So begin my OW training with an advance OW student. Prof Azhar Husin briefed me of the things that I need to do when we get underwater during the Advance drill with the student. This trip included 3 fun divers(2 Ow and 1 rescue level), 2 DMT (including me), and AOW student. Prof booked us all at Panuba Inn and we was using the Azmi Dive Centre branch at Panuba Inn. Previously the DC was operated by Bali Hai. The Azmi Dive Center Branch didn’t have any compressor, tanks or any dive gears. All the accessories originate from the main center at Salang. Prof need to book the tanks and gears in advance with Azmi Dive so that the things get ready once we reached panuba.
We reached mersing town at around 3am. I was together with Ena in her car. others came separately. Total 4 different cars. We waited for the earliest ferry to tioman. We reached Panuba at around 10.30am. We quickly get into our room and started to gear up after that. Me and Ena get the most top location of the chalet. A lot of stairs need to climb. It was tiring going up and down the stairs. The room was pretty basic and there were a lot of lizard(gecko) droppings, insects and ants. The room equipped with A/c with manual controller and attach toilet with hot water. The water pressure was very slow. One double bed with single pillow each for me and Ena. The bed sheet was thin. Lucky we brought along our own sleeping bag. 2 plug socket. The best thing I guess was the view. The view was the only thing made me happy with the room. The rest of it, I just had to bear with it. Food wise at the café, was not to my liking at all. My stomach was growling bad and I had bad gas during the trip. I tried my best to keep everything in control. The fried rice was cooked using margarine and was not that spicy. The food took too long to arrive. Some ordered was even forgotten to cook. The café manager had to use an excuse saying that their cooked had gone home back to home town because it was already near to monsoon season. I regret I didn’t bring along some emergency food with me. Next time remember to pre-order your meal either lunch or dinner before the crowd arrive. If not , you might be waiting for your meal an hour or more.
Back to diving, our first dive was Peak Performance Bouyancy. Prof assigned me to hold the surface marker while another DMT (leena) will be assisting him with the student. Ena and leena’s husband (azraul rescue diver) decided to join the dive. We geared up at the dive centre and then walked to the jetty and from the jetty we entered the water. Prof showed me and Ena how to go down using the steep ladder with our gears on. Once all of us descend down next to jetty, I saw lots of fishes. Cornets, sardines, coral fishes and even a few travelly. I was having a bit of a problem using the surface marker rope and reel. The reel was round and was tied with a weight. The problem was the rope was twined until it was hard for me to reel it back. While Prof was teaching the student, I got frustrated and handed the surface marker to azraul to help me out but the twine only got worst. I then got down on my knees to the sand. Open the twine one by one and finally the rope reel back again. When I turned to see the prof, he gone with the student. The rest of divers even didn’t where he went. So I just remain at my point. Until finally he came back. Once we finished the dive I asked prof how to use the reel and it was actually easy. I didn’t have to twine anything at all.
we Si at the jetty. The 2nd dive was Navigation. Prof needed me to follow the student and remain at 3m depth while holding the surface marker. I just followed from above and using my own compass to see whether the student able to do the U-turn and square pattern correctly. After that prof lead the dive and student was behind him. every turn prof did, I marked his degree and watched for any familiar mark such as the corals. At the end of the point, prof signalled the student to get back to the 1st point the same way we get to the 2nd point.
We finished 2 skills by 1.30pm. We ate our lunch and we rested until 7.00pm for the 3rd Skill which was Night Dive. It was high tide and so I just did Giant Stride to enter the water. Prof did a short navigation with the student and then it was just fun dive for all of us. After the dive we went for dinner. I ordered a fried rice with chicken and it came out something like a paprika chicken with rice. I just ate cause I was really hungry.
I went to bed very early that 1st night cause the night before I didn’t get any sleep at all. Even during the brake time between the 2nd dive and the 3rd dive.
Next day was Deep dive. 1 open water fun diver wanted to join us. Before the dive , the DMT need to take all the empty tanks to the jetty. Hard labour. The dive boat came all the way from salang, took us all and then another 2 divers from salang together with their guide was together with us doing the dive at the same spot as us. Our dive spot was KM Sipadan Wreck. Prof briefed us and our DMT roll. Leena will be together with prof and the student while I was assigned to take care of the open water fun diver during the deep dive. Prof told us to descend by order meaning that he will go down first , followed by the student, DMT leena, me, fun diver and leena’s husband. All will be descending via the bouyline. Once all of us back rolled , I noticed there was a problem with the fun diver. She was struggling to move and she almost looked like she couldn’t maintain to keep afloat on the surface. I asked her how weights she was wearing and she told me 4. She was small and thin so she was over weighted. I quickly told he to rest on her back while knee cradle her tank. I waited for the rest of the divers to descend and finally I signalled the fun diver that we will be descending down when suddenly Leena came up to the surface. I quickly looked down to the bouyline and I saw prof was waiting for her at around 14m. I quickly asked whether Leena was ok and once she signalled ok , I signalled every one to descend. I saw the fun diver was descending quite fast and I signalled her to use the bouyline to stop her from going down fast. I tried to filled air into her BCD so that I can get her to be at her neutral buoyancy. She was also having a problem with her mask cause I could see the water keep coming in into the mask. The best thing that the fun diver was able to control her situation. She didn’t look panic at all. I saw prof already started his skills with the student. I didn’t want to disturb him so I took the fun diver went around the wreck. I avoided her from getting to the bottom. I looked at her gauge the air was showing 100 bar. The was a little current on the other side of the wreck so I avoid the current and took her to the other side instead. She looked happy playing with the fishes. Then we reached prof again. He finished with the skills and so I signalled to the fun diver that we will follow prof this time. We went around the wreck for the 2nd time and again I looked at her gauge. The air was showing 70 bar. I decided to finished the dive and signalled her that we will start to ascend using the bouyline. I showed her to ascend very very slow while holding the bouyline. At first she didn’t get it but then finally she understand. We went max to 28m and so halfway we need to do the deep stop. I signalled her to stop at 14m. I showed her my dive comp symbol and the numbers counting down to zero. She understand what I was showing to her. The same time I looked at her air gauge. It was showing 50 bar. Then after deep stop we move up to 5m and then safety stop. Again I showed her the symbol at my DC. Once we surfaced I told her to take out her weights first. I saw leena was already in the boat and she helped us with our gears. When all of us were in the boat , the fun diver asked me why I was ascending at a very slow rate. I told her the complication we could face if we were to ascend fast. Prof then added in our conversation and explained that it is better to ascend as slow as you can during any dive to get the bubbles out from our body. She asked me why the dive was short. I told her that I had to cut the dive once I saw that she had reached 70 bar. We need air to do our deep stop and and our safety stop. Suppose during deep dive there should be an extra tank with regulator hanging at 5m depth as a safe precaution in case any diver ran out of air while doing the safety stop. The bottom time was 23min. She asked me how many air left in my tank and I told her I still had 150 bar left.
We had our lunch at Salang indah café and the food was delicious to the max. We all ate as if we haven’t had food for days. Even the café staff was surprised with our facial reaction. The 5th Dive was only me, prof, leena husband and the AOW student. The dive spot was Chebeh. When the boat was heading towards Chebeh island, it need to past the Tulai Island. I saw the waves pounding on the rocks of kador bay. I quickly set my mind to standy cause I think I already know how the situation going to look like at Chebeh base on waves over at Kador Bay. The wind was strong. Finally once we reached Chebeh , my guess was right. It was strong wind, choppy surface and pounding waves on the rock. Prof choosed a specific location at the Moby Dick rock. Once everyone was in the water , we quickly descend. I didn’t saw anything at first while I was at the surface but I finally reached 5m I could see the reef already. The viz was 7m-10m. There was no current but we could feel the surface surge even at 19m depth. We finished the dive after 38min. All was good but when I got onto the boat I had a terrible headache and I even vomit a bit.
Next year 2014, a lot of my DMT skills will be done at Panuba Inn. Will be doing some exploration around the reef located near the panuba. Prof has found further in front a bit off the jetty a slope of sand at depth 24~26m. Ideal for deep dive skill.
Panuba inn resort (mersing office): +607-7996348
Azmi dive center: http://azmidivetioman.com
Parking rate perday at mersing: range from RM7-RM15 perday.
The bus station just walking distance to the jetty about 10min or so.