Trip Report 5-9 August 2011

The plan was to dive the wrecks in Indonesian waters but we decided to play it safe due to the recent weather and extremely rough seas.  I was on another Live On Board (LOB) the previous weekend and it was not very pleasant.  So we departed TMFT without a real plan for the next 4 days of diving.

The current was strong and it was pushing the Mata Ikan along at 10 plus knots.  Our only plan that night was to go to Aur, Malaysia for the first day.  This changed quickly when we noticed the ETA was 3am and I re–calculated a few things and changed course for Bahara Rock (south of Tioman).

We reached Bahara Rock at 7am and completed the first of many dives.  After clearing immigration at Tekek we decided to dive the Sawadee wrecks just off Soyak.

The wrecks are two wooden Thai fishing boats.  The wrecks could be made out in the sand, but most of them had broken off and had drifted away.  The wrecks may not be great, but they do attract a wide array of fish life from barracudas, morays and tuna just to name a few.

The third dive was at the Marine Park where we found more wooden wrecks.  There were about 5-7 wrecks all next to each other, again making for a good dives.  We completed a night dive at Rengis and then I was asked if we could go to the Repulse tomorrow????

I didn’t need to be asked twice.  We arrived at the Repulse at 6.30am on Sunday.  I jumped in with the tie off line and headed down hoping to fulfill the request to tie off at the torpedo hole.  On the way down, I was greeted by an eagle ray.  When I got to the torpedo hole there was nothing strong enough to tie onto and there was sharp metal everywhere that could cut through the rope.  After 10 minutes I finally found, what I thought was a good spot to tie off at the torpedo hole.  I had only been out of the water for 5 minutes when the rope floated up clearly cut off by the rusty edges.  Bugger!

I told the guests that I would tie off on the propellor shaft this time.  I jumped in again and tied off as planned at 42m, there were fishing nets everywhere that I had to move out of the way, as I was wrapping the rope around the prop shaft a moray eel came to see what all the fuss was about (and got a bit to close for comfort, I thought).  After 20 minutes of deco, I was back on the surface and then the diving began.

The surface current was a bit strong and it took a while for some divers to pull themselves down the line.  But once below 25m, it was awesome.  The Repulse was there in all her glory.  We completed 3 awesome dives and this was the first time on the Repulse for many divers.  Nice!

I can’t wait to get back to the Repulse in October when the conditions will be better.  We have a trip on Mata Ikan 21-26 October for Technical Divers only, if anyone is keen.

We headed back to Tioman to seek shelter.  It was this or bury Zoe at sea, to reduce her sea sickness.

We dived Chebeh, Malang Rock, Tiger Reef, Labas and Labas again at night.  All good dives with black tip reef sharks, turtles, tuna and schools of barracuda present at most sites.

I completed the SDI Deep Diver Specialty Course with Simon at Chebeh and The Repulse. Congrats to Simon.

After a great 3 days, Simon Kee (boat owner of the Mata Ikan and chef for this trip) put on another fantastic feast.  A few over indulged in the beverage department and where not sighted for the final dive of the trip at Pulau Yu, on Tuesday morning.

If you have had read my previous trip reports, you would have noticed that I dived this site two weeks ago.  It is an interesting site with good coral, fish life and of course bombs.  Part of the island has been “shot” away.  Not only is this a bomb dumping site for the Malaysia Navy, they use this island as target practice for sighting in their machine guns. I guess this explains all the bird poop on the island…I know I would poop myself if the Navy started shooting at me.

Again with strong currents in our favour, the Mata Ikan was at turbo speed of 10 plus knots and we arrived home at TMFT at 5.30pm on Tuesday afternoon.  Happy Singapore National Day to all.