This weekend’s MV Seaborne dive trip to Tioman, Malaysia was mostly full of people from the Australia and New Zealand (ANZA) Dive Club. Also joining me were 3 PADI Open Water Students – Emma, Jean and Oliver.
Liam was meant to be the Open Water Instructor for the weekend, but unfortunately he had urgent matters to attend to back in Ireland. Luckily Georgie was free to DM along with Laura and I could look after the students.
The ANZA folks were Anne, Angela, Eddy, Doug, Jamie, Haggis, Kate, Minn, Kate and Russel.
Our first dive was at Bahara Rock an island south of Tioman. My students went ok, but some yo-yo diving from the two girls. After all the skills were done, we went for a look around for 15 minutes. I was too busy keeping an eye on and correcting my students to really see what was around. The other divers came back with the usual sightings of barracuda, trigger fish, clown fish and many other fish life, the viz was only around 10-15 metres.
Dive two was at Ringis and the moment we entered the water we came across a bait ball that was under attack by about 10-15 trevally. It was awesome fun to watch. One came in so straight into the bait ball, it hit the reef on the other side. I guess that scared the “you know what” out of it and it grazed its lip too.
After watching the feeding frenzy for a while and just after the full mask flood and clear, I was shocked to see a big black tip reef shark swimming right next to me. No more then 3 metres away! I waved to get everyone’s attention as it swam by. Emma and Oliver saw the shark, but Jean did not. It was a big fat shark and I was so happy to see it. We swam further south to the monkey bars and the treadmill and did a bunch more skills. After this we swam along the reef to a shallow point for a safety stop and completed an excellent dive.
Dive three was at Chebeh and the conditions were perfect. With the skills done quickly, we proceeded to “really” dive. I pointed out a few nudi’s and there were thousands of clown fish and sadly hundreds of crowns of thorns too. The soft coral was awesome with so many colours. The highlight was the small turtle that swam right past my group. Minn reported seeing two small yellow seahorses at Chebeh.
We settled back and listened to some old tunes thanks to Doug. I headed to the bathroom to be greeted by Laura walking out in her leopard skin underwear asking for a towel. I paused for a while, but agreed to get her one.
Georgie lead the night divers Eddy, Doug and Minn. They saw a turtle and Eddy and Doug saw not much else due to their failing eyesight. www.gs-diving.com/equipment/prescription-masks/
The BBQ started and for the first time ever on the MV Seaborne we finished all the food. There were about 3-5 pieces of kebabs left, everything else eaten. And this was with one person short due to a late cancellation. Good job – Team ANZA.
Sunday we dived Jack Rock, which we re named Trigger Fish Rock. Just about everyone was attacked by this one huge trigger fish. It bit Jamie’s arm and left a nice tooth mark.
I was pointing out a huge school of trevally to my group when at the end of my finger appeared the trigger fish. It scared me a lot! I thought for sure I was about to lose my finger but it zeroed straight into the middle of my eyes and knocked my mask off my face. I automatically lunged backwards and swung my right arm behind my tank and grabbed for my mask. The strap somehow found my hand and quickly I put it back on. I was clearing my mask waiting on the next attack, because I had no idea where the trigger fish was. Thankfully it did not attack my head again, it was actually tugging on one of my fins and then swam away. I told my students after the dive ” that’s why you learn to clear your mask.” Perhaps that is also why I carry a spare mask, just in case I don’t recover the first?
Trigger fish aside, Jack Rock was the highlight of the weekend. On one side the viz was bad and when we swam around to the other side it was amazing, at least 15 metres. It was hard to see the rock due to the huge school of small fish. There was a big school of snapper, one was about a metre long. There was a school barracuda and school of trevally with 2-3 very nice golden trevally. There were schools of just about everything. It was amazing. During the safety stop there was about 6 coral trout just cruising around us.
I can honestly say it was the best dive I have ever done at Jack Rock and I have dived Jack Rock more than 100 times. Jack Rock was worthy of a second dive, but I decided to go to Pulau Yui in search of a Killer Trigger Fish Free Zone to ensure no one else was bitten.
Pulau Yui turned out to be ok, decent viz and big bombs. Not much fish life. Maybe a second trigger fish dive would have been better?
Cheers – Gary
Photos by Georgie and Gary
Additional photos may be viewed on our Facebook page here – 18 to 20 May, 2012 – MV Seaborne with PADI Open Water Students