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Short Dive Trip to Teluk Dalam, Perhentian Besar [22nd ~ 24th July 2011]

July 31st, 2011 No comments
dsc_2207_web

Teluk Dalam, Perhentian Besar

It’s been 3 years since I last dived at Perhentian Island; fond memory of Sugar Wreck is still vivid but fading. So when there are a couple of friends interested to go for a short dive trip to Perhentian over a weekend, I am in. Eventually we amass 5 persons for the trip.

We booked a dive resort – Bayu Dive Resort – at Teluk Dalam, Perhentian Besar. The online booking system is a bliss to use; I booked 2 rooms which go by fish names in just a few minutes – Moray Eel (RM90/night) is a fan room that can fit 2-3 persons just next to the generator; Pipefish (RM160/night) is one of the many air-conditioned cottages for 2 persons. Paid 25% thru credit cards and the room booking is secured.

Read more…

Some recent Bali diving photos – Tulamben, Amed, Kubu

September 16th, 2010 No comments

Some more diving photos, taken at northeastern Bali area – Tulamben, Amed and Kubu.

A short write up to be followed soon, when I am back from Tioman. 🙂

Luck is not on my side – no Mola Mola and Manta Ray sighting at Nusa Penida dives!

September 12th, 2010 2 comments

I just come back from a diving trip to Bali a couple of weeks ago. I have to admit I have a blast, even if I didn’t see any Mola Mola and Manta Rays at Nusa Penida. Yeah it is right, I see none of them, which is probably harder to achieve at this time of the year (end of August) than seeing one or a few of them. Luck is just not at my side at times. It is a perfect excuse to come Nusa Penida again though!

We dived 2 days at Nusa Penida, followed by 1 day each at Tulamben, Amed and Kubu.

For Nusa Penida dives, we pre-book online with Bali Scuba at Sanur. 3 dives/day cost USD130. The price includes hotel transfer, tank & weight & guide, onbaoard soft drinks & mineral water, and a nice little lunch onboard (steam rice with beef & chicken, egg and sambal). Gear rental is not included – expect USD5/item/day. Our dive master for the 2 dive days are Knut and Henry. Knut is a tall Caucasian and likes to joke around. Henry is an over-sized fatty with over 30 years of diving experience. Both are really nice guys and helpful. Read more below. Read more…

Airasia Cancels Direct Flight to Manado Starting 25 Feb 2010

February 17th, 2010 No comments

Airasia.com low-keyed the cancellations of a few routes recently, with just a memo up on their website – see below the screen-shot.

Airasia – Manado Flight Cancellation

I don’t care about the other routes, but Manado direct flight from Kuala Lumpur will be dearly missed. After all, we have some great divings there last August, and fell in love at first sight – or more appropriately at first dive – with the critter-ladden Lembeh Strait. Bunaken disappoints us due to rather bad visibility, and to be fair, we might have too high of an expectation of Bunaken from the many dive magazines that hailed about it. However, both Lembeh Strait and La Rascasse house reef are great as we discovered many new species (to us). We were able to stay longer underwater too due to shallower and more relaxed divings here.

Of course, the first thing that popped into my mind after reading about the Manado flight cancellation news is none other than to create a Facebook group! But to my utter dismay, someone has managed to leapfrog me to do just that – check it out here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/AirAsia-Bring-back-KUL-Manado-Direct-Flight/320280200189. After my initial disappointment subdued a little, I thought posting some of the Manado & Lembeh underwater photos might be a good alternative for remembrance. It is ashamed that I haven’t really checked out those photos since back from the trip last August, and they are still sitting inside my Lightroom waiting to be processed. 🙂

And here you go:

Sometimes, some things are just too hard to swallow…

September 14th, 2009 3 comments

… like this little seahorse to a slightly bigger frogfish.

Location: Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi
Date/Time: 1st Sept 2009, 15:30

This orange brownish juvenile frogfish, measuring less than 5cm in length, has been eyeballing the pity little seahorse for quite some time. It probably ponders whether to go for something prettier for a quick snack – it is teatime now anyway – or just take the black seahorse for a quick chow since it is easy – the seahorse didn’t intend to move out from the frogfish’s stare at all. My dive buddy Bill and myself swam around these 2 little creatures for a while but nothing happened. They kept staring at each other, like stone statues, not moving a muscle, and only few centimeters apart.

Then, in the blink of an eye, the frogfish opens its huge mouth and had the whole of the seahorse’s head and some of its body swallowed. It is kinda bizarre to witness such a killing, though I’d prefer real horse meat over seahorse’s meat anyday.

For the next 3 minutes or so, the below pose maintained:

Frogfish tries to swallow a seahorse

Frogfish tries to swallow a seahorse

But then, probably feeling remorse to kill a seahorse, or maybe the seahorse is just too hard to swallow, the frogfish releases it out from his mouth, and slowly retreated. The seahorse is alive – for now.

erm.. the frogfish didn't really like the horse meat...

erm.. the frogfish didn't really like the horse meat...

Boracay May’2009 Trip Photos are Up!

May 25th, 2009 5 comments
Sand Castle @ Boracay Long Beach

Sand Castle @ Boracay Long Beach

Finally uploaded some photos from my recent short trip to Boracay, the Philippines:

http://travelgaia.com/gallery/Boracay_May2009/

More trip details to follow. 🙂

General Information & Expenses: My First Sipadan Trip, Aug 2008

February 22nd, 2009 4 comments
Sipadan Island - Tiny but Famed

Sipadan Island - Tiny but Famed

It’s been a while – 6 months to be exact – since I came back from my Sipadan trip, but it is just like yesterday, that I can still remember details of the trip. I had my best dives, not saying a lot as I have just over 50 in total, but the memories of this trip will not go away for a very long time. Because the trip is very special to me.

So, I am obligated to write down some notes about this trip, on one hand to record down my memories, but on the other hand promote our own little Malaysian islands – Sipadan, Mabul and Kapalai – to the rest of the travelers and divers. Not that these famed islands still need any more promotion, though.

Some trip information for my 5D4N Sipadan trip last August (8/82008 ~ 12/8/2008):

Read more…

Great Barracuda!

February 21st, 2009 No comments
Great Barracuda, length of 1.5m or so

Great Barracuda, length of 1.5m or so

Date: 11th August, 2008; ~1pm

Location: one of Kapalai’s dive sites

Equipment: Canon Powershot A620 in Canon WP-DC90 waterproof housing, Inon Z240 single strobe

It was almost 50 minutes into our 2nd dive of the day, at Kapalai (near Sipadan, Sabah, Malaysia). 6 of us together with our dive master ascended to ~7m, getting ready to do the safety stop and call it an end to another great dive. Thus far, the dive is excellent – among other sightings, I saw my first ribbon eels – 2 adults in blue and yellow colors, and one pitch black juvenile. I spent quite some time with one of the adult ribbon eels, trying to get a good shot of it but not really successful. My buddy Bill was not helping at all in that regard, but that is another story.

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Google Earth Goes Underwater in 5.0

February 7th, 2009 2 comments

Google Earth

Google has released the latest version of its Google Earth [5.0 (Beta)] with the new features as below:

  • Historical imagery from around the globe
  • Ocean floor and surface data from marine experts
  • Simplified touring with audio and voice recording

As if looking at the landscape on Earth and stars in the outer space isn’t enough, the new Google Earth added more things for us to see: the Ocean layer. This new feature is the one that interests me the most, for me as a recreational diver and marine life lover. In the Ocean layer, there are contents (video/photos/text) provided by BBC, National Geographic and a few other organizations, as well as ocean sports sites mapping (dive sites, surf sites etc).

Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef (Explore The Ocean)

Great Barrier Reef (BBC Earth)

Great Barrier Reef (BBC Earth)

Read more…

Categories: Divings Tags: ,

Lesser Known Island Retreat – Thailand’s Koh Lipe

January 23rd, 2009 6 comments
Beach Volleyball is the daily routine on Lipes Pattaya Beach at dawn

Beach Volleyball is the daily routine on Lipe's Pattaya Beach at dawn

I first heard about Koh Lipe, or Lipe Island, in southern Thailand in Andaman Sea, was during Dive Expo in PWTC, Kuala Lumpur. Got some brochures about Lipe from one of the booths, read it up but didn’t really have any plan to go visit. And then I heard about it from a diver friend who herself hasn’t been there. And then I read an article introducing Koh Lipe in one of the dive magazines. Checked out some Lipe websites and I am sold, and managed to get Bill and JS onboard with me.

We went there 20 Dec 2007 (yea I know, it was over a year ago, but so what?) – it was super peak season during year end so if you happen to plan going Oct/Nov/Dec you better book the resort first. We’ve seen backpackers walking to and fro at the main Lipe beach (called Pattaya Beach) trying to get a place to stay but to no avail.

Getting There

The most convenient way for Malaysians (or from Malaysia) to get to Lipe is thru Langkawi Island. We used boat transfer from Langkawi direct to Lipe which costs RM228/person for a roundtrip, using Telaga Harbour’s service. There are other boats departing from other harbours at Kuah so you need to ask around (heard that those would be cheaper). Telaga Harbour’s catamaran takes about 10-12 persons and the trip takes just over 1 hour. Telaga Harbour is just beside the Petronas at the northern side of Langkawi island, and not that far from the Langkawi airport. There is a simple custom facility up at the 1st floor of the Telaga Harbour building for cleerance purpose, and on Thailand side, a little hut situated at the Lipe main beach served as the custom checkpoint. Do call and confirm the boat schedule in Telaga Harbour.

There are other ways of getting into Koh Lipe if you are from Thailand side. Check out the Useful Links at the bottom of this page.

Read more…

Save The Sharks Campaign by Scuba Diver Australasia

January 18th, 2009 2 comments
No Shark Fin Soup!

No Shark Fin Soup!

Scuba Diver Australasia is running a “Save The Sharks” Campaign, where A5 size postcards are given out FREE to be displayed on wedding dinner tables, to increase the awareness of not eating shark fin soup (like the saying goes, “when the demand stops, the killing will”). Of course, postal charges need to be paid up before they will send over the cards. If you are interested, let me know so that I can give you the their email address for your further inquiry.

This postcard – with its tagline “After saying ‘I Do’, join us in saying ‘I Don’t (eat shark fin soup)‘” – is targeted to Chinese restaurant wedding dinners, where shark fin soup is more often than not served as one of the dishes. This traditionally is to show that the dinner is a lavish one since shark fin is expensive. Human’s appetites (mostly Chinese’s) in shark fin soup is causing 100 millions of sharks being killed annually.

Get real people! Stop eating shark fin soups so that the brutal killing/finning of millions of sharks can be stopped. We have to act before it is too late that the extinction is inevitable. Scuba Diver AA is doing a good job in increasing the awareness of public. With your help, it will not be too little, too late.

And by the way, check out Scuba DIver Australasia’s website at http://scubadiveraa.com/ – I love their magazine, and the website is giving out free trial for their e-magazine!

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Blowing Bubbles in Tioman Island [14~16th June 2007]

June 19th, 2007 1 comment

Tioman Beach near ABCHiu and myself made a trip down to Tioman Island off Pahang coast on Thursday morning. It was a rush planning – we decided to get away for a couple of days and go diving. Tioman is the obvious choice since I’ve just got back from Redang on late May. Tioman will be different than the Redang/Perhentian Island area, we reckoned. Read more…

Categories: Divings, Travel - Local Spots Tags:

3 More Dives @ Redang Island [25~27th May 2007]

May 31st, 2007 No comments

Pasir Panjang, Redang IslandIt was May, and it is almost a crime to not visit the one of islands of East Coast Malaysia. This is the best time of the year to enjoy the sunny beach and calm South China Sea.

We’ve been talking about this trip since Feb and I really can’t wait anymore. Arriving the island on 25th May (Friday), I was put off by the throng of tourists (and almost all are Malaysian Chinese, go figure) on the Pasir Panjang but hey, I couldn’t care less as long as I can get my diving doses. Read more…

Categories: Divings, Travel - Local Spots Tags:

Muck Diving @ Redang Island!!! [26th May 2007]

May 31st, 2007 3 comments

Sandy Bottom, Let's Go!It was after our first dive at Mak Cantik that the dive master Jan Shir was asking, “Do you guys wanna see something different?” and let us think about it during the surface interval. The ‘different’ site is called just ‘Sandy Bottom’ (and I heard the divemaster calling it ‘Twilight Zone’ but I might be wrong) and there will be no corals and no big fishes, but he guarantees we will be seeing something different. Even though Redang is not known for great muck diving site, Bill and me are all game and we want to see something different than the coral reefs. Read more…

Categories: Divings, Travel - Local Spots Tags:

Redang Trip (25~27th May 2007) Expenses & Useful Trip Information

May 30th, 2007 1 comment

Expenses

Transnational Bus: RM60/pax for 2-way KL->KT, 33-seater, comfortable reclining seats. Do wear long shirts/pants or a jacket as the night journey can be very cold as the aircon is quite strong. It is recommended to buy bus tickets (2ways) few weeks ahead at Putra Bus Station.

KL->KT: We bought the night bus on Thursday night 11pm and bus arrived at KT on 5:30am. 1 stop at Chenor.

KT->KL: Sunday 2pm starts but the bus was damn slow and arriving at Putra Station, KL at 10pm. 2 stops, one at Chenor and another at Termerloh R&R.

Redang Holiday 2D1N Package: RM180/pax (including 2-way boat transfer from Merang<->Redang Island). 2 Stars.

Redang Pelangi 2D1N Package: RM120/pax. 2 Stars.

Taxi from KT -> Merang: RM40/car (i.e. RM10/pax)

Bus ride from Merang -> KT: RM10/pax (see item#1 below)

Diving package @ Redang Pelangi: RM200 for 3 dives. Normal pricing is RM50/dive w/o equipment rental. Equipment rental is RM25/dive, and flat rate RM50 for 2 or more dives. Nice people here (our dive master is Jan Shir).

Total Cost for the trip: ~RM600, which I think is pretty reasonable considering this is the super peak season (starting of school holiday and at weekend). A few other friends booked Laguna Redang Resort and that set them back almost the same amount like us, but they were snorkelling package (3 snorkelling trips) while ours included 3 dives and we sneaked in a snorkelling trip as well. Of course, Laguna is more luxurious.

General Information

1: if you don’t have pre-arrangement (well, just like us :p), just go
to the end of the Merang Jeti area where you can spot many tour buses
stopping on roadside waiting for pre-booking clients. The drivers
mostly will be having tea and ‘lepak’ at the gerai there. Approach any
of them for a bus ride back to KT, it should set you back for RM10/person.

2. Most of the Redang resorts offer 3D2N package, which includes all the 3 meals plus a tea break, 2-3 snorkelling trips and 2-way boat transfers (Merang <-> Redang). Snorkelling gear rental normally is not included in the package price and it ranges from RM20-30 per set. Fin is not recommended to be used especially for shore snorkellings to avoid damage to the coral reef. There is no discount to the package price even if you opt to not go for the snorkelling trips (well you will save the equipment rental cost, of course). Most tourists have booked tour package before coming to Redang. 4 of us probably were the only ones that didn’t have any packages and do walk-in.