02 May 2007

Advanced Open Water Diver Course - April 2007

Yeah! Just completed our SSI Advanced Open Water Diver Course at Pulau Tioman, Malaysia over the weekend. After the Redang Dive Trip earlier in April, hubby and I decided to take up Advanced Diver Course so that we can experience night diving and build up our confidence for more challenging dive destinations like Sipadan later this year.

Arranged the course with Fishermen Scuba once again since we took our Open Water Diver Course with them last year. A theory lesson was conducted prior to the open sea training to get ourselves familiarize with the expectations of the course. Basically, we would cover 4 Speciality Courses - Deep Diving, Navigation, Night & Limited Visibility Diving and Search & Recovery, to get certified as an Advanced Diver.

This time, we decided to self drive and meet the group (leisure divers and advanced students) at Mersing Jetty in the morning instead of staying one night at Timotel. At around 7.30am, we boarded the Fishermen Dive Explorer and set off towards Tioman.
Our 1st dive was at Bahara Rock, a mid-point navigation guide between Mersing and Tioman. This was essentially a check out dive to warm up and get ourselves familiarize with our dive equipment. Had problem descending initially as my wetsuit was dry and very buoyant. Made a mental note to fully wet my wetsuit in future to avoid such a problem. Sighted soft and hard corals, blue-spotted stingray, lizard fish, lots of anemone and anemonefishes, nudibranchs... didn't manage any good photos as I wasn't comfortable with the dive (was tired from the journey) and also trying to adjust to the equipment.

After the dive, we went to Kampung Genting for lunch. Then set off to Pulau Renggis for our 2nd dive. For this dive, we focused on recording our air consumption at various depths in order to calculate our SCR (Surface Consumption Rate). After which, we went for a quick spin around the reefs. Spotted a huge grouper, parrotfish and Titan Triggerfish, lots of nice soft and hard corals.

Headed to Kampung Salang and checked into our chalet. Rested a bit before commencing our 3rd dive which was a navigation training at sandy bottom of Salang House Reef. Learnt how to make use of compass to do Reciprocal, Square and Triangle navigation through buddy system. Spotted a cute baby stingray but too bad didn't bring along our camera.

Our 4th dive was the much anticipated Night Dive. Training was at Salang jetty and house reef. Upon descent, we did basic drills such as switching off and on the torches. It wasn't all that dark and scary perhaps because street lamps at the jetty area were pretty bright. After the drills, we explored the reefs; quite an adventurous feeling since the surrounding was illuminated by a focused beam from our only source of light. Spotted a lone large barracuda staring menancing at us. I guessed it was pretty disturbed as all of us were like shining our torches at it. There were many nocturnal creatures around, and I wondered whether they were disturbed by our presence?

We were pretty much knocked out after the dive and hit the bed almost immediately after dinner.

Woke up refreshed and ready for our Deep Dive training at Chebeh. Sea was pretty choppy and felt a little queasy but was okay after descent. This was my 2nd time to Chebeh and it was still as beautiful. Many lovely sea fans, corals, schools of fusiliers; spotted a big school of barracudas and went chasing after them. Descended to 100 feet as part of deep dive training and once again recorded our air consumption so that we could make a comparison between SCR for shallow dives and deep dives.

Our 6th and last dive was at Pulau Soyak and it turned out to be my favourite for this trip. Lovely dive site, good visibility, galore of nudibranchs some of which are species we have never seen before, soft and hard corals, giant clams, anemone and anemonefishes, schools of reef fishes. Almost towards the end of the dive, a very friendly Hawksbill Turtle swam by and played with us.

Ended our course on a high note. Great trip, made many new friends who share the same passion for diving and realise that the world is really small :)

Till the next dive trip!


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