Saturday 28th February 2009-
Well we've got 2 maybe 3 spaces left on next months Caving trip to Khao Sok National Park. Canada is obviously going & Jim reckons he's going & now Ian from Australia is flying all the way out to Thailand just to do this cave trip with us before he then flies all the way back Downunder again. & then John from Siam Dive and Sail based in Phuket will join us as well for his second trip. & then there's 2 or 3 spaces left to fill! Its a trip of a lifetime guys so who's coming with us? Next trip departs March 26th for 4 nights though we're still up in the air as to whether we want to come back or stay a few days longer!
Its another Koh Tao beach clean up today organised by Helen & G. Today we have over 30 divers coming out with us this afternoon for a free dive & an opportunity to give a little back to the island by removing Maehaad Bay & Reef (where all the islands Catamarans & Ferries come in every day to drop off the tourists), of its underwater filth! So you can expect heaps of plastic bags, discarded clothing, batteries, cutlery mugs, pots & plates & if its anything like last year we might even find a portable record player or an Armitage Shanks toilet bowl! USe the bins people & Save our Seas!
A bizarre, psychedelic fish that bounces on the ocean floor like a rubber ball has been classified as a new species, according to a scientific journal. The frogfish - which has a swirl of tan and peach zebra stripes that extend from its aqua eyes to its tail - was first discovered by scuba diving instructors off Ambon island in eastern Indonesia. The fish - named 'psychedelica' - is a frogfish of the genus, Histiophryne. The fish's stripes were probably intended to mimic coral. It has fins on both sides of its body that have evolved to be leg-like. But it has several behavioral traits not previously known to other frogfish. Each time the fish strike the seabed, for instance, they push off with their fins and expel water from tiny gill openings to jet themselves forward. Coupled with an off-centered tail, it causes them to bounce around in a bizarre, chaotic manner. It is an exciting discovery. 'I think people thought frogfishes were relatively well known and to get a new one like this is really quiet spectacular. It's a stunning animal, & it also speaks to the tremendous diversity in this region and to fact that there are still a lot of unknowns here - in Indonesia and in the Coral Triangle in general.' The fish, which has a gelatinous fist-sized body covered with thick folds of skin that protect it from sharp-edged corals, also has a flat face with eyes directed forward, like humans, and a huge, yawning mouth.
Friday February 27th 2009-
Bit of excitement here on the high seas! The 2 whales that have been gracing us with their presence over the last few days were actually seen being chased down by a very mysterious fishing boat with a very long harpoon looking implement seen threateningly off the bow of the ship! Luckily before any harm could be done, this wonderful country's boys in Blue were out at the scene immediately & were last seen boarding the suspicious looking fishing boat in a threatening manner! Since then both whales have been seen again. Not by divers though but by those coming across from Chumphon on the ferries. So if you are coming over soon keep your eyes peeled for 2 lucky to be alive minke whales!
Wow. Got to go & give Canada an enormous hats off for all the work he has done on our www.bigbluetech.net website. Even the wonderful people at Lonely Planet have recognised this & have chosen the Big Blue Tech News blog for inclusion between 5 others in the “Theme Blog” category. Not only is this a great bit of recognition for Big Blue but also its a huge bit of recognition for Koh Tao & for scuba diving be it recreational or technical in general. Voting will close at 12am on Wednesday 20th March 2009 Pacific Time USA. You can find the link here, we’re the only diving one on there! Please visit the link and cast a vote for us. It takes a second but would mean a lot for us all here at Big Blue & of course for Canada too.
Not sure who wrote this on the Lonely Planet Forum but I like it!
" For anyone thinking of diving in Thailand I thought I'd give some feedback about where I've been latley. In 2007 I did a liveaboard trip on Similian Islands...simply some of the best diving you can do. I am not sure exactly the company i did it through but the boat was Manta Queen..nice, modern,not too expensive (think it was 18000 baht for 4 days 4 nights all gear, food included...great staff and such a brilliant once in a lifetime trip!! I checked out Phi Phi from a dive school in Koh Lanta..not bad there either..that was in October too the diving was great..Recently I have been on Koh Tao in gulf of Thailand...I tried out a few dive schools... but the best I think was Big Blue..very friendly,professional staff...really cool people,all heaps of fun and very good courses/ trips. You feel like part of a big family straight away..and lots of cool travelers are passing through (they have accommodation as well) After diving we would hang out at the bar and very easy to socialise..their boats are really nice too....
Oh yeah. When you're hot you're hot! Diving at Chumphon today with Whales! Today we had a large Minke Whale breaching just away from the pinnacle. Breaching occurs when a whale flips itself entirely out of the water, twists in midair, and lands loudly on its side. You may think the cavorting mammals breach just to create photogenic moments, but it probably has more to do with communication, comfort, defense, or predatory behavior. Though I did hear once that Whales breach to loosen their bowels and that they often have a bowel release immediately following a breach. What a load of Minke poo!
Another great night out at Vibe last night. Massive Dave was there on the Barbie again dishing out the free burgers & sausages. Tim was DJing, G was being compere for Andy's Divemaster Challenge, & Deano, Sonia, Simon & Emily were getting sozzled to celebrate their SSI Instructor Upgrade. Meanwhile DM Paul fell over & landed on Marcel! & tonight its our Divemaster Trainee Night with an evening out with the Big Blue Instructors & Divemasters at the Bowling alley. I'm sure it will be a very sober event. Followed by an alcoholic one soon after. Speaking of alcoholics. Anyone seen Emily today?
And how nice is this..." Hi there I'm looking for Jim´s email address. I'm a friend of Paul Landgraver- (Owner/ Manager Wicked Diving, Thailand) and Joakim Hedelin- (Owner/ Manager Liquid Adventures, Khao Lak), and I have been working for them for 5-6 years and i want to go somewhere else and they told me that "all good instructors should do a few seasons at Big Blue Diving in Koh Tao!" So... I want to send you my resumé :).Cheers Robin." awww- you've made me blush!
Well I'll be a Monkeys Uncle! Not sure any of us expected that. At last nights Shark lecture we must have had over 100 people turn up to listen to what our Guest Speaker Hayley Unpronounceable- a Marine Scientist from Cairns, had to say about Sharks, their ecological role in the sea & what amazing creatures they are. Then afterwards we played Rob Stewarts prize winning Documentary on Shark Finning called Shark Water. Thank you everyone for coming. Thankyou Hayley Unpronounceable for taking the time to give us a shark presentation on your holiday, thanks Yvonne for organising everything & thanks to all of you reading this who know how important it is to protect this magnificent species. SOS- Save our Sharks.
Not the sort of thing you'd expect from an SSI Instructor Certifier but it couldn't have happened to a nicer Dutchman! Yesterdays Full Day Trip had Marcel & his band of SSI Dive Con Instructor Students Deano, Simo, Emilyo & Sonia-o doing their in water diving presentations. Now you'd of course expect nothing but sheer professionalism & total preparedness from this bunch. So how stupid did Marcel feel when he realised he'd forgotten to bring his dive bag with him & had to wear a shop wetsuit BCD & Reg & fins 2 sizes too small for him & a mask that squeezed that enormous dutch hooter of his across his face! Exce-SSI-vely stupid, hey but you looked great!
Not 1 but 2 Minke whales at Southwest Pinnacle this morning! Unfortunatley we weren't there but being the massively flexible dive shop that we are we have quickly organised a trip out there this afternoon & now have almost 20 people signed up in less than an hour! Hows that for organised! So divers - you're looking for a large underwater mammal that looks like it might hurt you if it landed on you... & his mate! Happy hunting! Sorry whales, wrong choice of words... Happy whale spotting!
Full Day Trip to Sail Rock today. I reckon it should be a great day if recent reports are anything to go by. There has been a whale shark there last week & yesterday a Brydes whale was seen measuring 12 meters long! Imagine swimming along and then bumping into a 12 meter long fish! They're not terribly common around these parts but because of all the hunting going on around the world it appears they may be hiding out! Remember there's no fleet fishing for 3 months in these waters around Koh Tao right now so the Brydes whale is probably getting in a really good feed about now! Umm... Fish & ships.
So its Shark Night tonight & if its going to be anything like last time we did this there might be as many as 100 people show up! So lets warm you up with a few interesting shark facts- 1. About 80% of sharks are not a threat to humans... Because that 80% of sharks are less then 1.8 meters long, and are classified as not a threat. 2. About 50-70 people are wounded by sharks per year, although about 10 die per year which is no where close to how many sharks we kill per year! We kill up to 100 million sharks, per year. Or I could exaggerate that number by writing it in numbers, 100,000,000 sharks are killed per year by humans, compared to the 10 humans killed per year. Hmmm... makes you think!
So Google Ocean reckon they might have found the legendary lost city of Atlantis 620 miles off the west coast of Africa near the Canary Islands! Google Ocean has found a perfect rectangle the size of Wales lying on the bed of the Atlantic Ocean nearly 3½ miles down. According to Plato who wrote about Atlantis, Historians, scientists & deep sea explorers reckon the host of criss-crossing lines, look like a map of a vast metropolis, enclosed by a boundary. described as a “dense wall” by Plato surrounding the great city, which is just like the rectangular perimeter of the seabed image. Plato told of a complex network of streets and buildings — again similar to the grid in the picture. He learned about Atlantis from Egyptian priests, whose records of the lost civilisation were scrawled in their temples. The ancient equivalent of Google!
Its Shark Week! Well Shark day. Well Shark night... tomorrow! Yvonne has organised our second shark night and this time our guest speaker will be Hayley a Marine Biologist from Cairns Australia. Everyone is invited to come & there will be a short lecture on sharks with some interesting facts like- Sharks never running out of teeth because as soon as one is lost another spins forward from the rows of backup teeth like a cyborg! Then after the lecture Yvonne will be showing the Documentary movie 'Sharkwater' which by the way if you haven't seen it yet you are depriving yourself of something essential. Then the next morning Yvonne will be leading the SSI Shark Specialty Course at Rocky Bay for any of you who want to come diving with sharks. Come one come all & remember- Only soft cocks eat shark fin soup!
Dear Mr. Donaldson, We wanted to write and thank you for a wonderful time at Big Blue Diving. Our family really enjoyed our instructor Deano. He is an excellent teacher and very professional. Yes, he is a funny guy, but when it came time to be serious he acted accordingly. We felt very confident having him with our family during our training. We also enjoyed Duncan and know that one day he will make a great divemaster. Thanks again.
Sincerely, Teresa Seelen and Family.
Good morning everyone! Some of us woke up feeling tired this morning after saying goodbye to Darren for most of the night. I can’t remember the last time my head felt so bad. But, as professional, I was at work at 9am as usual. No diving today obviously. We had a great time at the Big Blue bar with the usual dancing on top of the bar with the Koh Tao old school. All the newbies got to admire Darren’s Baywatch act as he was looking at the horizon with his old mates. Canada was once again managing our very sophisticated DJ equipment which consists of one iPod and one microphone and it was just like the good ol’ days on the bouncy floor, dancing to classic tunes such as “don’t stop believing”, “farenheit”, “sweet child o’mine” and many more. Later, everybody rushed to Moov for the Goodtime Adventures one year anniversary party. A lot of things happened as usual but I personally lost track and even if I did know, I wouldn’t say a word…
Speaking of Deano, his parents are visiting us right now and they brought the usual goodies from home, among other things. I’d never heard of welsh cakes before but I tried one that Deano’s auntie made and it was delicious. Being French, I’m always pleased to take a bite out of the Welsh. See you Friday!
Canada finished his Swedish celebrity rescue course yesterday and Andy filmed the last water session. The video featured Canada passively watching his students attempting to save lives in a true Sairee beach tradition, guest starring DMT Lara as the most frightening shark to ever set fin on Koh Tao. Thanks to Aussie James for his old costume but I’m not sure you’re gonna be able to use it again!
Saturday, February 21, 2009
This morning, we had a meeting with members of Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, people from Green Fins and Thai marine biologists. It was hosted by the Save Koh Tao group and about 40 people attended. It started with a very interesting presentation on coral watch and conservation by P’Niphon, one of Thailand’s most eminent marine biologists. As it turns out, 25% of Thailand’s coral reefs are located in the Surat Thani province (Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and the Ang Thong marine park) and only 16% in the Similans and Surin. Take that you west coast snobs!
Following was a presentation by the Save Koh Tao marine branch on our various projects, including Biorock the main topic of the day. It is a metallic structure consisting of 5 domes through which a current is sent to help coral grow 3 to 5 faster than it would normally. Hin Fai (electric rock) is located between Koh Tao and Koh Nangyuan. This lead to an open discussion on how Save Koh Tao and different government agencies such as the DMCR can work together.
After a quick lunch break, a lucky group of 15 people including Save Koh Tao representatives, DMCR and Green Fins members, P’Niphon and Big Blue’s Amanda, Colin and G set off on Navakid to dive on Hin Fai. The visibility was amazing and despite a slight current, we had a great dive and saw beautiful hard and soft corals on the artificial reef. It even made us forget that, like our friends on Banzai this morning, we could have been diving at Southwest Pinnacle with a whaleshark!
Friday, February 20, 2009
Big Blue is packed at the moment and we are using our three boats everyday. The diving conditions are fantastic and the weather is lovely. Confined water sessions are mostly done in Mango Bay where you can observe the most beautiful school of fusiliers on island, at a depth of 8 metres only! And if that’s enough, we sent another happy group of divers for a double Chumphon Pinnacle trip this afternoon. Our next Sail Rock trip is in two days. Fortunately, we have 23 DMTs right now and they are really helping us out with the load of people. So let’s give them a big hand!
Tomorrow, our old mates exiled on the West Coast are coming to Koh Tao. Marcel is crossing over from Surat Thani to cross over our latest team members that are only PADI instructors to SSI. Oskar, Soren and Dan will get to spend a few days with the Dutchman. Sonia is coming with her brother to breathe some Koh Tao atmosphere which she hasn’t done in a while. One week without the evacuation hotline phone in her hands, I’ll bet you that atmosphere will have a strong aftertaste of Singha!
Wednesday 18th February 2009-
For over a year the good people of Koh Samui have known that one of the world’s biggest sports names has bought an address there. David & Victoria Beckham are now Samui residents though it's unlikely you'll see them bargain shopping down Chaweng High Street. Well its unlikely you'll see David but Posh might get snapped by the paparazzi pulling that face that looks like a cow with a hand up its arse! But apparently the Beckhams have pissed off the local monks of Samui by innocently killing bugs & mosquitoes with Victoria's Diamond encrusted Mozzie Zapper. A kind source for the Beckhams said: "The Beckhams were very keen to keep the mosquitoes out because they can carry disease, as well as being annoying."A spokesperson for the entire population of Thai monks responded by saying: "The Thai people are very keen to keep the Beckhams out because they offer nothing of value, as well as being annoying."
Well the diving at the moment is absolutely awesome! Water clarity at Chumphon is up to 30 meters & you are able to see the depths from the surface. There is a massive wall of chevron barracuda there, a large school of batfish, & the biggest groupers to be found in the Gulf of Thailand. We have even seen our first reef shark of the year there yesterday which means there will be plenty more to come. When they come they are big, fearsome looking sharks, some of them a couple of metres long, bigger than a frenchman - but they are harmless to divers, although of course they have to be treated with utmost respect, or they'll bite your nipples off!
Want a cheap flight to Koh Tao? We are a 4 hour ferry ride from the mainland port of Surat Thani. This isn't so bad, but the only cheap way of getting to Surat Thani before was a gruelling overnight bus ride from Bangkok which took around 12 hours and dumped you at the ferry terminal at 4 in the morning. Now www.airasia.com, the budget airline carrier that seems to be expanding its routes all over the continent, has started flying daily trips from Bangkok to Surat Thani - which means you can be at the port in a couple of hours and then catch the ferry. Much more civilized. Prices start from 499 Thai Baht - about $12 US! - although taxes will double that price to around 1100 Thai Baht. Even so, it's still a bargain. You could also catch a flight with www.bangkokair.com to Koh Samui and catch a ferry www.lomprayah.com from there to Koh Tao, which only takes a couple of hours as Samui is much nearer. Bangkok Airways have a monopoly on flights to and from Samui so their prices tend to be a lot more expensive.
Tuesday 17th February 2009-
Jealous as hell! The boys & Yvonne, are back from their caving trip & by all accounts it has been a massive success. Khao Sok is one of Thailands unspoilt treasures. A National Park with a massive lake in the middle of it & virtually unknown on the Koh Tao Backpacker circuit. Well not for long! With the enormous success of this last cave diving trip its time to subject this unspoilt paradise to the eyes of the world. Monkeys swinging from the trees, a beautiful fresh water lake with 20 meter visibility & a water clarity to rival anywhere in the world. Next trip is on 26th March & there's only 4 spaces available. Sorry make that 3. Think I've just decided to go myself!
Video: Cave Diving in Thailand
We have ourselves another celebrity diving with us right now. Probably unknown to all nationalities other than our Swedish buddies we have Mr Erik Blix hanging out at Big Blue for the next few days. Erik is a TV & Radio personality in Sweden apparently & has just signed up to do his Rescue Course with us. Now because he's the theatrical type & he's doing the course with 3 of his friends who are also thespians we've decided to make this one of the most theatrical courses we can engineer. & with Canada directing the Rescue Scenario & Heather from Ace Marine videoing the whole shannanigans this could be the end of Eriks illustrious career! Oh dear.
How about this for something different- Dead Sea Diving! It must be one of the most unusual and unique scuba diving experiences in the world. Most divers don't imagine it is even possible at all. The amazing underwater scenery with its magnificent salt consolidation is breathtaking. In a clear day you can expect to see the salt crystals shining like million diamonds. The best description is that it's like diving in an ocean of ice, but the temperature and the weight you are carrying on you, remind you you are not. Water temperatures vary between 18° C in January to 28°-35° C in August. Visibility ranges from 1 up to 20 meters. The Diving season is all year around. Be warned- don't dive with cuts- It smarts!
Monday 16th February 2009-
Well there have been a lot of crook necks about Koh Tao in the last few days. I think its because of the massive infestation of young nubile Scandinavian teenage fillies! All this head turning stretches neck muscles that haven't been used so often over the monsoon period. I actually question if there could be a more beautiful place than Koh Tao to be right now. The crystal clear flat waters on Sairee Beach, the tropical sunshine, the palm fringed beaches, & the beautiful buxom blond bombshells in their mini bikinis sunbathing topless outside Big Blue right now! Don't you just love Monday mornings!
The Fisheries Department yesterday issued a fishing ban in parts of the Gulf of Thailand for three months during the spawning season. The annual fishing ban, which takes effect from today till May 15, covers more than 26,400 sq km of sea including the seas around the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, & Koh Tao. The ban is expected to increase fish stocks in the Gulf as the fish can breed without harm from fishing gear! Destructive fishing gear and large fishing vessels will be banned from operating in the area during the three-month ban. Violators are liable to 5,000-10,000 baht or one year in jail or both. Hooray long live the fish... for 3 months!
Deano is off to meet the parents. His own actually. He's going to do a bit of Thailand sight seeing & then he'll end the trip with a night on the town in Koh Tao with them. Meanwhile DM Craig is back from his trip to Australia to be with his not so loved one anymore, & Andy Luckman is back as well, looking to be the next BB Trained DM to get work on the island. In addition to them, Simon & Jodie get back from their Similan trip tomorrow & Canada, Oskar & Yvonne all get back from their cave trip tomorrow as well. And today Helen gets back after she has been away on an excessively long dirty weekend romancing her beau for the last few days. Glad you've all had a great time guys & sorry if you find I've moved people into your houses while you were away but I totally ran out of room. My bad! Sorry!
Sunday 15th February 2009-
So waking up on this beautiful island paradise we call home to the sounds of Land Of My Father as the Welsh do themselves proud one more time as they equal an eighth successive win in the 6 nations over arch rivals....er......er...oh yeah England. So i guess the French are gonna be next on the agenda as Deano and G go head to head next Friday night both sitting and waiting along with both their mum's and dad's to referee the next chapter of the welsh temporary delusion of Grandeur!
Its so funny to see a frenchman run around like a big pansy trying to work out what to do when you have a group of people waiting to be rescuers. Its easy my giant friend, press play on the DVD player like the rest of us duh !! Double Chumphon this afternoon with group of fun divers waiting to see if the big fish with white spots will be waiting and Emily i'm sure has lots of camera's at the ready to capture that moment with her Advanced students with fingers on the buttons, cross finger for you.
Saturday 14th February 2009-
Word on the street is that the reason the island looks like Swedens beaches in Summer right now is because a very famous Swedish bloke called Timbuktu is playing here on Sairee Beach tomorrow night for free! A Swedish rapper and reggae artist. He was raised in Chile and Sweden. He sings primarily in Swedish, and occasionally in English. He has released four albums and is firmly established as a considerable improvement to the dreadful rapping of the Swedish Chef from the Muppet Show!
Happy Valentines Day! The Trang Underwater Wedding Ceremony is widely known amongst diving couples and tourists throughout the world as an annual event romantically organized on Valentine's Day. Bridal couples participate in a Thai Traditional wedding ceremony and perform marriage registration underneath the turquoise Andaman Sea. This coming 13th Anniversary of Trang Underwater Wedding is under the theme of, 'Love & Harmony in Us All' which signifies the love among us and the harmony with our surroundings. The bridal couple will also be participating in eco-friendly activities, for instance, releasing 'Corallimorphs', a colorful coral and planting the trees of love in a botanical garden. Corallimorphs reproduces very quickly in nature and benefits the eco-system by acting as a nursery for young sea creatures, such as shrimps, crabs and corals. Isn't that romantic. Crabs for Valentines!
Congratulations to Chris & Colin our newly certified DM's who did very well in yesterday- Friday the 13th- Divemaster Challenge. Chris looked a very suave & dapper Freddy Kruger till about his 3rd bucket when he really did start to look a little scarey. Colin on the other hand looked scarey from the start dressed like a bad doodle as Jason from the Halloween films in hockey mask and butchers apron. Well Done Boys. Now go out there, spead your wings & Divemaster!
Friday 13th February 2009-
Whaleshark Whisperer strikes again! I told you it would be going to Chumphon Pinnacle & lo & behold there it was, trying to hide behind a rabbitfish no less! Shame we weren't there to see it but at least we know it was there according to the reports of another dive boat in the area. Whalesharks have been seen around the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Eastern Pacific Islands of the Northern Galapagos, Malpelo, Cocos, the Revilligigedo Islands, the Sea of Cortez, Hawaii, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, the Maldives, the Seychelles, western Australia at Ningaloo Reef, the east coast of South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Malaysia, Comores Islands and of course here in Thailand. Whaleshark whisperer says next siting will be tomorrow morning at Chumpon again! Anyone fancy a bet?
I didn't leave work yesterday till 10.30 last night! & why was that? Because at 8pm the Catamaran & the Ferry to Koh Tao from Koh Phangan arrived with 500 revellers all looking for a place to stay! Why o why Full Moon Party people don't you organise yourselves a little better & book yourselves accommodation in Koh Tao before you get here. Its the same problem today. Every one on Sairee Beach is full. There isn't a bed anywhere in Sairee & I have literally been through the phone book ringing looking for rooms for people and there are none. So word of warning to any one reading this who is planning on going to the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan & then coming to Koh Tao after- book ahead! My wife worries about me if I don't get home till 10.30!
Fancy a holiday but can't afford it? Wrong! Check out www.airasia.com I just booked me & the Missus a 3 week holiday to the Phillipines leaving from Kuala Lumpa for only 5000 Baht return for 2 people! Its a deal, its a steal. Its daylight robbery! Sale of the effing Century! What you still reading this for! You should be on the Air Asia site. You can even fly from KL to the UK for just 5000 Baht. No idea why anyone would want to do that but you can if you want! Offer is only valid till 15th Feb so everyone hurry up & get on it! See you all soon!
Thursday 12th February 2009-
So its the departure day of our very first Big Blue Caving trip to the Khao Sok National Park. This morning Canada took Yvonne & Oskar in tow & are off to meet John Williams of Lonely Planet Diving & Snorkelling Thailand fame for a 4 day jolly diving the infamous caves of Khao Sok! The course will be done on site in the national park over a 3 day period of 4 dives and academics plus dry land skills. This course will be conducted by Instructor Development Director Bruce Konefe and certification as a Level II Cavern Diver will be received after completing 4 dives and a final exam. Nice one guys! We are now Koh Tao's very first Cave diving school!
Well I might not be as pretty as the normal weather girl but I can predict the actions of a whaleshark! That Whaleshark I was talking about that the people on the Songserm Ferry saw was seen at Southwest Pinnacle yesterday morning! I'm like the Whaleshark whisperer! & yesterday she told me she'd be heading north in a few days after popping off for a bit of slap & tickle on its way to Chumphon Pinnacle. So if you want to see a Whaleshark then come to Koh Tao now, so you're here for our legendary Whaleshark trips to Chumphon Pinnacle! Guaranteed Whaleshark dive or your money back! Damn did I say that out loud!
How good for KohTao is that! If you look at the Lonely Planet home page there is a banner of self promotion with colorful ads down the right hand side of the screen & if you scroll half way down the page the ad reads-' Where to go in February - Casablanca for Valentines Day, Rio De Janeiro for Carnival & Koh Tao for the world-class diving!' Casablanca, Rio & Tao! Can you believe we are being compared with such legendary greats like Casablanca & Rio! A tale of Two Mighty Cities & one tiny little Rock! Haven't we gone a long way in a very short time! Gulp, for someone who's been living here 10 years it feels kind of spooky!
Wednesday 11th February 2009-
So for those of you who came to Koh Tao yesterday on the Songserm ferry it looks like you guys had yourself the perfect journey! Apparently there were about 100 dolphins seen swimming alongside the ferry as it set out from Surat Thani yesterday morning. & then on its way from Koh Phangan to Koh Tao it came across a Whaleshark! That's the first time I've heard that happen! So that means there will be a Whaleshark spotted around Koh Tao dive sites shortly. The smart money is on Sail Rock, Southwest Pinnacle or Shark Island! Better organise ourselves a Full Day Trip then!
So how about this for an idea. Construct an artificial island using plastic bottles collected from Koh Tao. The bottles would be put into cages that would be bolted together to form a floating platform, then soil & sand is placed over the cages and trees are planted to create an artificial ecosystem. The cages will be electrified like the Biorock, improving growing conditions for corals and clams. It could also act as a floating power source (wind, solar, wave) which could be moved around to power smaller Biorock structures. Its size will be 65 square meters large & because its floating it can drift around the island according to the conditions. We can also in latter years use it as a Marine lab for research & education & as a data collecting centre. & the cost of this idea? Well how does 300,000 Bt & 400,000 empty plastic bottles of water sound?
Salvagers claim to have found the world's most valuable wreck - a British ship sunk by a German submarine during the Second World War while laden with a $5 billion cargo of gold, platinum and diamonds. In a project shrouded in secrecy, work is due to start on recovering the cargo, which was being transported to the U.S. to help pay for military goods provided to Britain by the U.S. in the Second World War. The ship first sailed to a port in South America to drop off cargo and was torpedoed by a U-boat off the coast of Guyana.... Bugger!
Tuesday 10th February 2009-
Had a lovely morning around the other side of Koh Tao today diving the magnificent dive site of Hin Wong Pinnacle! Often over looked in favour of KT's more famous Dive Sites, Hin Wong can be a real treat with lovely colours, soft corals, fish we don't get anywhere else in Koh Tao like the razor fish & some funtastic trenches to swim along. Helps of course if the viz is 30 meters too! Time to plan another trip over to the east coast of Koh Tao to do Laem Thien Caves & Shark Island too. Any of you lot fancy coming?
Some time ago, a group of tourists found that the most beautiful moon was in Koh Phangan. They arranged a party along the crescent-shaped beach of Haad Rin to celebrate the Full Moon night. From then on, people from all over the world come to join the celebration. And now there are 7,000-10,000 people at the party each month. The party begins at dusk, when the round yellow moon makes its appearance over the white sand beach. As the evening progresses the beach explodes into a dancing frenzy of trance, techno, drum and bass, commercial dance and reggae. Jugglers and fire-eaters entertain the crowds as the night goes on and with the brilliant impromptu fireworks display, the party atmosphere is complete. There are no barriers here, no inhibitions, just people enjoying themselves with one unified intention, to rejoice in the magic that is the paradise of the Koh Phangan Full Moon Party! 'Put your hands in the air'
Well our techie boys are now bonding in the back room together learning how to blend gases. If you put more Oxygen in your tank than there is in the atmosphere upto a maximum of 40% then you can actually increase the length of time you stay at your maximum depth when you go diving. Its called Nitrox & it is the future of diving. In a few years from now courses will probably be conducted using Nitrox instead of air, so you can see the value in getting the qualification needed to mix the air in your scuba tank. Only downside is you got to spend a couple of days in the back room with Canada- The Mighty Gas Bender!
Monday 9th February 2009-
Bazza is back, looking all refreshed & fighting fit! After a few weeks of Khao Lak singing with the Blues Brothers & dancing with the Manta's at Koh Bon. Perfect timing too. Its Full Moon Party tomorrow so we're expecting our monthly rush of party poppers in the next couple of days, & Canada, Yvonne, & Oskar are off soon to do their Cave diving trip in the Khao Sok National Park & Helen is off for a week long jolly with her chappy today as well. Perfect time to come back! Welcome home Baz!
Sunday 8th February 2009-
Last years Koh Tao environmental project was the Biodome- an electrically charged iron Dome which speeds up the growth of coral by 5 x! This year Nathan from Eco Koh Tao has come up with Buoyancy World! It'll be like an underwater Theme Park or Amusement park. The objctive is to construct a series of objects on land & submerge them to make an interesting fun dive site where new divers can be taken to practise their skills before being taken to natural sites that are currently being well over used. Objects will be made from garbage or recycled items which will promote the idea of re-use & also provide a research ground for new growth on different substrates! Like a wreck we'd be able to see what marine life gravitates to new structures & differing materials! Sounds funtastic! Lets make a Manta Coaster!
Well apparently 20Million people just got made unemployed in China alone & the headlines are of more people being made redundant every day! Well don't despair people. Become a Diving Professional. There are heaps of jobs out there & I get this type of email sent to me everyday- 'Hi Jim, We are based in Fiji and are currently looking for an Instructor and another Diver – could be a Rescue diver/Dive Con or another Instructor. If you know of anybody who would be interested, please could you ask them to get in contact with us. These positions will not be available for long as we need to fill them as soon as possible. They would be for a 3 month period with the possibility of being extended to 6 months. Thanks very much Jim for your help. Zoe Trickett, Business Manager, Reef Safari (Fiji), PO Box 9090, Nadi Airport FIJI ISLANDS'
So... anyone fancy a Diving job in Paradise??? Existing Big Blue Koh Tao staff need not apply!
So our Techie heads have set off for a day at Sail Rock today! Thats Monsieur Canada & his deux garcons, Guillaume & Jean Claude! (can you imagine 2 better french names!) They're off to plough the depths in excess of 50 Meters! To put that into perspective 50 meters would be the same height as a 17 storey building! Its cold dark, deep & dirty at 50 meters. Just the sort of place to send the French after their humiliating defeat to the Irish in last nights 6 Nations clash! Chortle, chortle! Guffaw guffaw! Smirk smirk!Saturday 7th February 2009-
'Hello staff of Big Blue. I am Jan (the dutchguy) i did my Divemaster last year at Big Blue (march-April'08). It was a great experience. So i decided to do more with diving. I sign in for the Dutch commercial diving school.(NDC) And after a very very hard selection, i have been selected!!!! so in April i go for 3 months in training with the dutch marines. After that i have a job at www.duikbedrijfeuropa.nl ....A big career change from truckdriver to prof.diver so special thanks to all of you greetings Jan'
Man we are so proud & happy for you Jan! That's fantastic news! A massive congratulations to you from us all!
I came across this amazing photo of Golden rays migrating in the Gulf of Mexico which was taken by amateur photographer Sandra Critelli, in July 2007. Sandra Critelli, an Italian living in New Jersey was on a whale shark snorkeling expedition in the Gulf of Mexico when she noticed a group of migrating golden rays on their migration. Having gone over to the group they discovered that there were in fact thousands of them. Unbelievable photo! Imagine if she'd been in the water with them. Awesome stuff!
It was another great night out at Vibe last night with the DJ from Head Candy playing till the early hours of the morning! Great turn out, great music, & a free barbecue! & apparently the no 1 Swedish group Timbucktoo are playing here in Koh Tao next week as well. Cool! Koh Tao seems to be attracting a few big names here now! Paul Rutherford from Frankie goes to Hollywood has been coming here for years & The Red Hot Chilli Peppers did their Open Water Course here a few years ago. I'm going to write to Fatboy Slim & see if he wants to organise one of his legendary beach parties here too! I'm sure he'll come. He can stay in Bungalow no 1! I'm sure he'd like that!
Friday 6th February 2009-
Welcome back Emily! Our lovely Emily has been sunning herself stupid over on the Other Side for the last week or so! She's had 4 days & nights galavanting around the Similans & Surin Islands spotting Manta's juvenile Clown Triggers, Leopard Sharks, turtles, a vast array of ocean pelagics, a Barry, a Marcel & a Sonia! & apparently just missed a Simo & A Jodie! Sounds good the Similans! Except for the Manta's & clown Triggers sounds very similar to the marine Life we get in Koh Tao, though the Marcels, Sonia's & Barry's aren't seen over here as often as they once were!
So you are swimming and you get tired of floating in that horizontal position. What’s the way out? You could choose to just sink to the bottom and walk upright. The only problem then would be those stupid fins. Jokes apart, every diver would agree that fins – as necessary they may be underwater – make it terribly hard to walk (for instance while climbing boat ladders). The way out is the award-winning Amphibian Dynamic Scuba Fin. Designed by Designcraft and bronze winner at IDEA 2008, the Amphibian Dynamic Scuba Fin obliterates the need to drag stupid fins around. A handy mechanism on each fin is activated with the opposite heel and it readily transforms the fin into a shoe. The blade of the fin goes vertical and comes to rest against the diver’s fin. When someone wades into water, the opposite happens as water resistance opens up the fins in a matter of few kicks.
Its getting to that time of year again when we can't do Confined off the beach anymore so have to put everyone on the boats & take them over to the beautiful bays & beaches of Nang Yuan Island! If we can't do Japanese Gardens then we'll be at Mango Bay & sometimes we'll even venture round as far as Aow Leuk on the south of the island. Wherever we end up you can guarantee its a beautiful picture perfect bay or beach & there's fishies all over the place! Why would you even think about doing your Open Water Course in the pool when we have so many perfect places to take you to around Koh Tao? So today Dan & Helen 2 (soon to be christened Zoe to make Jims life easier) have hijacked a boat & are spending a very enjoyable afternoon at Mango Bay! & then when they've finished it'll be back to the Big Blue Bar for a sunset beer & a debrief! Doesn't sound too bad does it? Its got to be better than sitting stranded in a wintery British Blizzard!
You got to love those legendary spontaneous parties where everyone goes out together & gets truely hammered! The sauce flows & everyone loses their inhibitions! & when I say everyone I mean everyone! Students, locals, DM's, DMT's & even Instructors! So should I go on? Should I spill the beans? Who did what to whom? Who snogged who? Which Instructor went off with which Divemaster in Training? Which DM fell asleep on their way home. Which customer woke up in someone else's room thinking it was their own? & who is the person that gave Jim the photos of last night to put on the Blog today?
So Simon & Jodie are off to Khao Lak for a jolly! The Liveaboard MV Octavia is setting off in a couple of days for 4-6 nights of sunshine, scuba, sleep & scoff! In fact it seems to be a bit of an old Big Blue staff jolly with a few of the old faces from years ago coming along like Joachim & Keith, & Guy "King of Pain" Veneer! Should be fun! Nothing but sun & sea, cheese & wine, isolated islands, pristine reefs & a reg a scuba tank & a bunch of old Big Blue alkies!
A 29 year old man has been left with the 'beak' of a needlefish stuck in his face after it leapt from the sea and impaled him below the nose. The man was admitted to the hospital after the fish hit him in the face, and left its toothy jaws wedged in the hole. The fish apparently leapt from the sea and impaled the man at the side of the nose. It's jaws hit with such force that they pierced his naval cavity, went through his maxillary sinus and stopped just short of the wall of his eye socket. Surgeons managed to remove the jaws of the needlefish and the patient was discharged with no further complications. In 2004, a patient checked in to an Eye Clinic five days after a needlefish impaled his eye socket. The fish caused a serious injury to the optic nerve as it tried to flap free, and pieces of bone from the fish's pointed jaws snapped off damaging the orbit of the patient's eye. In 2005, a 19 year old Hawaiian man was rushed into intensive care after a four-foot long needlefish impaled him in the chest while he was on a night dive. The man was rescued by his friend who managed to pull him into their dinghy and drag him for nearly a mile before getting help from a police officer. Big Blue Top tip! Don’t night dive!
A quick update on the weather then. Its sunny & beautiful here. Its blustery cold & miserable everywhere in Europe! By that I mean its hot & swimming in the ocean weather here. While its bitterly cold, arctic winds & howling gales in Europe! Here the need to even wear clothes is minimal whereas in Europe people are wearing all their own clothes all at the same time! So in summary- its hotter than balls here. & its ice encrusted balls over there!
The average diver at 10 meters in warm, calm seas can expect an average tank of air to last about an hour. But as any diver can tell you, scuba diving is anything but average. Deeper dives, stronger currents and chilly water can drastically reduce bottom time. New divers, a little panicky and prone to “panting” rather than easy breathing, have been known to suck a tank dry in 15 minutes. Obviously, increasing your physical fitness is one way to get more out of every breath, but even fit divers can find themselves breathing too fast or too shallow from the stress of diving. That’s where yoga comes in. Like scuba, yoga places emphasis on proper inhalation and exhalation, as breathing is considered the essential connection between body and mind. “Practiced regularly, yoga promotes deep, slow breathing, and teaches you how to calm your mind. Yoga also strengthens and stretches muscles that are important in diving. This all adds up to more quality time admiring the marine life on your next dive. So Diving with Big Blue & Yoga with Kester! Could there be a better combination?!
Well it must be a Blue Moon cos Jim is going diving! Its that special time of the month when demand from our customers to sleep in & do some good diving later in the day takes over! So its 2 dives at Koh Tao's No.1 Divesite, Chumphon Pinnacle, this afternoon & it looks like a pretty full boat. Canada is taking his French techies out for a soucisson or deux & there's a whole horde of Advanced divers & Fundivers all going out in eager anticipation at the Whaleshark we are all going to see this afternoon! Oh I do love those Blue Moons!
Its a tragic day for Big Blue today. Our Resort Manager P'Lyn is off to run one of Koh Tao's newest, swankiest & poshest Resorts! I can't believe she is going to leave me after all these years but when you've got something quite as amazing as P'Lyn you just have to let them go & flap their wings once in a while & hope they'll come back! But its really no wonder she has been stolen from us. You are 1 in a million, you've been amazing P'Lyn & we shall all miss you! Damn that new swanky posh resort!
Well its obviously a week for feeling sorry for everyone out there. It was only a couple of days ago we had to send out our positive vibrations to Barry & the boys over in Khao Lak for having their vision underwater consistantly being disturbed by Mantas in there way & now our feelings of condolences must be stretched as far across the globe as England for the heavy winter & snows they are facing at the moment. You poor so & so's. It was only last night when we were all sitting around a beer watching the large bright red sun set behind the huge wobbly ocean that we were talking about you all over there in England & how cold & miserable it must be! & then someone bought a round of drinks & we changed the subject & started talking about girls & football! There's no point in feeling too sorry for you all!
Google Earth has expanded with the introduction of Google Ocean which is basically an Underwater map! Users can dive beneath a dynamic water surface to explore the 3D sea floor terrain. The map also includes 20 content layers, containing information from the world's leading scientists, researchers, and ocean explorers. You can now dive into the world's ocean that covers almost three-quarters of the planet and discover new wonders. You can not only zoom into whatever part of our planet's surface you wish to examine in closer detail, you can now dive into the world's ocean that covers almost three-quarters of the planet and discover new wonders. Approximately 70% of the worlds surface is covered by water and contains nearly 80% of all life, yet less than 5% of it has actually been explored. Google Oceans aims to let users visit some of the more interesting locations, including underwater volcanoes, as well as running videos on marine life, shipwrecks and clips of favorite surf and dive spots. So now folks you can dive Chumphon Pinnacle without even getting out of bed!
Canada is teaching G his Tech Diver Course today. Jean-Paul is also joining in the fun. & seeing as Canada's French is tres merde its a good job Guillaume & Jean-Paul are actually in the same class or it could have been diabolique for Jean-Paul who non comprends pas Canadian! But c'est bonne! Our Knight in shining amour' The gallant Guillaume has come to the rescue! Hurrah! Onions all round! Bonne Chance Canada!
Lots of new faces wandering around the place today! Sao our super shopgirl is off to work as our super Receptionist at our new Guesthouse & I've found Yo & Jo to replace her in the shop & to help fill the time shifts in over at our guesthouse too. Then in addition to Yo & Jo who'll help Kate, we also need to welcome Paul who is joining us in our DM team alongside Andy, Oliver, Amanda & now Paul. Paul was trained by Marcel in Khao Lak funnily enough but we won't hold that against him! So welcome to Big Blue Paul, Yo & Jo!