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Sunday, 10 July 2011

A pretty good dive

As we made our descent, we were greeted with the sight of a school of barracuda quietly hovering over the shallower parts of the reef.

Having received some tips from the divemaster, I was eager to be in more control of my buoyancy and so for the earlier part of the dive I focused more on the marine life that lay within an arm's length. There were plenty of red snappers here and there and sea cucumbers almost as long as my arm were feeding.

They resembled extraterrestrial worms, white with black appendages feeling around the rocks for some grub.

Here and there we saw a few blue spotted stingrays moving around.

The divemaster then looked into a crack in the rock and motioned for us to do the same. As I hovered silently over the rock, I stared at the dark green face of a moray eel. It stared back at us, opening and closing its mouth in a routine motion.

As we continued with our dive, the divemaster spotted something under a rock and tried to poke at it. At first I thought it could be a moray eel, but then a strange grey fish darted across below me. At first I thought it was a shark of sorts but it was actually just a stonefish (those things are poisonous by the way).

The divemaster kept pointing some things out to us, and an interesting one was a tiny nudibranch probably the size of a letter of this font. After seeing it, I made way for the other divers to have a look and what I saw a bit further on made my heart beat a little faster; it was a turtle feeding. Sadly, before I could signal anyone to its presence it disappeared.

I forgot to mention this. The dive was an especially interesting one because the reef was not on flat even ground. The contours made for a challenging and altogether fun way for me to control my buoyancy. The wide variety of corals, both soft and hard, also made for a beautiful scenery; an underwater garden bursting with life in a brilliant array of textures and colours.

So we were continuing this dive and we approached a steep rock formation. At its base, the divemaster motioned for us to come one by one and stick our hand into a part of the rock. It was there that small, transparent and dotted shrimp decided to satisfy their curiosity and hop onto the strange human appendage.

Moving on, another diver and me spotted a reef shark moving across the sand nearby. I tried to alert the other divers about this relatively rare and exciting sight but it's pretty hard to get attention underwater when no one's looking. But for the two of us who did see the respectably-sized shark, it was a nice.

As we floated close to the reef, we saw another turtle feeding. Approaching with caution, we didn't scare off the turtle and it surfaced for air before descending again to feed. It glided gracefully around for a while and we were awed as it did that.

Making our three-minute safety stop, I looked around and took it all in. I reviewed my buoyancy and was quite pleased with the progressed I was making. I remembered bits and pieces of what I saw and was also quite pleased, even though I came across one or two crown of thorn starfish - the Decepticons of the sea. As we made our ascent, I took one last look at the wonderful reef below me and saw a turtle gliding around again. This time, it approached something under an overhanging coral, which turned out to be another turtle. And just as the two turtles came into view, I was at the surface.

*

Haha, just trying to put some words to one of the most rewarding dives I've ever had. The trip itself was pretty cool too, with interesting experiences. But my recently-revived writing stamina can't take writing about all that now, so I'll leave it at that.

Do note that the timeline of the various encounters may not be accurate, but for the bigger parts like the descent, ascent and shark encounter it's more or less there.

The dive site was Trumbu Kili, Pulau Redang and we had a bottom time of 52 minutes and reached a maximum depth of 19.2 metres, which is the deepest I've gone so far.

I just hope I can make more dives soon even with NS around.

Yours,
Az

Posted by Az at 1:55 AM

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