08 November 2007

SAS 1997 10-year reunion

Calling out to "boys" and "girls" who graduated from the year '97. It's been a decade and it's about time we catch up!!

Give myself/Irene a call to get your ticket before Friday, 23rd November 2007. After that, tickets are $50 each. I'm aware some of us are now enjoying parenthood so bring the bubbly ones along =) Children under 5 are free and those up to 12 half price.

We had initially thought of restricting this to '97 graduates, however, we believe we should extend this invitation to those that know us and had shared precious memories with us. So people who had graduated from other years but wish to join us, you're most welcome too. =)

Alot of us have made the effort to return from countries all over the world. This has taken alot of effort from Jyy Wei and Chea Ping, planning in advance, mass emails, digging thru boxes for old pictures and cooperation from friends all over. I really hope to see all of you again!

21 October 2007

The tide is low


Day: Friday, 19 October 2007 - Day Dive
DiveCrew: Elvin, Eric, Edward, Ann, Simon, Albert, Alisa, Myself, Cik Azli and Hj Kula
Dive Site: Ramadhan Reef
Viz: Poor
Max Depth: 12m
Dive Time: 90m

Our day started off from the Yacht Club in Serasa... we were struggling to maneuver Elvin's boat around barely 0.5m level of water. Paddling might have gotten us out of the jetty faster. It was a beautiful day and i was really looking forward to the poo enjoying her dive after a 6 month hiatus. I was also excited about using Caroline's strobe however it did not even made it into the water. Flat battery. The things that will only happen to me...

Cik Azli kept us on our toes when he said he'll bring us to a new reef. A new reef?! All that was clouding my head was "i'm sooo gonna name this reef". But cheh... it turned out to be Ramadhan Reef, a reef found and named during the month of Ramadhan. And no, had it been an unnamed reef, it wont be anything like HariRaya reef.

Our 1st dropoff was pretty much a disaster, the current started picking up.. Alisa was bobbing in and out of the water threatening to give up her dive, we descended to ripples of sand with a few abandoned corals here and there. The reef was nowhere in sight. Elvin and Eric took to the West hoping to find it then *Bham* we bumped into a clutter of tires. Coool… I wont even begin to describe how poor the visibility is, and I wont even attempt to photoshop this picture. This is exactly how the water looks like. Green and murky, nothing beyond 2m is visible.


We were playing and shooting a few ikan pusu until i realised we’re getting nowhere so I signaled to head East. Then we got distracted by this queer lil' fellow…


.Pot belly narrow-lined puffer.
.A pretty feather pen with what might be a friggin' xeno crab clinging on!..Gahhh.

Thanks to my amazing navigation skill (nah, it was pure luck :P) we managed to find the reef. Though our bottom time was pretty much limited by then.
.Feels xmassy already.

All i could say is reef's healthy but i wasnt smitten. Dont know why but this reef just doesnt exude character.
Spent my remaining bottom time pestering 'em nemoooos...



... and watching a hero in action!
.Aiyak.. i feel tipsy, i cant walk..Dont worry my friend, you can always count on me.

Ok, i'm feeling a lil'bit retarded. If it wasnt for Zing, this dive log probably wont be posted until god-knows-when. I do need to be egged on once in a while. However, the weather has been the pits lately. This is probably the last dive for me this year. So till next year...


.The captains are signing-off!.

16 October 2007

Chances and Choices


I wonder how many chances and choices have we had and made in life. Among the immeasurable, just how many chances slipped away from our grasp almost too willingly, and just how many choices were made with regrets. Would the same chance come knocking on your door again? Or would you be able to rewind that choice you made? Perhaps never the same, but sometimes better :) That, some might see it as an irony of life and some might laugh it off as the law of thinking positive thus attracting positivity into your life. It is the Secret.

Someone once said the difference between doing the right thing and the worst mistake in your life might be chance. Sometimes it's choice. But isnt choice dependent on chance? Wouldnt eliminating chance eliminate the possibility of making that choice that will either make you or break you?

Whatever it is, you cant run away from chances.

...............................

No one falls in love by choice,
it is by CHANCE.
No one stays in love by chance,
it is by WORK.
And no one falls out of love by chance,
it is by CHOICE.
...............................

07 October 2007

Been busy but *rolls eyes*..zssskk.."whateva.a.a.a.a"

Hahaha..

30 September 2007

Manta Mission - Accomplished

.Great shot of Sebastian molesting a manta ray.
.By Caroline using Nikon D80 in Hugyfot housing with wide-angle lens.

8 of our divebums left 10 days ago on Thursday, 20th September 2007 on a 8D/7N trip to Sangalaki, Indonesia. All avid photographers equipped with some of the best digital cameras around today coupled with amazing photography skills were out to hunt 'em manta rays.

They've returned yesterday Mission Accomplished!

Caroline has written an account of their trip. Read it on divebums here. The pictures are jaw-dropping gorgeous. It should be posted on divebums very soon.
.Divers and divers-to-be, join our underwater adventures at divebums. There'll be more upcoming dive trips. And check out our photo albums :)

18 September 2007

I love wide angle lens!

Day: Sunday, 17 September 2007 - Day Dive
DiveCrew: Boat 1 (Myself, Caryn, Andrew, Boon Hui, Lisa, Edward, and Cik Azli), Boat 2 (Ricky, Billy, Emily, Chang, Chris, Kimmy and Hj Kula)
Dive Site: Cement Wreck and CLEAR Reef II
Viz: Good
Max Depth: 31m
Dive Time: 60m & 90m


.When my alarm rang at 6.30am, all i could think of is *I.want.to.sleep.in*.

The only reason why i got up is Boon Hui is already on his way to pick my lazy bum up. And another is diving with him is like diving with a resort... he carries your tanks, he changes your tanks, he helps you gear up, he helps you up the boat. We're sooooo friggin' lucky chu...
Boat No.2 was heading towards Cement Wreck so Emily can do her deep dive for Advanced. After much contemplation and shuffling between the dive sites at the end of Muara port, we decided to join them at Cement Wreck but funny thing is.. when we arrived, their boat was no where in sight! Apparently they had detoured to Blue Water wreck.

Weather wasnt all that great to begin with, but the world below us appeared more than calm! Viz was decent towards the bottom so early into the dive, Caryn and I descended to the bottom of the freighter... i watched the needle on my SPG drop, metre by metre, until i touched sand. I was 32m deep into the sea and as i looked up at this enormous ship, i felt overwhelmed but yet belittled.. it was a somewhat daunting feeling. I snapped out it when Caryn's divecomp starts to beep, we were too deep.

Today I get to try out my new macro lens and red filter lens. I must say it's really a pain to use without strobes! I gave up on red filter after 2 shots, and the macro lens was really testing my patience.. grrrr..

I got the magnification, but i couldnt not accomodate the sharpness. It was a huge struggle when i saw this xeno crab! It was big though it can easily be missed by the casual diver who doesnt know of its existence. It was cleverly camouflaged among the polyps of this wire coral that extended from the side of the wreck. I spent 3/4 of my dive photographing it and not a single good shot and this is actually the 1st time we've seen a xeno crab in Brunei. I'm very disappointed.

According to Andrew, - who was blooody pissed because he had wide angle lens on - they do not migrate until a long time after so he suggested i show him where it is during our next dive trip. Right... The wreck is like h.u.g.e and there are thousands of wire corals...right.

Towards the end of my dive in Cement Wreck, i managed to get the hang of 'em macro lens.
.The core of a coral.


We did our 2nd dive at C.L.E.A.R reef II.. named after Caryn, Lawrence, Emily, Andrew and Ricky. I had lots of fun modelling for Andrew, though half the time i dunno what the hell is he trying to say. Your sign language sucks.. and he said i looked too pucat and reckoned i should put on some lipstick the next time i dive with him.. *faint*

I totally love these pictures. He was only inches away from me when he took these shots. Amazing.

And this baby nemo took up half of my bottom time.

.The many faces of an anemonefish.



.Displaying - probably hollering to Celion Dion's i will always love you.

15 September 2007

Back to the sea

.Mua just doing my thing - hanging out in the deep blue sea.

After 3 weeks away from saltwater, my hair seems more human, i got fairer, skin is not as dry... all this can really tempt you to just stay in on fridays, sundays and do normal land things.

It can make you really lazy at the very thoughts of draggin' your tanks on board, basking under the hot scorching sun, bearing those jellyfish stings, and the idea of throwing your guts out.

Neverthless, i am going out to sea tomorrow.

11 September 2007

I've had a long day...

Considering the weather's been so unpredictable, raining pits, and crap. What do some of us poor divers do when we cant go out to sea?

Brace yourself!

.Beautiful mermaid in the pool!.

.Would you believe, a whaleshark?.

.2 nincompoops.

Models: Linda, Sebastian, and Andrew

Photographer: Andrew

Gears: Nikon D200, Nexus housing and wide friggin' angle lens

09 September 2007

50 years later

they will still be arguing over who's the better cook...

Congratulations Bryan and Tina. T'was a beautiful night.

.Some of my favourite shots.

07.09.07




05 September 2007

Who's your favourite

in the Brunei Cup 2007?

This year is the first time out of the entire history of Brunei Cup that i've actually went to watch a game. It was all by chance, and by chance we met a bunch of kooky dudes that gives me cramped stomach from laughter.

One classic example is someone peeling an orange,
"i dont eat oranges, but i like to smell them.."
then went on to sniff the orange peels.
Whatta??

Another is,
"what should we wear to the ambassador's house?"
"hmm... tshirt, shorts and... slipperrrrrrrrssssss.."
Slippers to the ambassador's house!
Whattaaaa...

04 September 2007

Helpppppp...

I was only away for 3 days, 3 days without watering, and when i came home, my Little Myrtle shrivelled up. It was dried to the point of crispiness, the softest touch would send the branch raining leaves. My precious bonsai!!

When mum saw it, she shook her head, took the scissors and starting snipping away. Before i could finish yelling "What do you think you're doing??!!" She started sighing and giving me the pep talk about growing plants and being responsible.

"Look at it, it's already dead anyways"
"If it grows back, u're lucky.. if not, that's it, it's gone"
"How could someone as lazy as you think about growing bonsai"

.Huge and heavy sigh!.

.(L) July. (R) August.

Since then, i would religiously put it out at night to collect dew, bring it in during the day, water it, the works basically, until one day....

I squinted like 20 times before leaping around.. waving my arms hysterically "It's alive, it's alive!!!"
That tiny green sprout of life totally made my day. I thought i had green fingers after all. I brought it back to life! I was one happy woman!

But i'm ashamed to say, i got comfortable with the knowledge that it survived the worst, and at times forget to remove it from direct sunlight, so that tiny hope turned crispy brown.

.Praying for miracle No.2.

.I must learn to be consistent.

30 August 2007

Treat your tastebuds

It might seem like a big leap, from Saying No to Sharkfin to Go for Sushi. It's totally not related. None of the cruelty imposed on sharks for their fins fishing methods are used. Takara do not serve sharkfins :P

Bloggers and non-bloggers are encouraged to share the voucher with your friends :)

29 August 2007

Say no to Shark fin

I just got home. It's 2.11am in the morning. And i'm thinking about shark fins. Why the hell am i thinking about sharkfins? It's just one of those random things that pop in your head and for whatever reason it is that i'm thinking about sharkfins at 2am in the morning, it must mean something!

Recently, i read an article in FINS magazine about shark finning in Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia. It is an area of roughly 7,000 square kms and is loaded with forested limestone islands, mangrove-ringed lagoons and is believed by some to have the richest marine biodiversity on the planet... and is nominated to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Andy Miners, a veteran divemaster was so taken by the pristine condition of Raja Ampat's reefs that he made it his personal mission to preserve them. He negotiated and secured an area of 200 square kms surrounding the island as a "No Take Zone" - a protected area.

During his stay there, he suddenly realised he hasnt seen sharks on any of their dives.. which didnt seem quite right. On their last day of diving, he came face-to-face with a predator that explained the absence of shark. He came across a boat anchored in the mouth of a lagoon. And on deck were dozens of shark fins from small reef sharks, severed and drying in the sun. Below the surface, shark carcasses were strewn across the reef.

"It's difficult to describe my thoughts at that moment. Bloodstained fins, mutilated sharks, overpowering stench and an unconcerned fisherman... everything about the situation was wrong, and the feeling of powerlessness was overwhelming....
What lay below on the reef was even more devastating. I focused on the first of the finned sharks. Its eyes still had a flicker of life and its wounds were fresh. I imagined the exhausted shark being violently hauled onto the boat deck, and while it struggled in vain, its fins and tail slided off. Bleeding profusely and without fins, it was dumped back into the water, and sunk helplessly to the bottom. Deprived of water flowing over its gills, starved of precious oxygen, it suffocated to death."

It's plain disturbing. It's inhumane killing.

video

These fishermen produced a handwritten permit that was apparently signed by the head of local villages to Andy. The permit cost the equivalent of US$30 for 30 days of shark fishing. If they caught 300 sharks in 30 days, it worked out to $0.10cents a shark. A bowl of shark fin soup can sell for up to US$150. It is just so wrong.

I believe many of us will argue what is the difference between killing a shark and a fish. The difference is the whole fish is consumed whereas the shark is dumped back to the ocean bed...left to die.. helplessly and pitifully. Some of them are facing extinction. And what is the leading driver of shark finning? Shark fin soup.

One of our divebums, Caroline recently found some shocking facts about sharkfins. She wrote:
"Did you know that sharks fins consumed alone are tasteless? Its the soup, the chicken stock that puts the flavour in the soup! So why not drink a chicken soup instead? Do you even know the cooking process - drying and bleaching. There's NIL nutritional value and what's more, it may even be harmful to health in the long term with high mercury content levels! Mercury is a neurotoxin that can cause extensive damage to the nervous system and to foetus." Read more here and here.

What can we do?
- Dont consume shark fin products
- Avoid companies that deal in shark fin products
- Educate your friends and encourage them to take action
- Join organisations that are working to end shark finning

. The next time you go out to dinner, say no to shark fins and let others know why!.

*Images and video taken from Blue Sphere Media.

_____________________________

.One of divebums' vision is to setup a coral reef management program in Brunei, that focuses on establishing Marine Protected Areas. I really look forward to the day we can make a difference.
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