Diving in an aquarium

Trip Start Jan 01, 2010
Trip End Mar 04, 2011

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Where I stayed
Mati Hari

Flag of Malaysia  , Terengganu,
Wednesday, May 12, 2010

After leaving the hostel in KL at 6pm I finally arrived at Perhentian islands at 2pm the next day. This involved the train then an hours taxi then an hours wait and then finally a half hour speed boat ride. I think the boat owner was trying to give us a thrill by running over every wake he could find to make sure we slammed back on the water. As we entered the bay it was paradise again. Clear blue water we could see down to the bottom. White sandy beach and water that was so warm it was like a bath. Originally we were going to get 2 rooms between the 6 of us but in the end they decided to go for the cheaper option of a 5 bed. I was glad as it was so hot there and 3 people in a room with just a small fan would have been difficult. But this meant that by the time I had looked around the various hostels it was 4pm. I just lay in the water trying to get cool. It was amazing to lie in warm water which was clear looking at a beach which gave Phi Phi and Samui a run for their money. The biggest difference was the level of accomodation. There are no big hotels on Perhentian islands (or at least the small island I was staying on) and it is mainly basic backpackers. My room was pretty horrible but I just spent as much time away from it as possible. I didn't meet anyone on the island until I moved hostels the second day and got chatting to the girls in the room next to me. They are completely different to the girls who I got the boat with. They were really cliquey and dare I say a bit dim and bitchy. Whereas the girls in the hostel were sweet and a little more together although totally home bodies. One was supposed to go on a gap year and her friend said she wanted to go with her boyfriend instead so she cancelled the entire trip. Pretty horrible of the friend to do that but also it's a shame she just gave up on the entire idea.

   I was getting a little restless on the beach. It was fabulous but also a little dull being alone and very hot. I spent some time in the water but was also aware that it was pretty hot and that I still haven't perfected the art of solo suncream application and didn't want to get burnt after last year in SA where I fried completely.I checked out the dive shops and got a good vibe off one so signed up for a dive in the afternoon. It was very different to Big Blue where they put all your equiptment together for you which I have never had before. And there wasn't as much focus on safety as the briefing was pretty short and there was only one dive master on the dive. I was so glad I had had my refresher in Kenya then got used to diving in Ko Tao. Also buddy checks were done in the water which is also pretty strange - don't understand the point....if you have an issue you are already in the water. But my god the dive was amazing! I can't remember a better one. It was like being in an aquarium. You just didn't know where to look. we saw Bamboo sharks, Blue spotted rays, Groupers, Bump headed Parrot fish which are litterally huge. There were huge schools of fish which made the bait ball in Ko Tao Mango Bay look small. I have also got better at diving so I hardly use much air anymore. For a 55 min I still had a 100 Bar left I could have gone forever.

   The next dive I booked in for 2 dives as I wanted to head off the island as I had had enough of being too hot. I was going to go to Panang just to fill some of the time up before my parents came. I think I was a little islanded out and I am sure the islands would have made a much bigger impact if I hadn't been on islands in Thailand for the last month. I met a really nice girl on the dive and as we were chatting on the way out to the dive site I was gutted that she was leaving to Singapore that day. She was an awesome buddy - not on top of you like others on the dive who hit me in the head, knocked my reg out and generally kicked up sand. In the course of the dive I got thinking that she was awesome and there was no reason why I couldn't go to Singapore as I have a free schedule and this is the benefit to travelling alone. The dive was great again but I was having issues with my mask constantly so I missed the Lion fish which was just a bleary shape with my foggy water filled mask. Eventually Issy swopped with me at about 20m. Haha I am up to speed with my Open Water skills now. We also saw a turtle with 3 legs known as Tripod. I was so excited as I have been waiting to see a turtle in every dive.

   On the way back to shore I raised the idea of coming to Singapore with Issy and she was enthusiastic about it. It was a rush to shower, pack, check out, pay for dives and get the shuttle to the speed boat in 25 mins. But it was exciting to be on the move again especially as it hadn't been planned. It was awesome to have such great company. Similar to Angelika Issy is someone I would stay in touch with when I got back home. It made such a difference to have someone the same age ish and similar outlook after all the 18 year olds on the island. We spent the day in Kota Baru and went through the shopping mall there about 8 times during the day. There was nothing to do there. The only places to eat were McDonalds or Pizza Hut. We tried to get a massage before the train but every place we tried was up a dodgy set of stairs and they were closed or couldn't do 2 at the same time. Such a difference to Thailand where you can't move 5m without someone asking if you want a massage. The hostel where Issy had stayed before the islands were amazing - he took us to the train station to buy my ticket, dropped us in town, took our bags and picked us up to get the train.

   The train journey was like being on a sleepover. We sat up for a while eating popcorn and having girl talk. It was so nice to just chill out with someone similar. The train was less full this time and with 2 of us a lot less creepy so I got a lot more sleep than the time before. The border was hilareous. We got to the Malaysian side and Immigration official asks Issy for her exit card. She has no idea what he is talking about let alone where hers is. I just had visions of not being allowed out before she found it. On the Singapore side everyone gets out the train and takes all their bags. You wait in a queue for immigration similar to an airport and get stamped in. Then reboard the train. Nothing like the Thailand Laos border which took 2 and half hours this was completed in half an hour. Got to love civilisation again!

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London Correspondent on

Three-legged turtle?! That's so sad!!! And they named it Tripod? Really, that's a bit mean...!
Reminds me of those poor little gnarly-footed pigeons you see hobbling around London....

In happier news, glad you're having fun and staying out of trouble for now :- )

xoxo LC

London Correspondent on

Like your sunnies by the way. Very trendy!!
London has finally started to get warm and sunny, so I'm on the lookout for some tres chic sun specs.

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