The Official Car Sticker

The Official Car Sticker

Sunday, May 2, 2010

My PADI Open Water Certification Dive @ Perhentian Island (April 22-26, 2010)

It was some 15 years ago that the idea of taking up scuba diving popped into my mind. Well, I finally did it last weekend. Signed up for the course at Global Scuba (1Utama), attended all the classroom and pool sessions and finally made my trip to Pulau Perhentian to complete my certification for PADI Open Water.
The experience of first time descending into depths of 9 metres underwater (the sea, actually) was memorable. I did most of my certification (4 dives) between the depths of 9-12 metres. Once all that got out of the way, it was time for some leisure dives as certified divers! The next 4 dives took me to maximum depths of 19 metres.
We dived at D.Lagoon, Shark Point, Tukas Darat, Batu Layar, Tanjung Butong and Tanjung K K, all around the Perhentian Island vicinity. It was rather disappointing that we couldn't dive at Tokong Laut as the sea was very choppy with waves up to 1 metre high! I was told that Tokong Laut was the "highlight" of Perhentian diving. Sigh...
Being an absolutely new diver, I saw all sorts of fish, big and small, long an short, fat and thin! But I am not able to recognise them all. I can identify a few namely stingrays, "Nemos", cushion starfish, sea turtles, trumper fish, lizard fish, barracuda look-alike fish and many many more! I think I saw a black tip shark too! Saw a huge 1m diameter stingray on the seabed...magnificent.
But for some funny reason, the visibility that weekend at Perhentian was rather poor, moderate at most. I could only see as far as nothing more than 3 metres! The water was filled with plank tons. Not exactly satisfying, I must say. In fact, rather disappointed as I was kinda expecting something like Sipadan or at least give me 10metre visibility lar! Sigh...
First time diving, obviously I didn't have an underwater camera, so all my pics here are "above water" pics!
The welcome signboard that greets her visitors to Flora Bay Resort

Part of the white sandy beach of Flora Bay. Great for evening strolls with lover!

The dive centre at Flora Bay Resort...a 5-star PADI centre

The makan place...very nice and relaxing to eat under soft sea breeze

They also have these table and chairs by the beach for people to hang out and chat over a beer

Our dive equipment...all geared up, ready to go!

Briefing before jumping into the sea

Me, in my Bare Ignite 3/2mm wetsuit

The privilege of sticking close to my instructor during the leisure dives was being able to have my own underwater portraits taken with his camera!

Resurfaced after the 3-minute "safety stop" at 5 metres. During my first leisure dive after certification, I kinda slowly and automatically ascended all the way to the surface with no "safety stop". Really embarrassing!!!

The first one to get on board. Managed to get the boat man to help me capture myself in full gear!

The eagles have landed!!! Coming back on shore after a dive. Pretty tiring, I must say. I had 8 dives altogether and was almost poofed off on the last day.

Me and my instructor, Soo, who took another group to Tenggol the following weekend!

On some occasion, we brought with us extra tanks for the next dive. The 1-hour "surface interval" was spent relaxing on the boat in the middle of the sea. Nice!!!

That's it...done for the day!

From left : Tai Hau (my dive buddy), Soo (my instructor), me and Tan (an avid underwater photographer). Erm, the kid...belongs to a French couple in our group

On our last day, while we were loading our stuffs onto the boat heading back to the Kuala Besut jetty, it rained cats and dogs! Naturally, I was all wet throughout the entire boat journey.

The final group picture. Not everyone was in...4 left a day earlier and my dive buddy stayed back for snorkel ling!
Overall, it was an awesome experience. Being officially certified is definitely a great thrill. I had problems equalizing during descends. I guess I may have "stressed" my left ear cause its now (and still is) kinda stuck (like as though I am wearing an earplug).
Definitely looking forward to the next dive trip, perhaps and easy. I will, eventually one day, make my dives at the renowned Sipadan, Layang-Layang and the likes.

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