Meet the Team that Make the Difference
From start to finish you'll find a fun and friendly bunch of people here at 100 Degrees East, who are only too willing to share their knowledge and experience. It’s this talented team, who deliver upon our commitment to provide our guests with outstanding levels of service, safety and satisfaction. Every single one of us is here to back you up, offering the encouragement and support you need.
Ivan is a co-owner and General Manager of the company. In his former life, Ivan was a TV Comedy and Entertainment producer in London. In 2001, having helped launch a certain Peter Kay onto an unsuspecting British public, he decided to quit the hectic world of media while he was still ahead and go live the tropical life. The eldest member of the team, he’s not quite into Zimmer frame territory yet, but is certainly starting to come around to appreciating what the benefits might be of having one. Started diving in 1979 with BSAC in the UK but finds the warm, clear waters of Thailand far more compatible with aged frame.
Co-owner and de facto big boss of 100 Degrees East. In her former career back in London Caz worked in finance for Disney Europe and as happy as she was, there’s only so much you can take of working for Mickey Mouse. She decided to free herself once and for all from the grasp of the omnipresent rodent and disappear to a place that only The Little Mermaid and Nemo could possibly find her. She is still as passionate about our wonderful oceans as when she first washed up on these tropical shores 13 years ago, and the daily commute to work is somewhat improved from that number 9 bus from High Street Ken.
Our 'Man for all seasons' – we have known 'Rooney' since 2003 and he has worked with us in the past as both a highly experienced senior speedboat captain and as a highly talented PADI Divemaster, having amassed some 2000 + dives since going pro in 2004. We welcomed him back in 2016 to join our management team to put all of his varied and valued expertise into helping to make our operations run smoothly.
Michelle also left the blinding lights of the London media circus and headed out east to pursue her life’s passion for wildlife conservation. She’s worked and volunteered at various wildlife sanctuaries, rehabilitating Elephants and Orangutan in the deepest jungles of Asia. Even hunkered down for a one month stretch to track the movements of the ‘Slow Loris’, which as the name implies is not a critter blessed with a quick turn of foot. So to up the tempo, she raced to Samui to join us here last year and take control of our fast moving online enquiries and bookings. She also manages the shop and helps co-ordinate daily operational logistics.
Diving since the age of 14. Ben completed his Divemaster with us in 2013 and became a PADI Instructor in 2016, passing his IDC back home in the harsh waters of New Zealand. When Ben was just 6 years old the family moved to New Zealand from sunny Sheffield in the UK, can’t think why, what’s New Zealand got that Sheffield hasn’t – and having spent all of his formative years in NZ is a true and passionate All Black loving Kiwi.
Our other Kiwi team member. Kurt was so taken with New Zealand’s underwater world – despite the cold, low viz conditions - that he had to become a PADI Instructor. Prior to joining us last year, Kurt had done a fair bit of traveling with his longest stopover being Japan for over a year. Working the winter as a Snowboard instructor in Yuzawa and the summer touring Tokyo, playing guitar in a Japanese band. “Genki dayo”, that’s his favourite Japanese expression not the name of the band.
One of the safest pairs of hands on Samui, Sombat is a highly experienced Captain who has been navigating the waters of the Gulf of Thailand for many years. Nicknamed Steady Eddy, Sombat always ensures you have a comfortable journey to/from your destination.
The arrival of our second speed boat last year saw the arrival of Lord as it’s captain. We actually have known him for many years as he is a hugely experienced dive speedboat captain having skippered boats both on Samui and Koh Tao. We are delighted to be able to include him in our permanent team line up and now be in the unique position of being able to genuinely reassure our guests that – The Lord is with you.
In the 7 years that Bo has been with us he has graduated from boat boy to become an experienced Snorkel & Tour Guide’ particularly skilled at taking great care of any junior guests on tour, often earning him the nick name of ‘Uncle Bo’ – highly skilled at making sand castles, climbing coconut trees – you name it, Bo makes sure the younger ones have lots of fun. He got his full Captains license last year after successfully completing the required two year training and now joins Sombat and Lord at our Captains table.
A friend of ours since arriving on Samui some 16 years ago when he happened to be the tour guide that took us out on a speedboat tour as paying customers to the Marine Park. So in a way it was Chai who started this whole adventure off. He was a wonderful guide then and has only got better since then. The most gentle, warm and friendly person you could meet – let alone have as your guide for the day. Now, graduated to the ranks of a Dive professional and so dedicated to PADI and the underwater world that he has a PADI logo tattoo on his back – hence his nick name is ‘Mr 007 PADI Chai’ – the 007 relates to the fact that James Bond is the only other person that anyone from his village back home in the remote mountains of Burma have ever seen diving.
Our new signing for the 2016 season, we are delighted to welcome the charming Mr Jor who joins our Marine team as a Senior Tour and Snorkel Guide, primarily on our Koh Tao service. He brings huge experience and knowledge gained from his previous 10 years of service within the tour industry of Samui and has particular knowledge of the snorkel sites that surround Koh Tao. Jor speaks fluent English but can say hello in several languages, ‘Bon Jor’ - being one (sorry - very poor but just had to!)
Otherwise known as Mr Sunny, Saan has worked as both speedboat captain and tour guide on Samui for the last 12 years and joined our ranks in 2016. A Marine Park tour veteran there is really nothing he doesn’t know about the place and if he really doesn’t know he’ll make up a great story for you anyway.
Mr Clay joined our snorkel and tour guide team 3 years ago and, alongside Mr Chai forms the backbone of our Angthong Marine Park Tour tour. You will find him to be gentle, polite, patient and tireless in making sure all our guests receive the very best attention each and every day. Clay is another member of our snorkeling team who we’ve taught to dive and is now a PADI certified Advanced Diver with sights firmly set on achieving his dream of becoming a qualified PADI Divemaster in the future. But for now he’s very happy being one of the best snorkel guides around.
Making sure the family tradition is maintained Pop joined us to replace his long serving elder brother the legendary Mr Nuin . Having spent 7 years in landlocked Bangkok he is now loving his life on the ocean waves. Better known as ‘Popeye’ on account of his inexhaustible energy – with or without a tin of spinach.
Despite his young looks Thao has 8 years of experience working onboard various dive speedboats out of Samui. Sporting the most radical retro hair style of our entire team – take your pick from the 60’s or 70’s and thinking ‘The Hair Bear Bunch’ for starters – not so cool when you put our crew hat on top though.
Another Karen state legend keeping up the family tradition (Nuin’s brother-in-law) who joined us in 2016 with the arrival of our 3rd speedboat and who again had never see the ocean until he arrived on Koh Samui. Mr Kite originally went by the name of Mr Nite but thought that a bit dark for his new sunny surroundings, so set his sights soaring higher with his new name.
5 years of experience onboard speedboats in the Gulf of Thailand. The slimmest member of our team by far – our crew think if you turned him sideways he’d disappear and so earning his nickname of ‘Mr Midnite’ as on a sunny day he casts no shadow. His slight stature belies some massive reserves of strength and energy however and he never seems to tire – our very own Mo Farrah.
Keeping our 3 speedboats and engines in perfect trim is Mr Pla who runs our onsite engine workshop. Fanatical about engines and equally fanatical about Manchester United, he never misses a broadcast match. Still says Mr Rooney is on top of his game – we presume he refers to our own Mr Rooney, surely not the other one.
Our lovely driver Mr Ken, is likely to be the first person to greet you at your hotel in the morning to welcome you aboard your day’s excursion. Ken has lived and worked on Samui for over 18 years. He first started as a car mechanic but as there were very few cars on the island back then (on account of the fact there were very few roads) he turned his attention to driving cars rather than fixing them. While he’s still pretty handy with a torque wrench, Ken has great knowledge of the island, so please feel free to pick up a few tips from an experienced insider about what’s on in Samui.
Yuso is our general maintenance man and gardener at the dive centre. The only member of our team that deosn’t dive, snorkel or to the best of our knowledge even swim! Our Mr Fix it does however have something up his sleeve. He is an amateur (in the truest sense of the word) magician and on occasion has been known to entertain our guests with probably the worst magic show on the planet – you have been warned.
Cooking up a storm in the kitchen every morning are our dynamic culinary duo. The girls are in at 5 O’clock in the morning each and every day to prepare the very yummy Thai meals for our boat excursions. Vegetarians do not fear that you’ll be left out, as the girls do some great veggie curries – you’ll find no limp lettuce sandwiches on our boats.
Frankie is our oldest team member, in dog years he is just into his 90’s. Not quite retired yet but certainly slowing down a bit as most days he finds a quiet corner of the garden to sleep peacefully and dream of his misspent youth. Still remains the cheapest member of the crew to run, Frankie’s salary has always been a 20 kg bag of biscuits a month.
Winnie joined the team by wandering in off the beach and deciding that this looked like a good home. Her biggest hurdle was overcome when she launched herself at Frankie and rather than flattening her, he decided she was rather cute. The only dog that has ever got away with stealing one of his bones.