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Puala Dayang 2012 – Night & Deep Specialty course

After having finished Boat & Navi Specialty course, I once again headed to Puala Dayang with REN Scubaworx for my Night & Deep Specialty. By the course outline, Night & Deep definitely seems to be much more exciting than Boat & Navi. During this trip, I was exposed to 2 new experience – going deeper than 18meter and diving in darkness for my first time.

I met some new friends along the way, which always happens in a dive trip. Strangers come together to share the common interests and some will hit it off pretty well with one another. Most of the divers were doing their Open Water or leisure dive, and probably only 4 or 5 of us were doing Specialty. I was paired up with this dive enthusiast, Samantha, whom used to be a diving journalist.

Our 1st dive was was Deep and we dropped down to a maximum depth of 26 meters. Our 2nd dive we dropped even further till 33 meters. Dayang isn’t colourful to begin with at shallow water, and by the time we go pass 30 meters, there isn’t much to see anymore. At 30 meters, our instructors tested us with some simple questions (tick-tac-toe, basic mathematics) to ensure that we aren’t thrown off by nitrogen narcosis.

Nitrogen narcosis is a syndrome experience in deep diving. It is caused by the anesthetic effect of certain gases at high pressure. The effects resemble the effects of alcohol. Such effects are not harmful unless they cause some immediate danger not to be recognized and addressed. Once stabilized, the effects generally remain the same at a given depth, only worsening if the diver ventures deeper. The most dangerous aspects of narcosis are the impairment of judgement, multi-tasking and coordination, and the loss of decision-making ability and focus.

 

We ended the 1st day with a night dive, my first time ever. A waterproof torch is essential for all night dive, and it is pretty expensive to own a good torch. Since I was only doing a one-time deep dive, I borrowed a dive torch from my colleague, Kevin Foo’s wife, whom is an avid diver.

I must say that there was so much anticipation built up towards this night dive. The thought of only able to rely on the minimal source of light with no idea of what lurks around you, really does send some shiver down the spines. Imagine being swept by a strong current and seperated from your group, only to surface and realise that you are lost in a dark open sea. Or to have some dangerous creatures from the dark biting you. These are all thoughts that put many people off from enjoying the beauty of night dive.

Some of you might be thinking should one dive in the dark when more things can be seen in the day? If you have read or seen enough documentary about the underwater world, you would know that the water is very different between these 2 period of the day. The kind of species that swims around are different. Night dive expose you to nocturnal creatures that are seldom spotted during the day. Overall, it is an entirely different experience. One that a day dive can never ever replace.

So when we dropped into the water, the first thing I felt was the coldness. The water was rather choppy and we had to huddle before everyone was ready to descend. Once down, we were put into a drift. From my instructors, they consider the current on the strong side, and we literally drifted throughout the entire 15 minutes dive. A rather short dive I must say, as my instructors felt that safety is our number 1 priority. Being experienced, such dive is within their limits but they just did not want to risk it with us, the not so experience divers. I still managed to take some night shots of nocturnal creatures. One of the key highlights was the beauty of cuttlefishes. They are simply amazing!

This will definitely not be my last night dive!

 

We began the day with deep diving. This time we aimed for the 40 meters mark. The descend was via a flat and gradual slope. By following the gradual sea bed, one would lose conscious that the depth could built up so quickly. I experienced some level of nitrogen narcosis when we went pass 35 meters, however the effect was minimal and I soon stabilized. At close to 39 meter, my instructor did a check on our nitrogen narcosis level by asking us to write our names backward. Having passed the test, Samantha and I follow our instructor back up the gradual ascend.

While deep diving can be dangerous as it also requires proper discharge of nitrogen so as not to result in decompression sickness, I must say I do enjoy the thrill of going deep.

This deep and night dive trip is by far my best dive experience to date. I look forward towards even more exciting dives. Maybe a wreck or around a school of barracudas. 🙂

Puala Dayang 2012 – Boat & Navi Specialty course

It has been 8 months since I scuba dive. Nick was way too busy and probably he lost the interests in pursuing this hobby. I badly wanted my Advance cert as Marcus and Jason have been asking me to join them for trips. I felt that it would not be enjoyable if we are at different level. So I ringed up REN and packed 2 trips of specialty courses into Jun and Jul. I cleared my first 2 specialty course, and will be doing the next 2 in Jul. After that I will get my Advance!

The course brings me back to Puala Dayang once again, the same place where I took my Open Water last year. It was also the same place where I met Lulu and Royston. Thus this time I decided to ask them along. Good thing they could make it, and we finally came together after these while, for a trip so fun. They bought along friends and I made new diving friends again.

For this trip, there was a combination of Open Water, Leisure, and Specialty, so REN was carrying 60 of us. Because of this numbers, they required many instructors to come along, and it was really nice to see some familiar instructor faces. People like Eddy, Scott, Harry, Prasard (hope I got his name correct), and many more. They are a fun bunch of instructors, and always really to help while creating fun and laughter. REN has always emphasise on safety first, and it creates assurance to be diving with them.

I finally decided to buy my Dive Comp, and the Canon G11 together with its underwater housing. This was my 1st attempt at underwater photography. Oh man, I can shoot with ease on the ground, but only to find out that it is a totally different thing underwater. The lighting made everything different, and the toughest challenge is to stay stagnant while composing a shot. Many angles were missed as my buoyancy is not at the level yet, and many a time I float up and down while trying to get that macro shot. Eventually I ended up with a series of bad shots. Well, it was a learning experience, and I believe that with more practices I should be able to improve my underwater photography after I get better with my buoyancy.

 

 

Puala Tioman – Leisure Dive

2 weeks after passing my Open Water, I am back diving into the water of Puala Tioman with REN Scubaworx. The journey was almost the same, with Tioman 1 hour nearer to the Mersing jetty. The marine life are about the same as Dayang. Major difference would be Tioman seabed is filled with sea urchins, plently of them that requires additional care while near to the bottom. The visibility of Tioman was pretty bad as well, making it challenging not to get lost (which I did in one of the dive). A baby moral eel was the only rare find that I saw in this trip. The advance group spotted turtles, cuttlefish, and many other interesting subjects during their night dives.

10 more dives and I can get my Advance licence. I am now thinking how to do so to be in time for Sipadan.