Map of the Sembilans
As Chan went there already on Saturday for camping I came out with Ah Pok on Tuna II that went fishing with some other guys. At 7am Ah Pok picked me up and we went via the morning market to stockup on food and drink. We left early Sunday morning to one of the bigger Pulau Saga that had a fresh water stream too. On the way I got dejavu experience as we hit a heavy rainstorm but after that the weather turned partly overcast with sunshine.
The camp was rigged up as a big tarp in an inverted “V” to cover a raised dais where people lined up like sardines to sleep. I met Chan and was immediately thrust an Anchor in hand and as people had had breakfast we loaded onto the boat and headed for our divesites.
Beach at Pulau Lalang
Our first site was “Black Rock”, a cliff just barely jutting out of the sea with a rusty marker to warn seafarers of the navigational danger. Chan warned me of getting close to the rocks as the swell would grind me to corned beef against the barnacles and whatnot. Without saying I could see what he meant. We geared up and plopped into the drink and down I went.
The Black Rock
The 1st 10m visibility was no more than 2-3m and when going deeper it improved a bit to perhaps 5-6m, current was zero. I could hear spear guns going off like rapid fire and thought that the fishing must be good. Chan had loaned me an underwater camera so I could entertain myself while diving. Having a visibility of only 5-6m the photography was limited to close up shots only but it kept me busy. At 25m depth everything looked to be only different shades of green but whenever the flash would go off I could see the real color of every plant and organism I shot. The bottom was very rocky and had nice nooks and crannies for the fish to hide in, the corals were not that plentiful but there were loads of oysters the size of palm of my hand. I think Chan had speared the most fish during the 1st round, at least there was a queen fish, a barracuda, a bat fish and a golden grouper.
Link to my underwater pics
Ah Chan and in between dive brew
Our next dive we shifted to “White Rock”, a much bigger rock islet with a white light house on it. Ah Pok was dispatched to go onto the Island to look for birds nest. Chan told me that if they found something it was of very good quality. Unfortunately after a few minutes Ah Pok came back empty handed – somebody had looted the Island before us.
Ah Pok looking for birds nest
We got back to our diving business and geared up, Chan just told me to follow the Island nothing special to look out for. I went down again with same visibility as on White Rock, only addition was that I could feel the swell at times pushing me around even at 20m depth. I glimpsed some big fish swimming around me as well as loads of smaller tropical fish. Here was same amount of soft corals and sea urchins as well as the rope like grass thingies growing up from the seabed. I was shooting away on my camera and admiring the steep cliff walls and crevices that was present here too. Sadly, the visibility did not allow for any large scale pictures.
The White Rock
When coming up it was again Anchor time and soon enough the guys were gearing up for the 3rd and last dive, same venue. As our decompression had been so short I stayed at abt 12m depth and prowled the cliffs for something to look at. After awhile I stumbled upon a small ray-fish sleeping under a rock. It was the 1st to see in these waters although I had seen plenty of them in the Maldives before. Other than that I can’t say that the dive was that eventful, same poor visibility and swell pushing me around. In good visibility I bet the view would be marvelous. I came up and it was time for late lunch at the base camp.
Lunch at camp
At the camp I took advantage of the freshwater spring and showered the salt off. It was time for another Anchor and some roasted duck on rice. As usual food always tastes great in the great outdoors and with good company. The conversation was going in rapid fire Cantonese and I could not understand a thing, but it did not matter, Chan translated the best bits.
After the meal people started packing up the camp and I went for a stroll along the beach. The sand was clear but at the HW mark there was the usual human debris, old peieces of rope, empty bottles, slippers and so on. Abt 100m along the beach I came to a shrine that fishermen use to make offerings for a good catch. There was 9 chinese Gods in the shrine so it ought to make a strong case for a good catch. A bit further along the beach I stumbled upon a 1m long monitor lizard running into the thicket, probably as surprised by me as I of it.
The fishermens shrine
Finally the beach ended into a small rock formation that I did not want to scale as it was soon time to go back. I noticed at the water edge was sem submerged rocks that was covered in 15cm long sea limpets, they looked like armored sponges and they sure stuck to the stone like superglue. Anyway, it was time and I turned back walking along the beach to the boat just in time. We headed back to Lumut and everybody was sort of nodding off after such a heavy weekend.
The superglued organism
On the way back, Pa Ling Tau in front
Once arrived to Lumut I discovered I had forgotten my footwear on Tuna II so I was going barefeet. The boat was hauled up, emptied of gear and washed with fresh water, the loot was cleaned out and divvied up. Finally Ah Pok gave me a ride back to my hotel where I collapsed onto my bed until John called me to join him for dinner.