Posts Tagged ‘Malaysia’

Diving trip to Pulau Dayang

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

Two weeks ago, I went for a diving trip over the weekend to Pulau Dayang in Malaysia. The trip was organized by the INSEAD Diving Club, one of the multiple sports clubs that are offered for students to join. The main purpose of the trip for me and roughly 30 other students was to get the PADI Open Water Diver certification, which will in the future allow me to rent diving gear and go on diving trips individually.

Prior to the trip, we had to take theory lessons (conveniently offered in one of the amphis at INSEAD by the diving school and trip operator) and also conduct two pool sessions in a swimming pool of a school here in Singapore. During the theory and pool sessions, we learned the basic skills required to dive, such as how all the gear is handled and also things like how to clear your mask from water underwater, how to breathe from another persons air supply in case your own runs out, or how to do an emergency ascent.

The trip itself started on Friday night after all participants had finished their classes. The trip to Pulau Dayang, which is a tiny island off the Malaysian east cost, took about seven hours – first by bus, then by boat – so we arrived on the island in the middle of the night. The accommodation was really basic (double bunk beds) but we were on the island for diving and not for luxury after all.

Saturday started in the morning with breakfast and some obligatory announcements, and then we headed out with a boat for the dives. We did three dives on Saturday, returning to the island to eat (and allow the nitrogen in the blood which increases when diving to slowly decrease again) in between each dive. The first two dives were again mostly about demonstrating the skills that we had learned during theory and pool sessions: mask clearing, regulator recovery, regulator clearing, alternate air source, fin pivot (neutral buoyancy), hovering in the water, CESA (controlled emergency swimming ascent) and finally finning around. The third dive was more about moving around underwater and discovering the marine life in the area: we saw a huge turtle, and also some cuttlefish.

We spent the evening on the beach, quite exhausted from the whole day of diving, and went to bed early to be fit for the second diving day. Sunday brought two more dives, the first one being more of a leisure dive going down to 18 meters, which is the maximum debt for which Open Water Divers are certified (there is a more advanced course which allows for deeper depths), and the last one also comprising a demonstration of navigation skills using a compass underwater. On the last two dives, we also saw some amazing marine life including another turtle, cuttlefish, lionfish, barracudas, clownfish and parrotfish.

After lunch, we still had some time to relax on the island because the tide didn’t allow us to leave immediately, so we worked a bit on our tan and enjoyed the provided food. After another seven hour trip back to Singapore, I finally arrived at home shortly past midnight.

All in all, it was an amazing and interesting weekend, and I am definitely planning to do more diving during my time here in Singapore, most likely also doing the Advanced Open Water Diver certification.

Some pictures follow, unfortunately I do not have any of me in the gear or any underwater pictures. However, the beauty of the island and the clarity of the surrounding ocean is quite obvious from the pictures.

My First Trip from Singapore: Kuching in Malaysian Borneo

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Last week, we had a day off on Friday, so I took the opportunity to go on my first real trip away from Singapore since I arrived in January (I went to Bintan, an island in Malaysia, a couple of weeks back, but that didn’t really count since it was organized by my employer and I didn’t have to do anything). With a group of ~15 people, we went to Kuching in Sarawak, one of the two non-mainland states of Malaysia, on the island of Borneo.

On Friday, we went to Bako National Park, which is a jungle reserve on a peninsula in the South China Sea, and did a hike over the day, which was really beautiful. The scenery kept changing, from steep jungle trails which were basically 99% roots, to rocks, to clay paths with huge puddles. The trail took us after ~2 hours to a waterfall (which was not as exciting as we had imagined) and then to a nice and relatively secluded beach. Six of us who had decided to spend the night in the park and booked a chalet for that purpose, hiked back to the headquarter where the chalet was located; the rest got picked up by a boat from the beach.

In the evening, when we were sitting on the porch of our chalet, some proboscis monkey stopped by for a visit. There are a lot of monkeys in the national park, especially macaques which you see all the time and which will steal your bags and food if you don’t watch out, but the proboscis monkeys are supposedly much harder to spot since they are too shy. That wasn’t the case for those monkeys that visited our chalet, however: two of them were sitting right next to us for approximately twenty minutes, happily munching away leaves from different trees. This alone was worth the stay in the park.

The next day, we went back to Kuching. We initially had planned to do another trek that day, but it was raining all morning so we decided to leave the National Park. The remaining two days we basically spent relaxing and sightseeing. Kuching is a really nice city, which is not as touristy as some of the cities on the Malaysian peninsula such as Melaka or Penang. We looked at the different temples, visited the Sarawak museum which shows Sarawak culture, art and nature, had a lot of good food and relaxed before the final week of classes for the first period.

Some pictures from the trip:

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