The Second Day of Scuba-Diving in Perhentian Islands, Malaysia: the Eerie Vietnamese Wreck

Waking up at 7 o’clock in the morning, I was happy to see my breakfast menu: vegetarian roti prata! Yayyy!! What a yummy (yet, big) breakfast! Hahaha… I finished my big breakfast meal realizing that it’s going to be a long day today.. one needed to be fit to be able to greet those amazing creature down there!

First dive was to a site called Terumbu Tiga or Tiger Rock as its known in English. It is probably considered as one of the best dive sites in the Perhentian Islands. The big boulder formations and canyons create some impressive areas for divers to swim through… My dive master dragged me to swim in between those canyons… at first, I wasn’t so confident of my buoyancy skills, but I followed him instead… and trust me, it was so damn cool! There was only a narrow gap for us to swim… I was so happy that I managed to pass the narrow gap, until I got panic coz I felt my fins hit something! I was so scared that I would hit a beautiful coral, but apparently it was Kenneth, another Singaporean diver who followed us. Ffifiiiiuuuhh…

I dove up to 18 meters deep and the temperature was 29 degrees Celcius. My buoyancy and hovering skills got better and I felt more relaxed as well. I kept on sinking though since I used 3 kg of weight belt, then in the middle of the dive, my dive master took 1 of them, so I only had 2 kg. I stopped sinking immediately. Hehehe.. 🙂

On this site, I saw a blue spotted stingray, butterfly fish, puffer fish, angel fish,.. in which I love so much… there were a number of them.. big ones, too! So pretty… 🙂 .. then, a black & white lion fish, a school of fusilier (the ones with yellow dot on the tail and the black and white one with funny tail, in which I don’t know the name.. hahaha..).

Kenneth, the Singaporean diver and Dirk, the German diver, played with anemonefish. The corals where they’re hiding looked so soft and gummy like a jelly. I wanted to touch it, but decided not to. It’s better not to disturb the nature 😉 … Later in the day I found out that my room mate fell off on that similar corals and her thighs were full of red spot bumps! It felt itchy, she said. Whoooppss… Apparently those innocent-jelly-looking-corals are quite fierce, eh?

The second dive was at Tukong Laut or known as the Temple of the Sea. People said that it is the best dive site in the island. It took us 30 minutes by boat to get to this site. Barracuda and tuna are often spotted here with large schools of snappers and fusiliers sweeping in and out of the formations. I was almost jumping around (but I couldn’t, of course) to realize that I was actually swam in the middle of schools of trevally fish! Yellow and black ones… there were hundreds of them! Wowwww!! Amazing… amazing.. amazing!! What a wonderful feeling… I tried to catch one of them, but he knew and he ran away…. Hihihi… I felt like flying in the underwater sea… hmmm… marvelous!

There were parrot fish biting some corals, a couple of angelfish swimming happily together and eating something (I don’t know what they’re eating, actually… hahaha..), a turtle swimming elegantly in which all the divers who had camera tried to capture him, a big bumphead, puffer fish, long banner fish (again), and of course anemone fish (yes, they’re everywhere!). And the highlight of the day was… I saw a baby white tip shark!!! Yayyy… it was hiding under a rock.. My dive master told me to touch it, but of course I wouldn’t do that (apart from my fear, I just didn’t want to touch anything under the sea).

The visibility was up to 20 meters and I dove 15 meters deep for almost an hour. Nice… I didn’t feel like going back to the boat! Hahaha… There were just so many things to see down there… oh… so beautiful… It’s amazing how God creates the world. He creates so many creatures.. being down there makes me realize the beauty of the world we live in…

I started to enjoy diving more and more… and still couldn’t forget those big and colorful angelfish swimming in front of me as if I was one of them… I was so happy! 🙂

The third dive of the day, we went to Vietnamese Wreck, 45 minutes by boat from the island. It was located on the southwest coast of Perhentian Kecil. This Vietnamese boat sank in 1976 while being towed to Kuala Besut for repairs. Too bad my last dive wasn’t that fun. The visibility was very bad (only 2 meters!) due to the strong current. I hardly saw anything! It was pretty eerie down there and the water was a bit cold, too. Apparently, there were a lot of fish living in the wreck, but we needed a torch, though. My dive master gave me his torch, but it was a bit useless as I didn’t really have the gut to come closer to the wreck! Hahaha… I was afraid that I couldn’t control my buoyancy that I might hit the ship **lol**

Despite the difficulty, however, I managed to see 2 big puffer fish… and.. the highlight of this Vietnamese wreck (for me) was the giant trevally. It was big, it has yellow color and it swam very fast. That fish even shocked me because it was swimming around nearby my legs, while I wasn’t aware of it! One of the divers in my group said that the giant trevally was hunting for food. Woohooo… scaryyyyy…. I didn’t know that fish became dangerous in the night time. When we were down there, it was almost 6pm, so probably he was already hungry. Time to hunt for food! Whooopsssieee..

My dive master said that we actually swam the whole round of the wreck, but I didn’t feel like we did it. I was so scared I might lose my buddy, so I always swam near him, either beside or behind him. Didn’t dare to swim further… I realized that this third dive was pretty dangerous. We also went down up to almost 23 meters depth and I felt the difference… it was harder to breath… My dive master decided to abort the dive after 29 minutes, because he said that it was useless as we hardly see anything anyway. I agreed with him even though I still had over 80 bars in my tank. But hey, it doesn’t worth the risk, eh? During the dive, I was so damn scared that I might bump into a nurse shark since I could only see a thing that is only 2 meters away from me! OMG…. that would be the least thing I wanted to happen on this trip!

The whole journey was good. The dive was fun. I didn’t really like the resort, though, so I wouldn’t recommend it for those who want to have a pleasant and comfortable hotel/resort. I think it was more for a backpacker, but at least the toilet/bathroom was clean and quite spacious considering the space of the bedroom itself. The resort was called “Alu-Alu Diver” with a dive shop next to it. It was located at the beach front with white sandy beach and several boats that were always ready to take the divers to the dive sites. The food was ok, funny that they always gave me eggs because I’m a vegetarian. Couldn’t they think of something else? I wonder… hahaha…

Dive trip is about diving, eating, meeting new friends and having a good time. During this trip, I ate more than I usually do. Breakfast – dive 1 – snacking – dive 2 – lunch – dive 3 – snacking – dinner. And.. what kind of snacking did I have? CUP NOODLES! Hahahhaa…

It was a pretty interesting trip as I went with a big group consists of 50 divers. Almost 98% was Singaporeans. I met nice people during this trip, but sometimes I didn’t get the Singaporean jokes, for me it’s not funny. Ah well, different culture has different sense of humor, I guess. Or maybe I was just too tired to pick up the Singlish! Hahaha…

I had a lot of fun on this dive trip. In total, the 3 days and 2 nights (Friday to Monday) trip costs me 500 S$, includes the accommodation and meals for 2 nights and transportation from and back to Singapore. The 10 hours journey by bus plus another 30 minutes by boat were really worth it.

Ok, since this post is about diving, I might as well share some tips that I got from my diving friends to improve my diving skills… hehe… I just wanted to share it with you, who knows it comes handy for you, too 🙂

  • Don’t “cycle” — they teased me a lot because I was ‘cycling’ instead of ‘diving’, they said.
  • To descend, exhale until we have no more breath — this will be useful if we want to get closer to the object
  • To ascend, inhale, hold our breath, then we’ll go up a bit. If this is not enough and we’re still sinking, then press the inflator to add some air to the BCD
  • Try not to move our feet when it’s not necessary. Thus, we will save a lot of air.
  • Relax 🙂

Hopefully I dive better next time. I just need to dive more often to polish my buoyancy and hovering skills. But one thing I know, I enjoy diving and can’t wait until my next trip! Yaayyyy!!!

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