Seeing Feather Starfish in Tioman Island, Malaysia

Have you seen a feather starfish swimming elegantly under the sea? I felt lucky to have a chance seeing it! Yayyy… At first I thought it was a plant, but my dive master said that it’s actually a fish. It swam from one spot to another, “flying” beautifully like a feather in Renggis, one of the dive sites in Tioman Island, Malaysia

My July’s dive trip went a bit unexpected. Leaving from Singapore on Friday at 7pm by bus, I didn’t expect that it would be such a long and a pain in the arse (excuse my words) journey. The bus reached Mersing at about midnight, but we had to wait for the tide almost for an hour. So, there we were… a bunch of tired divers, scattered around the waiting room of a small jetty station in the middle of the night, hoping that we could hop on the boat as soon as possible. I didn’t even have the appetite to joke around. I just wanted to get to the resort then sleep… But, the pain hasn’t ended yet. Wait until you saw what kind of boat that we ride in. It wasn’t a speed boat… instead, it was a slow and old boat in which you could smell the fume once you get in. Plus the roaring sound of the machine that was so noisy making you almost impossible to sleep, unless you turned on your ipod to the maximum volume. Perfect, I thought.
I stayed at the bow of the boat. There were several mattresses for passengers to crash in. Those mattresses looked like a barrack for soldiers. It was far from the image of a dream holiday trip… but I think I have to experience it at least once in my life, so that I wouldn’t take it for granted next time I go on holidays. All those luxury, clean and easy transportations aren’t always there! Hee hee.. “It’s a suicide dive trip”, as a friend said a few days before the trip. Still we did it, anyway.

The trip from Mersing to Tioman Island usually takes around 2.5 hours on speed boat, but our group reached the Island Reef Resort at 4am something. So, one could imagine how slow the boat was, eh? It took us 3.5 to 4 hours instead! *sigh*. I crashed in to bed right away as we all had to wake up at 8am for breakfast and am not a big fan of waking up early in the morning…especially not when I just go to bed at 4.30am!

As I was doing the PADI’s advanced open water dive course, there were several dives that I had to do: boat dive, underwater navigation, deep dive, drift dive and night dive. Plus, one leisure dive as a start.If you asked me, “Which one was the most interesting part of doing the advanced dive course?”. Then I would say, “Night dive”. It was a hell of different experience! Everything was dark (yeah, of course! Daaa…) and pitched black… what we saw was only the light from the torch. Too bad the visibility wasn’t that good in the Genting House Reef site, so it was even harder to observe the reef life. There were some red dots shining from the corals… was wondering what they were. Apparently, there were the shrimps’ eyes!!! Amazing, eh? It reminded me of cats’ eyes that shine in the night time. Apart from observing those shrimps, I didn’t really see that much animals down there. I was so nervous that I would be separated from my buddy. So, my eyes were fixed looking at her from behind! Hahahaha… It didn’t feel comfortable at all. The darkness, the unclear water, the dim of the torch — all these stuff made me anxious.

Swimming around in the 6 meters depth with a torch on my hand, I stopped for a while to look up. And I smiled. Seeing the moonlight from underwater made me overwhelmed. Somehow I felt secured and warm right away. Then suddenly, I knew that everything would be fine. I smiled again, took a deep breath from my regulator then swam away… It was kinda romantic to see the moon from down there… 🙂 Really. Loved it.

It was actually the night dive that made me taking this course, but after doing it, I knew that day dive was so much enjoyable…despite the romantic moonlight, of course. Well, at least for me. Maybe it’s just not my cup of tea…

The deep dive was held in a site called Sawadee Wreck. We dove to 30 meters depth and the instructor asked us to write down our full name backwards. He counted it using the stop-watch and compared it to the result when we did it earlier on the boat. The exercise was to check whether one of us got narcosis. Apparently, there was one girl who was failed! She couldn’t spell her name right and was giggling instead! Oh dear…Later we found out that she had a few beers the night before. Don’t drink and dive!!
There were a school of baby barracudas, several lion fish and the other usual suspects around the wreck. I didn’t really see something special apart from the feather starfish on this dive trip, however, the most important thing is that now I can dive up to 40 meters and try another night dives! Who knows I might like it next time… 😉In terms of scenery, the Genting Beach in Tioman Island isn’t that pretty. But, there’s something special about this place. In one of the food stalls, there is one restaurant selling special Roti Prata called Roti Bom. It’s a roti prata mixed with condensed milk and we eat it with curry sauce. Sounds weird? It does, but don’t say no until you try it!!! It’s really yummmmyyyyyy… 🙂

I even wanted to run back to the restaurant to buy some more of this yummy food, but the boat had to board soon… and one didn’t want to be left behind alone in the island!!!

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