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Big Blue Conservation - Koh Tao - Thailand

12th September

Who is Green Fins and why are we in Big Blue Conservation one of their top members

Protecting the oceans with Green Fins.

Initiated in 2004 by the East Asian Seas Regional Coordinating Unit and supported by UNEP, the Green Fins project encourages dive and resort operators as well as divers themselves, to adopt Eco-friendly practices during their exploration of coral reefs. They do this through a network of mutual support from many dive operators, so that such conduct can be of benefit to both operators and environment through enhancing the tourist’s marine experience in the long run.

The contribution of the Green Fins is tangible. Aside from social and scientific monitoring of coral reef health and tourist and dive operators behaviour, their standards can be felt on the dive tourist in Asia, where our diving school Big Blue Diving can be seen running through the Green Fins recommendations before taking our guest out for the plunge of a dive.

Green fins

Green Fins is currently active in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand where diving tourism has grown around the rich, unique, diverse and dynamic coral reefs of the world. In the region, Green Fins in Thailand and Philippines has progressed greatly since its launch in 2004 and there are currently over 100 members. The Green Fins Association in The Philippines, a non-governmental organization, has taken the lead to introduce and implement Green Fins along with a number of marine conservation awareness raising activities in local communities and schools.

Big Blue Conservation has been members for over 6 years, we see the change in behaviour and interest from our divers and staff who like to take an active part in protecting the underwater world.

bb green fins pic

This is done different ways: education of our staff, listen to our active dive briefings, participating in clean ups, making new moorings for the boats to prevent throwing anchors on the reef, monitoring the reefs for bleaching & for new growth of corals, we are also doing fish / marine life count during the year. If you want more information or support please contact green fins direct on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

So we were so happy to be awarded 3rd in the top ten Eco Friendly schools in the world.

 

http://www.greenfins.net/en/top-members

 

And so you are welcome to come and dive with Big Blue Diving, be an active partner together with us, learn more about how we can all help the environment and still enjoy the UW world.

Here at Big Blue Conservation we will run free courses about Green Fins, and other conservation organisations, showing people how they can help and protect our amazing seas.

Become part of the solution………………………………

http://www.greenfins.net/en/Downloads

More information about Green Fins:

Green Fins is a project in South East Asia encouraging scuba diving operators to adhere to a Code of Conduct with an overall aim to reduce negative impacts to the marine environment. The Code of Conduct is a list of 15 rules designed to tackle the most common and detrimental effects SCUBA diving activities have on the habitat in which they operate.
Mission statement
The mission statement of Green Fins is:
“To protect and conserve coral reefs by establishing and implementing environmentally friendly guidelines to promote a sustainable diving tourism industry.”
History:
Green Fins was established in 2004 as a project by the United Nations Environmental Programs (UNEP) and was implemented by the Secretariat of the Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA). The project was initiated and coordinated by COBSEA’s secretariat as part of the effort to increase public awareness with an overall aim to better management practices that will contribute to the conservation of coral reefs (and other associated marine ecosystems such as sea grass beds and mangroves) and reduce the current unsustainable tourism practices.
Present:
Currently there are four active member countries of the Green Fins project. Thailand and the Philippines started in 2004, Indonesia in 2007 and Malaysia in 2008. Each individual country is autonomous, running their projects aims and objectives to fulfil the mission statement. This is done under the supervision of the Network Leader with the Network Leader Assistant as a supporting role. The position of the Network Leader is usually fulfilled by government staffs who work under a relevant department overseeing the protection and control of either marine habitats or tourism.

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website http://www.greenfins.net

13th August 2017

SWIM 4 SHARKS 2017

Sorry for the delay, but here is a round-up of what happened and the success of that amazing day.

Well we had an awesome opening ceremony with help from some of the islands officials and started the day off with a gourmet breakfast.

Whilst this was happening we had people queuing to join us for the swim and the raffle ticket and T-shirt counter was constantly busy.

We closed the swimming registration at 12 am with a total of 53 people that would be swimming round Koh Nanyuang for Sharks.SWIM 4 SHARKS 2017 2 500X281

Then at 2 pm the competitive swimmers set of with the winner completing the race in well under an hour, then the leisure snorkelers set of at 2:30 pm and enjoyed a relaxed swim around 3 famous islands.

We then got back to the island for 4 pm, and then at 5:30 pm we enjoyed a Shark presentation from Shark Guardian, and SSI Shark Ecology diver.

Of which SSI kindly donated the certification of Shark ecology diver to anyone that participated in the morning and afternoon activities.

After the presentation we then proceeded to party the night away, with help of our local Diza beach bar. We had a live a DJ, BBQ, head shaving, Raffle prizes, and even Shark tattoo.   The night finished at around midnight, and from some of the pictures you can see it was enjoyed by many.

Well we did all of this for Sharks. They play such an important part in ecosystems, of the oceans. We cannot afford to see them suufer and ultimately disappear. So with the help of all our sponsors, volunteers, and general public I am happy to inform you that we raised a whopping 155,000 Thai Baht. That will be split between the two charities.SWIM 4 SHARKS 2017 3 500X281

Sea Shepherd Australia, who will put this money towards protecting the sharks living within the oceans, and then Shark Guardian. Who will travel around Thailand and other Asian countries, visiting schools and businesses helping people to understand the importance of sharks and why the protection of them is so important. So a huge thank you to everyone involved. 

 

22nd April 2017

EARTH DAY!Earth day 2017 70 x 70

Well we did it again, with another great community event.  On 22nd April 2017 over 50 Dive schools, 50 businesses, the local government, and over 500 volunteers came together to make a difference.

A day dedicated to the well fair of our home and all the life within, Earth day has been celebrated for over 40 years, a day where people do what they can to improve the health of the planet and educate others on how to do more to care for are home.Earth day Poster 2017

So how did we get on, well the land clean-up was a great success, with over 300 volunteers cleaning both the beaches, and the roads we collected over 1,500 Kg of trash collected. Then with a total of 20 Dive boats and another 200 Volunteers we removed another 500 Kg of trash from the ocean.Earth day 2017

Along with the island wide clean-up we also held an evening event where we raised over 400,000 Thai Baht, and this year the funds raised will be going towards establishing a local trash sorting and recycling facilities, plus supplying more environmentally products to the businesses on the island.

So to wrap it up, we would like to thank all the volunteers that helped that day. The community of Koh Tao did it again…………….

Earth day 2 2017 500 x 281

WELL DONE EVERYONE!

“EARTH DAY”

12th February 2017

Pre Valentine Charity Auction

So the now annual Pre Valentines Charity auction was once again a great success, raising a total of 38,000 Thai Baht from just one night of bidding on the islands most eligible bachelors.Charity Auction 2017 500x281

We had a change of location from our previous events, however that didn’t stop our amazing volunteers putting themselves up for auction, and some hungry bidders looking to grab a hottie for valentine. All the money raised from the event will be going to two awesome charities, our local animal clinic, and the international charity Sea Shepherd.

We would like to thank all of our volunteers and bidders from that night, making it once again a night to remember……

Charity Auction 2 2017 500x281

http://www.seashepherdglobal.org/

http://www.kohtaoanimalclinic.org/

December 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

So another year over and so how did we do?

new year post

Over 150,000 THB in funds raised for charities.

Removal of approx. 5,000 Drupella snails from the local reef.

5 new additional structures to the local artificial reef.

16 new BSAC Marine conservationists certified.

6 new SSI Shark divers certified.

Over 40 beach and reef clean ups, removing tons of trash from land and sea.

With the constant perils our world faces I would be happy to say that the work done by our volunteers throughout the year was a great effort, and here at Big Blue Conservation we will continue to wage war against environmental destruction.

So overall I would say it went well, with  the help of many volunteers we were able to achieve so much and with more joining us in 2017 I would say bring it on.new year post poster

So another year over and so how did we do?

Over 150,000 THB in funds raised for charities.

Removal of approx. 5,000 Drupella snails from the local reef.

5 new additional structures to the local artificial reef.

16 new BSAC Marine conservationists certified.

6 new SSI Shark divers certified.

Over 40 beach and reef clean ups, removing tons of trash from land and sea.

With the constant perils our world faces I would be happy to say that the work done by our volunteers throughout the year was a great effort, and here at Big Blue Conservation we will continue to wage war against environmental destruction.

So overall I would say it went well, with  the help of many volunteers we were able to achieve so much and with more joining us in 2017 I would say bring it on.

2nd January

Coping with disaster

After a joyous festive season, the gulf of Thailand was hit by severe rain fall. Leading to mass flooding throughout the south of Thailand, and including our small little paradise island of Koh Tao.

The rain hit hard and fast, too much for the infrastructure of the island to cope with, as a result creating flash floods that engulfed the lower areas of the island.  Homes, businesses, and beaches were completed devastated by the floods. The floods January 2017

This lead to mass damage and garbage run off, that if left unattended good of resulted in permanent damage to the surrounding environment.

So we needed to come together as a community and restore the island to its former glory.   This took time and the help of many volunteers both local and tourists, working together we did land clean ups and ocean clean ups for several days after the rains had subsided.

The island has now recovered and so we have a happy ending, however that is not always the case for others hit around the world by unusual weather tragedies.

These strange weather occurrences have become more frequent in recent years, as a result in the overall rise in atmospheric temperature.  Global Warming!  A significant rise in temperature can alter ocean currents, ultimately altering weather patterns that can lead to some of the extreme weather disasters we are seeing today.Eco day land clean up January 2017

So how could we prevent this tragedy from occurring again?  Well as we continue to burn fossil fuels and destroy our oceans and rain forests, there is little we can do as a population. However as an individual just by walking to work, eating less meat, and saving water you’re already helping so much. 

15th November 2016

Get Involved Koh Tao

We were recently able to join in with this great monthly event, that brings the whole community together for conservation. Dive professionals, and professionals in training come together from all over Koh Tao, for a morning of conservation theory, topics including Coral reef biology, anatomy, and coral reef conservation. clean up dive get involved eco day November 2016

The afternoon fun then includes the options of underwater clean ups, beach clean ups, Drupella snail collection, and even artificial reef building. Allowing people to learn more about conservation, and how they can get involved to help.  

We then all come together on an evening to exchange stories, of how the day went, and what to look forward to next month.

Thanks to everyone that got involved, and saved the SEAS!

drupella snail collection on get involved eco day 2016

 

31st October 2016

The future

Looking at the big picture, what happens when were gone. The Planet will undoubtedly out live the human race, however the question is more what would be left for the generations to come. The rate of habitate and species loss has increased dramatically over past 40 years, predicting that 70% of wild animals could be extinct by the end of this decade.Turtle conservation

We were recently joined by a school trip from Hong kong, during the trip they participated in Scuba Diving courses, Conservation lectures, and even helped with a local beach clean. 

Facts that may change your look on life, one being educating the next generation on our failures and ways they could do better, must be one of the most important tasks ahead.

“We owe at least this much to future generations, from whom we have borrowed a fragile planet called Earth”

Maurice Strong

A job that must have the upmost importance, if we are to save the world we live in……..Kids beach clean

15th August 2016

Shark Day!

Educating the next generation, is possible the most important thing we could do to ensure the success of all our conservation efforts, so after the great success of Swim 4 Sharks. swim 4 sharks kids 2

As apex predators, sharks play an important role in the ecosystem by maintaining the species below them in the food chain and serving as an indicator for ocean health. They help remove the weak and the sick as well as keeping the balance with competitors helping to ensure species diversity.swim 4 sharks kids 4

The team at Big Blue Conservation joined by the founders of Shark Guardian, visited the local junior school, and had a fun filled shark day with the children from presentations, to games, to water melon sharks, in one day. 

13th August 2016

SWIM 4 SHARKS 2016

So we our happy to announce another fantastic event, and a new grand total of 150,000 THB ( 5,600 AUD ) was achieved, and will nw be going towards Shark conservation projects worldwide, via, our two designated charities, s4sgroup2016

Shark Guardian Thailand

Sea Shepherd Austaralia

Each organisation will receive a substantial sum, that can be used towards the ongoing Shark projects they have running. 

As for the day itself, I am more than happy to suggest fun was had by all, despite a liitle turbulunt weather, the swimmers had fun, raising large quantities, of sponsorship, whilst also bringing a great atmosphere to the event, plus joined by a great bunch as support staff, that made the day run smoothly and effortlessly.

Then the evening was nothing other than a great party, for all with music from our local DJ Bryan, and raffle filled with awesome prizes, plus the legendary Shave 4 Sharks, where we had plenty of willing volunteers that changed their look for the sharks, keeping the total going up throughout the eveining. 

Sharks play such an important role in the oceans, and if we lose the oceans, we lose everything, so by pretecting Sharks, we our looking after the well being of our future.

"No Blue

No Green

No Water 

No Life"

Sylvia Earle

I would finnaly like say a huge thank you to our sponsors:s4steam2016

Aquamaster Koh Toa,  Banyan Bar,  Barracuda,  Big Blue Freediving, Big Blue Tech,  Big Blue Drift Store

Dive Supply Koh Tao,  Gym & Fitness,  Koh Tao Flying Trapeze,  Koh Tao Leisure Park,  Kusto,  Mojo, Monsson Gym,  One Stop Dive, Scuba Schools International, Sup Tao,  The Hacienda.

Without support from our local community none of this woul have bee possibe, so THANK YOU!

 

June 2016

Save Koh Tao Festival 2016

The Save Koh Tao Festival has been running now for 6 years, a couple of days to show how Koh Tao community comes together for the greater good, and to address any new environmental issues, and the possible solutions that have been put in to place. 

This years festival was held on the 18th-19th of June, and what a festival, the opening was held at the historic King Rama 5 Rock on Sairee beach, follwed closely by our very first and biggest land based world record attempt.Trash Sculpture 2016

At 11:30 pm on Saturday the 18th of June over 3,000 people of all nationalities came together on Sairee beach to clasp wrists with the person next to them in a bid to beat the previous Guiness World record of 2,200 people, and also show their strength as a community. We have yet to obtain the official results, but it did look pretty promising.

Then on to the afternoons festivities, with Kids games, food stalls, Volleyball games, and even a trash sculpture competition, which the team at Big Blue Conservation entered an Anemone sculpture made from mostlly recycle plastic. 

Then to the evening, as usual we worked hard to create outfits for the Mr and Mrs Koh Tao competition, where teams must create outfits made from as much recycled material as possible, and this year we even had a theme to our entries, of a healthy ocean, Mrs Koh Tao and a unhealthy ocean Mr Koh Tao, our efforts were then rewarded with a prize for Mrs Koh Tao, well done.Mrs Koh Tao 2016

The following night was probably the biggest and most exciting night for Big Blue, as it was the night of our on stage 

Always look on the green side of life

performance, each year we ask fo some time on stage, to show the community what enertainers we really are, and this year was no exception, with a twist on old, classic 'Always look on the bright side of life' to always look on the green side of life. The team put on quite a show, and I think even managed to address some environmental issues to the public. 

So all I have to say is thank everyone, that made it possible, and we look forward to next year. 

March 2016

Nigel our ever enthusiastic intern

I came to Big Blue on a whim not knowing how much I would like scuba diving. I finished my open water course and immediately knew I was hooked and signed up for the advanced course the next day. I had to go back to my job as a teacher in Thailand after that but first chance I got I was right back at Big Blue diving. I had discovered something truly new and amazing to do.

After just 10 dives I felt that I wanted scuba diving to become a part of my life. I signed up for the rescue,deep, nitrox and wreck courses offered in the hopes of exploring as much of the underwater world as I could and become experienced enough to do the Eco internship with Rachel. The Eco internship was by far the most satisfying and rewarding diving I have done to date. It gave me the opportunity to interact with the underwater world and transform my diving from purely spectating to helpful participation with the ecosystem. During my internship my skills and knowledge around diving increased dramatically and I am far more confident underwater than I once was. I was the only intern in the course and got to work one on one with my instructor Rachel. Nigel

This allowed my time with her to be very flexible and tailored my interests. She is very dedicated to what she does, her passion flowed into her work. During my time with her I learned how to care for the local coral formations. Cleaning up large bits of garbage from the ocean has never been so fun. I didn't feel like just another tourist when I was helping clean and care for the marine life. Doing the Eco internship was some of the most enjoyable diving I got to do and I hope that the program expands. It's a great way to get experience if you are thinking of continuing your diving career. I have nothing but good things to say about my experience at Big Blue.

Thanks Nigel, it was a pleasure, carry on sharing the passion!

April 22nd 2016

Earth Day

A day dedicated purley to the environment, has been happening now for over 40 years, and here at Big Blue we also spent the day doing what we can to help our struggling environment. 

This year we were invited to join other businesses in an island wide clean up, of not only the beaches, and roads, but also the local diving sites. Earth day 500 x 281

With the involvement of over 60 businesses, including other dive schools we collected over 1,254 Kg of trash, with the help of over 353 divers.

Along with the mass clean up we also raised money for one of Koh Tao's oldest protectors of the seas, Chad Scott. One of the co-founders of the Save Koh Tao organisation, he has helped and created varies projects, that have made Koh Tao more environmentally sustainable.

Unfortunatly he was recently diagnosed with luekemia and so as a community we also held a fundraising event for him on the evening of the 22nd, raising a total of 735,500 Thai baht.

In whole the community really did come together, WELL DONE EVERYONE!Shanna Earth day

13th February 2016

Valentine Charity Auction

Well it was such a great success last year that we decided why not, it’s all for a good cause. So we went with it, trying to make it bigger and better than its predecessor, with a local DJ plus more amazing hotties from all over Koh Tao and some hungry bidders, wanting to grab themselves a date for valentine. animal clinic 12 

Come 8 o’clock the bar was full, with the community of Koh Tao coming together to raise money for the two great charities we chose, and that community didn’t disappoint with a grand total of 45,000 Thai Baht, I’d say they did good.  Oh and everyone had an awesome time, not sure on how those valentine dates went, but hey it’s all for charity. 50

http://www.seashepherdglobal.org/

http://www.kohtaoanimalclinic.org/

December 2015

A NEW YEAR

So how did we get on over the past 12 months, well with more than 20 new BSAC Marine conservationists certified, plus the removal of over a ton of trash from the oceans, as well as the local beaches, I’d say not bad.  Then of course we had some great fundraising events throughout the year, from charity auctions, quizzes, to competitive swim events, raising money for some awesome charities, I believe the grand total of 200,000 Thai Baht was raised. Going to such charities like;

  • Sea Shepherd Australia

http://www.seashepherd.org.au/

  • Shark Guardian

http://www.sharkguardian.org

  • Soi Dog Foundation

http://www.soidog.org/en/about-soi-dog/

  • Noistar Animal Clinic Koh Tao

http://www.kohtaoanimalclinic.org/8

However I don’t think it would have been merely as successful a year, if it wasn’t for the awesome volunteers that joined us in 2015. Designing new posters, giving presentations to our DMT’s, and of course looking after the local reef. Your efforts and contributions will all ways be appreciated, and from everyone at Big Blue Diving we commend you for ‘Saving Our Seas!’

November 2015

QUIZ TIME

Everyone loves a good quiz show, so here at Big Blue Conservation, we thought why not bring the show to the people. So with the help of Jillian and Sabina Eco interns, we designed a quiz, with questions all related to animals, with 5 different rounds.animal clinic 2

The night was a success, raising just short of 10,000 Thai baht, everyone had a great time with laughter all night, even after the quiz had finished. The money we raised would be given to the Soi Dog Foundation based in Bangkok, and helping homeless dogs and cats across Thailand, with not just medical problems. But also running an amazing worldwide adoption program, which saves these animals from any further pain, with giving them a new life with a new family.

http://www.soidog.org/en/about-soi-dog/

29th August 2015

SWIM 4 SHARKS 2015

So with the big event now over, we can look back on the great success and fun that was had throughout the day, from face painting to fun swimming, fun was had by all.swim4sharks2015

This year we added some new activities to the day, including some activities that were aimed towards the young ones, after all they are the future and the next generation of eco warriors.

Liz from Shark Guardian came over from Phuket to help give a presentation to the children from the local day garden school, plus we had face painting, shark sand sculptures and fun in the pool.swim4sharks22015

The total we raised reached a staggering 130,000 ฿, approximately $3600 which was a new record compared to previous years.

This year we also decided to give the money raised to a new charity organisation, as well as Shark Guardian, which do brilliant work around Asia, we also donated some of the money raised to Sea Shepherd Australia, which will go towards some of their shark conservation based campaigns, like Sunu Gaal, and Apex harmony.

We are pleased with the support of the local community, and look forward to next year, let’s make it bigger and better.swim4sharks32015

WELL DONE EVERYONE!

19th June

2015 Save Koh Tao Festival

An annual event that brings together the whole community in the name of conservation, dive schools and other local businesses, discuss the efforts made and future plans, to conserve the beautiful island of Koh Tao.

Going from a small population of just a few families in the early 80’s to now a growing population of over a 1,000. The community came together and set up a group known as Save Koh Tao, their job to regulate activity that effects the island, and the surrounding waters of Koh Tao. 

Their efforts continue throughout the year, however once a year we have a two day party to celebrate their efforts to the general public, and put forward any future plans we have that will benefit the island.KOHTAOFESTIVAL2015

As members of Save Koh Tao, each year we join in with the festivities, to put on a great show for the public. This year we decided to go for constant laughter with Big Blue’s un-sychronized swimming squad, and we even made some outrageous outfits out of recycled materials, for the Mr and Ms Koh Tao competition.

In all the two days were filled with fun and cheer, a party that can keep the entire family smiling, so if your ever in the neighbourhood around June, I would seriously recommend popping over to see what all the fuss is about, a community event that comes together perfectly.

Save Koh Tao!

26th June 2015

Underwater Full Moon Party

Imagine a night dive where everywhere you look your eyes are bewildered by florescence, an image like that of a 70’s poster. By using Blue light instead of the traditional white, on a night dive it’s like entering a new world, a dive site that you have seen on numerous occasions at night can be an intriguing new environment. The different blue light wave length enables you to see underwater life in a whole new colour.

Organisms like Corals and Crustaceans, contain proteins that absorb the blue light, and then reflect to make wonderful bright colours.uv

 Corals that seem dormant during the day, come to life at night, and with the blue light you can see them feeding on the small organisms that float within the oceans.

Crustaceans that can be hard to see, will now stand out making it easy to observe their activity, this can also apply to Octopus, and Scorpion fish, their camouflage abilities making them hard to see, now clear to see amongst the coral.

Reasons behind why some organisms reflect the blue light, are still being researched, some suggestions our feeding techniques, defensive strategy, or even mating practices.uv1

Here at Big Blue, thanks to the help from UV Koh Tao we can now offer the chance to try this new activity, for further information, contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

uvdivekohtao.com

 

22nd April 2015

Earth Day!

An annual event celebrated on the 22nd of April, where events are held, to express our support for all environmental protection happening worldwide. It first started in 1970, where a total of 192 countries showed a united support, becoming a true global event.Earthday152

The first day of spring for those in the Northern hemisphere, it was seen as an opportunity to honour the Earth for all that it has given and provided.  Over the years the way people have honoured and supported, ranges from money raising events, like a sponsored Everest climb, to a global clean-up, ridding the land and oceans of its pollutants.   

Here on Koh Tao, we try to always show our support for events like this, coming together as a community, and this year was no exception, local businesses came together to help with an island clean-up, and events were held for the local school children.

So all in all the day was a great success, the island became spotless, and in an attempt to keep it clean we are working alongside the charity organisation Trash Heroes, to arrange weekly clean-ups, all over the island, a way to bring volunteers together every week, for some good work. 101

13th April 2015

Songkran

The world famous water festival, which is the celebration of many Asia countries new year, including Thailand, where it is celebrated for 5 days during April, the 13th marking the date of the New Year.Songkran2012

The traditional celebration includes the pouring of herbed and fragranced water over each other to purify one of any sins for the coming year, it however has become more of a extravagant party over the years as cultures have evolved, the meaning still remains, but let’s just say the methods by which people are cleansed has become more outrageous.

The underlining factor of a worldwide water shortage, and the mass amounts of fresh water that is wasted during these 5 day celebrations, must be something we need to think about in preparation for next year.  As global warming changes our climate creating more long periods of drought for a lot of South East Asian countries, is the wasting of such quantities of water practical each year.f1-7-Songkran-2007

One can agree that traditions must be upheld, however at what cost to our survival, the celebration can still go on but maybe there are methods by which we can use sea water, or simply save rain water just for that occasion.  Just think how we can’t live without water.Save 4 Songkran poster

13th February 2015

Charity Valentine Auction

Over the years we have looked at many ways to raise money for charity, that would still be fun and exciting to the audience, sponsored swims, and shaves, even quizzes, however I can proudly say that from the photos and the total amount raised that our pre valentine auction has topped all our expectations.  The event took place the night before valentine, as the catch line, was to buy or be bought by your valentine sweet heart for the following evening of romance.One of the many Bachelors

The event was in aid of two charities, one local and one global, both of which will put the funds to great use. Our local charity was the Koh Tao Noistar Animal Clinic, with only one registered vet and assistant, paid on a basic salary, the clinic always welcomes donated funds, which can help improve the facilities available, for not only the homed but, also the many homeless animals on Koh Tao. We thank them constantly for the great job they do.Koh Tao Animal clinic receiving their donation

The global charity we chose was Sea Shepherd, a well-known organisation that prides itself in doing what others can’t in order to save the lives of innocent wildlife.  In specific the funds raised will be going to the Cove Guardians segment of the organisation, their role, well to publicize constantly the barbaric acts that happen for 9 months of the year at Taiji Bay Japan, where thousands of dolphins are either captured for life imprisonment or butchered for their meat.

As the event was a great success I would like to personally thank the community for pulling together,

Thanks guys you did a great job and we applaud you.

 THANKS!

http://www.seashepherd.org/cove-guardians/Sea Shepherd logo

 

http://www.kohtaoanimalclinic.org/

22nd January 2015

Shark Guardian Big Blue presentaion

Here at Big Blue we had the great privilege of having Brendon from Shark Guardians, visit us and give our staff and customers a highly educational and influential presentation on the importance Sharks have in our delicately balanced ecosystem and how, as divers we can help their efforts to protect and preserve these marvellous creatures, from near extinction.Brendon giving Big Blue staff and customers a presentation, on work they day.

Sharks have been evolving for over 400 million years, and are one of the oldest predators within our oceans, branching into over 400 different species, of which a quarter of those species are classed as endangered or extinct by the ICUN database.

Working alongside organisations like the Shark Guardians, we aim to help preserve and protect these iconic apex predators, as an ocean without sharks would be a very unhealthy ocean, they keep everything in check, they are literally ‘Our Ocean Guardians’.

If you have read some of our blogs regarding the Shark Guardians, and would like to know how you can get involved well, I have left below some helpful links.

Become an ISSA International student shark ambassador, spreading the word on the importance of our ocean guardians.

http://www.sharkguardian.org/shark-guardian-international-student-shark-ambassador/

Help by logging your recent and old shark sightings around Thailand, the data collected is being used to express to the Thai government that we are seeing a decline in shark numbers in their waters, and they need to act now in protecting them, before it’s too late.

http://www.sharkguardian.org/thailand-eshark-project/Whale shark spotted near Chumphon Pinnacle Koh Tao

Or put your photography skills to the test and help us identify an individual Whale shark, by taking a levelled focused picture of the shark between the pectoral and dorsal fin, where we can identify the shark by the location of its spots.

http://www.sharkguardian.org/whale-shark-project/

Help us help them, guard our oceans!

7th January 2015

The end of Monsoon!

So we finally have it, calm, clear waters, and then the abundance of fish life doesn't dissapoint, from Barracuda's to Trevalleys, these calm waters have been blessed with an influx in strong dominant fish that to the eye seem magneficent in the way they patrol the waters around Chumphon Pinnacle. 2

We all know the importance of diversity within the ocean and to sea species from higher levels on the food chain thriving, leaves hope for the species below, and above in this diverse web of creatures. 

If you've ever wondered the role in which each species plays in the ocean, how they unnoticeable work together, and how as an individual you can help preserve this magical place, then join us for the BSAC Marine Conservation course, 5 lectures, 5 dives filled with skills that will make your next fun dive a totally fullfilling experince, thanks to the your new found knowledge. 500

Keep Saving the Seas!

31st December 2014

So let’s look at what Big Blue Conservation has been up to over the last 12 months.

Big Blue conservation aim to continuelly clean and care for Koh Tao's surrounding marine habitat, with monthly beach cleans and net remavals, however we don't stop their, we started with a bit of investigation, exploring the Islands various artificial reefs, to then start work on our own coral nursery that continues to blossom.

We then had our annual amateur photography competition which was popular amongst locals and visitors, raising money for Shark conservation.new artificial reef 2

Then came the Koh Tao festival an opportunity for our dedicated staff to expresses their artistic skill, and co-ordination, performing a well-rehearsed dance routine.  Go guys!

Not long after we finished our dance off we swam for some sharks, in our annual swim for sharks, an event where those that wish can test their strength with a swim around the Koh Nanuang islands, or those wanting a well needed hair cut can with our shave for sharks. During this event we raised over 100,000 baht for shark conservation, and became a well-deserved Shark Guardian recognised dive school.

After this the year wasn’t over quite yet for Big Blue conservation, we took it upon themselves to continue developing their coral nursery as well as educating others on the importance of marine conservation.race s4s 70 x 52

Now we come to the final period of 2014 and we thought let’s make it more festive and fun than usual, working with local school children we designed marine based Christmas cards that were sold with great success across the island, raising money for the local schools.

Finally we tested everyone’s Christmas knowledge with a quiz that raised money for the local animal clinic, giving to those animals that don’t seem to have that constant love!Selling christmas cards 500x281

So I would say in all quite a successful year and hope 2015 brings us more reasons to thank the great Mother Nature and look forward to ways in which we can conserve our great environment!

KEEP SAVING THE SEAS!

12th December 1014

A few words from our German intern Matthius.Matthius surveying the dive site

It was a surprise to work at big blue conservation – right from the beginning. Of cause, when I’m in SEA I have to dive again. But in that time I was searching for a place to work, some kind of volunteering, but never thought about combining both and work under water. My first thinking was: “I’m not made for it, that’s stuff for scientists, what should I be able to do?!” But what a luck that I tried. It is an incredible experience to have your desk under water, that’s is absolutely the best working place ever. But that was later. First I had to learn a lot. Everything I knew was from school – that was not much because Germany has not a lot marine borders and even less coral places and it was very long ago.

But it is quite simple. Everyone can be a part of conservation only by thinking about what you do and act like what you think is good for your environment. And adding to here I got the skills to continue this way under water with the most beautiful landscape in the world-coral reefs. It changed my view while diving. It is not only about these cute colourful fishes swimming around – there happens much more. All the tiny little processes that are going on all the time around you, the way the fishes are related to each other, the importance of an equal population of all and mostly the incredible role of corals themselves – I didn’t knew that and I didn’t realized before. Once I had spotted the bad effects of human behaviour to the oceans like broken or bleached corals, I have seen it everywhere! That was incredible and showed me that the reefs need the support even of those fools like me. Not only by removing the waste from beaches and corals, especially the work in the nursery showed me that I can support coral growing. It was beautiful to work there and to see how interested the fishes around have been in our work. I hope that they conquer these structures down there as their home soon. And hopefully more people try to take the same way like I did, when I was starting the internship to become an eco-warrior. I’m proud of putting my positive economical footstep down there and being a part of the puzzle to save coral reefs and their incredible beautiful environment.Matt cleaning the nursery

But still there is not only a lot more to do like this, particularly the beach clean-up showed me that not only people from SEA need more education about saving their environment and their personal effects to the global ecosystem. Nobody should let himself let off like this and use plastic careless and thoughtless. That means not only support recycling, it means thinking about how much plastic is necessary in everybody’s everyday life. 

10th December 2014

The season of giving!

December is known, to many throughout the world as the season for giving, all basking in the jolly and joyful atmosphere. However during this time we should not forget the most giving of all, which is Mother Nature, providing us with the food and shelter we need to survive so richly on this world.Food chain presentation

We do not stand alone on this planet, we share with many others, some strong some weak. As humans we class ourselves to be one of the strong, standing tall above other organisms, which we use to own needs, sometimes not thinking of the fate we will deliver to ourselves.

So this season of joy, let’s take a moment and give a thought to those we share the planet with and to whom we must not use, but protect, as together we are a world full with so many different forms of life. From the Bee pollinating the flowers, to the Sharks guarding our oceans, they need our help.

This year we worked together with the local playschool to raise money and awareness to the importance of sharks within our oceans. The children designed Christmas cards with an aquatic theme, and then took time out of their busy schedule to help us sell these cards and raise funds for the school, as well as educational books, designed by the great charity Shark Guardians, which will be donated towards the school and other local schools.Selling christmas cards 500x281

They had a wonderful time and look forward to the venture this time next year, so great job guys you are true guardians of our oceans in this time of giving!

4th December 2014

Fishing Nets

Thailand like many countries relies greatly on the oceans and rivers for their food source, and so being a fishermen is a popular career to many Thai people.  Whether it be commercial for the masses, or just local, feeding only their friends and family, it will affect the fish populations, in some way.Fishing net at Chumphon P.3

The island of Koh Tao rests approximately 65km off the East side of mainland Thailand, and is the furthest North of all islands on this coastline.  The Gulf is popular for squid fishing, barracuda fishing, king mackerel fishing, and the fishing of snappers, all of which play a crucial role in this particular ecosystem.

However it is more the way they are caught that is really having disastrous and long term affects within our oceans, the use of trawler nets, purse nets, and long lines, which catch more than the targeted species and when snagged on the coral will be left at the bottom trapping more fish for during their lengthy lifespan.

So a solution may finally have arrived, a bio-degradable fishing net with a tracking system so each snagged net can be recovered for repair, or if left below, can then be triggered to break down at a productive rate.For more information on this new design look in to the Remora net.Fishing net at Chumphon P.4

However Koh Tao has yet to see the introduction of this great invention, so we asked volunteers to help us remove these harmful nets from our favoured dive spots, and with great success we freed the ocean from a few more net. Fishing net chumphon P 5

Great Job Guys!

29th November 2014

Beach and Reef Clean-up.

At the end of every month we get a small group of volunteers together, for our Beach and Reef clean-up. beach clean nov 500 x 281 

This month was no exception, with just over 20 volunteers we were able to fill 7 garbage bags during the beach clean along North Sairee beach, our most visited beach here on Koh Tao, and then we filled 3 bags of garbage from Mao Bay on our Reef clean in the afternoon.reef clean Nov 500 x 281

So overall quite successful and I would like to say a big thank you to all our volunteers, that by giving their time to help, have probably saved countless marine lives. beach clean volunteers 500 x 281

THANKS GUYS!

 

26th November 2014

There are many reasons for coral conservation, however is the farming of coral for human bone grafts, as much a positive idea for coral as it is for us humans?

Whilst diving we look on in awe at the beautiful colours and shapes the corals appear in, and wonder how do the corals create such a magnificent underwater landscape.coral Sairee 500 x 281

Well the answer is that they are clearly more than meets the eye, corals are unique in that they are not just animal based, in fact they are also plant based and  mineral based, making them a wonderment from nature.

However in this discussion I don’t wish to keep telling you how brilliant our underwater garden is, but more so can us as humans take advantage of its brilliance. Referring back to my previous description of coral being a mineral based organism. That comes from their Calcium Carbonate skeleton, that just so happens to be very similar to the Calcium phosphate that makes up our bones.

Scientists then suggested due to its similarity it could be used as a human bone graft, saving lives by reducing the surgeries to just one.  The down side was it just wasn’t quite right for a suitable bone graft not biological degrading at the right rate.

So they started to experiment, and found if they could alter/change the composition from Calcium Carbonate to Coralline Hydroxyapatite, it just might work.coralbones

Through recent research scientists found that this would biodegrade as the new human bones formed, making it a successful and profitable discovery. A discovery that is now be used my major pharmaceutical companies that aim to make a great profit from growing and exploiting the corals.

Just like farmed cattle and fish it has now come to this, farming of the world’s most intriguing organism. Coral needs the Calcium Carbonate from its predecessors to regenerate, which is fine apart from that appears to be a natural occurring substance, created by nature, and research has found that nature is running short of this marvellous formula, reducing the chances of successful growth within nature.

On the other side of this question, would this new found discovery be a way to encourage people to save our corals and the complex ecosystem they sustain.

Can you decide whether this discovery is helping nature or something else for humans to use until there is no more?

20th November 2014

Tinned Tuna

Want to know how to be truly Dolphin friendly when buying tinned Tuna?turtle in tuna catch

Well the answer is to avoid two Tuna sourced methods, firstly there is Fish Aggregation Device, written on tins as FAD. The device attracts not only Tuna, but other larger pelagic animals like Dolphins and sharks, even Turtles. Once attracted by the device it’s tough for the fisherman to segregate the other species from the Tuna before they are landed onto the boat, and ultimately die from surface exposure before they can be re-released.

The other misconception is that farmed Tuna is sustainable, and does not affect the wild Tuna stock, however this is a lie, the Tuna our not bred from farmed stock, and they are caught from the wild young and then reared to exceed their normal size for the fish markets.

I merely hope that you use this information and try your hardest to buy responsible Tuna.  Below I have translated the words we should look out for in Thai.FADs small

Fish aggregating device Free - ฟรีอุปกรณ์,รวบรวมปลาfarmed tuna

Farmed Tuna – ฟาร์มปลาทูน่า

14th November 2014

Learn more!

Here at Big Blue we pride ourselves in going the extra mile, and our conservation department is no different, when we’re not out cleaning the beaches/reefs, or building a new habitat, we our offering lectures on your favourite mrine animals.barracuda

Scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evening every week at 5:30pm. We offer short 15-20 minute lectures on;

  • Whale Shark
  • Turtles
  • Seahorses
  • Triggerfish
  • Stingras
  • Fish ID
  •  
  • stingray

The aim is pass on knowledge to our fellow diving and snorkelling community, on what makes each of these animals so amazing and unique. Power is knowledge and so the more we have the better chance we have changing the world for the better.turtle500x281.jpg 2

Save the seas. 

6th November 2014

Charity Quiz

Every month we organize a full moon pub quiz, for those that stay on our beautiful island instead of venturing south for the world famous Koh Phangan full moon beach party.  Its main purpose was to entertain the local ferangs, however we decided to put all that good natured effort to good use, and so we incorporated a charity into the mix. Giving half of the entry money raised to the winners and half to the charity we select to sponsor that month.animal clinic 2

This month’s charity was local and here on the island we are very grateful for its existence, the Koh Tao Noistar Animal Clinic, which takes care of not only the residences pets but also the stray animals with very little in terms of comforts. The clinic gets very little support from the government, for all the work they do, so they rely primarily on support from organised events, that occur here or the UK.animal clinic 3

This month we were able to raise 5,000bht for the clinic that will go towards nurturing all the stray cats and dogs, as well as tendering to any of common injuries found on the island, such as mange.  If you wish to donate a small amount to this cause, please follow the link below. animal clinic 12 

www.kohtaoanimalclinic.org

31 October 2014

Development of Sairee's new reef.

Coming into the end of high season here on Koh Tao, means you generally slow down, however here at Big Blue Conservation, we did nothing of the sort. The beginning of the month was spent expanding our knowledge in ecology and diving, along with data collecting and research training. Although towards the end of the month that’s when the hard work did start, we had some relocating of some of our original reef structures, plus the development of the newer ones. Aim was to build, position and cover then cover the structures in new colonies, by the end of the month, and as you can see from the pictures we did just that.
Irene adding to the structure

artificial reef 1

Questions are asked as to why put metal and concrete structures, into the ocean, essentially adding to the clutter left by humans every day. Well the answer is to provide a home and shelter in a barren land, sometimes nature just needs a pick me up a helping hand. By building structures that then become covered in vast species of coral, we ultimately create shelter for a variety of marine life, great and small.

 

new structure 2

 

 

23rd September 2014

Cleaning Sairee Beach and Hin Wong Baycleaning sairee beach

Well every month we try to relieve the Island of its clutter, by doing a beach and reef clean-up, with the help of our amazing volunteers. And last month was no exceptions, with over 20 volunteers, we were able remove all the damaging substances from Koh Tao's busy Sairee beach, before they slipped into the ocean, causing more damage. For the reef clean we went to Hin Wong Bay, a bay on first appearances seems to be free of any trash, as the bay was almost deserted, however once we descended beneath the surface, we found an abundance of damaging trash, that could have been washed in or simply tossed overboard by inconsiderate captains, and their crew.  However by the end of the day our trash bags were full and we all felt the day was highly rewarding.bags of trash

.

Good job guys!

SAVE OUR SEAS!clean up volunteers

30th August 2014

Septembers amazing volunteer

"A year ago, I went to Koh Tao to complete some specialities and saw an ad about the eco internship. I simply thought "Oh, it seems cool." About marine biology, I was like Jon Snow, I knew nothing. But still, I wanted to do it, to somehow broaden my diving horizon.elinor next to her new nursery

So I came back on August 2014 as an Eco Intern. I first met Lizzie and it was the beginning of one of the most crazy rewarding stress free awesome heart breaking experiences in my life. No seriously, if you've ever been on Koh Tao and dove with Big Blue, you know what I mean. Basically, most of my day were: diving in the morning (for fun or for eco missions) and enjoying my afternoon on Koh Tao.Taking the new structure out

Don't believe it was some kind of lazy thing. I had to work! On holidays! I even had an exam! And we did a lot: surveys, nurseries. Coral watch. Oh my Buddha: coral watch. Going diving with a slate with 24 squares of colours, 4 colours, and 6 shade’s for each, from white (bleached) to dark. And you have to pick up random coral, match its lightest and darkest parts with the shades on the slate and it will give you a rough idea of its health. Sounds easy, right? IT IS NOT. Well, at 5m, it's okay. But at 10m, red disappears and all those coloured squares look exactly the same! Even with a torch! "Hmm is it a brownish-brown or a reddish brown... oh no, maybe a greenish brown..." Totally felt like a colour-blind... The Eco dives I loved the most were by far the ones on the nurseries.

I keep talking about the coral growing there, how awesome and rewarding it is to discover to tiny colony of polyps that has simply started growing there on its own, with us tiding, sewing it on the structures. Baby corals. "They are corals, Elena, they can't be cute...” yeah sure, they don't do funny things, like fetching the stick you've just thrown or anything "responding"... But being down there, cleaning the structures to help more corals and baby polyps to grow, fighting algae and sponge with nothing but a toothbrush (YOU SHALL NOT KILL THE CORALS !), putting new structures down in order to create a nurseries, a new place for coral to grow, for fish to live... It feels like you are doing something. Something that will last over an extended period of time. It's nothing compare to the eco stuffs you can be proud of like putting plastic bottles in the recycle bin or turn the light off. No it's more like a relief. Because you stop damaging this world, you help it to heal. And in ten years, twenty, maybe a new reef will have grown, with a lot of fishes around. If I go back down there again, I would think "It's my reeeeeeef !!!!"

I would rather think "it's my world" and I did what I had to do to protect it, because I am a part of it. Even more as I diver, it is my oceans, my playground and if you want to enjoy it and to be amazed by it for the next 50years (at least) I must understand it and protect it. We should not have to do it though. We should not have to clean up beaches or to do underwater clean-up. Because it should come naturally to anyone's mind that they are responsible for this world, of their world. So no, I should not have to do that but I will, as long as it is needed, because I am an Ecowarrior now.

Thank you Lizzie. Thank you Rachel. Thanks Big Blue. Thanks Koh Tao."

13th September 2014

13th September 2014

Visiting the nurseryinterns cleaning the structures

Here at Big Blue diving we strive to do our part in helping this beautiful island stay amazing, whether from cleaning the beaches and reefs, to even encouraging new life in areas of desolation.  Just off from Sairee beach we have been developing to coral nurseries, one at 6 meters and another newer nursery at 12 meters, both have artificail structures which will encourage the growth of many coral species.  Yesterday the team at Big Blue Conservation, went out to our shallow nursery to remove the excess alae growing on the structures, and take care of general maitenence of the structures.  We were also able to find some small healthy coral specimens that we were able to add to the structures, hoping it will in the future blossom. 

The location for the nursery was chosen, because it seemed to be a deserted area, however now thanks to the nursery there are hermit crabs, and nudibranches all eaching the shelter the structures offer from predators, and to help in our efforts we even saw some parrot fish do their part in cleaning.  It was a privilige to also see a reasonable sized anemone fish family near by. All in all it was a lovely afternoon of cleaning.saddle back anemone fish near nursery

2nd Sept 2014

Taiji Bay (The Cove)

Here it comes again the event all animal lovers hate, every year in Japan thousands of Dolphins are killed for their meat and a select few captured for human entertainment. The meat is full of high levels of mercury, which can be toxic to small children.dolphins trapped

The Dolphins that naturally migrate towards the coast for food, are herded in to a bay where they are then stopped from escaping my nets across the bay, and their fate is then in the hands of the killers, carrying knives and spears.  A few will survive only to then be forced to live in a small tank for the rest of their lives, trained to entertain humans with their tricks, all of which cruel in its own right.

So all I ask is that you open your eyes, to this disaster of human behaviour, I commend the work of Sea Sheperd and Ric O’Barry, in their efforts to stop this, and only wish by spreading the word via facebook and our web page, I can help in a small way.

Please visit there pages to see the progress they are making, along with the difficulties they face every day.Dolphin Murder

https://www.facebook.com/TheCove

https://www.facebook.com/seashepherdglobal

2nd August 2014

Swim for Sharks 2014

Shark guardian.orgAn event we organise every year where we aim to make people aware of the decreasing shark populations worldwide, whether from by-catch or finning, the removal of such an apex predator can have disastrous effects on the overall ecosystem within the ocean.

 

This year we had great help from the organisers of Shark Guardian, Liz and Brendan, who did talks for everyone, educating lectures on how detrimental this could be if we allow it to carry on, plus the damage that has already been done, so a great thank you to them.

 

 

Swim for sharks 2014 We would also like to thank our sponsors from all over the Island, which meant along with the swim we were also able to organise a raffle with some amazing prizes, from this raffle and other small events we raised a grand total of 100,000 Baht for shark awareness.

23rd August 2014

Beach Clean

beach clean Every month we try to do our part in protecting and preserving the reef, enabling it to blossom with life, by removing any artificial contaminants that can have a detrimental effect on the reef.

This month was no exception with up to 30 volunteers helping this month we filled 6 full rubbish bags when walking along the beach and another 8 full bags when diving off North Sairee, all with unwanted waste that was littering the ocean.

With the growing popularity of Koh Tao within the Diving and general tourist community, we need to minimize our impact by working together to keep our beautiful paradise clean, or someday the consequences could be irreversible.  That day was a good example of community care.

July 12th 2014

Lenora making bins for plastic bottlesLenora's Eco Internship Experience

"Participating in the BB Eco Internship went beyond my expectations.

It opened my eyes and expanded my mind to the true beauty of our oceans and their immense importance to our environment. The program was educational, with the instruction being followed up with practical activities to immediately apply what we learned.

Lots of diving earning several certifications in the process was an added bonus. From working in the nursery, to coral charting and ID with plenty of time for fun dives in between, it was a great balance to enjoy all aspects of the program and Koh Tao. A fantastic experience overall. "

Written by Lenora (June eco intern)

Lenora and Nat on the boat

July 6th 2014

Nat in the eco labMy Eco Internship Experience - June 2014

The first time I came to Koh Tao, was in May 2013 as part of my travel around the world. I dived with Big Blue Diving and enjoyed it so much that I had to come back. A year went by and now I've just finished a month as a eco intern with Big Blue Conservation.

With the internship I've not only learned about marine biology and conservation, but also getting specialised in nitrox and deep diving, CPR training, how to be a better diver and how to treat our most important element in a way so the next generations can enjoy its beauty as well.

Nat on a boatApart from diving with whalesharks, turtles, black tip sharks and loads of other fish around Koh Tao, I've really enjoyed our nursery dives just out of Sairee Beach. The coral nursery is where I can not only feel but also see that we're doing something good for our reef, and with the teaching in BSAC marine conservation I've also learned that even the smallest things make a change.

With Big Blue it's very easy to get lifelong travel friends, my global dive family has extended and this month wouldn't have been the same without any of the people I've met at Big Blue, DMT as well as instructors and fellow eco warriors.

This summer has changed my point of view towards our oceans, and I can definitely recommend getting into marine conservation to everyone who wants to do something different while traveling or just for the summer. With Big Blue Conservation you get to see how the other two-thirds of the world live.

-- Natascha (June eco intern)

Nat with Big Blue friends

 

July 2nd 2014

This month we are teaching more Marine Conservation courses than ever before! Book your place before it's too late!

BSAC Marine Conservation Speciality Diving Course is the first of BSAC's ecological minded courses. The course takes 3.5 days to complete and includes 4 lectures and 4 dives including one at our coral nursery. The lectures covering everything from the ocean environment to current impacts to our reefs. You will learn how to ID fish and coral species, and gain practical experience in surveying and coral transplanting.

Marine Conservation course schedule July

 

The BSAC Marine Conservation Speciality Diving Course

  1. Ocean environment - in order to truly understand our aquatic environment, we must first know about the oceans composition and processes as a whole. All our oceans are connected, and one minor change in one ocean can affect the entire ecosystem.
  2. Coral Reefs - including marine identification dives and night dive. This is the most rewarding section of the course. You will learn alot more about underwater organism identification, including coral anatomy and biology. After this section, you will get so much more out of your dives.
  3. State of the reefs - Our oceans are in a rapid state of decline, and as divers we are in the perfect position to do something about it. But first we need to fully understand what is happening.
  4. Conservation - including two ecological monitoring, reef restoration and practical conservation dives. Here you will learn what you can do to contribute to conservation and preservation of our aquatic world.

This 4 day, 4 dive course is only 8,500 baht and includes course manual, all dives, equipment and teaching.

 

For more information and to book your place on the course, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Shark Guardian comes to Koh Tao

Shark Guardian presentation at Choppers

 

WHAT IS SHARK GUARDIAN?

Shark Guardian is an organization dedicated to the conservation of sharks through education, promoting research, and protection and sustainability of the marine habitat to safeguard the future of these amazing fish. One of their primary ventures is the Shark Guardian presentation, a multi media production for all ages aimed at bringing awareness to the important role sharks play in our marine ecosystems as well as our planets future and the need to protect them. It combines education on the different species, interesting facts, conservation and what we can do to make a difference in maintaining their survival.  

Brendon educating school kids

 

WHY ARE SHARKS IMPORTANT?

Shark have survived almost 450 million years, maintaining the delicate balance of our marine ecosystem. They are at the top of the ocean food chain and are vital to maintaining a healthy ocean balance and are an important indicator of our ocean's health.  They even indirectly maintain coral and seagrass which produce most of the worlds oxygen. Depletion and elimination of the shark population would cause an imbalance in the equilibrium of our oceans and have devastating effects on the earths environment. 

 

Blog written by Lenora (June Eco Intern)

February 23rd 2014

Enter our photography competition

Love taking photos? Want to share your passion with the world? Wish you could join us on our full day trips to Chumphon Marine Park? Or do you want to know more about coral and our nursery? Then this is the competition for you!!!

We are holding a photography competition this month to celebrate the start of the New Year and all things eco! We want people from all areas of the diving industry to join in: recreational divers, instructors, divemasters, beginners, technical divers..everyone! But you don't have to be an expert in photography to enter; all you need is a camera and a love for conservation.

The theme this month is Koh Tao island. The photo can be taken underwater or on land, and the subject must portray an eco message or have an eco caption. You only need to enter one photo to have the chance of winning one of the 3 amazing prizes! And all the money raised will contribute to this years Swim4Sharks 2014 fundraiser! Read below for all the information:

Photo competition 850x567

Final date for submissions: 31st March 2014

Judging Day: 4th April

 

1st Prize: Full day trip to Chumphon Marine Park

2nd Prize: Half-day coral workshop

3rd Prize: Eco tshirt & bag

 

Entry fee for 1 photo: 200 baht

Entry fee for 3 photos: 500 baht

 

Email your photos to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or drop them off at the Big Blue shop (Sairee Beach) on a USB stick, CD or DVD with your entry fee. Please include your name in the file name. For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Note: Prizes are awarded as a voucher, valid for 6 months from the 4th April. Full day trip to CMP is availabe on scheduled dates, subject to weather conditions. Coral workshop must be scheduled in advance. Eco tshirt & bag can be redeemed from Big Blue's Drift store.

February 14th 2014

This week the interns have been investigating the artificial reefs dotted around Koh Tao island. Artificial reefs are man-made structures placed underwater to promote marine life in areas where life is lacking or near existing natural reefs to relief both natural and human pressures. Structures are usually made from concrete or metal and can act as a buoyancy aid for students or as new surfaces for coral to grow. This technique in reef conservation is called rehabilitation.

P1010567 390x269Many dive schools on the island have created or assisted in forming their own artificial reef. At Big Blue we have our very own coral nursery in Sairee Bay! It’s primary objective is to grow coral fragments and transplant them on to the existing reef or onto new structures we built on land before sinking them at the site. Many of these coral fragments we find in the sand, having broken off during rough weather or from coming into contact with diver’s fins. Some of the coral fragments have also been taken from existing healthy coral colonies – but it is important to collect fragments from many different colonies to increase biodiversity and preserve high DNA variation.

In the afternoon we headed out on one of our Big Blue boats for the first dive at Junkyard! Junkyard is an artificial reef, belonging to Crystal Dive School located near Mae Haad pier. This naturally barren area now experiences many interesting species that cannot be found anywhere else on the island! Following the route north we discovered an old truck, concrete picnic tables, collections of toilets and a miniature replica of the Sydney Bridge! Some of the fascinating species you can see there include the lionfish, juvenile Harlequin sweetlips & strapweed filefish.

TP1010612 404x264he second dive site was scheduled to be Twin Peaks, home to the infamous Buoyancy World – an artificial reef of many different structures, each created by a dive school on the island. Due to the increasing wind speed we decided to head back to the sheltered bay and work on our own reef! We scanned the sandy area near the nursery to collect fragments of coral we found suffocating in the sand, ready for tomorrow’s activities!

Rising early the next morning we ventured back out to the nursery with tools, rope and baskets in hand. The first dive was at BioRock – another artificial reef that uses an electrical current to increase the health and growth of corals. The method is so successful that it can benefit the surrounding area up to 3km away! With no dive map in hand, we searched between boulders of existing natural reef before stumbling upon the expansive dome structures. Since the project starting 4 years ago, the coral has enveloped the entire dome and many fish have inhabited the area.

P1010627 322x288The last stop was our nursery back at Sairee to attach more fragments to the new structures we built last month. After collecting all the coral from the day before, we gathered on the boat to attach them to strands of rope that would wrap around the structures. We had to work quickly as the morning sun had appeared and could cause stress for the corals. Once all 7 ropes had been created, we jumped back into the water to tie and twist the strands onto 2 metal cubes. Over the next few months the cubes will be maintained and the coral monitored. These cubes have joined the collection of other structures at our nursery: the Christmas Tree, 3 domes, 1 sleeping metal turtle and several gridded coral patches.

Next week we will be deploying 2 more large concrete cubes as an experiment to monitor whether metal or concrete is more beneficial for coral growth!

Sign up on our next BSAC Marine Conservation course to visit our coral nursery and help us monitor the corals health!

January 2nd 2014

Underwater cleanup March 2013Big Blue Diving launched Big Blue Conservation in 2009 by Dr Jennifer Matthews, and each year it has grown more successful. The department is focused on providing training in marine conservation, improving resort and dive policies, and encouraging sustainable tourism; all to limit the impact we have on the environment.

Over the years, we have worked closely with dive associations SSI and PADI to support several of our community-based projects, as well as donating to both PADI’s Project Aware projects and SSI’s Mission Deep Blue aims.

It has been a busy 2013, especially with Jen leaving to New Zealand to start her PhD and Instructor Lizzie taking hold of the reins. Just look at the numbers below at what a successful year we’ve had:

53underwater surveys conducted according to the SSI Ecological Monitoring Programme specifications.

3 370x250110,414 THB (approx. €2520) raised at our Swim for Sharks sponsored event, of which 15% was donated to the SSI MissionDeep Blue Costa Rica anti-finning campaign.

Over 150tonnes of rubbish collected on the beaches, roads and underwater during our monthly efforts to reduce marine pollution.

13SSI Eco diver marine biology internships conducted at Big Blue, during which interns learn more about the marine world and how to effectively conserve it, from which they can take this knowledge to other diving destinations and help make diving globally more sustainable.

5 underwater constructions built that offer conservation training and research.

Over 100 newly trained SSI Dive professionals (30 OWSI/70+ DiveCon) all of whom spent a day learning about Mission Deep Blue and the Ocean Ranger program in our very own tailored one-day programme.

1 370x250Over 100 newly trained SSI Dive professionals (30 OWSI/70+ DiveCon) all of whom spent a day learning about Mission Deep Blue and the Ocean Ranger program in our very own tailored one-day programme.

…the list goes on! And 2014 is set to be equally as exciting with the Koh Tao Festival in June and the 5th annual Swim4Sharks fundraiser in August, plus all the new interns signed up for our monthly marine conservation programme!

Our achievements are essentially down to the tourists and locals that contribute to our projects – so why not show your support this 2014 and help out at one of our monthly beach & underwater clean-ups? Or participate in the month-long marine conservation internship programme? Or start your Open Water diving course today at Big Blue Diving and experience the magnificent underwater world we are striving to protect!

Check out our website for more information on the courses we offer, and our Facebook page Big Blue Conservation for interesting facts and photos of all our projects.

November 30th 2013

Monthly beach & underwater clean-up at Big Blue

P1070258 370x250All our eco warriors assembled for yesterdays beach and underwater clean-up along North Sairee and Sairee Bay. The day started at 10am with a clean-up on the beach between our two Big Blue Diving resorts. Customers, divemasters trainees, eco interns and locals gathered outside our resort for a quick briefing about what to pick up..and then we set off down the beach! November is notorious for strong winds, high waves and continuous rain (hello monsoon season!), so evidently there was little beach to walk along with the high tides. But everyone was determined to make it a worthwhile trip: with rubbish bags in hand and gloves for protection (you never know what you might find!), we trooped through the sand and grasses to collect any rubbish we could spot.

P1070263 370x250The day proceeded with a trip out on one of our dive boats, Banzai, for the underwater clean-up. As the clock ticked closer to the departure time of 12:45, divemaster trainees helped pack all the dive equipment for the trip and customers started to crowd around the dive shop in anticipation for the afternoon’s dives. As everyone boarded the boat, we began to set up our dive gear for the first dive at White Rock. Every underwater clean-up consists of a fun dive followed by the free (yes, it’s free!) clean-up. For those that wanted to only participate in the second dive, there was ample space on the boat’s roof to tan and relax as the waves lapped up against the hull. Jumping into the refreshing water, we descended into the underwater world of White Rock. Reaching a maximum depth of 22m, it is the most diverse divesite on Koh tao, home to many species of coral, invertebrates and fish!

After a lengthy dive of 52 minutes, everyone huddled together on the top deck for another briefing about the impending clean-up dive. November has been packed with events, not just on Koh Tao but worldwide; Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the monsson weather covering South East Asia. Over the weeks we have experienced an abundance of waste washing up over the island’s divesites and shore. To take shelter from the unfavourable weather, many fishing boats moor up in Sairee Bay, hidden from the Eastern currents. But so much traffic in the bay means a lot of rubbish is dropped into the water and left discarded on the reef floor.

AP1070329 370x250ll 39 divers listened attentively as we discussed methods for collecting rubbish underwater and the safety procedures to follow. With mesh bags attached to the dive leaders equipment, dive groups jumped into the water in search of plastic bags, cans, bottles and batteries. The poor visibility meant dive groups had to stick close together as not to lose one another, but also keep close to the reef to identify marine life from rubbish. As dive groups journeyed through the bay, they passed the coral nursery and artificial reefs structures, vast beds of foliose coral, enormous boulder corals, schools of batfish, families of saddleback anemone fish, feeding parrotfish…..the list goes on! After 45 minutes groups emerged from the depths holding mesh bags filled with all sorts of rubbish: batteries, metals rods, cloth, plastic piping, dive equipment, plastic wrappers, and even a broom! Enjoyment and satisfaction encompassed every diver as they climbed back onto the boat to share their findings.

The day ended as we gathered in front of the dive school for a group photo of all 39 divers (Holy smokes, 39 people!). Hands in the air, whooping with joy, we smiled for cameraman Wayne who filmed the entire event. A well-earned beer was only moments away at the Big Blue Bar. Logging the afternoon’s dives in logbooks, we all sat in the restaurant to watch the sun set behind Sairee Bay (sparkling with cleanliness!).

November 13th 2013

Say hello to our November interns!!

This month 3 travellers from Germany and Switzerland have joined Big Blue Conservation for the Marine Conservation internship! Inquisitive, eager and enthusiastic, they have delved into the underwater world…and even invented a hand signal for ECO! Read on to meet the team.

November interns at Chumphon Pinnacle

 

Meet Franzie – After studying for her Chemistry Masters in France, Franzie has taken the year (or was it 2?!) to travel the world. And what better way to start her journey than to jump straight into the Open Water and Advanced diving courses before starting the eco internship. Like many travellers who have discovered Koh Tao, there seems to no definite date when Franzie will leave! But there has plans in the future to start her PhD in London, researching possible materials that can be used in solar cells.

November interns doing the 'ECO'

Meet Theresa & Mikko – After arriving on the island with plans of completing their Advanced diving course, they decided to come back to join our internship programme. The couple are travelling the world on a break from the ‘real world’. Theresa works as a teacher, educating children aged 12-18 on history, German language, theatre and ethics. Mikko worked in traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture. The couple have no definite concrete plans for their future travels, but Mikko has hinted at setting up a shop on the island…..we may have 2 new residents!

 

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