Dec 18, 2009

Unplugging myself from the real world....

Hear nothing but the sounds of bubbles
I remember my first underwater breath quite vivid. It was on a calm evening where the water was so clear. After taking trial diving course-Discovery Scuba Diving (DSD), I went to Pulau Perhentian for the Panasonic Marine Conservation program back in 2008.

An anual program that already started since 2005 where they planted an artificial reefs (AR) in the marine park.
I met some very nice people from Panasonic and event member. (in fact, they are those who brought me 'underwater').

tagged in 2006, the growth is now (2009) doubles

My first diving experience wasn't a nice moment to remember because I had a serious problem in equalizing. The dive when well except for the evil pain in my right ear, with cracking noise that sound like I am bursting my eardrum everytime I go deeper. I went up with bloody mouth, in my mind "diving is nothing compare to cycling!"..leaving a big question mark on why more and more people start learning to suck those valve in their mouth?

So, I've tasted scuba diving experience at short trial dive. As a conlusion at the time, diving is not something very great to do but yet there is alot of unexplored rooms..and so, I not interested about going 'deeper' into it.

I used to dive(DSD) in Mamutik, Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Sabah as well, with Syed Rahman from Kids Scuba for his anual Scuba Rangers course. Graduating young divers from the early age of eight.

Long after, about a year if i recall correctly..during the 'days of trouble' previous DSD instructor, Lee Boon Leong from Dolphin Scuba called and offered me to take an Open Water course, in return I have to come out with an article for his dive recruitment.

"Yes I'm in, put me on the list," that was my quick answer to Lee without telling him that Im not really into diving but at least it can keep me busy with something. In my mind, i still have my bike to keep me going and trashing all the shits happen into the jungle, which it happen most of the times on the roadside.

The Open Water course in Shah Alam Panasonic Stadium's pool started and went well. After the PADI written test, we all off to the island. and It's Redang. On the 2nd of May 2009, I'm officially an Open Water diver and not to forget the rest of the Lee's students. Special thanks to Lee, Cyrena, Saiful, Seetho n Bee that makes up Dolphin Scuba, the best and most happening dive centre in Kuala Lumpur.

Dolphin Sport Adventure Dive Center (available on Facebook and www.dolphinsportadventure.

Four compulsory confine water dives (part of the course) went smooth except during the CESSA (emergency ascend) because going up and down at 12 meter deep wasn't something comfort with some sinus problem, that why I had a problem equalizing.

After my third attempt, Cyrena finally shacked my hand and gave the OK signal, meaning that I've passed the test..(when I already tasted vertigo)-situation when you have no idea which way is up and which way is down.

We went for our first boat dive to Stingray City, and after four dives my equalizing problem became more handy. From a painful ears to great goodtimes with peers.

My very first underwater shot.

Some people bring their dive log and show it around. So here, Im doing just same, maybe by sharing the dive detail, people can get some information about the same dive spot from me.
I did 29 dives from Mei to Disember 2009.

Date: 4/5/09
Location: Redang Island
1st dive: Redang Bay House Reef
time in: 4.30
time out: 5.00
depth: 5m
viz: 5 m

2nd dive: Redang Bay House Reef
time in: 6.30
time out: 7.15
depth: 5m
viz: 5m

3rd dive: Redang Bay House Reef
time in: 10.00
time out: 11.00
depth: 7m
viz: 5m

4th dive: Stringray City (boat)
time in: 3.20
time out: 4.00
depth: 16m
viz: 7

5th dive-unrecorded

6th dive-unrecorded


Dive with Marine Police Region 2
Location: Soyak, Salang,Tioman
Location: Salang

8th dive
Location: Salang


9th - 6 dives Panasonic Marine Conservation
Location: Perhentian
Teluk KK, Lang Tengah,

Tokong Laut (The Temple)
This is the place where I start to love scuba diving. The place where I know how interesting this recreation is. It was early in the morning. Dawn dive.
White moray eel, school of snappers, huge moray eel under huge tabletop coral.
Doing safety stop while sucking the very last breath. Up to the surface with manual BCD inflating. Learn some mistake.


Instructor Nafi breaking a school of snappers

White moray eel
Location: Tioman
Teluk KK, Lang Tengah,

15th dive- Tioman Mega Dive

16th-Tioman Mega Dive

location: nearby Pulau Ringgis

17th-Tioman Mega Dive
dive a ship wreck,
location:walking down from the Salang Beach


Perhentian Kecil Island-arranged trip
operator: Panorama Diver
Date: 15/8/09

18th - Dlagoon
A Good start. Water viz was about 20 meter. The site was great. I found a table sized stingray, turtles, alot of clown fish anemone, bigger butterfly fish, prawn and one bigger fella having teeth cleaning by two tiny fish.

19th-Batu Layar
Another amazing site.

20th-Batu Layar
Same site but this is my first night dive, went down in a group of more then 10 divers. Nothing much, cuttlefish, prawn and a bamboo shark. But the touch light gave a different atmosphere, everybody looks likeholding a sabrelight.
The other diver spotted a huge turtle.

descending the dark water for the first time

21th-Terumbu Tiga
Rocky site, half caving, a lot of fish and world of colorful corals. With some current, its a bit rushy to catch all those nice coral, from purple to pink to green to blue.
The spanish guy did some friendly focusing on the face of titan trigger fish which he may be dont realise that nice looking fella can smash his mask. Sometimes no matter how hard we try not to touch the marine life, there came an ignorant diver.

Panorama Diver Team

Redang - RedangKalong Anual Reef Check
operator: RedangKalong Dive Centre
Date : 24-27/09/09
5 conservation dives
1 fun dive

Perhentian : Perhentian Island Challenge
10 & 11 Oktober
Operator: Quiver Dive, Perhentian Kecil
28 dive
Location: unknown, bcos water wasnt so clear, more likely because the change of season. Stronger and higher tide disturb the water, a lot of particles.

29th dive
location: Tokong Laut
Dawn dive at Tempel again. Not as good as my first dive in with Panasonic's guys and Nafi.

Live onboard in Komodo Islands on MV Blue Dragon

9 dives

30th dive at: Sabayor Kecil, North Komodo

Date: 21/2/2010-25/2/2010

Max depth: 25 meter

Sabayor Kecil

The first dive or purposely ‘check out’ dive begin at Sabayor Kecil. Not a good start since I had a seasick just before the dive start because of strong current. Never had seasick before, this time maybe because of less sleep and heavy breakfast. Plus we spend too much times setting up our gears on the boat.

Buddied with Peter, I help him to bring down one of his cameras. To check if there is still flooding (leaking) problem. After pushing some of the bottoms and did some checking, that Canon G11 underwater case still filled with water. So we only left with one camera. The Canon G9.

Diving with almost 20 years old diver. I am the last diver to reach bottom but the dive was great. My first friend in Indonesian waters was a black lionfish, moving around tenderly with a group of a tiny fishes.

After descending down to 25 meters, I started to noticed the different between Indonesia and Malaysia sea life, here in Flores Sea I saw less anemonee, less giant clamp but a lot of colorful soft coral. That Sabayor Kecil.

Castle Rock -31th dive is my English version of blog

The dive master told us that Castle Rock will be our second location. I have heard the name before, I remembered it during ‘goggling’ about Komodo Best Dive Spot.

Two dinghy brought us about 1km from away. While Arnold the dive master looking for the mooring rope, we saw a huge dark shiny object at the water surface, then submerged again and come out again.

Without doubt, they are the bottle-nose dolphins, maybe three of them sizing about three meter longs. After a short sightseeing, they dissapeared.

Dive start with negative entrance, descending down to 21 meter depth. Maybe it’s not our day, the current was strong and visibility not far the 15 meters.

However Castle Rock welcome was surprising, 4 men-sized black tip shark was there waiting for us. We were pulled by current quite fast, so 4 of them stay where they were.

Castle Rock is really nice dive site, lot of big fish like Jack.
Some turtle, electric striking blue snapper and beautiful underwater landscape.

Some other divers, were stunned by the appearance of Mandarinfish. The water tempature was about 27′c.

Crystal Rock – 32rd dive
Time in : 12.22pm time out: 1.12 pm
Max depth: 20 m
note: not far from Castle Rock. Surface (pinnacle stone) can be recognized by a small amount of water splash (to the rock). A lot of big fish and garuper.

The Aquarium (The Cauldron) -33th dive

Time is 3 hours before sunset. Our 4th dive begin at the water-gate between Lawa Laut Island and Lawa Darat Island. It’s called the Aquarium.
With negative entrance, we descended with the flow of current, the fastest current so far. A lot faster then when we were at Castle Rock.
Everybody start losing their buddy and we free flew across the mouth of the Cauldron, maybe at the speed of 2 knots. I grabbed some solid rock waiting for Peter, but after realizing of no point doing that I let myself taken away by the pull. Anyways, we have to pass through the ‘mouth’ to reach The Aquarium.
After the current stop, we realized that we were in a tank! A beautiful landscape, full of hard and colorful soft coral. And of course as the name says the Aquarium, with lot of fishes.
Turtle, school of snappers, anemone and nudybranch.
The distance from our entrance to where we came to surface maybe around 300 meters. The place really entitled to the name.

Night dive at Gililawa – 34th dive

Max depth: 19 meter

Date 22/2/2010 Time in: 19.06

This is my first time I saw a Spanish Dancer. They said it is huge compared to normal SP found in Malaysia (10 15-cm). This is more than one feet sized...! I know know the real color but when torched by light, the color is pinkish red..The DM take it to his hand and let it 'fly'. For those who never see SP, this two horned invertebrate looks like a seacucumber (gamat).

A Night in underwater was unbelievable. In a dark area, we can see eyes of the critters, most are shrimp. Their eyes are starry and reflecting like stars in the sky, when no light directed to them.
The site also rich with lobsters. We even saw Octopus hiding inside a rock.This is one of the most interesting nite dive so far.

Batu Bolong – 35th dive
Date 23/2/2010
Max depth: 21 m Bottom time : 40 minit
The dinghy takes us to a pinnacle's peak, called Batu Bolong. Negative entrance to the depth of 20 meter. After 5 minutes descend and my ear are equalized, then in the sudden Arnold the DM knock his tank with a pointer. He gave signal that I cant really understand except I know something is not right. The powerful current hit us.
Me and two divers not taken away by a flush like the rest, because we manage to grab a stone.
After more than 30 minute it still pushing us, roughly no less than 2 knots.
SPG show 100 bar and Im so panick, and in my heart I was afraid, better plan now if the current still there another 15 minutes.
I gave signal to buddy to ascend to surface. But we cant just go up like that because with that strong current there is no chance for safety stop.. So we have to ascend gradually by grabing stone. Sometimes I did lost grab in one of my hand, no glove means lots of cuts when I hit hard coral.
Scaring experience in Batu Bolong but we enjoy the dive because it was one of the most beautiful wall (pinnacle wall) with lot of pelagics like jacks and tuna. But I cant observe them all the time because they were all behind my back... amazing.
A lot of macro critters show up during the hit, fancy nudybranch crawling in front of my eyes, odd crabs.
Anold come to collect us after 40 minutes of panic dive. He sorry for what happen, but he maybe dont know that I like the site so much. Damn challenging.
Then back on the dinghy, Arnold told us a story, a good one.
Happened a year before, nearby the dive site. Five British divers lost in the strong current and never found. The world news that hit diving. It happen in the site called Current City.

Manta Point – 36th dive
Date 23/2/2010
Max depth: 10meter Bottom time :not recorded

Jump from the boat and drifted about half kilometer by current to Manta Point. Im buddied with Slovania diver-Andre. We were taken away from the rest of divers.
Quite scary to have only one buddy in the water, plus Andre is very new to diving. He asked me to surface but what's the point coming? I give him descend signal and he has no choice, but the water is now a bit calm and we already stop drifting.
There we found only a small houses of soft coral, very nice and colorful like tropical paradise or something.We dive about 30 minutes in a nice clear water, no manta in sight. A bit disappointed.
I remember what Arnold told during the briefing that Manta normally swim against current. So from coral reef we swam to a sandy bottom where we can feel some current.
Suddenly I saw a huge blacky thing flying on my left hand side, then here He comes... the Manta Ray, a sized of three meter wings spread. I know that manta don't attack diver but seeing thing that big definitely gimme an adrenalin rush.
Andrea get the photo of the 1st ray, but the second ray we missed it quite far. Maybe Andre not even noticed. It's bigger from the first one we saw.
According to Arnold, there is more chances to see Manta ray in Makkaser Reef during the low tide. But for those who comes, they never miss a chance to see. Anyways, Manta Point is not only a name..continued to next dive to know why.

Manta Point II– 37th dive

(different direction)
Up on the boat. I'm happy. It was my first encounter with manta. But after sharing story with a group of the divers I'm totally disappointed. They do not see one Manta but more than 30. A Manta Parade.
So that evening we agree to go to the same dive site they all dived at. Upon entrance, I saw huge monster laying down at our descend spot, size is no less than 4 meter broad, spreading motionless at the sandy bottom. Then maybe he can hear the sound of the bubble, he flew away. Yeah I did try my luck on this second time at Manta Point, but only saw 3, not 30.
Got a close photo of the ray. Great dive.

Mangrove dive at Waemilu - 38th dive
Date: 24/2/2010 Max depth 19 meter

One of the thing that I really love about Komodo is Morning. Experiencing the Great Calmness. Inspiring the misty surface of the water.
Dive start early in the morning, at 7.30 am. Mangrove is heaven for muckdive. Alot of macro seen in the black grey sand. Nudybranch, Mantis shrimp and a frogfish.
This is my first time I saw frogfish,they were called frog because they never swim, instead they jump to move. Very odd and interesting looking critters. This was a second last dive for us, but for me this was the last (9th) because Im going to skip the last dive to enjoy the beautiful nature on boats with a bit privacy (when they all leave for their dive).. and Im glad that Ive skipped the dive because for me the beauty of Komodo Island not only lie under the water.


  1. Nice. Would like to see if you survived your 100 dives post here hehehe

  2. thanks for visiting.will take it as challenge Bobo.