I would be exagerating if I were to say that a debate is currently raging about a circle of stones on one of Koh Tao's dive sites. But the question has been asked as to why it is there. To summarise, dive site Twins, to the West of the Island of Nang yuan is a fantastic place to see all manner of marine life. Just off the main pinnacle to the South is what we call the "nemo circle". There used to be a big patch of anenome on the seabed at this location, and some divers decided to make a circle out of rocks to protect them, and therefore the anenome fish that live in them. The trouble is, if you go there now, there is only one small patch of anenome, with two anenome fish residing in it. So the question is, have the stones had the opposite effect than they originally intended?
Informal diver etiquette states that instructors and divemasters leading customers should not go inside the circle, yet at any point on any other dive site, they are able to get up close to anenome on the rocks. So why is this particular place different? Customers should have been told repeatedly not to touch marine life, and the divemaster or instructor should gauge how good their buoyancy and control in the water is, before showing them any marine life up close.
The nemo circle has some new residents- shrimp, which will not be visible unless you manage to get in close. Let us know what you think should be done about it, before it ends up in the Daily Mail.
It never ceases to amaze us here at Big Blue that, whenever we organise a beach and underwater clean up, we get a fantastic response for volunteers in the form of our customers. Last month was no exception. 39 people decided to get involved in last months clean up in the morning to keep Sairee beach devoid of rubbish. Then in the afternoon the same people turned up to go for a clean up dive at Sairee reef. Rubbish can come in many forms; many of the dive boats moor up on Sairee reef, and people accidentally drop tea bags, mouthpieces from regulators, masks, weights and weightbelts, and god knows what else. When the weather is bad the fishing boats take shelter from the worst of it by mooring up at Sairee reef, and they discard all manner of items, which sadly includes plenty of beer bottles. They are a tough one, as although you may be doing a good deed by picking it up to dispose of it properly, you may also inadvertently make a tiny family of anenome fish homeless if it's been laying on the sea bed long enough to become an artificial reef. So sometimes it may actually be better to leave it as it is. Other items you might find on an underwater clean up include wire frames that are used to make the giantlanterns that people set off from the beach. What they don't realise is that turtles get stuck in them, rendering them unable to swim to the surface to get air.
If someone drops something in the Gulf of Thailand, it can end up on Sairee beach. Even if someone dropped a crisp packet on the mainland in Suratthani, we may end up having to pick it up off the beach. It's a never ending job, which is why we organise these clean ups so regularly, but it is effective, and the beach is looking lovely again!