17 April 2007

The Kodak Moment

Day: Saturday, 14 April 2007 - Day Dive
Crew: Myself, Caroline, 3 JIS students and Dad, John, Bol, Takako (Instructor) and Boatman
Dive Site: Brunei Patches
Viz: Good ~10-15m
Max Depth: ~12m
Dive Time: 45m & 45m

.Huge brain coral and stacks of staghorns at Brunei Patches.

So Carol picked me up this morning and the weather has actually changed for the better. When we reached Empire, all our gears were prepped up and ready to be loaded to the boat. That's one thing i love about diving with STI (ScubaTech), i dont have to suffer days of backpain from loading and unloading tanks, and they have towels and a shower room to clean up when we return.. though these days Empire seems to have some shortage of towels. grumble grumble.

We had 4 newbies on board, Carol and 3 JIS students of which 2 are just about as big as i am! What do they eat? The water's pretty calm today, blue sky with the odd cloud about. The boatman took our boat on a nice cruising speed, with the occasional bumps and splatters of water on your face. Nice.

It took roughly 30mins to get to Brunei Patches. We searched for the sandy bottom right next to the reef so 'em students can do their skills. And when i saw formations of the reef from above the boat, i went 'oh my god, i havent seen water like that for ages'. Well, a few months of beating waves, bad weather and bad viz, u'd feel like it's been forever too. The water is clear, you can see rays of sunlight penetrating the sea and reefs reflecting through. We were given a quick briefing, assigned to our respective buddy and ready to roll. If i had it my way, i'd be the first to dive in and descend on my own. Yea, sometimes i tend to forget the term fear.

When we got in the water, i told Carol to look down, isnt it beautiful? As we descend, the first thing that hit me was the change in temperature. Brrrrrr... it's cold. The visibility wasnt exactly crystal clear but because it's quite shallow and under the scorching sun, it does make the surroundings look like an aquarium, and what's best.. i'm in it :)

Brunei Patches is a massive reef, it stretches from 6metres during low tide to about 14-15m. The 1st dive was an orientation dive for the students, so i followed suit as we swam over plateaus of reef, mostly covered in hard corals and gorgonian fans. We came across a huge brain coral, and when everyone else went for a closer look, i took the opportunity to look around me. It was the perfect kodak moment.

.Two nudis huddled together.

.medusa-looking nudi and its eggs.

Half of the 2nd dive for the students were spent on the sand bed, tested on their mask clearing , bouyancy and alternate air source skills.. then we swam towards the staghorn patch. Coming back here reminds me of the days when we spent nights on a seahorse quest.

There were hundreds of fusiliers swimming by, beautiful parrotfish that often end up on a plate in seafood centres, lots of different kind of wrasse, butterfly fish, the ghostly lizardfish, and one of my favourites, the clownfish.

You would think nestling among stinging anemone would seem like a dangerous way to live but they seem to have a strange kind of relationship. Initially protected by a mucus coat, they incorporate the anemone mucus into their own coat until the anemone no longer stings it and recognises nemo as part of its own. They then live happily ever after and perform an undying ritual of rubbing against each other.

.Seasquirt and Damselfish.

It's funny how even after 100 dives, you'll still feel excited over a site that you've visited a dozen times and even if you think u're familiar with the reef, it's never short of something new.
When we got back to shore... dragging my feet back to STI, Caroline suddenly shouted, "It's so NICE!!"

I got home. Knocked out until 9pm. And drank the rest of the night to DJ Chong's mixing.

.Mag, Lis n Me. Chong.


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