters, and their legendary status is assured for years to come, mainly because of the fine past efforts of hero, warrior, Mr LoverLover and officially The Best Divemaster In The World (TM), Koh Tao's handsomest-person-ever. Steven DeVelter.

Our four full-time DMs don't know just how lucky they are, to be honest. Firstly, our longest serving of the four 'Angle/Angel/Nigel/Lorenzo' (he has many names to keep the police at bay) used to work in a meat shop in Barcelona for God's sake, and somehow managed to sell enough Chipolatas to fund a trip to Koh Tao. Six years later he's still here, poor and confused and surely by now considering a return to selling his meat. The shortest man on Koh Tao, he saves a fortune on clothes as he can still shop in the child's department and also manages to take brooding to a whole new level, only once breaking into a smile when his girlfriend fell down a hole and died. His recent plans include finally becoming the instructor Big Blue has always wanted since Andy Campbell mutated into something else, and he will soon be making students cry at a dive school not a million miles away from here in the very near future - good luck puta!

Next, and the current reigning Divemaster of the Year (it helps when you're boyfriend is one of the judges), is our Uber-German Steph 'Himmler' Schlatter. Despite being from Switzerland she has fully embraced the organisational skills of the Deutsch Motherland and is well known around these parts for having the LOUDEST VOICE in Thailand, with it being possible to hear her from any part of Koh Tao, even if she's whispering. The last time she actually tried to raise her voice was in 2004, and the resulting tsunami will be remembered to this day.

Third on the list, and the most recognisable of all the DMs is of course Claire Messenger, our resident fking massive person. Readers may have seen her fine work in the recent Game of Thrones TV series, which consisted mainly of 'holding the door' or declaring something about her plans to hold it in the future, for which she became a worldwide phenomenom. Standing at a mighty 3 metres tall she is personally responsible for climate change in Thailand, cooling the country due to her obscuring the sun whenever she stands up. A brilliant DM, she is the only one of us who can be at the front and back of the group at the same time making her very popular with all her lucky divers, who always know when she's on her way to find them as they get them little ripples in their drinks like on Jurassic Park when the T-Rex is coming. She was recently declared a danger to Thai airspace, and will no doubt soon be deported to a neighbouring country to become a bridge or a crane or something equally as elongated.

NB She is a ginger.

Finally, and in no way am I saving the worst till last (I am), is our new boy and owner of BBs most amusing face, Ashley. With a nose so damn fine he influences the tides here, can smell SJ from orbit (not too difficult actually, as SJ smells like dog-food on a shit) and can also be at home and at work at the same time, this wonderful human is a living version of Picasso's famous work, 'Tete de man with Beak de Parrot' and has the personality of a painting too. Strangely for someone so cubist-looking he's a happily married man but I do wonder what sort of position his wife must have to twist into to be able to even have a little kiss with that monstrous carbuncle jutting out of his face. His talents include sitting on pirates shoulders, squawking 'pieces of eight', and being able to smell what everyone's thinking.

To conclude, we have very eclectic bunch (who can hopefully take a joke) running the dive centre's essential business, and a damn fine job they're doing too, even that lanky one. If you too would like to point at stuff for a living then feel free to get in touch with us and our brilliant team of DM mentors and we'll certainly consider it (gingers now accepted), otherwise come try them our for a fundive and you too can experience the ground-shaking power of a Stephanie Schlatter conversation.

Book your fundives in person or through a robot right here - http://www.bigbluediving.com/en/book-now.html

Monday, 08 January 2018 09:49

Something Actually to do with Diving

Hello, and welcome to 2018 to those of you with so little else to do that you're reading this! It seems that the recent blogs expunged from my body have been a little controversial with the management here at Big Blue (as they were all lies) and I'm being encouraged to write something more factual, and less just a load of crap that I make up after a few beers. As pretty much the only things that ever happen on this island are diving, drinking, crashing scooters and kissing/cuddling, this lame attempt will be about one of the huge, majestic creatures we sometimes see on our deeper divesites. No, it's not Gus, and Steveo doesn't dive anymore as he doesn't have the time with his 'What did you eat?' survey commitments - it is in fact the brydes whale, which we were lucky enough to have the other day on everyone's favourite local divesite, Chumphon Pinnacle.

They were stupidly named after Johan Bryde, a Norwegian arse-hat who was famous for setting up whaling ports in the olden days- which is kind of like naming a Jew 'Adolf' - and they can be found swimming throughout the tropical/subtropical climates of the world. Seen around Koh Tao about as often as SJ has a shower (very rarely) they can reach sizes of up to 16 metres, and are classed as small to medium sized baleen whales -now if this is small to medium then I'll be saying farewell to my diet and hello to sugar sandwiches again.

Another quite interesting fact (thank you Lord Google) is that the pronunciation of the name bryde's is not, as is generally thought, the same as bride — a woman on her wedding day — but rather, BROO-dus! Now in all the years i've been diving I've never heard a single person use this pronunciation, so if you want to be a smart-arse head this way and annoy all the divers here.

Their babies (calves) are about 3 metres long at birth and weigh about almost 1000 kilos, or about the same weight as Barman Supa's dinner. Adult female bryde’s whales average about 13 metres long and males average 12 metres, the extra metre on the girls used exclusively for nagging and shoe-shopping it has been recently proved (by me). Scientists are unsure what the average lifespan is for a bryde's whale, but my hypothesis is they're about as old as Neil Draycott's clothes and just as bald too, being almost totally hairless.

Finally, like the population is thought to be just 90,000 to 100,000 animals worldwide, which is around the same number of girls that returning hero, fanny-magnet and ex-BB instructor 'Handsome' Erik Spunkquist has 'kissed' this week, if kissing is done with a willy.

To have your chance to see one of these beauties or just simply to come and kiss Erik, then take the next flight out and come join us on our little paradise island while the sun's still out - oh, and did I mention there was 3 whaleshark sightings this week too!

 

Book your dives in person at Big Blue, or do it on your calculator at www.bigbluediving.com

Thursday, 04 January 2018 07:00

A Christmas Council House Roast with Simon and Iain

This Christmas we're going to be spending a little time with our two instructor trainers here at Big Blue, Mr Simon 'Simo' Garrity and Iain 'Freezer' Goodfellow - not actually Iain's nickname here, which is a downright tragedy in my opinion.

For those unaware of these two rowdy ragamuffins, they're both success stories from of some of the most grim and inhospitable places on the planet, places where the sun never shines, drug-use is mandatory and mothers/aunts/sisters are usually one and the same person; Liverpool for Simo and some backwater stinkpit in Scotland for oor Iain - God's country if God was a blind mental idiot who liked frostbite, fighting stuff, sniffing glue and shopping trolleys. This Christmas both of them returned to the hell holes they call home, and the adventures they had are worth chronicling here I believe. None of these events actually happened, but never let that get in the way of a 'good' story eh?

Reports say that Simo decided to save money on the expensive flight and in true Scouse style simply cling to the plane wheel with just a Kappa trackie top and a bag of 'wobbly eggs' for the trip, eschewing the usual method as 'seats are for girls'. He IS the expert, if we look closely at those Speedos he's so fond of wearing! Is it that cold in Thailand Simo?

However, we all know the real reasons for bypassing the usual method is:

1. He's on the international 'no fly' list because he's a big fat meanie and said some terrible things about a ginger called James, amongst others.

2. Multiple complaints during flights about the residual stink of his 'Just For Men' hair dye that he absolutely doesn't use.

3. Speedos aren't appropriate flight-clothing, according to numerous complaints on the previous flights he's taken.

4. 'Snakes On a Plane' 

With the strength of a street urchin stealing an old ladies handbag he managed to somehow hold on till he was flying over the refugee camps of Myanmar, which he foolishly mistook for Liverpool and let go. Luckily he was able to glide down using his old-man flabby neck as a wingsuit. Go Simo! (for a facelift)

Iain, on the other hand, after years of saving the money he would have usually have used for personal grooming (he looks like a scarecrow on crystal meth most days) made Scottish history and splashed out the average salary of an Edinburgh resident (about three-fifty) on a budget flight on ScottAir, which coincidentally sounds like the name of our favourite DMT Mentor Scotty Frost in a Scottish accent. Fuelled entirely on Irn Bru, Haggis and other Scottish delicacies that taste like the hair pulled out of a plug-hole, the plane made it home on the fumes of Glaswegian threats alone, one of the most powerful fuels in the world and still used by NASA to this day to propel spider-monkeys into black holes or something.

Imagine, days later and to everyone's surprise, our very own Christmas Day miracle occured when from out of the piles of used syringes, chlamydia and dirty nappies the city is founded on, Simo appeared Christ-like in Liverpool's city centre, slightly dishevelled with a bit of dog poo on his pants. Immediately the local people saw he was one of them (the dog poo being a badge of honour in those parts) and carried him like a Maharaja on their shoulders to his home, the local park with swings and everything. A city-wide public holiday was called in celebration of the middle-aged messiah's return, before everyone realised that you have to have a job to take a public holiday from one, and no, shoplifting or drug-dealing don't count.
Iain, for those wondering, had during these joyous days immediately immersed himself back into to Scottish culture by developing a cracking case of herpes and a skag addiction that could fell a horse, which is incidentally what his Mam had prepared for dinner for him that night. Unbeknownst to him, he's already managed to father two kids in this time, both of which are now in a Scottish nursery school, or jail as we call it in the developed world.

As Christmas Day neared its conclusion, the sky goes from its normal black/grey hue to a slightly darker version, rather like Simo when he returns from holidays with black hair after leaving us with it flecked full of white - natural darkening from the grimy slappers of England? In Scotland, where the sky is always dark, the joys of the festive season are wearing off like the cheap cologne Iain has daubed over his Rod Stewart hoodie; the usual attire for the unwashed hoodlums that prowl the council estates that are so numerous in this wonderful country, and also the national dress of Scotland when paired with a skirt made of bus seat covers and a black eye. Iain returns to his family dwelling which is also the biggest, most stately home in the area - an allotment shed - to bid his farewells, and family Goodfellow toast him with the finest drink in the place, petrol and milk.


So, after the wailing and tears of the chip-eating glue sniffers they all bid adieu to the only man to make it out of bonny Scotland without any kids or a criminal record, the first man ever to take a 'Pop Music' degree and not get the crap beaten out of him and who still managed to drag himself a few rungs up the ladder of success to the lofty hights of dive instructor, one step behind the guy that makes the French Fries in McDonalds. He's the national hero of this wasteland second only to Sean Connery, Jimmy Krankie and that taxi driver who punched to death a terrorist on fire. We all love oor Iain and his tiny wee sesame-seed sized eyes, never leave us again bonny lad!

Simo on the other hand... well we can take him or leave him. In the time he was away crime rates on the island dropped to almost zero and the sales of hair dye and viagra quickly followed suit. The once semi-handsome young stallion is fit only for the knackers yard now, but like an old dog waiting for his trip to the farm in the countryside it seems like we're stuck with him like a brussel sprouts fart on Christmas Day; going nowhere fast...

 

We'd like to wish all of you a very merry whatever you celebrate, and a Happy New Year to all! Iain and Simon are available to change your lives in ways you can't imagine by simply sending them an email via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or shouting into a stiff breeze and hoping for the best.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017 07:52

The Dissection of Andy Campbell, Tech Diver Extraordinaire

 

 

After the stunning surprise of not getting sacked after the last inadequate blog was uploaded, there's actually been a bit of feedback from you lot, our desperate readers - surely you've something better you could be doing, doesn't the sink need re-grouting or something?. Most have asked to know more about not just Big Blue, but the people who make it what it the stunning success that it is - the instructors and divemasters.

Today, after careful consideration on whom I will do my best to offend in any way possible, I have chosen to follow around for the day Andy 'Angry' Campbell and his delectable partner in a fart-filled office, Mr Paco Rabanne Garcia. For those lucky enough not to know these incredible 'men' (i've seen no proof), Andy is in charge of the Tech Diving department of Big Blue - it's like recreational diving, but for those with tiny penises, and Paco is his assistant/BFF

07:00 - Andy's long suffering protege Paco gets in first, to make sure that the Tech Shack is clean enough for the imminent appearance of Lord Campbell, and to warm up his slippers in the microwave. The lingering smell of a thousand chuffs hangs ominously in the air from the previous days 'off-gassing'.

07.55 - Paco is Andy's first victim of the day, having a little cry when he hears Andy pull up in his Citroen 2CV.

08.00 - Andy appears, notices the bags under Paco's eyes, and laughs a laugh that makes all his plants wither and the milk go sour. Somewhere, an angel dies.

10:00 - After 2 hours of shouting an inanimate object (the shower) for having the audacity to change temperature slightly when he was washing his goolies, Andy pulls on some filthy BB Tech t-shirt, a pair of shorts Neil would be proud of, pokes a kitten in the eye (he always has one on hand for this exact reason) and heads out to the beach, leaving Paco alone in his misery - coincidentally also Paco's favourite time of day!
10:30 - His first students of the day arrive - it's a couple of our divemaster trainees! They already look frightened as Andy scowls at them for being youthful and being on time.

10:31 - Both are already in tears for 'not knowing everything already', despite just arriving. One of them is sent home for wearing bright colours, and huge no-no in the Tech diving community - black doesn't show the grease stains from Andy's 1950's hair pomade, you see.

10:32 - The real teaching begins, as Andy gleefully pulls out the pièce de résistance of technical diving - a Texas Instruments Scientific Calculator, that can do graphs and stuff.

11:30 - After being cheered up quite significantly by the much more affable calculator, the students dry their tears on Paco's favourite wetsuit, now used solely as a cleaning rag to 'put him in his bloody place'.

12.00 - After mastering the calculators dreamy functions, Andy now blindfolds his students and goes home for a break, leaving them to pack their diving kit without the use of their eyes - presumably as by the time they've finished this course they would've cried both the bastards out.

12:30 - After a brief trip to the local school to tell the kids the truth about Santa, Andy reappears with a puppy he found on the street.

12:31 - The puppy implodes, after listening to just one minute of Andy's patter.

13:00 - Diving! The still blind-folded students, now seriously regretting all of their life choices that led up to this harrowing experience, follow the trail of a million DMT tears before them and somehow end up on the boat unharmed physically, but mentally already dead. One of them has forgotten the calculator, and is immediately made to leave Thailand forever via swimming.

13:30 - After putting on some totally ridiculous shorts and what appear to be some some of bondage/gimp suit, they start to descend. After ten minutes of diving and about an hour of hanging on to a rope underwater doing sums, the trainees tears now raise the water levels on the island by a good few centimetres, washing away the sandcastle Andy had spent the whole of yesterday forcing Paco to build. You're in trouble now Paco!

15:00 - The surface interval - 90 minutes of Baron Campbell moaning about the prices of calculators, the positive benefits of the Brexit and how people need to 'harden the f*** up!', all whilst eating a fistful of Jammy Dodgers and drinking a cup of 'Lady Grey' tea, which he gets imported at great cost and takes out of Paco's wages.

17:30 - His students vow never to return to the oceans, and have another wee cry at the thought of all the math they need to do at a depth of 3 metres, for ages. Andy punches the air with delight, and takes out a passing Puffin much to his pleasure.

18:30 - The diving day is over, and all the tanks need to be re-filled for tomorrow. Paco immediately does it, and escapes a good thrashing.

19:00 - Andy retires to the bar, and over a white wine spritzer manages to bore half the people there with his tales of mathematics, the best sand and the easiest way to make a girl cry. The rest of the bar he (of course) makes cry, belittling them for not having clown-shorts with massive pockets, for wearing a colour other than black and for actually enjoying the marine life, a huge faux pas with Tech divers around the world.

21:00 - Andy's bedtime, and Paco's second-favourite time of the day as he can stand over him sleeping and try to drown him with his tears.

 

It was at this point in my spying when it all became too much for your dear writer. It truly was the longest of days, one that'll never leave me till the day I die, and has made me aware of the true brutality of the world today, a world of tears, black stuff, hanging on to ropesdoing sums, Paco's tortures and of course the hero of the day, Big Blue's most valuable team member and Andy's mentor, the Texas Instruments scientific calculator.

 

 

DISCLAIMER

Andy and Paco are actually excellent Tech divers, and also very interesting too. Everything written here is a load of old clap-trap, to be honest. To get more information on the Tech diving we offer here please contact Andy himself via Facebook on our 'Big Blue Tech' page, or the old fashioned way via our email.

 

Monday, 18 December 2017 08:51

How to survive Bangkok Part 2 - Ping Pong!

Continuing on from the last woeful effort, something not to be missed whilst spending a day or two in Bangkok, is of course the cultural phenomenom that is the Ping Pong Show. Readers not interested in vaginal shenanigans should turn away now, and I apologise is anyone's offended by this section. I'll try not to swear too much, and to save the ears of the children i'll only use Jamaican English Patois when referring to the ladyfrontbum. If you've got Jamaican kids, they're f*cked.
For those not interested in seeing some poor soul pulling a Millenium Falcon out of their bumboclaat and an X-Wing from their flapping bobs, just go anyway and be happy in the knowledge that you're helping to support some of the poor, unfortunate souls (and all of their kids) who've somehow ended up in this business. To find one, it's all about Patpong Night Market. A rubbish market unless you want fake as f*** Rolex and Louis Vuitton stuff, it's best to start choosing your potential ping-pong venue as you walk around it, looking for the ones on ground level which tend to be a little more reputable, in the absolute loosest sense of the word. 

I recommend, of course, 'Super Pussy', named after the owners quite incredible cat, which I've been led to believe can pull an entire other cat out of its punaani.


Now, there are many ways to be scammed at these shows, which are all notorious for taking money from tourists. My expert tips (and if my wife asks, i've never been before) are:

- Try not to go alone, get a couple of other pervs to come with you.
- Tell them you've been before, and know how it works with the 'exit scam' surprise bill.
- Explicitly ask the tout as well as the owner of the show what the cover charge is, what the drink fee is, if there is any exit charge, if there is a show fee, etc.
- Make sure if they say it's 200 baht (usual price for one drink and entry) for the show, it's for all the shows and not just one performer!
- Prepay drinks as you go along so you aren’t hit with large fees when you try to settle up later.
- The chance of having a huge surprise of a bill that you are demanded to pay is very high, They know they’re lying; they do it to everyone who comes in. Just laugh at them for trying and leave!
- Take small change (20s, 50's) as the performers expect to be tipped, and get upset if you don't. 20 - 50 baht is fine per girl.
- Don't take the girl home with you, or anywhere else for that matter - she'll have a small otter in her bloodclaat still (probably).

All together, if you're good and stick to your guns you'll probably end up paying a few hundred baht per person, if not you're talking at least 1000 baht each and you'll have to marry the ugly one with the battered galamitty.
The shows are not at all sexy, so don't expect a monk-on boys. Having a few really bored looking girls (usually not that pretty) pulling razor blades, shooting darts, writing you letters (really) and blowing out candles with their pum-pum is something that you can never un-see, and very likely never ever ever want to see again. It's interesting to see once, like that Britney Spears getting out of a car photo,and that's usually more than enough for anyone.

Just don't try to join in without practising at home first, maybe start with a cherry and work your way up?

 

 

The views expressed here are the views of one, poor unfortunate who somehow still works for Big Blue. Big Blue take no responsibility for and in no way agree with anything here, now and in the future,

 

 

 

Saturday, 16 December 2017 00:06

How to survive Bangkok Part 1 - Khao San Road

So, as high season is now rapidly approaching us a lot of new divers will be heading our way down from Bangkok, the world's greatest//smelliest/most exciting capital city. It can often be a little intimidating for those who've never been to Thailand before, so here's a few tips for those looking to make the most out of its wonders!

Firstly, as most of our divers tend to stay in the Khao San Road area, it's well worth checking out the shopping this crazy street has to offer - great bargains can be had for absolutely everything that you could possibly need for your holidays, and the partying options there are quite staggering. This street is a hub of unwashed, dreadlocked, fishing-pant wearing humanity which means Khao San Road is the perfect place to do some people watching with a nice cold Singha in your hand - Khao San Centre bar is perfectly located right in the middle, so pull up a seat and watch the world (of ladyboys, prostitutes and tuk tuk drivers) go by!
Be aware that prices here on Koh Tao are usually a little more expensive as everything has to be ferried in to us, so try to pick up those last few items needed in Khao San before heading our way. Watch out for the conmen, in particular the fake Indian 'yogi's', who will use every trick in the book to 'Guess your mother's name kind sir!', what you ate for breakfast, your pets favourite toy...it's actually pretty impressive how easily they draw people in with their compliments, but then, before you know it they're trying to get money out of you by betting that they can tell you things that you're sure they'll never 'guess' -they will, and it'll end up expensive (or trouble) for you.

When the bustle and scammers of the Khao San becomes too much, there's a lovely little park just a ten minute walk away from the street called Santichaiprakarn Park - easy for you to say! Built around some of the old city fortifications, Santichaiprakan Park is popular with tourists and city dwellers, especially in the evening when the park fills up with families, young Thais and foreigners. It's a nice place to unwind, and let the noises of Bangkok melt away over a good book/yet another beer.

The next street along, Soi Rambuttri, is also well worth a look around. Despite being located so close by these two streets are different worlds! Rambuttri gives you a taste of how Bangkok used to look before all the development, with leafy banyan trees shading the pavements and the vibe sways more towards local than backpacker, despite a number of them now choosing to stay here rather than on the famous street itself. It's like the Khao San's more attractive, well behaved sibling! The u-shaped road takes around 30 minutes to walk along. and has a great mix of guesthouses, restaurants, bars and street food stalls, as well as the ubiquitous one million tailors that are everywhere around this area - do they make wetsuits? No, they don't.

To explore further around Bangkok i'd suggest walking ten minutes past the Democracy Monument ( a nice stroll down Ratchadamnoen Road, the other street next to Khao San) to the water taxi, which zips around on the Chao Praya river, flanked by old-style Thai houses,huge monitor lizards, the odd rat or three and all for the grand price of 12 baht to get you into the main shopping part of the city, Siam Square. These boats are a great way to get around the famous Riverside area with its many historical attractions, temples and architecture, and also to explore the 'klongs' (canals) for a glimpse of Bangkok from yesteryear. The closest stop to Khao San is called 'Paanfa', and the boats run every 20 minutes or so - a great, cheap way to explore and see how the locals live without being stuck in traffic for half of your life, as happens regularly in Bangkok, and also a good way to link up with the cities excellent Metro and Skytrain to avoid Bangkok's notorious traffic problems.

Next blog I'll be looking at the famous Sky Bars and a couple of other interesting places well worth checking out that don't involve ping pong balls.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017 06:32

The Daftest Stuff We've Been Asked...

As Koh Tao is an island filled with fresh new scuba divers, most of whom are diving for the first time in their lives, we're constantly being quizzed about the oceans and the marine life that can be seen underwater.  As you can imagine, most questions are inevitably along the lines of "Where is Nemo? Can I find Nemo? Can I Kiss Nemo? Does Dory live here? and other stuff related to that legendary Disney documentary.. 

However, every so often we're asked something that surprises even the most experienced Koh Tao dive professionals, and here's a collection of my favourites from over the years:

 

- Where's the beach? Is the sea next to it?

- How long does an hour massage last?

- How does Koh Tao not float away, is it chained to the floor?

- How do I know when to breathe?

- If it's high tide on this side of the island, then it's low tide on the other side right?

- How many fish will I see?

- If it rains too much will the fish die?

- I have a phobia of boats, the open ocean and fish. Do you think diving's a good idea for me?

- How deep do you have to go to dive under the island?

- If I run out of air can I not just blow into the tank to refill it?

- Where's my Darth Vader thing? (looking for his regulator)

- Does it rain underwater?

- Is this waterproof? (after giving them a dive computer to use)

- What island is this? (after driving just 5 minutes from Koh Tao)

 

And my favourite, which I've actually been asked on more than one occasion...

- How come the freediving isn't free? You should change the name.

 

 

Big Blue Diving, giving idiots the chance to open their mouths without thinking for 26 years and counting. Never stop guys!

 

 

 

Friday, 08 December 2017 08:26

Sun's Out, Regs In!

Finally it seems monsoon season has finally passed, and the skies are blue again here on Koh Tao. There was a big yellow ball of fire in the sky today (the Sun, I believe, unknown to us English) and the puddles are retreating faster than Neil’s hairline – though I’m not actually sure there is any hair now, just dust and cobwebs.
Even without a whaleshark we’re always blessed with a large amount of incredible marine life, from the tiny nudibranch to the giant groupers that like to lurk on our deeper divesites. The corals are all looking pretty healthy right now, and our divers are coming back from their trips with smiles plastered all over their faces on a regular basis. We have been lucky enough to share our favourite local site “Chumphon Pinnacle’ with a barracuda the size of a surfboard for a few weeks now, with teeth pointing in all sorts of weird directions – it could eat an apple through a bloody letterbox! This ugly brute of a fish even makes Phil appear good looking, which is no mean feat as he looks rather like a gargoyle that got stung by some bees.

So, gearing up to what promises to be another busy Christmas and New Year here on Koh Tao, there’s a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks. There may not be snow, and I’m not sure Santa will make it to all the girls and boys (we’ve all been a bit naughty) but to see those blue skies and spectacular sunsets we seem to get every night now…well it’s an opportunity not to be missed on your travels around Thailand.

In case Santa is reading, a few of our team have been writing their wish-lists for the presents they’re hoping to receive in their stockings:

Steveo Taylor, manager extraordinaire and Big Blue’s most spherical man, is after new suspension for his bike (again) and a pint glass of sherry.

Simon ‘Simo’ Garrity says he wants peace to all men (or a piece of all men?) but being from Liverpool we know he really means a bag of crack and a jazz-mag.

P’Tia, our hardest working taxi driver, wants a day off. He won’t get it.

Moe, Burmese legend and our equipment specialist, refused to answer as he was asleep on a bag of regulators with a cat perched on his lip.

Stefano, the dreadlocked Italian, said something in such a ridiculous accent I immediately forgot it, and he sidled off to listen to his Bob Marley LPs. Please Lord bring him a haircut.

Angel, Catalan divemaster and Marlboro man’s apprentice just coughed, and muttered something about ‘bloody Madrid’.

So Santa, if you’re reading this, we promise we’ve all been good (compared to say, Hitler) and if you can bring us a few more months of great weather we’ll all be more than happy!

 

Big Blue

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