Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Lang Tengah Island - 12 May 2006 to 14 May 2006

$#*+!! I muttered as I noticed the nail embedded in my rear tyre of my vehicle. It's 3 a.m. and I'm scheduled to reach Merang Jetty at 7 a.m. to catch the earliest boat possible. Thank God...I've dropped my wife and the kids at my parents' place in Kuantan. Otherwise, shudder the thoughts of driving with a flat tyre with the entire family and the whining I'll get from a certain Mrs Azrin. I filled in the air anxiously, hoping that it would last for the entire journey at least to Kuala Terengganu without any more air-filling-requisite stops.

Oh..I'm on my way to Lang Tengah Island by the way. It was a last minute trip after the group cancelled a trip to Redang Island. Good also..I think, with the family back home spending quality time with their grandparents and I'm being on myself, I'll be more mobile. Oh yes...I probably have spared you from having to read about another trip to Redang Island.

Arrived at Lang Tengah after taking first boat in. As usual, Jus and the East Marine's crew made me feel right at home. Jus was apologetic about my room not being ready. No need for that, Jus.

Stayed at Square Point Resort, not my first time here. Stayed there before during the Project AWARE last September. The cost of lodging was only RM260.00 for 3D/2N. But, that's the rate for lodging in East Marine's training room coz there were no more rooms available due to last minute's reservations. So, shower is at the dive centre while the loos at the dining place caters for my other needs.
Jus led the 11 a.m. dive and the dive site was Tanjung Nibong. Brought my loyal Canon A95 with a Sunpak 'G' strobe I borrowed from a friend for the trip. Man...was I frustrated because the strobe kept getting on my between the crevices. Apparently, macro subjects were quite abundant here with pipefishes, cleaner shrimps, nudibranch and banded shrimps. Had to squeeze the strobe into the gaps most of the time.

The next dive was at Batu Banyak Keras, kinda corny-sounded name but the dive site provides sightings of a purportedly 'rare' white-striped lion fish, razorfishes and devil scorpionfish. Anuar a local instructor held one of the devil scorpionfish in his hands while I took some shots. But, before I could confirm that I actually had the shot I wanted, he'd released the scorpionfish back to its place. Boy..was he pissed when he later found out that I didn't actually get the shot. Maybe next time. Oh yes..another thing, Batu Banyak Keras is appropriate for underwater landscape photography but tough luck, after my first experience from the first dive, the strobe is now snuggly in my knapsack.
Batu Jong dive site has nothing much to elaborate. First dive on Saturday took me to a familiar place I've dived last year, Karang Nibong Laut. Unlike my previous visit, the viz this dive around was superb...max 20 metre to 25 metre. Sighted moray eels, bunch of nurse sharks, scorpion fishes etc. During my safety stop, I could see the entire dive site, blocks of boulders lying on each other. The view was spectacular. Dived Terumbu Kuning with Jus as guide next. Sighted a juvenile crocodile fish, pipefish, sea urchins clingfish and various types of cleaner shrimps. Anuar was making his wise cracks underwater as I could hear his laughs when my subjects just fled away.

Karang Bahar and Goby Garden follow suit. Nothing much at both dive sites except for another species of pipefish and a school of bumpheads at Karang Bahar. Planned to do a night dive later the same day but had an excruciating headache and slept the whole evening. Last dive was at Terumbu Kuning.

That's about done it, 9 dives for a 3D/2N trip's not too bad. Had a great time at Lang Tengah, rekindling old friendship and bridging new ones, in particular, Anuar. Watched in awe of his dive sites sketches. Simply awesome while the level of details is unfathomable. The rest of the crowd there was also worth mentioning, Sue, John and four Japanese nationals (staying in Malaysia though). Chatted most of the night until the F.A. Cup final started which Liverpool won in a penalty shoot-out. Thanks to Stevie G single-handedly.

Left the island afternoon Sunday and had to change the flat tyre. Drove back to Kuantan and back into the arms of loved ones.
Please visit www.flickr.com/photos/azrint for more photos

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