I had to join the MV Giamani from Punggol Marina Friday afternoon to help out with the immigration and sailing permit process. Punggol Marina is one of the lesser known marinas in Singapore, yet boasts it own wake boarding and pond fishing facilities. Simon, the Boat Manager was away diving the HMS Hermes in Sri Lanka. Lucky bugger!
It was a rushed morning with a pool session with Glenda Chong from Channel New Asia. Glenda was taking the TDI Intro to Tech Course using twin tanks. She was unable to commit to any other time for the pool session due to her busy work schedule and the twin tanks weighed as much as her. She has such inner core strength!
After the pool session I headed to the boat and we made way to Batam, Indonesia, to collect the divers who where taking the 6.30pm fast ferry from Singapore to Batam.
We arrived around 3pm, completed clearance and then I had a “nana nap” whilst waiting for everyone to arrive. They soon did and we headed off to Mapur for the weekend.
This weekend we had a bunch of courses to do. Sarah was completing her PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course. Hongbo was completing his PADI Rescue Diver. Dan and Stephanie were completing their SDI Open Water Diver Courses with me and their personally appointed Dive Master (and close friend) Kelvin. GS-Diving Instructor Phil was busy with Sarah and Hongbo. I was busy with Dan, Stephanie and Glenda. I also did the PADI Search and Recovery Adventure Dive with Sarah. It was a busy yet enjoyable weekend for both Phil and I.
Dave and Edward were diving with their shiny new JJ CCR’s. A CCR is a Closed Circuit Rebreather that essentially allows them to dive without bubbles. A photographers dream. GS-Diving Dive Master, Georgie was guiding the rest of the divers – Robert, Rex, Adam and Simon.
On Saturday morning Glenda was complaining about Kelvin’s snoring and she looked tired from lack of sleep. So Kelvin decided on Saturday night to sleep in the saloon. Unfortunately that was where myself and Pah (female “Boat Boss”) were sleeping. The noise emitting from Kelvin was enough to drive me to sleep on the roof of the boat and poor Pah had no-where else to sleep and was awake all night listening to Kelvin. We all decided on Sunday morning to book Kelvin into a Sleep Apnea consultation session at a major hospital. He put my old DHL boss Eddie, to shame.
We completed five dives on Saturday and one long dive on Sunday morning before heading back to Punggol Marina. We dived Redang, Sentut and Buddha Rock.
Unfortunately the current pushed us off the site on the first dive and we were unable to see the bump heads. Not to worry, we still had a great weekend of diving.
Everyone was amazed at the amount of coral and the size of some of the coral. It is just amazing. Turtles and cuttlefish were the highlights at all sites. The viz was not bad at around 8-10 metres, but not as good as the previous weekend.
My SDI Open Water Diver students Dan and Stephanie did well and enjoyed themselves looking at all the fish life.
But they (and Kelvin) decided to sit out the third dive and do the fourth instead.
The third dive at Sentut was definitely the best, with thousands of fish of just about every variety.
I conducted Sarah’s PADI Search and Recovery Adventure Dive during this dive.
I cabled tied two weights together and hid them after we had practiced a couple of search patterns.
After I hid the weights, Sarah started searching using the expanding circle, so I just held the line and waited. She found them after 10 minutes. She then secured them to my SMB (Surface Marker Buoy) and sent them to the surface. All good.
Instructor Phil put Hongbo “through the ringer” (Australian slang for “through his paces”) with rescue after rescue, once we had anchored for the night at Buddha Rock. Thanks to Rex for being a good sport and pretending to be a stranded, abandoned, panicked diver.
The night dive was good with sightings of crabs, prawns, loads of fish and a moray eel.
We kinda got a little lost (well actually I kinda got a little lost) as I was following a bright light.
This weekend saw the “Super Moon” shine in the skies of Mapur, and it is where the moon is at its largest for the whole year.
It was at its closest point in its orbit to Earth and was 14% bigger and 30% brighter than all the other full Moons of 2013.
Well it certainly fooled me. We were at 6-8 metres most of the dive, so I surfaced to see where the boat was. It was along way away and we had a 10 minute swim back. I had been following a rapidly rising moon. Doh!
Sunday morning we dived north Bintan. The viz was not as good as last weekend, but still a great dive again, the best of the weekend. We saw loads of coral and clown fish. I pointed out two tiny blue dragons to Sarah and Glenda, who have never seen these types of Nudi’s before. We found a big coral structure and spent most of the dive around it. The current was a bit strong at first and pushed us around in a big circle at first and it took me a while to find the big coral structure. But I found it after about 30 minutes and we completed the dive at the 60 minute mark.
Congrats to all the students – Glenda, Sarah, Dan and Stephanie for completing their courses.
Glenda’s Tip – Consider Yoga for both improving air consumption and improving core strength.
Cheers, mesmerised by the moon, Gary
Thanks to Gary Savins for the use of your photos.