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Dive Review of Big Blue Divers in

July, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Georgette Oden, Texas, USA (1 report)
Report Number 4330
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Caribbean and Pacific
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, cloudy, dry  
calm, no currents  
Water Temp
83   to 85    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
25   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Depth and time limits; most fun divers had computers but those without, or
those taking courses, were required to stay with the DM/instructor and dive
their profile.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
2 stars  
All 3 boats are quite spacious, with plenty of space to lay out your gear. 
They all offer dedicated freshwater "buckets" about the size of a
horse drinking tub or small wading pool for your cameras.  The dive shop
also has a large freshwater container limited to cameras and regs.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
4 stars    
Big Blue is a great operation, offering instruction and guidance in about
12 languages, located on Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand.  If, like us, you
head to Thailand in the summer when the monsoons render the Similan
Islands/Richilieu Rock impassable for diving, then Koh Tao is your
destination.  Less pummeled by tourists and partiers than Koh Samui and Koh
Pha Ngan, Koh Tao is relatively peaceful and simple.  There are lots and
lots of dive operators on the island, but Big Blue is one of the
longest-running, best sited, best equipped, and most sensitive to
environmental issues.

The accomodations are clean, simple and inexpensive (a tiled room with a
fan [A/C not necessary] and private bath was about $6-7/night) and located
a short walk from the main strip, so it's quiet at night.  The dive shop
sells tshirts, computers, books and random bits for your gear.  The
computers, by the way, are substantially cheaper here-  I got my Suunto
Vytek for 30% less than I would have paid in the US.  The dive shop is
right next to a nice little restaurant with teak lounge chairs facing the
beach, where you can enjoy the constant refreshing breeze under shady palms
and eat food ranging from the obvious Thai, to good woodfired pizzas and
pasta and other comfort foods.  They also boast a lengthy and creative
cocktail menu and the seafood entrees are delicious.

The dive boats are big, with plenty of room to gear up, 2-3 marine heads,
and lots of space for relaxing, eating, and sunbathing.  Most dive sites
are within a 30-60 min ride.  There are always at least two trips a day--
two dives in the morning, two in the evening, and usually night dives 3-4
times a week.  Hot coffee and tea, and water, plus cut fruit and cookies,
are on board for your snacking pleasure.  If you do the full day-trip to
Sail Rock, they provide a full breakfast with eggs, bacon, fruit and toast
plus a full lunch of rice, stirfry, Thai curry, noodles, as well as sodas
and fruit.

The diving is pretty good-- lovely warm water and usually stellar
visibility.  Plenty of opportunities to dive with whale sharks-- in the 12
days we were there, 4 were spotted by Big Blue divers-- and other sharks,
like juvenile bulls, black-tips, and grey reefs.  On a site called Chumphon
Pinnacle, a computer and nitrox are your special friends- Nothing better
than laying on the sandpatch at 90 ft being circled by extremely curious
bulls for 30-40 min!  Lots of healthy corals, very little to no bleaching
or broken bits, and lots of little things like nudibranchs (a Magnificent
Jeronah in shocking white with magenta-purple lace was my favorite), yellow
boxfish, baby scorpionfish, longfin bannerfish... great schooling fish

The only downside is the dive courses.  There are almost always lots of
them going on, so there are often LOTS of people in the water with you. 
Day trips to Sail Rock are good because you can usually avoid other dive
shops if you get there early enough (and the chimney descent from 15-65ft,
in a tube ringed with fantastic corals and anemones, is to die for).  

I've written for Undercurrent before and would be happy to write about Koh
Tao, just let me know.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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