We boarded the MV DiveRace at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, Singapore (TMFT) for a 3 day Long Weekend (Hari Raya Haji Public Holiday), diving Tioman, Kuantan and Varella wrecks, Malaysia. I had two SDI Junior Adventure Advanced Divers, both students were 10 years old and were already excited about the diving ahead. Manish was doing his PADI Advanced Open Water course as well, but did not want to do it with his daughter, so I arranged for Lionel to teach him.
Suzanne and Teresa also joined the trip for some fun dives.
We were woken by the annoying DiveRace horn at 7.30am Saturday morning, had breakfast, our dive briefing and then we were ready to dive Jahat. After Jahat we dived Labas and then Chebeh.
Chebeh was the highlight of the day. As we decended we saw a good sized Humphead Parrot Fish. Then we headed down to 20 meters for the deep dive and as we rounded a large rock, I spotted a massive Barracuda at least 2 metres long, then I saw 6 more. I have seen large Barracuda before, but always by themselves, like the one at Tulamben wreck (Bali – Indonesia), but this was the first time I have seen 7 massive ones together.
The girls were so excited and the Barracuda got closer and closer, so close I got a little worried and moved them back. At that point I noticed Suzanne and Teresa just behind us, so I showed them the Barracuda and I could hear Suzanne’s yelps of excitement when she noticed there were seven massive Barracuda together.
We left the Barracudas and then found a Turtle chomping on some coral and once again the girls were very excited. We spent around 15 minutes with the Turtle.
Chebeh never stops to impress me, even after diving it many many times.
The night dive was done for the course, but hardly worth a mention, due to nothing really being seen.
We did 2 great dives on Sunday morning at Kuntan wreck, which is a great shallow wreck for juniors to enjoy, it’s a shame it’s so far from Singapore and seldom dived. The wreck is loaded with fish, bat fish, rainbow runners, white eyed morays, lion fish and so many pufferfish and porcupine fish. There were at 10 porcupine fish at one part of the wreck.
Sunday afternoon we dived Varella wreck, which believe it or not it was a first for me. It was a complete wreck… smashed into mostly unrecognisable pieces, except for the guns. Again there were loads of pufferfish and porcupine fish and a few morays. Before we jumped in we could see Sailfish jumping everywhere, big ones small ones jumping everywhere.
Just after we left Varella wreck the boat slowed down and there was much excitement. I soon noticed what the fuss was all about. There was a dead Sailfish on the surface so the boat boys fished it out. We noticed that it was already cut down its stomach and gutted. I guess some unhappy fisherman must have been gutting the fish and lost it overboard and it must of just happened because the fish was still very fresh. The boys will enjoy the fresh fish on their trip to Thailand (the boat beads off on Tuesday afternoon).
We enjoyed the onboard BBQ as we headed towards home to dive Pulau Yui and Jack Rock to end the weekend.
Pulau Yui was good with at least 5-7 metres viz. The bombs are still there and I still can’t believe there was Hawksbill Turtle there too, it must been lost or it likes bad viz living! We watched the Turtle for about five minutes then it swam away right through Jun’s group, which no doubt made their day also.
Jack Rock was the next dive site and all the usual suspects were there – Nurse Sharks (hiding under rocks), Pipe fish and loads of other fish life. I also rescued at least 100 fish that were stuck in abandoned fish trips, including one very large Coral Cod that was freaking out as I was cutting the trap and making a right old fuss stirring up all the silt. The Coral Cod finally saw the hole and made its way to freedom. Unfortunately, there were about 6 dead fish in all three traps.
I am happy to say that both girls, Tanvi and Devyani passed the SDI Junior Advanced Adventure Diver course. Congratulations to both girls and also to Manish for passing his PADI Advanced Open Water course too.
Teresa decided to do PADI Enriched Air Diver onboard along with Manish. Congrats to Teresa and Manish for joining the GS-DIVING Nitrox Divers Club.
Thanks to Suzanne and Zacchaeus for the use of your photos.