Saturday October 31st 2009-
"Dear Jim, I hope that you are the right person to write to. I recently returned from a week's diving trip to Koh Tao, during which we stayed at Big Blue and we took the Open Water and Advanced Open Water courses. We are all teachers at an international school in Bangkok and I can safely say it was one of the best holidays that we have ever had! I am mainly writing to compliment you on your excellent staff - Simon and Jodie who looked after us so well during the trip and taught us with ease, confidence and pragmatism. They really went way beyond the call of duty and we all became good divers in a short period of time. It is definitely due to their confidence and ability that we all felt sure we wanted to embark on the Advanced course the day after we finished OW. During my life I have been in receipt of many, many services and courses and workshops and teaching and whatever, and I can safely say that this is one of the best experiences I have had in a long time and certiainly in Thailand. I will recommend them highly to anyone who wants to learn to dive! Thanks again. Craig L."
You are welcome Craig- glad you had such a great time! Same again next holidays?
Officially its Open Season in Khao Lak tomorrow which means Rick & his team are going to be having their hair & make up put on tonight in readiness for the next 6 months ahead. Early mornings, late nights, busy days, no holiday, world class diving, highclass liveaboard, 2 posh speedboats, & very important Japanese customers! If anyone can handle it, Rick can! Happy Open Season Khao Lak!
Well the Whaleshark is still at Chumphon Pinnacle today. Only one of them which is only half as exciting as it was yesterday but way more exciting than 2 days ago. Having said that 2 days ago Chumphon was also pretty exciting because of all the Bullsharks swimming around. Though not as exciting as this morning because this morning we had a whaleshark & lots of Bullsharks swimming around, which makes this morning officially better than 2 days ago which was only half as good as yesterday!
Friday October 30th 2009-
Well despite the heavy downpour a few days ago now the weather has really brightened up & now its glorious sunny days, bright red sunsets, calm flat seas & crystal clear waters! In fact the conditions are so good right now even the whalesharks have come out to enjoy themselves! Thats right. I said Whalesharks! 2 of them a 3 meter baby & a 6 meter sibling. What a wonderful way to start the day today 2 dives 2 whalesharks Too right!
Took a while but it seems at last that the people in the position to do something about the plight of the Blue Fin Tuna are finally paying attention to the problem. The body charged with regulating catches of the southern bluefin, a closely related species, has just approved 20% quota cuts across the board. Now of course this is nowhere near good enough but it is a start & movies like 'The End of the Line' help to spread the message. 'Save the world! Save the Cheerleader!' (Oops sorry wrong movie!) Save the Tuna!
Canada is back from Khao Lak! He had to go over there to install the brand new shiney Nitrox Panel we have on our West Coast Liveaboard, the Pawara - she really is a beauty. A 35 meter long gleaming erection! This Liveaboard is so hot it makes other previosly sexy liveaboards burst pipes in inferiority! First trip leaves on the 2nd November & there's only a few spaces left. So if you want to ride the Sexiest beast in the Similans you better give me a call. Just don't tell the wife ;)
Tuesday October 27th 2009-
And the the heavens opened & the gods did unleash an ocean of rain upon a small little island in the middle of the Gulf of Thailand, that we all know so well & love. Its definitely a good thing to have the wildlife & local fauna watered as heavily as they are getting right now. & for sure its a good thing for the Koh Tao water table, & the Koh Tao Reservoir, but I am not looking forward to the time the Poonama Canal bursts its banks again. Got to love monsoon rains.
The prospects of saving the world's coral reefs now appear so bleak that plans are being made to freeze samples to preserve them for the future. Researchers believe that most coral reefs will not survive even if tough regulations on greenhouse gases are put in place. So Scientists proposed storing samples of coral species in liquid nitrogen. That will allow them to be reintroduced to the seas in the future if global temperatures can be stabilised. And that could take a while so if you haven't seen a real live reef before then don't you think its about time you did, before the only chance you get will be looking through a test tube!
Well the sharks are bigger, more inquisitve & more numerous than they have been in years! They are everywhere as well so this mornings double dive at Chumphon Pinnacle went down a treat with a full boat of very happy & excited individuals all looking for a morning of fun & adventure with sharks & by the sounds of it, it was mission accomplished! A sharktastic morning!
Sunday October 25th 2009-
Its almost Christmas so we've started to fix & do up our boats. In fact any day now we'll have old faithful Big Blue boat back after its last month in the boat boutique over on the mainland. When she comes back with Captain Dum & Boatboy Lek proudly steering her home she will be put to work pretty much straight away as the next boat in our fleet Navakid will be taken off for a short back & sides & then a month later it'll be a brush up & a bikini wax for Banzai. All in time for Christmas! & if you are surprised to see just how much we do for our boats at Christmas, you should see what we do for our boats at Valentines!
A man was stopped by a game warden in Northern Michigan recently with two buckets of fish leaving a lake well known for its fishing. The game warden asked the man, "Do you have a license to catch those fish?"
The man replied to the game warden, "No, sir. These are my pet fish."
"Pet fish?" the warden replied.
"Yes, sir. Every night I take these here fish down to the lake and let them swim around for a while. I whistle and they jump back into their buckets, and I take em home."
"That's a bunch of hooey! Fish can't do that!"
The man looked at the game warden for a moment, and then said, "Here, I'll show you. It really works."
"O.K. I've GOT to see this!" The game warden was curious now.
The man poured the fish in to the lake and stood and waited. After several minutes, the game warden turned to the man and said: "Well?"
"Well, What?" the man responded.
"When are you going to call them back?" the game warden prompted.
"Call who back?" the man asked.
"What fish?" the man asked.
There looks like there might be a change in wind direction tomorrow followed by what looks like a very heavy overnight downpour. If you are planning on coming over in the next few days might not be a bad idea to pack stuff you don't want getting wet, getting wet! But don't let a few raindrops put you off the diving. Its still 20 meters + & there's sharks all over Chumphon Pinnacle.
Friday October 23rd 2009-
Canada & his team of techies are off to Khao Sok again tonight for another 3 or 4 days of underwater exploration in search of Red Rackhams Treasure & the Temple of Doom! The team have been preparing themselves all week with some practise runs at our local sites getting their kit prepped, trying out the rebreathers & getting used to diving with the twin tanks on again. Pretty exhausting work if you aren't used to it so Canada is delighted to have a couple of hands Christos & Ash along to help out with some of those more demanding favours that quality customer service demands! No sense going out half cocked! You got to give your all if you work at Big Blue Tech !
Not that I've seen it yet but apparently the new in thing to be watching if you haven't already seen Shark Water, The End of the Line or The Cove, (3 of this years most memorable documentaries on the state of our oceans), is Whale Wars. A documentary charting the legendary Sea Shephard as it tries to stop a Japanese Whaling Fleet in the Antarctic Sea. Its real arousing viewing according to Sonia & Paul... if fat hairy Canadian tattooed whale warriors is what arouses you! Yvonne can't wait to watch it!
Its a big thankyou, good bye & see you again soon for Panos & Kayleigh today as they head off the Rock for a little town we all know so well, situated over on the West Cost of Thailand called Khao Lak. They are both hyper excited at the prospect of having to work for Rick & his team operating Big Blue Khao Lak with one very nice Pawara Liveabaord & 2 very nice 15 meter speedboats departing daily to the Similan & Surin Islands. What a Be-ach! Leaving one sun soaked tropical island for another. I can think of worse ways to while away the years! Good luck guys & cheers for all your help.
Thursday, October 22nd 2009-
Who stole the monsoon? This is the time of the year when usually beach bars and restaurants shut down for a month or two, instructors go on holiday, the winds blow harder than ever and the heavens open at least once a day, leaving all of us soaked. The bungalows are damp, our clothes never dry and our motorbikes won’t start. Well, not this year: the weather is amazing, the beach is still rocking in the evening, the sea is crystal clear (have we mentioned the sharks recently?) and the only way we get soaked is by diving, playing volleyball on the beach or attending a DM challenge. Paul’s bike wouldn’t start last night but that’s his problem!
Tomorrow, the Save Koh Tao group will be transplanting out 50 of the largest giant clams from the nursery area in Ao Leuk. Giant clams are one of the most ecologically important organisms in a coral reef, known as a keystone species. Like hard corals, Giant clams produce a shell that adds to the reef structure. In addition to this, they clean nutrients from the water that could otherwise smother and kill corals. A single Giant clam can filter 100s of liters of water in a single day, and the presence of Giant clams on a dive site is the usually the sign of high coral abundance and biodiversity. In the evening there will be a buffet dinner at Dirty Nellie’s starting at 7:30pm to celebrate the end of another productive year of community run marine conservation. The dinner is only 100 baht per person, and 100% of that goes to Save Koh Tao Marine Branch.
Kayleigh is on her way to becoming a Rescue Diver under the guidance of Instructor Paul, just before she and Panos head off to the other side for a season in the Similans tomorrow. It’s been great having them both back here and we will miss them for sure. See you next year!
Wednesday, 21st October 2009-
Sharks, sharks and more sharks! By now, everybody knows that we’re diving with our long lost bullshark friends again at Chumphon Pinnacle every single day. So today, we thought we’d try out Southwest in the morning for a change. Guess what? There was a whaleshark there. It’s always a special moment for people when they see their first whaleshark and if you missed it, you still have a few minutes to sign up for the afternoon dives because we are going back there! Actually, it’s always a special moment diving with the biggest fish in the ocean, even if you’ve already seen more than 30. Ask some of our divemasters. Video tonight at 6!
Last night, we had a multilingual DM challenge for Daisuke and Erika, hosted by G and Mayuko. The challengees were both thoroughly congratulated with a lot of iced water, talc powder, shots, beers, buckets and a nice Vaseline shampoo. What more could you ask for? Daisuke performed a “Japanese Dance” with all the other DMTs and then tried to stop time by blinking. Yatta!!! Didn’t work so well, maybe he should try the dancing the “Time Warp” next time. It was also Christie’s birthday and she got to join in the “fun”. Happy 19th birthday Christie! Yuta also “volunteered” to help Daisuke and was the victim of what some might call collateral damage…
Staff gossip: Barry’s gone to India for a well-deserved holiday and Helen has gone home to do nothing for a few weeks, that lazy girl! And G got back yesterday and is already at work but who really cares?
Monday 19th October 2009-
Our divers were treated to 2 dives at Chumphon Pinnacle this morning and it was a sharktastic! 2 metre bull sharks, grey reef sharks, masses of barracuda and crystal clear water and it was just us on the second dive. Lovely!
A brightly-coloured fish which bounces along the seabed has been hailed as a new species by scientists - who have dubbed it "psychedelica". Research published in the US scientific journal Copeia says the fish was spotted by scuba divers off the island of Ambon in eastern Indonesia.
The new psychedelica frogfish is completely covered in swirling concentric stripes - white and blue on a peach background - radiating out from its aqua-coloured eyes. It has a broad flat face, thick fleshy cheeks and chin, and eyes that look forward like a human's.
The divers described it moving away from them in a series of short hops, its pelvic fins pushing it off the sea bed with each bounce. "The overall impression" says the Copeia research paper, was of "an inflated rubber ball bouncing along the bottom".
New instructors are getting their water wings out and notebooks at the ready, PADI instructor Jodie is teaching Open Water along side Simon today. SSI instructor Becky is off tomorrow resort diving with some beginners. Apples for the teachers or bottles of beer, mmm you decide!
Thursday 15th October 2009-
More congratulations are in order to some brand new PADI Instructors today. Koh Tao’s dog whispering DM Andy, along with Mickey and Jodie passed the last of their instructor exams and presentations today. By the time the morning boats came back this morning they were already sinking some well deserved beers and glasses of wine. After celebrating some more in the bar here, they have their I.E Party tonight down at Dirty Nelly’s, well done to all the candidates who passed today. See you in the pub later!!!
Something wasn’t quite right this morning when I drove in to work! The smell was normal, the sleepy eyed DMTs was normal. Hmmm, could it have been that there was a big red truck with only 3 of its wheels left on the bridge over our Poo-nama Canal? The 4th wheel was kind of hanging over the side of our walkway! Woops, some silly-billy misjudged the turn resulting in one of its wheels slipping off. Anyone know any driving schools on Koh Tao?…. How 'bout Master Drivers ?! ;-)
Sharks, sharks and more sharks, we're surrounded by our pelagic friends! Bull sharks at Chumpon in the mornings, and this afternoon a whale shark at White Rock! Always good to see the longtails coming back to shore with a load of excited people after seeing their first whale shark, the excitement's contagious! Chumpon and White Rock seems like a good combination of dive sites for some big spotted fish spotting!
Shark Safari! At last, sharks were seen all over Chumphon Pinnacle this morning! The other day DM Duncan reckons he saw 2 Bull sharks. Today Commander Bond reckons she saw at least 5! Now all we need to do is make sure the fisherman leave them alive catwalking the pinnacles for all our divers to see. They are worth way more alive than dead & just the excitement from this mornings fun divers has generated a surge in divers for tomorrow mornings little outing! Shark- Safari... So goody!
Meanwhile in the deeply technical world of Deep Tech diving, Canada & his tattooed team of black hooded twin tank techie boys have been taking Navakid off for a jolly with a fish finder & a depth reader to see if they can find somewhere deep & dark to go diving. Ideally chancing upon a wreck would be a fine thing, but we'll suffice with a ridge or a wall or a series of pinnacles. As long as its deep & its dark & its technical & it involves carrying around lots of tanks & a gimps hat it doesn't really matter!
Amazing weather today & the diving is fantastic. It's got to be 30+ meters at most sites & here on Sairee Reef you can practically see the mainland through the water it is so clear. There isn't even a waft of wind & its really quiet on the dive front as well with very few people arriving on the island at the moment. Mark this month down in your diary for next year if you want a good dive holiday!
Tuesday 13th October 2009-
Scuba Professional Internship programmes. That seemed to get a lot of people talking, well emailing at least. I posted it up on our website only yesterday & already have 1 booking & another 2 additional enquiries into the Open Water to Instructor Programme, including the training to become a professional videographer, with 7 months accommodation, & a guaranteed job placement. I better ring around some old work colleagues & start calling in a few favours! Only joking! Study to become a Dive professional. Live life at the beach!
Going to give a big shout out to DM Andy, CGD Mickey, & Vidiot Jodie who all start their PADI Instructor exams today. Over the next 2 & half days they will be made to lecture on the importance of mask clearing, demonstrate phenomenal Buoyancy control, prevent possible accidents from occurring & multiple guess their way through 8 exams. Then its trousers down & beers till dawn. Pretty much the same as every other night! Good luck guys!
In the high end world of Fashion a new bikini has been unleashed upon the unsuspecting public. Its being labelled as the womens equivalent to Borat's lime green Mankini. In fact it is very hard to imagine anything worse than Borats Mankini but lo & behold it has been achieved. Ladies & gentlemen it is with complete horror I present to you the Nimbus 2000 Bikini.
Monday 12th October 2009-
Seems to be some rather exciting news coming from Chumphon Pinnacle over the last few days. Bull Sharks! They're back. Well we hope so at least. They've been spotted over the last couple of days so it looks fairly promising. Chumphon Pinnacle used to be wall to wall with sharks so it will be very exciting if they are back. Fingers crossed & watch this space.
Ex DM/ brand new SSI Instructor Big Paul has his first course today! Paul will be taking out a very sweet but totally unsuspecting Israeli couple for their first experience of breathing underwater. Paul is obviously very excited & has been jumping up & down in eager anticipation which could account for the recent earth tremors the world has been experiencing in this region over the last few days. Good luck Paul! Mazel Toff Israeli couple!
Friday 9th October 2009-
Congratulations to our very own Dive master Paul and videographer Becky who passed their SSI Instructor Exam this afternoon, these guys have been studying for weeks and impressing the examiners with high scores on the their exams and presentations.Well done both of you-HIGH 5.
Even bigger congratulations and well done to SSImon Garrity Big Blue’s first SSI Instructor Trainer, as this was his first instructor training course. The evil little pair didn’t even tell him they’d passed until they’d drunk at least 2 or 3 beers while sitting giggling waiting with there phones! Simon is bursting with pride right now and will be bursting with beer and shots later on after celebrating tonight with his two new SSI instructors. Venues for tonights festivities are starting at Vibe and then heading down to the Airport Party!! Well Done to all of you.
Technical Divemaster Andy Holdaway is off back to the UK again probably to beat people up or blow them up or maybe just walk around wearing two tanks and shouting at people for pointing at his handlebar moustache. Canada’s marine bum chum came to do his technical divemaster trainee internship a few months ago and is now a certified technical diver and dive master. see you in a few months...
Thursday 8th October 2009-
The place is like a ghost town at the moment. What with the mass exodus over to Khao Lak, we are saying “see you in 6 months” to Rick, Ricky, Anna, and Keith; Simon is teaching the SSI ITC with DM Paul and Becky; Deano is staffing the PADI IDC with DM Andy, Mickey and Jodie and then there is G who is off having a wine and cheese party up the Eiffel Tower!
Good news though, Yvonne is finally back teaching again after getting the all clear from the Doctors, and about time too - a bored Yvonne is a very annoying Yvonne. I’m sure Canada can vouch for that!
Like in many places of the world, marine litter on the Kenyan coast has become part of the landscape. Last summer as part of their Ocean Project, Camp International, volunteer organisations running trips to Africa and Asia, coordinated 7 beach clean-ups involving gap year students from the UK to clean-up the Kenyan coastline. Over 200 bags of litter were collected which included over 7000 flip-flops. The Camp Kenya School Team Expedition then worked with local artists to create a life size whale shark made entirely from the recycled flip-flops picked up from the beach.
The flip-flop Whale Shark project not only raises awareness about the importance of gaining protection for Whale Sharks but also reminds us that humans have created the marine litter problem and that it is our responsibility to take action to tackle it.
So many career recreational divers & technical divers & now welcome back to Big Jan from the Nethernetherlands who trained with us over a year ago & is now working as a commercial diver in the exotic part of Australia- that's New Zealand isn't it? So welcome back Massive Jan. & now I'm hearing rumours that James Brooks another ex DM in training of ours has got himself a job on board the legendary & controversial Sea Shephard ship on their next mission to Antarctica. That's wicked news James. Congratulations!
In an attempt to improve the view, Spaz has set up our beach volleyball court right outside the Big Blue bar here on Sairee beach! Its about time too! After all what view could be better while sitting at the bar with a free beer at the end of a busy day than watching a bevvy of bouncing beauties banging their balls down before a setting sun? Did someone say free beer?
Some confusion today as to whether the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan was last night or tonight! Its a very important religious holiday for Buddhists today so there is no alcohol served till noon today so obviously that could cause a wee bit of a problem for the FMP organisers! Any how judging by the amount of revellers who haven't shown up today I think its a safe enough bet to assume the party is now on tonight! Best Fishes & a Happy Full Moon to you all.
Basking sharks can grow up to several metres long and is one of the only sharks to visit the shores of Britain. It eats by swimming with its mouth wide open and sucks in as much of its tiny prey as it can get.
Now that’s something you don’t see everyday!