Sunday, October 07, 2012

Redang scuba diving

Malaysia Day Redang scuba diving
15 - 16/9/12

I've been wanting to scuba dive for quite some time but was put off until recently when PEERS organized a Malaysia Day dive at Redang in collaboration with Seamonkey Dive Centre and Majlis Daerah Sepang (don't ask me why Sepang) to be registered in the Malaysia Book of Records as the biggest underwater Malaysia flag bearing. Well actually MDS was the main organizer, while PEERS just chipped in.

To participate, I'd need to be certified as an Open Water diver, and there was limited time so all had to be done in express. Theory classes were completed in 2 consecutive day, 4 hours each after office. I was starving by the end of class.  Next I completed 3 pool sessions on the only remaining weekend (Saturday) before the event and had to continue the remaining 2 sessions plus the theory exam on Tuesday after work travelling to Taman Jaya as I wasn't free that Sunday. Whoa that was really tiring, but it had to be done, else I would put getting certificied on hold again.

So on Friday night 14 Sept the group comprising of 17 of us departed from office via a chartered bus to Merang. We arrived quite early at about 5.30am at Merang jetty. We had breakfast and chilled a bit while waiting for the boat to Redang at 9am. A bit of drama ensued when the boat we were in stalled just 10 mins after departing. So we had to wait for another boat to pass by. Half of the group boarded the first boat to pass by, the remaining half waited for the next boat. However, all of our luggages were loaded onto the first boat.

First boat (which I was in)  then stopped at the marine park after about an hour ride which was not our stop (ours was the Amangappa Resort) but 2 of our group members disembarked here without realizing. Luckily I asked the boatmaster and was told it was not our stop. Since our group members didn't know each other yet, I only saw 1 member of our group (a mat salleh - that's why I recognize him) got off here. Another member (local guy - I completely missed him) was totally oblivious and had already made his way to the marine park. Another confusion here was that we were not sure to whom the luggages belonged to as not all the group members were on this boat.

We finally reached our destination at the Mutiara Redang / Amangappa Resort jetty at almost 11am. The drama was not over yet. Our group was supposed to stay at Amangappa, but due to some misunderstanding of the resort, the girls were told to stay at Mutiara Redang instead for 1 night and could shift to Amangappa the second night. It would have been better if the guys were put up at the other resort instead of the girls as a safety measure. But nonetheless, the girls made their points known and the organizers acknowledged their mistake and refunded us for the first night as Mutiara Redang has a cheaper rate. So all was well...

Oh yes, the guy who alighted at the marine park was sent to Amangapa jetty by sampan. Poor him :-p

Our first dive for the trip was at 2.30pm after lunch. The open water students (3 of us) still had to complete 4 open sea sessions before we could make our leisure dives. For the 4 open sea dives, we had to follow our instructor - Arnold and repeat the skills that we learned in the pool. 2 dives were completed on the first day, and another 2 on the second day.

It was quite an experience doing the sea dive for the first time - nervous and excited at the same time. Swallowed some sea water (bleurgh) on my first attempt. By the end of the 4th session, we were certified open water divers hurray! I still had to practise on my bouyancy as I kept floating up to the surface unintentionally. But at least this was better than sinking unintentionally! Also I need to always de-fog my goggles before jumping in the water as it tended to get foggy easily. Foggy view is not enjoyable! Ah another thing during the pre-certification dives, I was maybe too focused on the equipments on me that I missed the huge stingray! How could anybody miss this!  I guess I was a bit too stiff and needed to relax more lol! Luckily I didn't miss the clown fish (nemo) and saw some rainbow and blue coloured fishes. My dive buddy Dan mentioned seeing puffer (box like) fishes, but somehow I failed to recognize which one lol! I guess I need to bring the fish ID card with me - Arnold had one but he didn't bring it down at the time.

Here's a summary of our 5 diving spots at Redang:
1. Redang Kalong house reef (9.4m)
2. Stingray reef (12m)
3. Seamonkey House Reef (6.6m) - here was the flag bearing spot
4. Terumbu (coral) Che Isa (18m)
5. Terumbu Kili (17.6 m) - this was my 1st leisure dive after being certified hurray! We did a Project Aware Clean Up dive here. Me and buddy Dan collected only 1 bottle. The spot was clean actually. So it was more a leisure than clean up dive ;)

Overall I really enjoyed my first Scuba diving trip and made new friends / diving kakis for future excursions, including a sporting GM (En Zul) and an avid underwater photographer with high tech gadgetry (Amar). Respect! And the 3 ladies (Adibah, Hazel & Dan) Of course there are skills that I still need to improve. Where to next trip? ;)

Enjoy the pix, courtesy of pro diver/photographer Amar

malaysia flag bearing with PEERS

more ikan
Mr Stingray (Cue: Are U Jimmy Ray? haha)



Blogger IZWAN SHAHMIN said...

Wow! Such a wonderful experience!
Redang + Diving! Marvelous!

Bring back memories our gang trip to Krabi.

Glad that PEERS still kicking!

1:46 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

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2:16 PM  

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