Monday, June 19, 2006

My New Toy

Finally, it arrived.

Last Friday that is...boxed and plastic wrapped. Tinkered wit
h it the whole weekend while watching the World Cup live games in the wee hours. Completed 2 of my blogs with it. My wife's gonna go crazy. It's bad enuff that this guy lazes around on the sofa watching tele without lifting his butt. Now, he has his notebook there as well.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Perhentian Besar Island - 9 June 2006 to 11 June 2006

"She's Finally Certified"
A trip with my diving group, Ocean Elements, with a number of Open Water students. One in particular is my belove wife. It took her more than 3 months to finish the 'PADI' open water manual and completed her confined dive a week before the trip to Perhentian. Stayed at Samudera Resort, a small chalet operator next to Alu-Alu Divers at Telok Dalam beach of Perhentian Besar.The kids tagged along...kinda an orientation for them to get accustommed to the fact that both Ma and Pa will be diving a lot more together and they've to find some ways to entertain and keep their hand's full.
Arrived at Kuala Besut early before dawn. Worth noting that one can't longer drive to the jetty since they closed the street. Perhaps to alleviate the congestion. Had a quick breakfast at one of the restaurants at the jetty. Quite a big group of people already there, perhaps everybody's taking last minute trips before the school holidays ends.

Samudera Resort was about 2-3 minutes feet trip to the dive shop, East Marine located next to Arwana Perhentian Eco Resort and Beach Chalet. Arwana's is the most fancy and luxurious (in terms of resort facilities and architecture) compared to other lodging facilities at Teluk Dalam.
After seeing off my wife for her inaugural open water dive, I went to Batu Butuk dive site. Didn't dive the entire day Friday. Just lazing off with the kids and chatting at the dive shop. By the way....did I mention that Anuar was there? Apparently he has conveniently located himself at East Marine's Perhentian branch.
Dived Tokong Laut (Image courtesy of the next morning.Mind you..a trip to Perhentian Besar wouldn't be complete if you skip diving at Tokong Laut. It's the best dive site there. You'll never have enough of the place. The viz was marvellous that morning and we were the second boat (I hope I'm right calling it a boat) that arrived at the dive site. Oh..another thing, if you gonna dive there make sure you're the first group in, otherwise the place will be jammed especially if it's during public/school holidays. You'll see more divers than the local residents. It's like a 'night market' if I may coin the local terminolgy. Huh! Buddied with Wanie and Fairul. It must be their luck. Sighted more nurse sharks than any of my previous dives at the place. Blue spotted stingray sort of gliding in its element. The resident puffership and stone fish were expectedly there but shied away in their hiding places. A larger than normal size trigger fish was also there, chewing away the corals and the sound it made was clearly audible.

Visited Sea Bell dive site next after interval at Pulau Rawa. Never been to Pulau Rawa before. The water was so clear that some of us can't resist picking up their gear for a snorkelling session. The beach at Pulau Rawa provides astounding view of the twin island, Pulau Susu Dara Besar and Pulau Susu Dara Kecil. The viz at Sea Bell was so bad that one can get lost, 5 metres max. Sighted a stingray cooly in its natural elements and camouflaged beneath the sand. There were 2 trumpet fishes frolicking around but weren't friendly at all for my camera lens.Sea Bell will always be etched in memory as my wife's first leisure dive and despite the poor viz, I managed to squeeze a shot of her at Sea Bell.

I can't wait for the dive the next morning. The whole evening yesterday, I've psyching Anuar and Onn ('DM') to take us to a wreck dive. Never had an actual wreck dive before. Been to Tioman last year and but the viz was so poor, I'm wrecked. So, as we descent the line to Vietnamese Wreck (Image courtesy of, I didn't what really to expect. The current was rather strong that morning and the viz was about 5-6 metres. As we approached the end of the wreck, I can dinstinctly see the silhoutte of a couple of barracuddas in the distance underneath the wreck. Since, the viz was poor, my sight was focused on macro subjects. Spotted some nudibranches not yet in my collection and there were a lot of them. I geared-up my out-of-box recently acquired Inon macro lens and took a number of shots. The photos in my LCD wasn't good and then, I realized that I haven't got this lens figured out yet.The lens sort of blocked the light from my the camera's built-in flash and the photos were half-dark most of the time. However, it was a remarkable diving experience. Finally, we ascended to a 12 metre and 5 metre safety stop and ended the dive to make time for another dive that afternoon before leaving the island.
The last dive was at Terumbu Tiga a.k.a. Tiger Rock. The dive site I surprisingly found heaps of macro subjects. Nudibranches of different species were present and Onn was very sound in finding them. As we did our safety stop, I sighted below a trigger fish and a bumphead parrotfish swimming around in search of meals. The site was simply awesome. Wished they'd joined me. Somehow it was only me and Onn.

Left Perhentian Besar back to Kuala Besut around 3 p.m. Overall. the trip was great. Before leaving, I managed to check the RM25/night dormitory rooms Arwana provides and already planning for the next trip. Drove back all the way via coastal road and the East Coast Expressway to Kuala Lumpur.

All in all, congratulations to the newly certified divers, namely, Bob, Natasha and Azhar. Welcome to the underwater realms. But most importantly, a heartful CONGRATULATIONS to my wife. Looking forward to my future dives with her as my buddy. It will be a different but surely marvellous experience. It's a wonderful opportunity to share my newly found passion with the person I adore and love most.

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