I took a group of 12 from an International School in Singapore to Tioman, Malaysia.
This trip was via a bus and ferry and it was a reminder why I spend so much time on Live On-Board Boats (LOBs).
We travelled for a total 12 hours to only spend just under 24 hours on the island.
We completed 4 dives due to the ferry schedule.
We arrived at 12 midday on Saturday and left Sunday at 11.30am. Give me a LOB any day. The kids did not mind, but I guess they have a lot more energy than I do. They are 30 years younger than me, so they should be able to handle to schedule.
Teachers Dean and Gena were escorting the 10 kids, Shabeeu, Lavnesh, Cecilie, Sinead, Mikhael, Duc, Calim, Katherine, Roisin and Nicola.
Saturday we left the jetty on the dive boat for two dives around 1.30pm. We dived Fan Canyon. As its name suggests there is a canyon with seafans everywhere and some of them are huge. The viz was at about 15 metres which is pretty good for early March and there were loads of fish everywhere. It almost reminded me of the Philippines from a few weeks back. The wall of orange soft coral was really nice and I made sure we went past it a couple times as we investigated all that Fan Canyon had to offer.
Dive two was at Malang Rock. It is an unfortunate rock name in English. It is named this because the large rock on top of all the others does not ever touch the sea, even at high tide. I feel for that rock, I sometimes get a bit edgy when I am dry for too long.
We saw a turtle and two cuttlefish at Malang Rock. The girls were obviously enjoying themselves and kept swimming in front of me looking around, but unfortunately they kept going in the wrong direction. I spent half the dive directing traffic and getting everyone back on the right route. At one point when the girls once again headed in the wrong direction, I saw a big blue spotted ribbon tail. I tried to get their attention, but no luck.
The third dive on Saturday was at Salang Jetty. Wow, so many fish, there was an incredible school of fusiliers that was so thick you almost got lost in the middle. I would hate to guess how many there were, but it had to be several thousand give or take a bit.
There was also a few cuttlefish trying to mate and Dean and Shabeeu saw a small shark.
The highlight for me was the moray that lives in the fallen concrete pipes that were used to construct the jetty.
The moray was free swimming looking for a dead fish it could smell.
I followed him with the video on and captured it finding the dead fish and eating it.
The rest of the day was free and easy and with a 8am dive planned for Sunday. Unfortunately the boat we were expecting at 8am broke down so we decided to do another jetty dive. No one complained, because Salang Jetty was amazing yesterday.
Walk down the stairs, fins on and jump!
This takes a while, one at a time on the narrow stairs, but again, it was well worth it.
The fusiliers were still there and we could actually see them from the surface as a big black mass with the occasional silver flicker as a fish turned sideways.
We swam away from the jetty to the nearby reef to see the cuttlefish. We were not disappointed, there were 11 and the males were trying their luck with the ladies. They had no luck whilst we were there watching. We watched for ten minutes and headed back towards the jetty for a while and then exited on the beach. We walked back to the dive shop, washed gear, packed gear and got ourselves ready to catch the 11.30am ferry.
Arriving back in Singapore at the school at 6pm was a nice change. It was just a pity that we could not have dived longer on an island which promises many new adventures in the 2013 South China Sea Dive Season.
View video here
Photos were taken by Gary Savins