Muck diving

Trip Start Mar 17, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Tomcat wanted to dive Mabul. It is an island, close to Sipidan AND close to a weird dive hotel. A metal construction, standing in the sea. Have a look at the picture.
Today we dive with Juliet and Elies (Dutch) and a very nice Finnish family, living in Vietnam: mum Helka and 2 sons: Aarni and Otso, doing their Advanced course.
It turns out to be a sloooooow day. They do not know who our dive master will be. We leave after 9, more than an hour late. We have the Malaysian dive master again, which means: no briefing. Perry is giving the family the course.
We sail to Mabul, which is pretty far away. We drop some one off at the metal dive hotel and sail to Mabul to ... ignore it and go to a resort on stilts. We are going to dive under there.
Dr T finds his first moray immediately. We literally dive between the stilts of the hotel. In the water is all kind of junk: a wooden house, hundreds of tires, pipes, wood, ... . I feel like I am diving on a dump! Lots of things to see, though.
Between the dives, we go to Mabul, where we can have a drink and lunch, if we want. We only did 1 dive and it is 11h30. T and I have a beer and the next destination is ... under the metal dive hotel. Sorry to say but for me: another dump! Roger told us about sea horses and shows us within minutes a lace coral with something tiny on it. Until Dr T found it on internet and we compare, I did not believe we saw sea horses. But indeed:
They are only discovered in 2003!
We are also surrounded by hundreds of fish of which we do not know what they are. I get kicked in my (operated) knee twice. The pain is so sharp my eyes keep on watering. Roger probably thinks I am not interested when he points out things but I just do not dare to go close to people anymore! I also give the camera to Tony, pointing out my knee is not OK. That is why the pictures of today are better than the previous days.
Back to Mabul for a short break of 20 minutes, so stay on the boat. It is more than an hour in the end. Local kids begging.
3rd  dive is from Mabul, it is almost a shore dive. Again we see something we never saw before: 2 Harlequin ghost fish.  I think it is a piece of broken off coral at first but no, it is swimming! Then, Tony saves my diving day by: finding lots of turtles. If nothing else: look at my turtle movie. VERY proud of it. T found it and it was having lunch: pulling the coral apart: a real vandal! Being at the right place at the right time but also happy with my buoyancy while filming. Don´t you think divers? A lot of colorful `worms´, trumpet fish, razor fish and I also took some pictures of corals and sea stars this time. And Nemo, of course.
I think we discovered more new specimens than the last 6 months together but still I am not so happy about my diving day. Difficult to say why, all little things; dive master spoke hardly any English, visibility low (we lost the diving master constantly, even lost each other for a minute or 2), temperature variable, got 2 kicks in my knee, 2 dives under 'hotels' who 'added' to the reef with tossing junk into the ocean. All overgrown by sea life but it looked like a dump to me. The 'overall' picture was not nice!
Sailing back, Helka´s oldest boy falls asleep on her lap and the youngest sleeps on the other side of the boat. She has a tender smile on her face, looking at her kids. I am thinking about my friend Plas, who talks about `enjoying the small things in life´. I am enjoying the love in the mum´s eyes.
Like I said, slow day, it is 17h30 when we reach the hotel. We have to hurry, we promised to show the pictures to the girls.
Leaving the hotel, we bump into the Finnish lady, who gives us her business card, so we can send some pictures.
When Juliet and Elies look at the pictures in the pub, they really seemed impressed. To give you an overview, I also should have taken pictures of the tires and pipes.
Unusual, I am the one having enough of the same food every evening and we go over the road, where I have a `western´ meal. The steak is overcooked and the mushroom sauce does not contain even a full mushroom but I am happy with the change anyway. We play half a game of cards and go back to the hotel, where we go to bed early, after I chatted to `home´ for a while.
Midnight: lights out, T is already snoring. Tomorrow, a day of rest. Or better: me updating my web blog and Dr T booking our next leg. He cannot convince me to stay longer. One more internet day and then, I am ready for the next destination.
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