Stop looking: we found Nemo !

Trip Start Mar 17, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Thursday, March 27, 2008

Our first dives in Malaysia. Excited!
We show up at 8 to find: our chef from the seafood platter! He sells the lunches for 1 Euro: rice or noodles with chicken or shrimps or squid or seafood or egg.  One chicken and one squid, please!
They are late, as they all are. We pick up our stuff and walk less than 5 minutes to the boat. Little boat, no toilet. We meet Katherine and James, from Canada, living and working in Abu Dhabi but moving to Norway. James dives, Katherine snorkels.
We go to Sibuan, an island 20 minutes away. Its inhabitants are stateless! They cannot go anywhere, they do not exist. You can imagine: the children are begging but are happy with the leftovers of your food. They like to be photographed, the adults don't. At the end of the island, there is a military base.
Our dive instructor is Perry. Also from Canada. Handsome with bright blue eyes. Nice fella. I do tell him about my knee and everybody is helpful.
I am nervous: the first time with my underwater case for our camera!!! As you can imagine: I do not do well. But, I'll bore you with the pictures anyway. The first underwater picture is of my Hubby, of course! We see a boxer fish, black crocodile fish and we found Nemo! We also find a yellow frog fish: weird thing!
Walk down the island during surface interval. Meet the local kids. Four families life on the island. They live of fish exclusively. They 'dynamite' the fish. Throw dynamite in the sea, fish die and they scope them up. I do not know how they buy the dynamite or their clothes. But, then again: their clothes are full of holes and the small children are just naked. The dive company 'sort of adopted' a little boy. He helps on the boat, scrubs the sides of it and gets all the food and cookies, which he does share with his friends.
Second dive, we see lots of worms in all colors, shapes and size. Unlike their brothers ON earth, they do not scare me.
Second surface interval, we watch a Russian doing his Rescue Course. The 'victim' is Ole, one of our diving masters (German, but, hey, nobody is perfect), who spent here 5 weeks here to get his master degree.
AND there is a 3rd dive: 2 turtles, a stone fish who found a comfortable bed and a sea eel. And a lot of other stuff too.
In the evening we meet our new friends in the pub and believe it or not: Tomcat has the seafood platter AGAIN. Perry joins us too, for a couple of games.
Next day: we were hoping for a cancellation for Sipadan, so we can join our new friends. No such luck and to our disappointment, we go back to Sibuan AGAIN with a new dive mistress: Jacky. We do find a lot of nice stuff. Pity, but the weather is not so nice. During our surface interval, it is raining. And even with 30 degrees, when you are wet in the rain and the wind, it feels cold. We are happy to go back in. more frog fish are found. Cleaning shrimps, colorful Christmas trees, lots of lion fish, .
After lunch, we go to Mandarin reef. If Jacky did not tell us porky pies: the Mandarin fish is the ONLY fish, who lives with one single purpose: to mate! At dusk and down, they mate. This should be one of the only places in the world, where you can see them during the day time. They hide in between sea urchins (I HATE those things), so they are difficult to take pictures of. BIG puffer fish.  And two worms having fun: they must have watched the mandarin fish. And then, my Tomcat finds my favorite fish: the trunk fish: he is so cuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuute! On the way home, I talk to a Swiss boy, who travelled for 5 months and now goes home to start his pilot school. He succeeded the entry exams.
We are back at 16h30. Rinsing our gear, our friends are back from Sipadan and find no words for the beauty. 19h, movie, pub: deal.
We watch the movie and indeed, we have our hopes up! Tonight is NOT a seafood night, we go for pizza.
Lesley joins us, a diver, whom Katherine and James met today. Unfortunately, the place has a private buffet on tonight and not enough kitchen staff nor equipment to deal with everything. Our pizzas come sloooooowely and one by one. The men have an ice kiss, a local liquor, nobody knows what is in there.
Afterwards, Katherine and James invite us at their hotel to have a bottle of champagne they brought from home. We spend a pleasant time on the terrace. Their hotel is standing on stilts and around it, large aquariums are filled with fish: even sharks and puffer fish. Huge tunas too. They are leaving at 8 tomorrow morning and I am sorry to see them go. That is the life of a world traveler: your lives touch for a short amount of time and before you can really get to know people, they are gone. Always leaving me a bit lost.
Tomorrow, rest day for my knee and big laptop working day. I expect us to spend 90% of our time in the room.
So, how was the diving: very good but not spectacular, so far, . .
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