17/18 Moo 1, Koh Tao Suratthani, 84360 Thailand         Info @ Big Blue Conservation        +66 (0) 077 456 179

Big Blue Conservation - Sightings

Another day, another 4 turtles! Adult hawksbill sea turtles have been known to grow up to 1 m in length, weighing around 80kgs on average. The heaviest hawksbill ever captured was measured to be 127 kgs. The hawksbill sea turtle has several characteristics that distinguish it from other sea turtle species. Its elongated, tapered head ends in a beak-like mouth (from which its common name is derived), and its beak is more sharply pronounced and hooked than others. The hawksbill's arms have two visible claws on each flipper. Big Blue had the great pleasure to spend our night dive (!) with one juvenile hawksbill turtle last night, and then we were greated by another 2 at Hin Wong Pinnacle this morning. And as if that was not enough - there was another hawksbill turtle at our coral nursery just an hour ago! Haven't seen one yet? Then come diving with Big Blue!

 

With its eight thin tentacles, four thicker "arms" and purplish mushroom-shaped bell, the Pelagia noctiluca or mauve stinger has become a regular, unwanted feature of the Côte d'Azur.
Despite the use of protective anti-jellyfish nets, thousands of the ancient organisms, whose population is thriving thanks to overfishing and global warming, still make it into swimming areas and are washing up onto Riviera beaches. Contact with its hairlike tentacles that can reach three metres in length causes nettle-like burns that take three days to clear and can provoke asthma and allergic attacks, and in rare cases heart failure.
To help swimmers avoid being ensnared in shoals of the poisonous invertebrates, the oceanological laboratory of Villefranche-Sur-Mer is launching a 48-hour internet jellyfish forecast.
"We're offering a five-point probability rating going from zero (no risk) to five (maximum jelly alert) on beaches of the Alpes-Maritimes region," Lars Sternmann, one of ten scientists working on the project told Le Parisien.
Biologists say their proliferation is in part down to climate change and rising water temperatures, but also a decline in its only real predators – turtles and tuna. The species, which glows in the dark (!!), has also benefited from rising plankton levels and pollution-related nutrients.
All the oceans of the planet have seen rising numbers, leading to long-term fears of a "jellification of the oceans," according to Jacqueline Goy, a medusa specialist at the oceanographic institute of Paris.
Source: Henry Samuel, The Telegraph

On Koh Tao, we love our sharks. Whether it's snorkelling or diving with them, or watching a documentary on these ancient fish, we're there. So we want to make sure our shark populations on Koh Tao are being well looked after, so we have started the KOH TAO SHARK SURVEY. The aim of this group is to keep a database of our shark populations on Koh Tao. If you've seen a shark on Koh Tao, please submit sightings of ANY sharks, preferably with photos, where it was seen, the date and time, the depth of the shark, any behavioural observations and distinct markings or scars, and the sex of the shark if known (males have claspers, females don't). You can send us this information through This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or join our group on Facebook ("The Koh Tao Shark survey"). Even if they were sighted a while ago, if you have photos then please submit these too! This will help us monitor our shark populations on Koh Tao and provide us with observational data for research. All whaleshark photos we will submit onto ECOCEAN's Whaleshark database too. ECOCEAN and the Shepherd Project will use this information to assist scientific research and global conservation initiatives.

The information that you submit is encapsulated in an "encounter" that ECOOCEAN tracks.  Each encounter is assigned a unique number, and you can view that encounter at any time using the link below or by going to the ECOCEAN Whale Shark Photo-identification Library (http://www.whaleshark.org). They will keep you informed of any changes to your submitted encounter, and email you if the shark is matched to another shark within the ECOCEAN Whale Shark Photo-identification Library.  We will also let you know if/when and where your shark is resighted by other community members.

We have started to see many species of sharks return to Koh Tao, such as the Bull sharks and white tip reef sharks at green rock, so it's a great opportunity to have one place where information can be submitted and collected to help monitor the shark populations. Thanks!

Well haven't we come into a bit of luck! Despite monsoon season looming ever closer, the diving has never been more glorious. we are still enjoying crystal clear calm waters and sunny weather, but on top of that, how about adding 3 whalesharks spotted at Chumphon today and yesterday? Yes please! To have so many whalesharks in close proximity to our reefs means only one thing - that our reefs are producing alot of food for these massive creatures. Usually preferring the solitary life, whalesharks are known to school only when there is high productivity in an area, such as Ningaloo reef in Aus and our very own Chumphon Pinnacle! Whalesharks feed primarily on plankton, with over 8,000 bristle-like teeth filtering the waters for these tiny tasty treats. Whalesharks are thought to detect areas with high productivity (high amounts of plankton) through chemical sensing. Sharks have 2 extra senses than us - the jelly-like filled channels in their nose known as the Ampullae of Lorenzini detect electircal pulses in the water and are used to locate food, mates and danger. They also have sensitised lateral lines - two lines that run either side of the whalesharks body which help detect movement in the water. Although we know this, we still don't fully understand these huge beauties, such as where they reproduce. There is a lot of research still being conducted on whalesharks, some of which we contribute to here at Big Blue Conservation. Pretty cool huh? And you can see them in all their glory at Chumphon right now!

       

A DAY after watching a film about being lost at sea, Toakai Teitoi was trapped in his own nightmare, drifting in a wooden boat for 15 weeks - before a shark helped to rescue him.

The 41-year-old Kiribati policeman and father-of-six relived his harrowing voyage in the central Pacific when he arrived in Majuro on Saturday on the Marshall Islands fishing boat which picked him up last week.He told of sleeping with the body of his brother-in-law who died during the ordeal, suffering severe dehydration and praying to be found alive.

Mr Teitoi's drama began when he joined his brother-in-law Ielu Falaile, 52, on what was supposed to be a two-hour sea journey back to Maiana in a 15-foot wooden boat.

But after stopping to fish along the way and sleeping overnight, they woke the following day to find they had drifted out of sight of Maiana and soon after ran out of fuel.

"We had food, but the problem was we had nothing to drink," he said.

As dehydration took hold, Mr Teitoi, a Catholic, said he turned to prayer as it gave him strength. But Falaile's health began failing and he died on July 4. "I left him there overnight and slept next to him like at a funeral," Mr Teitoi said. He buried his brother-in-law at sea the next morning.

Only a day after Falaile passed away a storm blew into the area and rained for several days allowing Teitoi to fill two five-gallon containers with a life-saving supply of fresh water.

"There were two choices in my mind at the time. Either someone would find me or I would follow my brother-in-law. It was out of my control." He continued to pray regularly and on the morning of September 11 caught sight of a fishing boat in the distance but the crew were unable to see him. Dejected, he did what he had done most days, curling up under a small covered area in the bow to stay out of the tropical sun.

Mr Teitoi said he woke in the afternoon to the sound of scratching and looked overboard to see a six-foot shark circling the boat and bumping the hull.

When the shark had his attention it swam off.

"He was guiding me to a fishing boat. I looked up and there was the stern of a ship and I could see crew with binoculars looking at me."

So the shark guided him to a fishing boat and safety. Sounds like a pretty JAWesome shark if you ask me!

source: Herald Sun, Australia