I took some time off over last weekend to head out for a spot of diving. Nothing fancy, just a live-on-board (LOB) trip to various shipwreck sites off Tioman.
I dived with a group called Stride In this time around. We took a coach from Lavender up to Malaysia in the evening, stopping over at Kota Tinggi for a quick dinner before reaching Tanjung Gemok Marina at around midnight. We got ourselves on board and stayed in port for the night.
The boat is called the Black Pearl (no relation to Captain Jack) and it’s quite a small dive boat. You can read about my first LOB experience on the Beach Boy, and I was secretly hoping this boat would be bigger, but alas, it was just as smaller. Or perhaps smaller even! Well it was cheaper, so you shouldn’t be expecting luxury for reasonable budget prices!
The boat can hold about 20 people (not inc crew) but the rooms are pretty teeny. We had 3 in a room this time, and both were people I knew so that helped a bit in terms of navigating the space. I took the upper bunk, which was a little precarious because there’s no ladder up (I tried to clamber up without stepping on the bottom bunks, failed miserably and landed with a whump on my arm!) or barrier, so when the boat got rocky at night I was a little concerned about falling onto my friends below!
My biggest issue would be that the dive deck seemed particularly cramped – if you scroll to the picture of my dive gear above, you can see that there was no way 2 people could suit up side by side. And perhaps I’m a bit spoiled by the Malapascua diving experience where I had a whole space to myself and even a personal basket to put my gear in, but man this was rather tight.
I did like the upper deck where we chilled out and had our meals – spent most of my time sleeping up there between dives. Also the food cooked by the crew was quite good and much looked forward to after every dive!
The thing about wreck diving is that most of these sites are located out in the middle of nowhere. Very often it was just sea all around with no sight of land whatsoever – only at Gyoshimaru Wreck did we have some land sighting, and even then it was a tiny island with a signal tower and a rocky outcrop, which was apparently what sunk the ship in the first place. Visibility of wreck sites also tends to be murkier, though our DMs were saying we were quite lucky – our visibility apparently was much better than normal…
My group was just 3 of us and our DM (hi Michel!) and all of us had cameras so we were usually the first ones in and felt like we had free run of the waters before the rest descended, which was nice =)
Some of the more interesting critters we saw:
Look out for my dive logs coming soon! In the meantime, read about my other diving adventures here.