Thursday, 16 June 2011

Perhentian Paradise

After having enough of a few days of rainy weather in Georgetown, I decided to try my luck on the eastern side of the Malaysian peninsula and took the bus over to The Perhentian Islands. I thought I would probably stay 3 or 4 days enjoying the beach before heading on to the jungle of the Taman Negara National Park.

I did enjoy lovely Long Beach for about 4 days, but then the rest of my plans were thwarted in a very good way as I decided to pass my Open Water diving certification, in the end staying over two more weeks on Perhentian Kecil, the small island of the Perhentians. I really loved it there, started making new friends and discovering scuba diving is probably the best highlight of my whole trip. I fell in love with diving straight away, only wondering why I hadn't tried it before (well, I do know about the two last years, my ears were slightly damaged after a small flight over the Andes so I couldn't really be under water. I realised they were all fine by now after some snorkeling, so I decided it was time for scuba).

I'm still not even certain what I like the most about diving; fish have never been a particular passion of mine, though of course I started learning to recognise the most obvious usual suspects after a few dives (angel fish, butterfly fish, barracudas, puffer fish, clown fish, anemone fish, trigger fish, parrot fish, etc).

I think I really the sensations of being underwater, discovering a whole new world where we're not naturally geared up to be wandering around as human beings, I enjoyed learning new things about diving safety procedures and equipment, I appreciate the calm silence interrupted by the weird quality of underwater sounds, I love the freedom of movement as well as learning to use my body in new ways (Such as using my lungs and breathing to manage buoyancy and which level I stay at under water, or sparing my arm and leg movements to save air). It is magical in many ways and I definitely want to keep diving in the future.

I ended up also passing my Advanced Open Water certification, in which I tried out different types of dives which was a lot of fun: a deep dive where we went down to 29m depth; a navigation dive practicing with the compass underwater; a search & recovery dive learning basic techniques to look for and recover lost objects under water; a wreck dive spotting and writing down points of hazard and interest on the wreck of a fairly large cargo ship; and finally a night dive which was weird, eerie and wonderful.

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