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Whale Shark Koh Tao
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Big Blue Freediving - Koh Tao - Thailand

The Moken people of the Andaman Sea

 

The Moken people :

‘the sea nomads’   'the gipsys of the sea'

A group of approximately 800 islands claimed by both Burma and Thailand. Most of the 2,000 to 3,000 Moken live asemi-nomadid hunter-gatherer lifestyle heavily based on the sea, though this is increasingly under threat.

 

Their knowledge of the sea enables them to live off its fauna and flora by using simple tools such as nets and spears to forage for food. What is not consumed is dried atop their boats, then used to barter for other necessities at local markets. During the monsooon season, they build additional boats while occupying temporary huts. Because of the amount of time they spend diving for food, Moken children are able to see better underwater due to accommodation of their visual focus.

Some of the Burmese Moken are still nomadic people who roam the sea most of their lives in small hand-crafted wooden boats called kabang, which serve not just as transportation, but also as kitchen, bedroom, and living area. However, much of their traditional life, which is built on the premise of life as outsiders, is under threat.

Aside from ancestor worship, the Moken have no religion

 

The Moken identify in a common culture, and speak the Moken lenguage.

However, the Moken face an uncertain future as their population decreases and their nomadic lifestyle and unsettled legal status leaves them marginalized by modern property and immigration laws, maritime conservation and development programs, and tightening border policies.

 

The children of this tribe poses the ability to move so freely under water, so they are being called the dolphin-children!

When the tide rises the children of tribe tend to be more under water than above.

 

They enter the waters and swim to great depths. Not only do they have the possibility to sink themselves without weights, they see perfectly clear underwater without goggles. This usually isn’t the case for us, when we open our eyes under water, our vision completely blurs.

Their eyes are completely adjusted to the conditions underwater. When the dolphin-children open their eyes, their irises get smaller and they increase their depth of field.  Also the actual shape of their lens changes, which is called accommodation. This is a similar adaptation to what dolphins do.

 

Apnea Diver, the new App for freedive trainings

Apnea Diver is a training app for free divers, apnea swimmers and spearfishing enthusiasts which expands lung capacity and the amount of time you can spend underwater. In fact, Apnea Diver static training tables are beneficial for all sportsmen as it increases lung capacity which improves general aerobic performance. The Apnea Diver app contains a series of apnea breath hold static tables which will improve your lung capacity if practiced three to four times a week. A simple way to improve lung capacity and ability to hold your breath for free diving and other sports. The app gives users the option to set their maximum breath hold time (show stopwatch screen and saving) by testing this with a stop watch or by entering this manually in the setting page. Your maximum breath hold times will be saved to the in-app log book so you can keep track of your progress. Settings for the static tables are automatically adjusted according to your maximum breath hold time (show settings page) or can be altered manually if they user has specific requirements. There are 3 breathing training tables: CO2- aimed at increasing carbon dioxide expulsion, O2 – aimed at increasing oxygen intake and Pranayama – aimed at warming up the lungs in preparation for a dive or used for meditation and relaxation. Users can select the number of cycles they wish to do for each exercise, and all completed tables will be recorded in the log book.

Here’s what to expect when you participate in our Level 1 Freediving Course

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We often have customers who cometo us with no knowledge of Freediving or what they would learn on a Freediving course. So here’s what to expect when you participate in our SSI Level 1 Freediving course.

The SSI Level 1 Freediving course is an introductory course with no previous experience required. In this two day course you get to experience what freediving is all about! You’ll become relaxed and comfortable in the water and you’ll learn how to dive safely to depths of up to 20 meters on a single breath; yeap you read right, on one single breath!

Believe it or not, approximately 95% of our students reach 20 meters, on day two of our course, and we bet that you are one of them!   

Throughout the course you will be introduced to four different freediving disciplines.

  1. Static Breath Hold (STA) – breath hold, above water
  2. Dynamic Diving (DYN) – horizontal under water swimming
  3. Constant Weight Training (CWT) – descends/ascends using fins and/or with the use of his arms without pulling on the rope
  4. Free Immersion (FIM) - vertical underwater swimming without the use of propulsion equipment, but only by pulling on the rope during descent/ascent

The SSI Level 1 Freediving course includes;

  • theory sessions (Equipment, Physiology, Skills and the Environment),
  • freediving breathing techniques, for before and after diving,
  • dry breath hold and relaxation session,  
  • dynamic apnea (horizontal underwater swim) and safety procedures,
  • two (2) open water depth dives (along a secured line) where students will progressively learn about technique including adequate finning, body positioning, becoming more streamlined and carrying out safety procedures.

Here’s a testimonial from our ex-student Heikke R.

“...after my Freediving course I started to think of Freediving on a whole new level and even snorkelling became much more interesting now that I had the skills to have longer, safer and deeper dives. In this course you learn to challenge yourself and, for some, it is the beginning of a new hobby! If you are thinking about of doing this course, TAKE IT!”.

To sum up why we love freediving and why you should learn with us; freediving really pushes you to challenge yourself, it builds your confidence and it really is an experience not many people get to have. Still not sold? Contact our outgoing staff who will happily answer any questions you may have (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). 

Is Freediving Hazardous?

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It is without fail that when we speak about the sport of Freediving people ask us ‘is Freediving hazardous?’. 

Like any sport Freediving has risks, however, many of the risks can be eliminated, or avoided, by the application of correct training and knowledge.

The United States Apnea Association (USAA) states that ‘without proper training, education, and especially supervision, one small miscalculation in staying down just a little too long, or moving too much at depth could prove tragic – even fatal. Knowledgeable, competent and qualified freediving buddies must ALWAYS be used. Proper training and education is mandatory to successfully understand proper breathing techniques, proper equalizing, proper underwater motions, and proper buddy techniques – including freediver rescue. Without this specialized training the potential for ear injuries, lung injuries, and unconsciousness due to blackout is high. See Freediving Safety for more information.

At Big Blue Freediving we pride ourselves on small groups and safety. We teach a maximum of four (4) students per course and provide individual feedback to each student. Our experienced head instructor Rakel loves introducing people to Freediving and every customers leaves feeling more connected to themselves and the sea!

For more information on training courses and packages please surf our website.

Source: www.usfreediving.org

Want to glide alongside Black Tip Reef Sharks?

 

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If your like most freedivers, you most likely have a passion for the ocean and a heightened curiosity to interact with marine life.

It’s no secret that one of the best things about being a Freediver is that it allows you to swim alongside marine life and interact closer than any scuba diver ever could. We have been counting our lucky stars because at Big Blue Freediving we have been spoilt over the past few weeks with countless Whale Shark encounters as well as sightings’ of, up to eight, baby Black Tip Reef Sharks along the coral reefs at Sai Nuan Beach!

Weather on Koh Tao has been a mix of hot and sunny and hot and stormy. The really good news, though, is that despite the continuing weather changes, our diving conditions have been fantastic with visibility of up to 20-30 meters. If you have ever been intrigued by, or interested in, the sport of Freediving we encourage you to give it a go. You will be surprised at the depths you will reach.

One of our favourite affirmations that we like to remind ourselves of, at Big Blue Freediving, is to remember that ‘life gets boring when you stay within the limits you already know’. Life is about experiences, trying new things and pushing your limits. Take advantage of the life you have been given, live in the moment and challenge yourself each and every day.  

How to make a difference. Earth Day 2015

 

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It’s no secret that destinations’ with high visitation numbers can have a negative impact on popular tourist destinations such as Koh Tao. The responsibility of looking after our environment falls on both the tourist as well as the local. Today, as a community, we take responsibility and come together to clean up Koh Tao, Thailand.

So, it’s no secret that every once in a while you come across a cause that is too important to ignore and Earth Day is one of them. Trash Hero (a Koh Tao community group) is participating by hosting Koh Tao’s Biggest Clean Up on 22 April 2015.

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Countless dive schools, restaurants, resorts and other local businesses are taking part in Earth Day 2015. Each participant/business has been given a dedicated zone to clean up and all rubbish will be collected at 4pm.

Big Blue’s Marine Biologist has worked hard to promote this event and last night Rachel briefed Big Blue staff on how minor changes can be made to make a difference. Believe it or not it’s the small changes, such as providing your own eco-friendly bag when ordering takeaway/purchasing goods that can have a positive impact on the environment.

To further participation and to increase the communities enthusiasm Big Blue Diving has promoted a 2,000 bht prize for the individual who collects the most amount of cigarette butts. Winner to be announced later today.

Remember: it’s never to late to make a difference. If you see some rubbish, please pick it up and pack your eco-friendly bag. It’ll always come in handy.

Happy Earth Day Everyone!

For more information on Earth Day visit: www.earthday.org 

Sawadee Pee Mai

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If your like most people, you probably have a few war wounds and missing brain cells from the events that took place during Songkran.

Despite being in the hottest month of the year and that for weeks the weather has been unbearably hot, Mother Nature had alternative plans for us during Songkran. She joined the celebration in full force offering us thunder, rain and no-shine; all day long.

Staff from Big Blue started our New Year celebration by walking through the streets of Mae Haad. The lanes were full and everyone was splashing and being soaked by copious amounts of water. After being completely soaked, by others and Mother Nature, we took Koh Tao’s notorious ‘yellow brick road’ and made our way to Sairee. Celebrations were had at nearly every dive school, restaurant and beach club. Our favourite must-stop places included Maya Beach Club, Fishbowl, DJL and, lastly, Big Blue. Water slides were built and we witnessed people swimming fully clothed in the ocean, pool and even in an oversized pot (yes, a pot).

The really good news, though, is that fun was had and a New Year has begun. Our sins were washed away and our blessings from Mother Nature were received. Sawadee Pee Mai everyone – we wish you adventure and health for the year ahead!  

Feeling the heat? Don't sweat it; Songkran is on its way

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It’s no secret that Songkran is Thailand’s most enjoyable celebration.

Every once in a while you come across a festival that is too good to pass up and Songkran is one of them. Thailand is getting ready to celebrate their Thai New Year which is celebrated from 13 April through to 15 April. And, as you may have guessed the festival is known as Thailand’s “Songkran Festival”.

It’s no secret that Songkran is represented by water pouring (or better represented by a water fight) as a symbol of washing away a individuals sins and blessing them with good fortune for the future. The entire country gets involved and there is not one place (other then your hotel room) where you are safe from getting soaked.

If you are travelling to Thailand in April take advantage of Songkran and prepare to get wet and to let out your inner child. It’s not every day that you get to be apart of the worlds largest water flight. And, its all in good fun. Believe it or not it’s a must-do on your travelling bucket list.

It’s never to late to come and celebrate in Koh Tao. Just book yourself on a ferry and join the fun. Where should I go for some fun, you ask? We recommend making your way through the streets of Mae Haad and Sairee and then make your way to Big Blue Diving Resort. Locals and tourists always celebrate at our resort, we are on Sairee Beach and every year our parties are unforgettable.

If your wondering what to pack, rule 101: don’t forget your water gun!

Happy pre-Songkran! 

Are you a sustainable tourist?

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If you have stepped foot on Turtle Island, also referred to as ‘The Rock’ or simply ‘Koh Tao’, you would have noticed that the Thai locals as well as many long-stay expats care for its environment and its future preservation. Like any tourist destination, high visitation numbers can result in environmental damage, in some cases irreversible. Unfortunately we often witness tourists visiting Koh Tao who do not look after its environment.  

At Big Blue Freediving we are proud that Big Blue Diving’s conservation department, managed by our very own Marine Biologist Rachel Linarts, works hard to rectify and prevent any damage that has been or may be made by tourists to this speckle of paradise. Rachel runs eco diving and conservation expeditions, frequent beach clean ups and is a active member of Koh Taos ‘Trash Hero’ group. She hopes that by educating locals and tourists we can conserve our earth.

If you are reaping the benefits of a traveller, please be and encourage others to be a sustainable tourist. One who visits a destination and only makes a positive impact not only on its environment but on its society and economy.

Looking after our oceans and its land above the water, which we call home, is vital. We need to work together on preserving our world and its cultures. Please share this blog and lets educate others on how we all can work towards becoming sustainable tourists! 

 

Excellent conditions in Koh Tao (Turtle Island)

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Some would say that March and April are two of the best months to dive in Koh Tao, Thailand. Our weather is heating up, our days are sunny with blue skies, we have magical whale sharks gliding past and our visibility is great!

The visibility of the water when Freediving can completely change the divers experience of the underwater world. High visibility allows freedivers to see marine life not only up close but also from a distance. We can see schools of barracuda, we can see the rock formations and the sea bed from 20 + meters away. The colour of the ocean, whilst watching marine life swim by, is truly indescribable. We get to experience the underwater world in a whole new light! 

We always take our customers, both students and fun divers, to the best dive locations on the island. Koh Tao boasts around 20 excellent dive sites. Popular dive sites include White Rock, Shark Island and Green Rock. We also have two world class diving sites Southwest and Chumpon Pinnacles. 

One of our freediving mottos at Big Blue Freediving is: to experience freediving is just 'Breath Taking'. It truly is, especially when the visibility is at its peak!

Image: Nudibranch; Photographer: Jeff, Big Blue Diving 

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