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Big Blue Conservation Reusable Bags

The Big Blue Conservation Reusable bags have finally arrived!! 

In our attempt to keep our seas and beaches clean and to rid the island of plastics bags which cause significant harm to numerous marine life, Big Blue Conservation now sell Reusable (and oh so fashionable) recycled-canvas bags.

Check them out! And at only 150 baht each, with 50 baht going straight back into conservation, how can you refuse? Do something good for the environment, and look good doing it!

 

Eco goes to the Similans!

It's the opening of this years season in the Similans, so the crew of Big Blue Conservation made their way across to sunny Khao Lak and boarded Big Blue's very own liveaboard boat, the MV Pawara. The 4 day trip included some ornate ghost pipefish, leopard sharks, seahorses, cuttlefish, octopus and many a colourful nudibranch!
The Similan Islands are part of a Marine National Park, where fishing activities are banned. With granite rocks and exposure to different currents, the west coast of Thailand has very different marine life compared to Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand. Lots of soft corals and granite rock formations dominate the aquatic landscape, and is frequently visited by large pelargics such as Manta Rays and the gentle Whaleshark.
So have a look at the pictures we took last week - you'll not want to miss out on this, so book your trip on the liveaboard now!

       

Constructed Wetland!

Koh Tao has gained exponential popularity over the last five years, however still suffers the primitive waste water system that cannot sustain the current demand. For the last 4 years, companies have been building over the evidence, the grey water stream that runs through Sairee Beach. Big Blue has not covered it up, in an attempt that some day we may be able to improve the water quality that current expels directly into Sairee Bay.
Enter Big Blue Conservation!
Constructed wetlands uses reeds and other wetland plants to filter and recycle waste water through their roots. A constructed wetland consists of a gravel bed on which suitable wetland plants are grown. As water passes through the substrate, it is purified through the activity of bacteria attached to the gravel, plant roots, soil and other particles. The many natural processes operating within constructed wetland ecosystems are dynamic, robust, and offer superior wastewater treatment that is difficult to reproduce mechanically or chemically. The systems can withstand shock loadings and volume changes while maintaining a consistent discharge quality clean enough to be released straight into the oceaan, as the Poonama canal does. There is a growing body of research characterizing the ability of wetland plants to neutralize complex organic compounds including pharmaceuticals and pesticides, thus making it safer for bathers and recycling. They are long lasting, low maintenance and naturally regenerative. As natural habitats for many butterflies and plants, the wetland would provide an attractive entrance to Big Blue, therefore providing aesthetic, commercial and habitat value.
Its cheap and easy to build, and part of becoming an SSI Eco Dive centre requires us to manage our waste water as best we can. By investing in a constructed wetland system, you can truly claim to be a responsible steward of the environment, bringing human activity more closely into balance with nature. You can reduce your impact on municipal infrastructure, help conserve waste water with the potential for reuse, and help to provide wildlife habitat, all while treating wastewater to high standards for release into the ocean.
So watch this space - there going to be a beautiful wetlaand awaiting you next time you come to Big Blue!

Meccano for Eco Divers!

Staff, DMTs and eco warriors alike joined forces yesterday for a full day of meccano making fun! we constructed 6 separate coral nursery structures and put them down off Sairee. Coral nurseries are an excellent way to help the rehabilitation and restoration of reefs, by taking fragments of coral which would otherwise perish in the sand and giving them a nice hard surface to grow! Thanks to everyone that helped - you finally got to play with coral! Great effort and big thanks to Prince of Songkla University for helping us with the project.

2010 has been an extraordinary year around the world. Very warm sea temperatures due to the ENSO effect, coupled with flat, calm seas and intense sunlight on Koh Tao has lead to severe stresses on our corals. Most of the coral bleached, a good proportion of them are currently in a state of recovery and unfortunately a few have died.

In light of these events the people of the Save Koh Tao Group, together with the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources and scientists from the Prince of Songkhla University have embarked on an ambitious project to regenerate the coral population of our small island. Take a look at our progress! Many dive schools over the island, including Crystal, Bans, New Heaven, Blacktip and of course Big Blue have been working very hard for the last week to put these structures in the water. So come take a look at ours - it's just west of Navakid's buoyline!

           

Scuba science!

Students at Big Blue are exchanging their BCDs for lab coats and their masks for lab goggles today as they get stuck in to some science! We are collecting samples of algae from corals to investigate the impact of the bleaching last year on symbiotic algae communities. Sound interesting? Come to learn to dive with Big Blue and you could help study the wonderful underwater world with Big Blue Conservation (lab coats not provided).

           

EcOlympic success!!

Go Eco! the EcOlympic fundraiser for buoyancy world 2.0 was a huge success yesterday, raising over 5,000 baht to help improve and expand our beloved artificial reef. Big Blue hosted the event, drawing over 200 people to help support our cause! The event included tug-of-war, egg and spoon and sack races, and in the evening beer pong for all! Cheer to everyone who supported the event and helped out - Buoyancy World was designed to alleviate dive pressure from all of us who dive on Koh Tao so its great to see so many divers get involved to help promote low impact diving. There would be no reefs for us to see if we didn't support responsible tourism, so good on you all! Buoyancy World construction start soon, so watch this space if you want to help more!

         

No more fish in the sea?

People eat alot of fish. In fact, per capita fish consumption has nearly doubled in the last 50 years. The problem is that there may not be any more fish if we continue catching and consuming them at this rate. To calculate how many more fish are left in the ocean, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation measures how many of each species were caught each year. Assuming that fisherman are catching everything they can (and they usually are), the logic goes that fluctuations in the number of fish caught gives a fairly good indication of fluctuations in the fish population.
In order to promote this, Selfridges store’s Ultra Lounge was transformed into an underwater wonderland. It was all in aid of new initiative Project Ocean, spearheaded by Selfridges creative director Alannah Weston, which challenges the public to imagine a world with ‘no more fish in the sea’ and encourages them to buy sustainable varieties. Continuing the theme, Noah and the whale provided the entertainment in the specially created Dive Bar (geddit?) watched by eco-minded celebrities. All in all, the whole event went swimmingly! And above all, the benefits of eating sustainable fish were reinforced, much like we are advising here at Big Blue. Check out our Thailand Seafood Selector Chart here.

A cleaner Koh Tao

Did you know one million plastic bags are used every minute of the day and almost three millions tonnes of plastic are used to bottle water globally each year? Would it surprise you that 80% of all marine debris is plastic? In some areas of the ocean, plastic outweighs plankton 6:1, and on Koh Tao, 3 turtles were killed last year from ingesting plastic bags.
So a massive thanks to everyone that helped out at the beach and underwater clean up event yesterday, Koh Nang Yuan is now a cleaner paradise. We had a whopping 52 people participate in our monthly clean up this month, and with 6 million tonnes of debris entering the oceans each year, we needed each one of them. So a big thank you to all who helped out - and they got to see a sail fish too!!

Help keep water plastic free by removing plastic bags and bottles on every recreational dive. All plastics can be collected, just make sure there's nothing living in them first though!

 

Say no to oil drilling around Koh Tao during 2011

Currently, dive sites and marine parks throughout Thailand are being closed in order to halt the destruction of reefs and allow for recovery of corals in areas that were destroyed during last years bleaching event. In case you didn't know, last year's global bleaching event ended in up to 100% death of some reefs in the Andaman, and 78% mortality in the worst hit areas of Koh Tao. But now, in the wake of these issues a new site is being explored/drilled in the Gulf of Thailand by Salamander Energies, less than 55km from Koh Tao. Please join us on our facebook page here and stand together to ask the government to halt drilling activities until the coral reefs have recovered. If sites are being closed to divers (who have a relatively small impact on reefs) than they should also be protected from the wide scale destruction that is caused by the sediment, effluents, and in the worst case soills that are inherent in oil exploration. We know that we all use oil, and cannot stop the drilling. But this is not the time to open new sites. We ask that a moratorium be put on new locations for the next few years, until reefs are better able to withstand the effects of such activities.

This photo shows a bleached coral covered in sediment last summer during the drought. At the time this photo was taken there had been no rain in months (no erosion), yet there was lots of sediment in the sea, very likely due to oil exploration. Many corals can shut down and survive bleaching events provided there are no other disturbances, if bleaching is combined with other stresses such as pollution/nutrification, sedimentation, or changes in water pH/salinity then they will die, like this coral did. (Photo credit: Chad Scott).

Save Koh Tao Festival is approaching!

March may be the best time of the year to be on Koh Tao, not only for the great weather and whale shark migrations, but also for the annual Koh Tao Festival. Come join in this years Save Koh Tao Festival; a two day, Two night celebration of the islands diverse culture and community. Featuring live music from Thai and foreign Raggae, Ska, and World Music Bands as well as DJ's to keep the dancing going till sunrise! So when you've danced your flip flops off at the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan the week before, join us on Sairee Beach on March 25th and 26th.
Don't miss dive schools performances (including the most amazing show by Big Blue of course!), Mr and Mrs Koh Tao, and loads of other competitions! All money raised through the event will go directly towards the funding of the three Save Koh Tao branches, Education, Land Conservation and Marine Conservation.
For last year’s festival we released 49 sea turtles, created a nursery with 1,000 baby giant clams, and raised enough money to add grades 7 and 8 to the local school, for the first time ever. During the day we host talks from experts and professionals to raise awareness, display posters and information for anybody interested in marine and land conservation, and have fun activities for visitors of all ages.

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Big Blue Diving
15/3 Moo 1 
Koh Tao 
Suratthani 
84360 
Thailand

Phone: +66 (0) 77 456 050
Fax: +66 (0) 77 456 772 

Aqua Lung 

SSI Diamond Instructor Training Resort