Saturday, September 23, 2006

Waaaa........season's closed

It's official (at least, as far as I'm concerned), diving season's closed. It's almost monsoon season in the east coast and the ones further below will be closed soon (I think). As they year before, plans are being made for dive trips outside the affected areas of the monsoon, the likes of Langkawi, Sipadan, Mataking and Kapalai provides some alternatives albeit rather costly.

We have also considered going further north the peninsular i.e. Thailand for dives (purportedly) with the mantas in Hin Daeng Hin Muang, but the recent bombings in Hatyai and coup (despite being a bloodless and peaceful one) in Thailand, made us ponder our own mortality, huh.Too quote a friend, "I maybe crazy, but, I'm not stupid".

Finally, we settled on Kapalai and are making the necessary plans for the trip, maybe in early December. Until, then, the gear is neatly tucked in the back room and oh..yes, I'd better get the regulator serviced in time for the trip.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Oh..come on!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Steve Irwin 1962 - 2006

Born : Essendon, Victoria Australia.
Died : While doing what he loved at Batt Reef, Queensland, Australia

Monday, September 04, 2006

Tioman Island - 1 September 2006 to 3 September 2006

Finally, made a dive trip to Pulau Tioman. Been planning it for quite some time. Another dive trip with Ocean Elements dive shop. The family tagged along for this trip, after all, we didn't go anywhere during the school hols, so, had to compensate the kids with this trip. The wife also deserves a break after the schools hols and much things happening in her company. It's time to pack them bags and retreat from the hectic life in the city.

Drove to Mersing via Bandar Muazzam route. Shouldn't take long, approximately 4 hours, I think, unless ones makes unscheduled stops like we did. Arrived in Mersing with Kaz and Saliha in the wee hours of Friday. The rest of the group who took the bus, already there enjoying their breakfast.

Arrived at Pulau Tioman, and checked in at Puteri Salang Inn. Puteri Salang Inn is a cluster of chalets located at the north end of Salang and 'sheltered' from the hustle and bustle which is a plenty in Salang. The chalet is air-conditioned, as far as the one I'm staying. The owner is rather helpful and pleasant. You'll get a perfect view of the hills (no beach view here). Wished that the place had a water heater and a dining place, though.Never fancied talking a walk when the stomach's full. I'd rated the place high in terms of privacy and for travelers seeking peace and tranquility like yours truly. The lawn is well maintained and the grass is in immaculate condition. There was a group of monkeys frolicking around in the lawn scavenging for meals.
Our first dive (with Fishermen Dive Centre, DM was A.J., dive sites image courtesy of was a shore dive at the Salang's house reef wreck a.k.a Salang Wreck. Hard to tell the exact location (ha-ha, Saliha and Kaz will not hesitate to agree on this) but it is somewhere between Salang Reef North and Salang Reef South with entry point behind Dive Asia's landing dock. Sighted nudibranches, lionfish, porcupine fish and sea fan (at the back of the wreck).

Next dive was at Salang's House Reef at the North part of Salang which was also a shore dive. The reef has plenty of reef fishes. Highlights were a porcupine fish and a blue spotted ray.

Dining place was
abundant in Salang, although we had most of our meals at Salang Dream Inn which is right in front of Salang jetty. They are reasonably priced and comprise quite a wide range. I noticed however, that the meals during the night tasted better than I'd for lunch. Maybe different chefs, who knows or I'm just plain tired.

The next day's dive sites were Chebeh, Batu Malang and Sala
ng Wreck. My wife joined for the dives at Chebeh and Batu Malang. In Chebeh, Gorgonians are common on the walls here along with barrel sponges and soft corals of every colour.There was plenty of nudibranches sighted (including a congregation). About 15 minutes during the dive in Chebeh, my camera jammed and doesn't shoot anymore. My thoughts discarded battery-associated problem since they are fully charged. At the end of the dive, my heart sank when I saw the housing was slightly flooded. Damn it! Further scrutinizing revealed a strand of hair on the 0-ring.

Batu Malang is a small rock collection blessed with an abundance of hard coral such as Staghorn Coral, Tabletop Coral, Potato Coral, Flower Coral and Bommies and located in front of the white sandy beach of Coral Island. Prior to the dive, Kaz mentioned that the site is famous for its cuttlefish (albeit I didn't see one). Major highlight was a sea-banded sea snake, yellow-tail barracuda and scorpionfish (photos taken by Kaz).

The last 2 dives for the trip at Tiger Reef and Labas Island was a splendour. I had my reservations to bring my camera with the flooding and all. Boy, it was worth the risk coz both dives provided heaps of marine life to shoot (not literally, of course), particularly, moray eels, nudibranches (including the famous nembrotha kubaryana congregation) and batfish (being cleaned). It was simply marvellous.I guess it's Tioman signalling us to come by again. Oh..yes, thanks to Alex for fixing (albeit temporarily) my free flowing octopus.

After reaching the shore near mid-afternoon, we packed our bags and left Tioman. Had meal at the Mersing jetty while some of us part with their monies for some souvenirs. Drove back to Kuala Lumpur and after dropping off Haida at the dive shop, we arrived home near midnight.

Overall, it was a good trip, nice food, great dives and simply awesome company. It's great to get acquainted with Abang Zainal (a.k.a. Mr. Cool and Mr. No Problem) and his family and Encik Fizol & the Gang (a.k.a. the 'Mares' gang). Thanks also to Lynn for looking after my kids while we went diving and tolerating their shenanigans. Looking forward to another dive trip soon. And Saliha, great buddying with ya.

My heartiest congratulations also to Shafiq who 'completed' his open water diver course.

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