Posts Tagged ‘Perhentians’

Go with the flow

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

Sunlight diveshopI’m back behind the counter in Sunlight Divers. This morning I went to the divesite called the Vietnamese wreck for the first time. The Vietnamese wreck is in fact an old Japanese landing vessel used to transport Vietnamese refugees, and it sank while going in for repairs. When we got to the site, the current was so strong that we had to struggle to hang on to the buoy line, and after we’d been swimming around under the upturned wreck for a few minutes, we headed out into the current again, and spent the rest of the dive drifting along the sand. πŸ™‚ This was my first time drift diving, and also the first time I saw a seahorse! Some of my dives lately have been quite boring, watching an instructor teach skills to new divers, but it’s all part of the deal. Other dives have been REALLY cool, with lots of barracudas, sharks, stingrays, turtles, nudibranch, groupers, snappers, damsels, wrasses, lizardfish, razorfish, filefish and colourful corals. πŸ˜€

One night a few days ago some of the other staff here at Sunlight saw a nesting turtle right here on Long Beach! I wish I get to see it, and that I still had a camera, so I could film it…

I am now starting the third week of my six week course, so I’m done with the first third. I’ve got one theoretical exam to go, and one of the four stamina tests. The theory exams for the divemaster course are “Supervising Certified Divers”, “Assisting with Student Divers in Training”, “Skills and Environment”, “Physics”, “Physiology”, “Decompression Theory and the Recreational Dive Planner” and “Equipment”, and I only have the “Equipment” left to go. I’ve also had to take the Emergency First Response, since I don’t have the diploma from my Norwegian Rescue Society EFR with me. On the practical side I’m done with my Rescue Assessment, where I had to satisfactorily simulate rescuing a submerged nonresponsive, non-breathing diver, and get him to shore. I’ve also done my my 400 meter timed swim, my 800 meter timed snorkeling, and my 15 minute tread. That last one was pretty heavy, once I got to the last two minutes, where I had to hold both arms out of the water from the elbows up… The only stamina test I have left is the 100 meters timed Tired Diver Tow. πŸ™‚ When I’m done with those, all that remains is actual diving, assisting courses, leading students and leading certified divers, i.e. the fun stuff!

In a couple of hours, I’ll be assisting a really fun one, the Rescue Diver course. It’s gonna be a lot of fun, I’m sure, ’cause doing the course myself was cool, and assisting as a divemaster looked like even more fun. πŸ˜€

Divemaster Trainee Gone Native

Monday, July 13th, 2009

On Wednesday I went for my first two dives here at the Perhentians. The first dive was a wreck dive, an old freighter they call the Sugar Wreck. It lies on it’s side at around 19 meters, so that the shallowest side of it is on about seven meters. When we arrived at the divesite, I looked over the side of the boat, and I could see all the way to the bottom! The divemaster and instructor that was with us said that it was the best visibility they’d ever seen on that divesite, 20-25 meters. We went down at the stern, made our way up to the prow, and entered one of the cargo bays. We swam through to the aft cargo bay, and returned along the deck. The dive finished off along the upper hull, before we surfaced again at the stern. The whole wreck was covered in soft corals, and we saw bamboo sharks, great barracudas, squids, giant blowfish, scorpion fish, and lots of other cool critters. The second divesite they call by the codename of T3, and it consists of a jumble of massive boulders with lots of swim-throughs. I saw nudibranches there for the first time in my life, and they are perhaps the fanciest things I’ve seen so far, little brightly coloured slugs with a knobbly surface. Google it!

Thursday I decided to go exploring the island, and I headed out after a late breakfast. I went north, up to a couple of windmills, and found out there was also a solar power plant. Where the electricity goes is beyond me, though, because everyone is running diesel generators for power… I continued down the other side, to a small beach that would’ve been nice if it weren’t for the fact that it was obviously used as a docking point when the powerplant was built, and has not been properly restored. At the northernmost beach on the island I found no other people, however, and lay there relaxing with my book for a while. I continued exploring, but by then my feet were sore from wearing shoes, so I carried my shoes in my hands the rest of the day. I haven’t worn shoes for so longΒ  that it hurts really fast…

On Friday, Helena arrived from Koh Phi Phi when I had finished my late breakfast. That day we celebrated Richard’s birthday, he’s one of the guys who works here. I tasted the local rum, Orang-Utan, which goes by the fitting nick name Monkey Piss.

Yesterday Helena and I went over to Coral Bay, and continued north along the shore to go snorkeling. The sea was rather choppy, and there was so much sand suspended in the water that visibility was less than two meters. We gave up after a couple of minutes, and spent the day on land instead.

This morning Helena went diving, and I went to tell Sonny, the owner, that I’ve decided to stay. I checked the balance on my account first, to verify that the money the tax collector’s office owed me for last year had arrived and I could afford the course. I am now officially a Divemaster Trainee! I calculated that If I don’t get a job I probably have to go back to Norway in about three months, close enough to be called exactly one year from the time I left. I hope to be able to stretch the money, though, so I can get to Australia and get work before I run too low on funds. If I manage to get a job here in the Perhentians after I finish my divemaster, I can pretty much stay until my student loan downpayments have eaten up my budget, before I head out, but I won’t make enough to cover the downpayments as well, for that I need a proper job in a richer country.

My beach towel disappeared from the balcony the other day, so yesterday I bought a Sarung to replace it. The Sarung is the local traditional outfit for men, basically a big piece of cloth with the short ends sewn together so it forms a big tube, which is wrapped tightly around the body under the arms and rolled down to the waist so it fits kind of like a skirt. I wore it today, and got appreciative nods and comments from Malaysian men wearing the same garment. When I got over to Coral Bay to speak to Sonny, she exclaimed before I had time to say anything, “Jerry’s staying! He’s gone native on us already!”