With a busy weekend ahead we all boarded the MV Seaborne Friday night, from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal Singapore, around 6.50pm and headed straight to Bahara Rock, south of Tioman, Malaysia.
This weekend I was conducting PADI Junior Open Water Diver with Erling and Rex. Their fathers, Ben and Craig were doing PADI Advanced Open Water along with Nicholas, Kelly and Robert. Glenn was their instructor. “The Gang” members – Phil and Georgie were diving together. My latest PADI Dive Master Trainees (DMTs), Francios and Elodie were guiding Viji, Jemma, Jill and Kevin. This was their second weekend of guiding, their first was at the World Famous Hantu, a local island off Singapore.
Friday night was peaceful and calm, we had a chat, dinner and a few drinks and went to bed before midnight, which is rare. Everyone slept well in the calm seas and we arrived at Bahara Rock, our first dive site around 6.30am. With the engines off, I went back to sleep for a brief time before the boys turned the light on at 6.45am – not happy.
The viz at Bahara was not as good as expected, but we did see a huge hump head, big groupers, lots of puffer fish and one blue spotted ribbon tail. Nudi’s and fusiliers everywhere.
Rex and Erling did really well for the first dive.
We stayed around 10 metres for 45 minutes and both boys finished with 100 bar and completed the skills without a problem.
I came across Glenn and his group of 5 PADI Advanced Students and they looked pretty good in the water. Good trim, good finning and most importantly, they were smiling.
Elodie got a little disorientated at Bahara and dived away from the main rock, but they still saw a lot of cool stuff in and around all the coral.
Francios’ group were all smiling and discussing what they saw when I got back on the boat too.
We dived the RM Sipadan next. Rex and Erling sat this dive out because it was a deep dive to 30 metres. I promised Phil and Georgie to take them to one of the other wrecks just in front of the Sipadan. There are 3 wrecks in total in this area.
We went down the line attached to the Sipadan and I was expecting bad viz due to other divers that had just left, but to my surprise the viz was excellent at 10-15 metres. It was difficult to judge because the wreck was completely covered in a layer small fish, barracuda, trevally, mackerel, rainbow runners and fusiliers. Soo many you could not see past the fish.
I headed forward expecting to have to tie a line to the Sipadan and swim forward to find the other wreck, but when we reached the bow we could see the stern of the other wreck. Nice. We swam over to the other wreck and the viz was even better. This wreck was also covered in fish, I was pushing the fish away at one point to see parts of the wreck. Damn annoying fish.
Both wrecks bottom out at 30 metres, so we only had a small window of time to look around. In total we spent 25 minutes on the wrecks. I took Phil and Georgie through the very easy penetration from bow to stern on the Sipadan. Note to self – change torch batteries. There were just as many fish inside the wreck and my dim torch was not helping much, I swam forward to the next doorway and then the next and ascended right into a massive ball of fish.
There must have been a million or more juvenile fish on both wrecks, I would have loved to dive it again, but I needed to complete the PADI Junior Open Water Course with Rex and Erling, so we headed to Chebeh for a shallow reef dive.
Chebeh and our next dive at Labas, were a ok. Not great, some good sitings. The main problem was that viz had dropped to 5-8 metres again, just like in July. This did not stop the damn trigger fish from chasing me and my students. I took my students through some of the big swim throughs at Labas and I could see their smiles ear to ear.
On our way to Rengis for the dusk and night dive, we enjoyed watching a pod of about 6-8 dolphins riding the bow wave. There was one baby with its mum. So cute! Once the dolphins left I spotted something in the distance, but it was not jumping like a dolphin. A whale or whale shark maybe? Anyway we could not get close enough to see what is was but it was defiantly big. I spent a good 15 minutes looking and waiting for it to resurface, but no luck.
We arrived at Rengis and watched as turtle after turtle surfaced for air. Some divers decided to get in the water for a dusk dive, whilst Glenn was briefing his students for their first night dive.
The dusk divers saw a black tip reef shark and a turtle. We made them wait 10 minutes on the surface before we collected them on the other side of Rengis. They were glad to see us and board the boat. I told them we were late because I was washing my hair. Glenn’s group took a little longer then I expected to get in the water, so the dusk divers had to wait a while to be picked up. They were safe and sound right next to the island. There was no current at all.
Phil and Georgie surfaced 5 minutes after we got the other group out of the water. I told them that the other guys saw a blacktip. Phil decided to go back down and look for the shark. He found the night divers but no shark.
We sat back and enjoyed another amazing MV Seaborne BBQ. Once again we could not finish eating everything. Kevin, a kiwi, was spinning a few yarns and we all enjoyed his accent and mad humor. He was not to impressed when he ran out of his own beer. I told him my beer price doubles to 8 dollars on Saturday night and to 16 if you have no more of your own. Much laughter followed.
Up anchor and we headed to Pulau Aur straight after the BBQ. I woke up around 6am and looked out the window and noticed we where between Dayang and Aur and it was nice and calm. I made a coffee and started waking people around 7am as the MV Seaborne headed to Pinnacle Two.
Pinnacle Two was incredible with 30-40 metre viz and thousands of fish.
It was so good everyone wanted to dive it again.
So we filled tanks had a 90 minute surface interval and jumped back in.
Pinnacle Two is a mid size site of boulders and is covered in soft and hard coral. Purple, red, yellow and orange soft coral everywhere. The hard coral was covered in damsel fish of every kind.
Bat fish and trevally were circling around and all types of fish were queuing up to be cleaned by the cleaner wrasse. There were also lots of blue dragons (nudis), some small crabs and pink anemonefish.
Congratulations to all the students for completing their courses. Rex and Erling completed their PADI Junior Open Water.
Robert, Craig, Kelly, Nicolas and Ben completed their PADI Advanced Open Water.
My two DMTs did well, not loosing anyone in the limited viz at Tioman.
Glenda’s tip – Dusk diving is a good alternative to night diving, especially if you are a bit bored with night diving. The dusk divers this weekend saw a shark and a turtle. The night divers did not.
Cheers – Gary Savins
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