It’s Been One Hell Of A Family Trip – Part 1

It has been a week now since our trip to Tioman, but I still find its memories exhilirating as nary a moment there was boring. It started off with that drive down to Mersing on the 20th August 2008, meeting up with Gombak and Rainmaker at the Ayer Keroh Overhead R&R for a quick cuppa, before making another toilet break at the Ayer Hitam toll plaza, arriving Mersing at 3.30am.

We were at the Mersing ferry terminal at 7am. The ferry, however, did not depart on time, but about an hour later.

Wifey and kids at the Mersing ferry terminal
Ali, Wifey, Hana and Fazira at the Mersing ferry terminal

The journey was eventless, it rained midway until we arrived at the first stop, Kampung Genting. En route, Rainmaker, armed with a carton of Mr Potato, chatted up a university girl, while Gombak was busy sending his last will and testicles testament to Liverpool Babe via SMS.

Rainmaker chatting up a university student
Rainmaker chatting up a university girl

There were several reasons for the trip. Wifey and I were moving to JB for good, so we thought it was best for us to take a break with the kids. Furthermore, Wifey had been working ridiculously hard, being over-utilised as a company resource; a pawn in her boss’ fight with another for a more senior position in the stupid company. It was also our wedding weekend, as covered in a previous posting. My daughter, Hana, hadn’t dive since our trip to Pulau Bidong in June 2007. It was the right moment for her to do her Advanced Open Water course, with me instructing her. Gombak was on his way to become a full-fledged Open Water Diver.

Hana’s first dive was at Batu Malang – a checkout dive, to see if she’d still remember her emergency drills, and other skills, before she did her Peak Performance Buoyancy. It was a nice dive for me too, as it was my first in more than 2 months. While we dived, Wifey, Ali, Rainmaker and Fazira snorkeled above us.

Hana and I at Batu Malang
My daughter, Hana, and I, at Batu Malang

Ampheprion ocellaris
To celebrate my return to my realm, I took a photo of this Nemo – something I do not normally do

My second dive was at the Soyak Island. I dived alone because the currents had picked up, and Hana had elected to stay topside. I had hoped to bump into the resident Blacktip Reef Shark, but bumped into a nasty Titan Triggerfish instead.

Liverpool Babe, Rina and Gemgem arrived on the second day, and together with the Master Snorkelers, they went snorkeling at the Salang house reef, while I took Hana for her wreck dive module, and we did a shore dive, swimming out about 400 meters before descending upon Roger Wreck, some 25 meters beneath the surface. I have always loved this wreck although it is just the wreck of a former fishing vessel; the irony of it is, this vessel that used to scoop up marine life is now hosting marine life in abundance.

Fazira, Ali and Wifey - Master Snorkelers
Master Snorkelers – Fazira, Ali and Wifey

Roger Wreck
Roger Wreck

On the third day, Spena arrived to join us. She and Gombak got onto another dive boat, while Hana and I on the other. We were supposed to do our first dive at Tiger Reef, but some idiot had cut the marker buoy, so we couldn’t find it. In the end, we had to dive at Labas Island. I took Hana on a nudibranch spree, and also swam through some of Labas’ many caverns. After doing a 45-minute Surface Interval Time (SIT), she did her deep dive module at Genting Bay. I gave her some calculations to do on the surface, 20 minutes before the dive, then asked her to do the same calculation at 30 meters underwater. She did so well, and answered correctly in the shortest time. After that, a strong current hit us, and Hana and I drifted for a while before we surfaced on the north point of Pulau Tulai, and waited for the boat to pick us up.

While the rest played volleyball, Wifey and I spent the evening watching the sun set.

Wifey and I watching the sun set
Wifey and I watching the sun set

Hana out of a cavern at Labas
Hana after swimming through a cavern

A Chromodoris coi laying eggs at Labas
A Chromodoris coi nudibranch laying eggs at Labas

Jorunna funebris at Genting Bay
A Jorunna funebris at Genting Bay

Juvenile Hypselodoris bullockii at Genting Bay
A juvenile Hypselodoris bullockii at Genting Bay

Hana doing her maths at 30 meters
Hana doing her maths at 30 meters to check her Nitrogen Narcosis tolerance level

Wifey showing off the bling-bling ring on her finger
And of course, Wifey got to show off the wedding ring on this trip

To be continued…