Sunday, July 11, 2010


(I'm probably more than a month late for this one...)

A few weeks ago, I decided to surprise R (who has been diving for a long time) by doing my PADI Open Water when he was away in Europe. The surprise didn't last long but I was still going to do it!

Before going away for the WE, a few things needed to be done. First passing the theory test: Done (98% reading the book 2 days before…) Second, spend 2 evenings in the Outram School swimming pool trying to master all the equipment: Done (ok, I did swallow quite a bit of water and my skin didn't enjoy spending 4h in the water but that's done)

I met a few nice people and 2 of them will keep me company in the WE trip.
So Thursday evening we are leaving Singapore and going to Pulau Tioman, an island on the east coast of Malaysia, making good use of the bank holiday weekend! Looking at the traffic on the road, I am not the only one who had this wonderful idea… After a few hours drive we do manage to leave Singapore island, pass both Singapore and Malaysia immigration and drive to Mersing where we will be spending the night before taking the ferry on Friday morning. Very clean and simple hotel, I'm happy to reach the bed around midnight on Thursday.

We are up at 5.30 for a quick breakfast and transfer to the ferry terminal. Nice surprise when we get there, we are getting a speedboat instead of the slow ferry; 2h30 shrank to 1h!

Very soon we are in tioman, we get our room keys, drop our bags and are ready to go diving (after making a complain about the rat poo on my bed...)

Anyway, we get on a tiny boat which takes us to the diving boat. And straight away jack our instructor tells us to gear up, we are going for our first dive!!!! Scary moment, it is happening way too quickly!

Doing "the giant step" we have learnt to do in the swimming pool, we get in the water. Target 12m down. This time, there is a rope to go down. Equalising ear pressure is a difficult exercise but after a while we are all down redoing all the exercise we have done in the pool including the horrible taking your mask off!
Getting to 70 bar in the tank, something weird starts happening: nicely and slowly I'm getting all the way back to the surface!!!! The panic gone, the instructor, who was nice enough to come to the surface with me, explains that I keep too much air in my lungs and I have become buoyant!
Anyway, I survived this first dive and really enjoyed the lunch after that!
Soon it's time to go again and we do 2 more dives in the afternoon; I was really scared to be in pain again with my ears but no, everything went fine! The advanced divers even go for a night dive but we (with my new friends S and J) enjoy a tom yam soup instead!

I have to keep a lot of control over myself not to scream at the guy when I find out that the rat poo is still on the bed. So J our wonderful instructor has to take matters in his own hands to get it sorted. I'm later informed that it wasn't rat poo but lizard’s poo, I'm really relieved.........
After a good night of sleep (in bed by 10pm, we were exhausted), it's an early wake up again for some more diving!
It is probably time to start mentioning everything I have seen: 2 turtles, 1 big shark (1.5m long!!!!!), lots of nemo, some sea cucumbers and lots of other colourful things I have forgotten the name of!
Unfortunately, I missed the last dive of the day as my ears decided to be annoying again and didn't allow me to go down. I was gutted as they seem to have so much fun on this one, they did go through arches and so a lot of corals, some even saw the corals from a bit too close!
In the evening, we abandon the rest of the group and go for an enormous dinner of BBQ fish and seafood. Absolutely amazing, especially with crepe and milkshake as a dessert! :-)
And then, it's Sunday, just 2 dives left and a bit of fun with some very hungry fish while snorkelling

and it's time to head back to Sg but not without testing the famous tioman burger (the one which makes your cholesterol go up just by looking at it!)
Despite the bank holiday WE and the busy immigration, we are back in Sg on time and I'm very happy to be congratulated by R (who is just back from Europe) on my new degree: PADI Open Water done!

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