Location: Tioman, Malaysia
Pulau Tioman may be fairly close to Singapore and mainland Malaysia, but it has retained its rugged beauty and natural charm to be a favorite dive destination and a great stop on Argo’s tour of the islands around Southeast Asia. Today we went to help Reef Check maintain their database of reef conditions around the world with two survey dives on the islands surrounding Tioman. After our practice runs yesterday and quiz on all manner of undersea life, the shipmates were ready to rock, or fish, or coral, or urchin, or whatever else they may be recording. We had honed up with another group of students from Blue Ventures who are here for a 6-week volunteer program to promote awareness of the reef and complete their own surveys. After splitting into our various teams, which had us all mixed up with the “locals,” we headed to our appointed sites. Beaker was supposed to lay the line for people to follow, but the first thing we heard was “ow” in various forms of urgency as she jumped into and onto swarming jellyfish. Full wetsuit or not, she decided after a few attempts to call it off at that site and head to another, thankfully free from most things painful. After a successful first dive, we had lunch with everyone. I was subjected to the horrors of peanut butter, something I think I will come to terms with within a few years and thousands of dollars in counseling, and Ed and Gary gave some demonstrations of boat jumping techniques. The second dive went off without a hitch, and data collected, we headed back to Argo to get dinner going and clean up for a night on the town, well… a night on the island at least.