My next diving adventure continue on on-board MV Black Pearl and this time I did fun dives together with my Rescue Diver Course via LOB.
The journey from KL to Tjg Gemok took quite awhile but still have the time to have dinner over at Kuala Pilah’s famous
Fried Kue Tiaw. Finally arrived at the boat around 2.30am.
My Rescue Training Instructor Dr Azhar Hussin who is a retired Prof from University of Malaya. I signed up with him on March this year
But my work schedule to pack to give space for any practical training and the Prof seemed pack with his own schedule too.
At the end we both manage to book ourselves under mentari scuba’s LOB Tioman trip from 7th-9th June 13. Before the actual practice in the
Open sea, I already did my pool training at Seamonkey PJ Palms New Town Petaling Jaya and I also finish reading my manual during my free
Time at home. I did my video review in the van during the journey from KL to Tjg Gemok. Other than that I routine myself to go to swim
Once a week at a public pool near to my office. That way I able to build up my stamina for the rescue exercise.
Morning next day , I met up with prof and asked him when can we start our rescue training? He told me to enjoy a few fun dives first and maybe
After lunch we can get to do the exercise. I just cant wait for drills to finish on the same day cause I really want to free and easy myself for the next fun dives.Our 1st Dive was Labas island. Labas island is small, rocky and only have a few patches of greens on top of it. It has swimtrus that is easily to get around With. The dive not so deep and good for OW to AOW level. The current can get mild to moderate so the only way to escape from it, is to go between the rocks. Then we did the 2nd dive at Chebeh island. I skip the next 3rd and 4th dives which was Seafan Garden and Salang Jetty. Reason was to conserve Energy for my Rescue Drills. We start the drills after snack time around 5pm.
1st drill – Me, Prof and Ena gear up with scuba equipment. Prof only mentioned on the surface saying “ we will practice rescuing responsive or un-responsive diver “.He didn’t elobrate how. I immediately dangled my octopus and just let one clip to hold it. I kinda think he might be doing low on air exercise. I remembered when I practice At the pool ,it was hard for me to take out the octo clip. So we went under just strolling around the corals, suddenly Ena show a sign of distress and holding her leg. I guessed to myself maybe she was trying To signal cramp. I signal her whether she cramp or what? She just pointing her leg. So I just assume she had cramps. I helped her with cramp removal excersize. Suddenly she signaled me with her eyes. I turned around and saw Prof racing towards me with signal out of air. Thank goodness I let the octo loose. After that I saw Ena remain motionless. So I guess this time helping unresponsive diver from underwater. Once at the surface she still remain motionless so had to bring her up to the boat, while giving her rescue breath. On the boat I startd to give her CPR . She gave a sign of life by coughing and I let her rest in the recovery position
2nd Drill – Search and Recovery. Prof showed me a small figure ‘puss in boots doll’ tied with a weight. He then threw it as far as he can towards the coral.He told me he give me 10min to find it. He wanted to see what kind of pattern will I use to search for it. I quickly look at where the doll touch the water. Immediately took the bearing. The doll touch somewhere near to a bouyline .Gear-up and dive following my bearing. At first I was quite confident thinking I can find the thing but I get nearer to the dense corals formation, I was in doubt. I keep telling myself “oh man Hopefully the doll didn’t get slip into any of the corals and hide from view”. I keep looking up at the surface Hoping to find the reflection of the bouy but I couldn’t see it. Maybe because the sun was shaded by the trees of the lagoon and so I couldn’t see the bouy shape. I still maintain my bearing. Just when I was about too loose every confident in myself then I saw the doll on top of a table coral. FUh!!!!! Just imagined if it was stuck in between staghorn corals. With urchins. But I still didn’t do any pattern yet. I cant just deploy the marker.It seems that I have to cheat a little. So I just did a short U-turn pattern and then I deployed the marker. I waited there alone for the Prof to arrives.
3rd Drill – Here come the 3rd Drill. Prof had told me before I went for the search and recovery drill. He told me the 3rd drill would be a scenario and I had to figure out What kind of problem and how to solve it. So continue on with the drill , I saw prof come to me and the back I saw another lady diver. Prof signaled to swim to the deeper side of the reef. We just stroll around when suddenly prof went wild. His head down and his fin up. Something like a vertigo. I came to him and control him and showed him the bubbles and position. Then we continued on. Suddenly the lady diver just remain static. Didn’t move but was breathing. I tap her , she respond and even gave me an OK signal. I move forward but the lady still remain static. I tap her again and again she respond. I did this 3 times with her and with the 3rd I gave her a signal to go up. The lady diver said ok and both of us went up slowly. Once above water, she become herself and then all of us at the surface. She was talking fine when we start to fin to the boat when
Suddenly she screamed and move franticly on the surface. So now I think to myself drill for panic diver. I swung her around.
Maintain her buoyancy and knee cradle her while maintain her head above water. She was quite a fighter. Lucky for me I was more
Stronger than her.
4th Drill- which was the last of the drill. Actually prof thought I might want to continue the drill the next day. I told him NO. I want to finish it on the spot. It was just stamina endurance. I have to swim from boat to the plank platoon(for snorkelers) 3 times. I get my snorkel and fins. When I reached the Platoon, I already felt the strain of paddling over both my legs but I still didn’t have the cramps. It was tiring but I manage to finish the drill Less than 5min.
My best buddies congratulated me and even shake hand with me. I felt proud of myself I get to finish the course which for few years I had doubt about.
I was looking down on my own abilities. Such accomplishment made me feel complete.
The next day prof told me about doing DM and the qualification to be DM. Must be able to do 40 guided dives. He briefed me about how he did his
DM. Different from the what normal DM would do. To me his idea was brilliant. He was a prof in geology so topography and mapping a site was his field of work. I don’t know , maybe I should take DM course. For now , I just want to be underwater tourist. I was trying to enjoy the rest of my unlimited fun dives until finally the last dive turn out to be an ACTUAL Rescue diver situation.
The Dive site Tokong Burung. The sea was a little bit choppy due to strong wind blowing on the surface. The sky was cloudy. I brought along my dive torch As guidance. We went down . After 11min bottom time I heard a Loud POP! Then followed with hissing sound. I look up to the surface. I didn’t see
Any boat. I looked at the divers , everyone seem to be ok. The hissing sound still continue on. Suddenly I thought to myself. I reached back for my 1st stage And I could feel streaming of bubbles coming out fast. Oh DAMN!. I looked at my DC , depth 11m , I looked at the divers (they were not paying attention to me at all. Everyone was bz taking pictures) they were about 5m away from me. At that point I thought to myself. CESA or to the buddies? CESA or Buddies. I finned As fast as I could to the prof. Showed him my 1st stage. He check it and turn off the knob. I reached his octo. He then turn the knob On again. Still bubble continue. He showed hand signal for ascend and safety stop. Once on the surfaced I did manual inflate and switch to snorkel. Both of us laughed and jokingly said “Now this is an actual scenario unplanned”.
Diving LOB onboard black pearl has a few things to bear in mind. Black Pearl don’t offer any DM guide, renting gears, Toiletteries, towels, or any Oxygen tank for any emergency Backup. What they offer only food, tanks and weights. It is up to the Dive Organizer to provide those other needs.
Normally when I dive with Mentari Scuba, Ms Jade already briefed us before the trip to bring our own towels and other thing that necessary to bring.
Mentari Scuba only provide 1 DM for 17 divers on board. That is beyond quota. Normally what I do for my own safe measures, me and a few buddies will make A group of our own. That way it is easy for us to look for one another. One DM will not be able to rescue or assist 17 divers especially when the DM Is also holding a big camera with him during the dives. Other thing I always take note, once I arrived on the boat , I practice to assemble and gear up my scuba equipment while the boat still docking at the jetty. Next morning I wake up, everything is ready. I just need to wear the gears and dive. Other thing, i dont recklessly left my gears anywhere. i clip my mask at the BCD. I left my booties inside the fin pocket. I sometime put my fin under the seat where my tank situated out of people’s way or i left it in the fin’s basket. When one of us said “Lets gear up”, i want to put on all the gears and be ready to dive in less than 2-3min.
One more tip about diving, if by any chance you experienced a burst o-ring not only to your tank, it can be with anyone’s tank in the dive centre your were diving with, it is a good practice to be aware and know your next plan incase the thing burst underwater.
More on the logs and some pictures before my camera drowned after the 5th dive