Thursday, September 15, 2005

Life is Always Bluer on the Other Side

As I contemplated if I have anything to say today, the realisation that I have never shared about one of my deep passions, sank in. Scuba diving. I reckon if I was still single, and had no family commitments, I'd be in a self imposed exile on an island somewhere, with crystal clear waters, and ....lots of fish, either running a dive shop, or, trying to write for a diving magazine, or holidaying, or, being a part time dive master.

We (group of friends and me) took up diving in 1993. It was fairly uncommon those days, not like now, where every tom, dick and harry, or mary, jane and sally does it, more because it's an in thing, rather than because they love to do it. In any case, diving these days is much easier, facilities are much better, services have improved leaps and bounds, and it doesn't take 5 hours on a fishing boat to get from Kuala Terengganu to Pulau Redang.

On our first trip to the blue, (Redang) for our certification dives, the propellor shaft of the fishing boat snapped, like disposable chopsticks in a japanese restaurant. So we were left floating in the open sea for a good hour or so. But the waters were so blue. Being young, and adventurous, we just jumped into the inviting waters, and snorkelled, (not that was anything to see, it was the open South China Sea here), but wow, up till then, I had never seen such water clarity in the sea before.

Most of our fish descriptions were, small, big, and huge. Didn't know their names. Those were good times. Tequila parties, passing out on the beach, lugging our tanks and gear for miles when the tides were low (no jetty mah).

The next trip, at the end of 93, was to a west coast Thai island called Koh Le Pe. Actually, certain parts of Malaysia are quite scenic, and you would never think there were quaint border outposts in places like Wang Kelian, tucked away behind some mountain range somewhere in either Perlis or Kedah. Well, if Redang was heaven, then this was hell. 8 hour car ride, into the Thai seaside town of Satun. Another 5 hour boat ride, to Koh Le Pe. But WORST of all, the diving!!!! Aiyo, it was like diving in Tom Yam soup. Bad visibility, nothing to see, and basically, a big waste of time.

Alright, if I were to go on, (we're only at 1993 now), it'll go on forever. As it is, this blog is so unfocused, one minute about gym, another about baking, etc...no wonder I have no readers. To cut a long story short, here are some pics from my latest dive this May, in Pulau Sipadan and Pulau Mabul.

Actually, there's more, but I can't seem to upload them today.

Here's a brief summary of where I've been, and my rating of the place in general. Rating only covers diving quality, not material comforts, etc.

P. Redang (up to 1997) - 8/10
P. Redang (after 1997) - 6/10
Koh Le Pe (1993) - 1/10
P. Layang Layang (1994) - 10/10
Tulamben Bali (1994) - 5/10
Pulau Aur, off Mersing - 6/10
Sipadan (1995) - 10/10
Maldives (1995) - 7/10
Roach Reef, Sabah - 3/10
Cebu, Philippines (1996) - 7/10
Manado, Indonesia (1996?) - 8/10
Pulau Mabul (1997 or so) - 8/10

(After 2000)
Pulau Tenggol - 7/10
Pulau Payar - 5/10
Pulau Tioman - 3/10
Pulau Sipadan - well, somewhere between 8 & 9/10
Pulau Layang Layang - 8/10
Pulau Mabul - 8/10
Kapalai - 6/10

It is impossible, in my humble opinion, to be a diver, and be an atheist.

2 comments:

The Squatter said...

sir, u are on the brink of a midlife crisis... dusting off old memories... :)

fatboybakes said...

brink??? BRINK? not brink. swimming in it.