(A melodic or harmonic configuration that creates a sense of repose or resolution.)

"But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever." - Psalms 52:8

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

pulau aur!


man, the trip there was LONG.

we met at Amara Hotel at 7pm, then a bunch of us (me, alvin, sara, melvin, ps william, chew ping, jefferson, joe and zhixiong) left on the first van to the Tuas checkpoint. once we hit m'sia we had a 2 hour ride to Mersing, and then from there another 4 hour boat ride to pulau aur, AND THEN we'll sleep for 2 hours and then we'll take the first dive.



'sara! the flash is killing us!!'

thinking about how little sleep i'll have and then going for a dive immediately gave me the heebie jeebies. *shudder* the fear was still with me!! eeks!!!!!

anyway on the way there i just slept and slept and became grouchy whenever my sleep was disturbed coz i REALLY wanted to rest and not drown in the big blue sea later. i'm sorry if i was grouchy to you! or you! sorry! disturbed sleep makes me grumpeh. :(


i amazed myself by how i could sleep in any position.


when we hit pulau aur i was a ball of energy while everyone was groggified. HAHA! my pockets of rest paid off! which also made melvin say, 'you're a morning person right. -_-'

YEAH!! boing-boing.

alvin just curled into a ball and covered his face. hurhur so cute.

i took william the instructor's advice and changed into my wet shorts. from the ferry we had to take a sampan over to shore... which was the beginning of our problems.

we lugged our bags into the sampan, and while waiting for more peeps to get on... IT STARTED TO RAIN. sara squealed in dismay while i laughed. haha, i was glad i was in my 'wet attire' already. and i like rain! not to mention i was still a ball of energy. :)

once the sampan started moving the rain stopped... the cloud was above the ferry only! how cute. it's always nice to watch sheets of rain coming down at a close but dry distance. :)

then the next problem came. our sampan ran aground into dead corals and we were stuck for quite awhile. ps william came out to help with his booties (i need to get me one of those) and colin helped too but he lost his shoe!! :(

i threw him a slipper but then it rendered me helpless to walk on the terribly coralled shore. somehow, i got my slipper back (but poor colin didn't) then trooped onto shore.


see the extremely low tide!!! see the corals!!! so painfulllll.

we had a short briefing then up to the resort we went. it looked like a God-forsaken place, and by resort it actually meant dingy place with 3 bunks cramped up in a room of floorboards.

i was too tired to complain though, and once i hit the mattress i was dead to the world.



1st dive, check it out! *stomach's a-flutter*

yeah ABR is Atlantis Bay Resort. honestly, it did not suck. in fact, it was just as no frills as possible! we had a bed, we had air-conditioning, we had thick blankets and fluffy pillows. so the floor's sandy and the toilet's sandy. but we had toilet paper! i guess the previous night i just wasn't prepared... by saturday i was warming up to the place already! :)


the canteen


our dorm



the steep path to where the food was


the beached up corals in the daylight


the view!!



we all split up into our groups for briefings: the Fun divers and the Course (aka Stressed) divers. this is a map showing us the dive spots around Pulau Aur.


first stop: Teluk Kador!


all the noobs (6 of us) went up the boat on a sampan first. hehehe, aileen and i were trying to calm our nerves so we laughed at everything. in the sampan we pretended to be illegal immigrants, hehe.


once we got up the boat we had to fix up our diving gear. i kept scaring myself: life and death situation, life and death situation omgomgomgomg...

zhixiong had this nice anti-fog idea for our masks: Johnson and Johnson shampoo! then we asked, what if it burned our eyes?

the answer was simple.


'no more tears!'


then the Fun divers came, and kindly took shots for the Stressed divers!

buddy pair #1: aileen and hooi kiat


buddy pair #2: joe and zhixiong (who's like an unlicensed diver coz he was from Navy before he injured himself)


buddy pair #3: me and... DA SEA MONSTAAAAAAA. (i need to teach alvin when he can and can't put on his monster face. sigh.)


into the water we went!



haha yeah we went into the waters using the Big Step technique.

everything went super well! my right ear hurt while i descended though, so i took awhile to equalize and descended OH SO SLOWLY. poor alvin had to wait for me while his oxygen depleted like woah, super rapidly. he's got giant lungs, i reckon.

we did all the exercises in pairs, same stuff as we did in the pool, then took a swim with the instructor which was sooooo liberating. while we waited for other pairs to go through the exercises, we just kneeled on the sandy bed making hand signs while gripping on to the rope that was supposed to help anchor us down.

without the rope together with my hyperventilating breaths, i think i would've floated up like a bubble already. *shudder*

i remember a googly-eyed fish just watching us while we performed all the safety exercises. i shooed it away after we gave each other a quizzical stare.

OH JOE HAD THE MOST WONDERFUL WETSUIT! he looked like bruce lee and it was hilarious!!!


and that's me behind feeling abit green. too much scrambled eggs for breakfast i think. you can't put scrambled eggs in front of me! i can't control myself! T_T

first dive was awesome! heebie jeebies begone!! XD


next dive: Lang!


not many pictures coz for our first 2 dives william the instructor didn't allow us to bring the camera as it might be too distracting. for the second dive we did more skillz! and we went to a depth of 10m, eep.

'my ear! it hurts!' *equalize, equalize, blows nose, swallows saliva quickly*

and then we saw huge ass parrotfish. i couldn't even see them clearly, just their silhouettes. 2 of them. HUGE. like the size of my torso. or alvin's. i don't know man. scary humphead parrotmonsterfish.

coming back from our second dive:


the rest went back to shore after the 2nd dive for some donuts. ps william and chew ping stayed ashore to rest, which was a good thing coz he gets really seasick! the waters got a lot more choppy in our 3rd dive.

us doing out threadwater test while the rest were munching donuts:


we could bring joe's camera now! :D

3rd dive: Jawa!


i was taking a picture with sara, when i looked up and saw this!!!!!!


it's another gorgeous oyster cloud! (like the one alvin and i spotted at expo the last time)





yay photos galore!

this time i lost my mask when i leapt into the water. ahhh... seawater tastes ... $%@#&%.

oh this is how i recognize my buddy from all the other buddies. alvin's hair is just different:






and hereby starts our real first dive with fishies!

the weird armed star fish that i won't forget


probably not Nemo, but a cousin



normal parrotfish!


if u touch the blue stuff they retract into their shells. cute.





grumpy clam


when we broke the surface, it was getting late! this is william our instructor:


dark clouds began to gather as we headed our way back to pulau aur. suddenly! lightning struck! i looked into the distance and i saw this:


poor coconut tree, too tall la.

thank God He held the rain up. once we hit the pulau aur's shore it POURED. like, scary thunderstorm poured. i remember aileen yelling while i was bathing, 'viv! quickly! it's gonna rain!!' 'but i just got in... ...'


'ok never mind, haha!'

in fact it was a good thing we never made it to the canteen before the rain started because the winds were so strong the rain fell horizontally... oh man!

it also spelled the opening of 'Hooi Kiat's mama shop'. man, that guy had TONS of snacks in his bag! the snacks just kept coming; if we didn't want chips anymore, he had crackers, or nuts, or chocolate... or cookies...

wow. so we just stood outside our rooms admiring the lightning and the storm while passing around packets of food. nice.

we had a super amusing dinner after we coined alvin and melvin the drumstick brothers (i have no idea how it started), and then laughed at melvin's ah beng ways hahahahaha. i can't explain it. you have to watch him flirt with sara in his ah beng methods - hilarious!!

after we completed our dive log, we tried to play a game of polar bear but everyone was just way too zoned out, so back the bunks we went. alas! sara's bed was collecting water from the leaking aircon, so we both shared the lower bunk, while aileen was on the upper deck.

in the middle of the night she had serious nightmares and shook the entire bunk as she tossed and turned. sigh.



i jump out of bed and go out into the sun...

where's the sun?!?!??!

aww man, it's bloody cloudy.

after breakfast william the instructor says he might cancel one dive. i was secretly happy coz i was so tired. as all the dive instructors surveyed the situation, all of us had serious camwhore moments. HAHA.


this was what aileen gave me for my birthday! yeah i forgot it was my birthday when i woke up until alvin walked past me and aileen, and he was so excited to see me and say hello that he dropped his present for me with a huge clang. HAHAHAHAHAHA.

woah the WIND



oh my, the drumstick brothers are at work


the guys fail:




yay my cell leader carries me through~!


the drumstick brothers attack once more!


stores power...




chunli attacks joe too (poor joe)





dive 4: teleram

ugh, i do not like strong currents. :(

we saw a beautiful sight of a huge cone of coral, and a huge school of big fish and another school of tinier fish swarming around it. what a National Geographic moment! :D



and we noobs felt a little more pro for this:


from left to right: joe with his longie, xiong, hooi kiat, aileen (pink weight belt!), me and alvin (pulling me down coz i was threatening to float away already)

after dive 4, we were all relaxing on the boat while the rest went back onto shore again. then william the instructor turns to joe, aileen and zhixiong and said it was time for their swimming test. they had to swim around the boat in order to pass.

hehe, i'd finished my test during my pool session, so i was just happily laughing at their demise...

then i got kicked off the boat.


zzz. might as well la, i had to pee anyway. zhixiong was nearing me when i shouted, 'eh i'm peeing be careful ah!!!' hahahahaha. he darted away like a fish.

by the time we started our fifth dive the current was up, so we decided to do a drift dive. my descend was so slow alvin had to keep coming up to get me coz my tank was loose so i was kinda spooked. plus my ears were really not helping at all.

i couldn't get myself to sink to the bottom and floated up so fast i broke the surface. i started panicking that a boat was gonna run me over so i hyperventilated and it didn't help at all. eeks. alvin had to chase after me, a depth of 17m, and pull on my fins to get me down. i tried to help by lowering my breathing, but in the end alvin had to hold on to me to prevent me from accidentally escaping to the surface.

i think it was this draining dive that sapped us and gave us a headache when we were back at work. decompression sickness maybe, due to the fast descend and ascending. alvin's worse off than me right now, bleh. poor thing.

DEAR THANKS FOR SAVING MY ASS!!! i honestly didn't go crazy with panic coz u were right beside me. *smooch*

OH OH OH while i was still managing to keep to the bottom, we saw a manta ray-shark!! that's because it was a shark, but i thought it was a manta ray.

damn smart right. -_-"'

my instructor's been diving at pulau aur hundreds of times and he's NEVER seen a shark come to the depths of 12m coz they're deep sea creatures, so we were really blessed!

except that i thought it was a manta ray.


it was beautiful and huge (about 2m) though, all sleek and graceful. gorgeous stuff! it darted really near us, then swam away quickly so it was just a glimpse. i let out a lot of bubbles when i saw it coz i was startled, don't think it helped my visibility at all. haha! :D

going back to the boat was abit rough, i didn't feel entirely fantastic after i hopped onto deck.

after getting back to pulau aur it was a mad rush to bathe, pack up, have lunch and sampan our way back to the boat which was gonna take us to mersing.



4 hour boat ride... i slept through most of it. alvin's thighs are fantastic pillows!! XD

we also celebrated my birthday!


yeah i got a huge heart shaped cookie from mrs fields!! XD



we left pulau aur at 1pm and i only reached home at 1030pm. dead tiring!


i'm now a certified open waters diver!! HOOYEAH!!!


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