I am now back in Kota Bahru after 6 days on the island of Pulau Kecil. I had a set of fabulous dives, met some great people and prepared myself for returning to Taiwan.
Although it looks like a tourist catalogue, I did not actually retouch this image at all. It really is this ridiculously blue.
The days were typically spent diving in the morning and reading in the afternoon. Food would be squeezed into this busy schedule, possibly some ice cream, and hanging out with my dive buddy, Thomas.
Highlights of the diving included seeing Hawksbill Turtles surfing the underwater currents, several coral reefs, rock pinnacles with exciting swim-throughs and caves, and a wreck of a sunk Japanese cargo boat. It was great to get back in the saddle / goggles after an 18 month break – not quite the magic of the original dive team of John, Serge, Beto, Ron and Lise in Guatemala, but some great people none the less. I realise now how important the people diving with are for the experience, and of course safety.
Maz, my primary dive master was very good. A local guy, he and his friends Christened me ‘Jonny Jalankaki’ which is Malay for ‘Jonny Walker’ – I rather like it! Thomas, whom I met on the boat and shared a double bed with for the first night (!) joined me on the wreck dive and that was great fun.
My final dive was to a location called ‘Secret Reef’ – and it was. Each time the dive shop places a buoy line the line is cut and the buoy floats off – mysterious, eh. We headed to the site, a 30m deep dive, and descended through the depths. Sadly, due to a navigational error, we headed in the wrong direction and missed the reef. Most people were disappointed, but I really felt like I learnt something new. I had never been to the open sea bed before, seen so many jelly fish and plankton, swam in such low visibility (down to 2m in some places) or used an emergency locator at the end of the dive. I really learnt a lot. And Nadine and Jaap (co-buddy and buddy) were hilarious fun as the effects of deep diving took effect – we were all laughing our heads off at fish swimming by or someone swearing. I really came up with a smile on my face.
So, in Khota Bahru again (pretty sure my spelling changes each time I try it) on a Friday. Again, it is the quiet market day so I am missing out a bit, but it is nice to relax, clear up some souvenir shopping and have plenty of time for my 8pm bus to Johor Barhu, near the Singapore border.
My two weeks here could not have been of higher contrast. World cities, jungle missions, heroic long distances and then sitting staring at clouds! Malaysia has left a very positive after glow.