Monday, 5 December 2011

Kevin and James fun diving with the DMTs

Kevin and James had a lovely day at Hin Daeng with Angela and Krystina and I thought we should share some of Kevin's Photos.


Kevin trying to look scary I think!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Calling all British Citizens

If you are British, please take 30 seconds to sign this petition to ban the use, sale or import of Shark Fin products.

This Shark is happy that people are signing this petition ;-)

Friday, 2 December 2011

Please stop this now!

Captain Wee saves the day!

So today we had planned for the speedboat to go out to Hin Daeng but the Big Boat to stay on the island so that our staff could fix the pier. No problem full speedboat to Hin Daeng is great.

Unfortunately, when I woke up this morning, I had a bad feeling, the wind had not died down. So I popped over to the pier to check the Captain's view. Yeap he agreed, weather not good enough and we were just about to cancel the trip when Captain Wee offered to take out our big boat! But with no fuel, tanks (on the speedboat) and boat boys asleep how late would we leave?

When the customers arrived we offered them to cancel (and possibly rearrange for tomorrow) or dive off the big boat and do some special dive sites at Koh Haa (at the obviously reduced price). They all jumped at the chance as I, organised breakfast, Wee, got the boat boys, the staff, loaded the tanks from the speedboat, and En went to get the fuel for the boat.

Boat left at 8:06am!!!! Totally awesome guys, well done, weather looks better for tomorrow so maybe Hin Daeng tomorrow.

It really is great having 2 boats, I love you Geddis!!!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Plenty of Big Stuff at Hin Daeng & Hin Muang

This year Hin Daeng and Hin Muang have started early with both Whalesharks and Manta Rays seen by us in the last week.

Normally our trips to this dive area are relatively quiet with maybe 10-15 divers on board, but obviously this year the word got around that there was some interesting stuff to see and we had over 30 people on the boat!

Now with our sexy new Speedboat we should be able to offer far more trips to Hin Daeng and Hin Muang.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Wow it is so big and beautiful!!

Finally our custom built Dive Speedboat is on the island and ready to take you in complete luxury diving!

Yet to have the logo added, the boat is beautiful to  behold and has 2 of the largest engines I have ever seen on a speedboat.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Whaleshark at Hin Muang

Yes, I can confirm that today we saw a Whaleshark at Hin Muang!!!

Purple Rock (Hin Muang) is my personal favourite dive site and it is superb when the big stuff is there, because it is very hard to miss it. The site is completely submerged, giving an excellent viewing area above the reef to see any Manta Rays or indeed Whalesharks.

I am totally gutted, wished I had been on the boat ;-(

Saturday, 5 November 2011

I finally get to go diving

Well it has been a long time coming, but yesterday I felt strong enough to try diving again. James Hoyland, on his day off, generously took over my Boatmaster duties and put together my gear for me. Wee, Lop and Ya all helped me get kitted up in the water and I went for a lovely 20minute dive.

Need to carry a bit less weight these days (as I have weights now integrated into my body) and the braces on my teeth don't help, but nevertheless it was a lovely dive.

Day only marred by James headbutting my beloved boat, but luckily Choksomboon 9 only has a small dent (pity about James nose though!)

thanks guys for making it possible,

Mellisa xx

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Happy Halloween

So in true Blue Planet Divers style, we all got involved in the dressing up for Halloween, with the team deciding our theme should be 'The Addams Family" and 'The Munsters.' However Sam decided to opt out of the team activity and decided to go in Camouflage.
Clearly we are not going to win any awards for Beauty, and I was slightly perturbed by the amount of fuss the guys made, all night, about their make up.

I am however happy that Jim has found himself a new lady, not the most prettiest but she definitely has personality!
Big up to Cheeky Monkey Bar, for a fab party, Sam particularly liked the chicken drum sticks.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Happy Birthday Nin!

Last night we all surprised Kevin's girlfriend with a birthday party.

She then entertained us with some lovely singing, but unfortunately then handed the microphone to us, and lets just say we dont sing quite as good as her!
If only the Blue Planet Team could sing

Jim and James the new Liam & Noel

Not sure why they YMCA'd

Thursday, 27 October 2011

It's tough being the boss!

For the first time this season, I was able to actually go on my boat for a day!

Whilst I am not able to dive yet, I had some fantastic snorkelling with Suzie and we saw 3 baby black tip sharks, loads of  Barracudas and some huge lobsters.

As is also traditional, I always have a staff meeting after my day on the boat and whilst there are always improvements to be made, I was really pleased with the way my team are working together on the boat.

I was also pleased to see the feedback forms for the day; all the customers said their instructor was "Extremely professional & very helpful" and that they were definitely considering another day with us.

Thanks guys xxx

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Well Done Caroline

Looks like Caroline is already getting fans here on Koh Lanta. She took 2 people diving at Koh Haa yesterday and this is what they had to say:

"Caroline was excellent - made us feel very comfortable and at ease. It made the whole experience that much more enjoyable, merci bien!"

"We had Caroline, she was excellent, she made sure our dive was right for us and explained everything well. I would definitely use her and Blue Planet again."

Well done Caroline, looks like you are a real asset to our team ;-)


Saturday, 8 October 2011

Boat Trip on Monday, first of High Season

We are pleased to announce that if the weather is good, our lovely boat will be on it's way to Koh Haa on Monday morning, unfortunately Mellisa has a date with the dentist so she will be missing the trip, but that is good news for Ben!

Blue Planet Divers fight it out!!

Today is a very tense day in the Blue Planet Office, as the French take on the English in the World Rugby Cup. Will we be a team by the end of the afternoon? Will the French get bored of the English singing rugby songs? Will Mellisa be able to stand the tension and watch the whole match? Will England please win? (sorry English person writing this blog, expect the French one to say something different)

All will be answered by 5pm today,

Bon Chance to both teams

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Bonjour Caroline et Benoit

A huge welcome to our 2 new staff this year, Caroline & Benoit. They have lots of experience from their time in Egypt and being French they are a welcome addition to the team.

The only2 problems is that they will be supporting France in a rather important rugby game on the 8th and now we have 2 French Bens!!!

Bienvenue guys xxxx

Choksomboom 9 is back.... Whoop Whoop

We have been trying for nearly a week to get our lovely boat back, but the weather has been so bad she has been stuck in Kantang. Today the sun shined and she returned at 5:30pm. I made sure I was on my deck to welcome her home.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

The boat is wet again!

Today was our last trip to the boatyard and it was lovely to see the boat returned to the water. It has just a little  painting left to do and then it is sailing back to Koh Lanta.
Kev and Captain Wee check out the boat
Captain Wee is delighted to have a new flashy light, the engine is stunningly shiny, and the boat is being repainted from top to bottom. It looks beautiful!

Our shiny engine
Kev enjoys putting the boat back into the water
Never have I seen him so happy!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Getting ready for High Season

Kev and I took a visit yesterday, to Kantang, to see our lovely boat. Currently it is undergoing its yearly service and we are all on track for its return on Monday (3rd October) and hopefully out diving on the Thursday (6th October). We are still open for diving up until then, but we really need a reason to take the boat out on Thursday, so make sure you book some diving that day.

Just got to check they spell the name right! Almost missed the Blue Blanet divers last year!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Gordon Ramsay Explains Why We Want A Ban on Shark Finning

90 UK Pounds for a soup that is destroying shark populations and tastes of.......... NOTHING!!!

September - the lull before the fun!

September on Koh Lanta is always a strange one for us who live here; the place gets quieter, there are very few guests, it is quite wet and we start to get excited about High Season.

The lovely Choksomboon 9 (our boat) has just gone for its regular service, so by the beginning of October, our boat will be shiny and new and docked on its new improved pier. Our staff are booking their flights for their return and we are having many requests for professional and recreational courses.

So if you are planning to see us, drop me a line and we can give you advice on how to get here, where to stay, what to do etc

Looking forward to seeing you this High Season

Mellisa x

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Too much of a close encounter with a whale shark.

On a day when a manta ray was seen at Hin Deang, I was having a normal day working, starting an advanced course with Deborah and Natasha at Koh Haa.

Kneeling down on the sand doing skills in front of Koh Haa 4 (away from the lagoon) Natasha signaled to look behind me. There, no more than half a metre away, a turtle was munching on coral. "ok, lets watch the turtle" I signaled. After about a minute, as we watched it swim away, I signaled lets carry on with the skills. Two minutes later, Natasha again signals me. This time "look up". It took me a moment to comprehend the dark silhouette of a whale shark swimming about 15m above us surrounded by maybe 20 Cobia. "OK, finish the skills, lets ascend". Coming up to 14m the 4-5m Juvenile whale shark starts circling closer and closer to us. My golden rules as people who know me will testify, are no touching coral, or marine life. The whale shark is coming closer and closer to us so I back away from it with my divers. Its then I realise that I have had to back up so far I am now literally against the wall of Koh Haa 4, Natasha to my left and Deborah to my right. Now I am hating the fact that my tank is backed against the wall and inevitably, against the coral. What makes it worse is that the whale shark has turned in such away it is now swimming up my body so close by the time its head passes me, I can now feel its weight pushing against my body. My right arm is across my chest and I have no option but to break another golden rule. With the its huge weight bearing against me, I begin to push the weight of the shark away from me with my forearm. It may be a juvenile, but damn its heavy!!!! After a few seconds it passes, and thinking that this must be a little intimidating for my students, I swim left shoulder back towards the lagoon. Looking back I get a shock to see the juvenile, literally less than a metre away behind us, following us into shallower water. At one point I see it move closer to Deborahs back, and at the last minute open its mouth. Its bottom lip touching the base of the tank, and the top lip touching the face of the tank, with Deborah displaying a visible 'jerk' from the impact. It then passes us on our left shoulder as I continue into the lagoon to do our safety stop. Now in 6m of water, the juvenile came up to us for one last time, within half a metre as we hovered at 5m to do our safety stop. It finally turned away and headed back towards Koh Haa 4, following it right shoulder out of sight and ending the most amazing dive I have EVER had.

I would like to stress that whale sharks are in no way aggressive or dangerous. Circumstances beyond my control put me in the position I found myself in. This beautiful, amazing creature which at 4-5m is STILL just a juvenile was just showing an inquisitiveness that in my now five encounters with whale sharks is unsurpassed.

I wish to be adamant that I have learned, agree and actively promote that we strictly passively observe marine life and do not touch, and my doing so was strictly to protect my divers and myself from any harm that this gentle giant might have unintentionally caused.

Unfortunately, this was the only image captured
that day. Taken by a snorkeler at the surface.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Make the informed choice

I read an article recently that described how British tinned tuna distributors have all now agreed to only use tuna from sources that DO NOT use purse seine fishing techniques. Purse seine is when a large net circles a school of fish and is then closed off at the bottom. The catch is then pulled in. Unfortunately sharks, turtles and many other species are also pulled up, with little hope of survival. While congratulations to British companies are in order for signing up to this agreement, one thing struck me as ironic. Princes is one such company that has signed up to this agreement and I fully congratulate them on this, but Princes is a company owned by Mitsubishi who have cornered 40% of the Blue Fin tuna market. Blue Fin tuna is an endangered species but is highly sort after especially for the sushi market. Just this year a blue fin tuna sold in Japan for a record $396000. As such proper steps to limit numbers caught to ensure the sustainability if not recovery of the species are not being properly implemented. With the scarcity of this prized catch increasing every year, Mitsubishi have a vested interest in continuing to fish, hoard and sell this endangered species with an increasing profit guaranteed while numbers decrease. People who know me know I do not eat fish but I do not dictate other peoples personal choice. What I would recommend though is that through a little research people can make a difference by checking the sources of the fish they purchase and making an informed choice.
Greenpeace created a leaflet in August 2008 discussing tinned tuna and a pdf file can be read or downloaded at:

Friday, 22 July 2011

Oh the diving is just awful!!!

So after a stormy week, the weather calmed down really quickly and we were able to go diving again.

Kevin went out on Tuesday and whilst I thought the visibility would still be poor, I could not have been more wrong, Kev report better than 15metre visibility which was incredible considering the storm.

2 days later and Ben is out, yes he finally made it! I was absolutely gutted, as I found out that I had given Ben the diving work, on the only day this low season we had a power cut all day!

But Ben thoughtfully sent me a text on his way back from Koh Haa.....

"Bad day, 30m visibility, 5 Turtles, 1 Marble Ray, SeaHorse and a Leopard Shark"

Sounds terrible Ben!!!

You can really go off people ;-(

 Blue Planet Divers

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Andaman 2012 Freediving Competition

We at Blue Planet Divers, are please to announce that both our Sponsors for our Freediving Competition in 2011 have agreed to back us again in 2012.

Our Freediving Competition is open to all and an ideal starting competition for those new to the sport. You will find everyone on our team, the judges and other competitors, more than willing to share tips and ideas with you on how to improve your performance.

Andaman Freediving Competition 2012
9th - 12th February 2012
Day 1 - Sea Practice and Competition outline (on the Blue Planet Divers Boat)
Day 2 - Depth Competition (on the Blue Planet Divers Boat)
Day 3 - Pool Practice (Royal Lanta Resort)
Day 4 - Pool Competition (Royal Lanta Resort) and Competition Party!

We recommend planning to come early to the event as competitors can take advantage of the reduced fee on the boat for the week leading up to the event.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Thought for the day - Just 2 bags!

So today, I was really disappointed when I walked the dogs on the beach and saw the amount of rubbish that the wind and waves had brought ashore. The usually pristine beach was full of rubbish, foam, polystyrene, flip flops (so many and never a pair), bottles, plastic and of course lighters. You hear about these plastic islands that are floating around our oceans and it is so sad when you see it what we humans have done to our environment.

It is sad to see this on the beach, but imagine the damage it is doing to our aquatic life as turtles and other mammals eat the rubbish we throw away. Unfortunately we don't have to imagine because researchers all over the world are finding it in the stomachs of dead turtles.

Luckily the storm also washed up some bags, including 2 rather large rice bags, and so i did a mini-clean up, to be honest it didn't really make a difference but it did make me promise myself that each time I go on the beach i will take at least 2 bags to fill up before I return. 2 bags is not going to make a huge difference, but it did make me feel like I was doing my bit and will stop a lot of rubbish going back into the sea when the storm subsides. Maybe if we all took just 5 minutes every time we got on the beach to just fill 2 bags then we could make a difference. Just because you didn't throw the rubbish away isn't an excuse not to pick it up, it is our world and we all have a responsibility to it.

Maybe you don't want to do 2 bags but how about instead of just picking up your own rubbish, that you take just 30 seconds to pick up a few more items on the way to the bin? It's not much is it? but imagine if everyone did it, what a difference that would make!