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One Night in Terengganu (Malaysia)

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posted on Aug, 11 2018 @ 01:26 AM
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It was a long drive. We'd driven from outside Kuala Lumpur that day, the four of us. We were supposed to meet the boat in Terengganu, but we didn't know what it looked like or who they were. It was just supposedly a "nice boat". Our dive gear weighed hundreds of pounds, what with tanks, cameras, weights, BCD's, regulators, wet suits and so much more. There was no place to park. We found a place to park the rover over behind some fishing building, and lugged our gear to the seemingly only dock. We waited. The sun went down and we were still waiting.

Soon a small car pulled up and asked if we were looking for "the dive boat". We said yes, and they told us the boat was waiting one town over to the south in Marang. WTF? (the water was too shallow apparently). No worries, they said, they'd send a launch and come get us. So about 20 minutes later an Avon raft shows up. It's about a 16' raft, and we practically sink it with all our gear, but Avon's are tough...so we venture out, with a guy we don't know and who has no idea what we're saying.

We shoot across the inlet to the south and make it to this boat. It's pretty nice, but I wouldn't call it a luxury yacht, more like a utilitarian dive boat. We unload our gear. The compressors are running all through the night filling tanks. We get bunks below decks, stow our gear and we're headed out...across the Gulf of Thailand and into the South China Sea.

That hit me...the "South China Sea"!! I'd never been so far away from home. Near shore as we left the water was flat, but as we got further out we got into the swells and bigger water. There was nothing else but the lights on the boat and the black of the water...a million miles away from anything I knew. Out here, we were on our own. We would dive that night.

Our first dive was a night dive, and a deep one, 120' feet. It was an orientation dive for what was to come. I'd been to 90' feet before, but never 120' and never at night. It was a trip! Big sharks, big fish, crazy big fish (like tuna swimming by at 40mph). The sharks paid us no mind. Saw cuttlefish in midwater turning colors, barracuda, squid and octopus...lots of shrimp. Visibility was crazy good. Almost scary.

They dropped a line down to the bottom at 139" feet. I felt my very first symptoms of Nitrogen Narcosis at around 128 feet. It was so calm, so relaxed; not a care in the world. I looked at my computer and it was time to GO!!! I didn't want to leave (it's real). I had to grab my buddy and jerk him to get him to go too. It was mesmerizing.

Spent the next 30 minutes going to the surface. Soon enough we were up top, on the surface, in the moonlight. The boat was off in the distance not too far. It was strange swimming across that water that night, under the moonlight, with the depths below, knowing we'd just been there. Somehow there was no fear. As we sat on the dive platform of the boat taking off our fins and tanks it was almost unreal. The South China Sea!!

About an hour later we were back underway. I remember looking over the side and just marveling at the black water going by the boat. Below us at that point was 12,000 feet of water. I was hooked. (just shaking my head even today).

Years later I would get into professional diving and go much deeper, but I will always remember the marvel of those moments, out on the South China Sea that night.

What a wonderful and wondrous time, when you're so far out of your element it's not even comprehensible.

Always remember to take that little risk, it's what life is all about!




posted on Aug, 11 2018 @ 01:42 AM
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Did you really do this? How frightening. I couldn't begin to imagine. More brave than anyone I know.



posted on Aug, 11 2018 @ 01:56 AM
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a reply to: Justso

Yes, I did. I was stationed in Malaysia from 1995 to 1997. I made over 300 dives in the Andaman and South China Seas.

I got my Rescue Diver and Master Diver certs in Asia, and it's what lead to my more technical diving later.

It's not brave really, it's just more about beauty at 100' and above! The ocean is a wonderful place.

The stories I could tell (both good and bad).



posted on Aug, 11 2018 @ 02:31 AM
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a reply to: Justso

It was interesting. I was afraid...until I had too many other things to worry about. Then, I realized the sharks did too.

I never really worried about sharks unless there were "packs" of them, then it was dangerous. Like in Truk. Sharks were bad there. You'd get into bunches of blacktips and hammerheads (both aggressive sharks in packs, hammerheads especially). Blacktips you could usually swat away, but hammerheads would come in on the attack. I'd usually get out of the water when the hammerheads showed up, in any numbers. They won't kill you, but they'll cut you to ribbons in tight quarters.

Sharks aren't really a problem below about 100 feet, but most recreational diving is 50 feet and above (really 30 some people say). On the really deep dives in later years I never even saw a shark. Saw some whales, but never a shark.



posted on Aug, 11 2018 @ 07:17 AM
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You lead and have led an amazing life. I often wish I had the led my own life without fear. Must be a powerful feeling. These dives provide beauty most people can only see on their videoes. I am supremely jealous of all you have accomplished and experienced. Thank you sharing so many amazing adventures. You must write a novel. You come across as Hemingway.



posted on Aug, 11 2018 @ 10:34 AM
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Fellow former diver before an ear injury forced me to quit.

I once was in the water with an oceanic white tip (open water "cousin" to great whites) which was about 2 meters long. It was the most scared I have ever been, period. Needless to say we exited the water quickly. I don't like hammerheads either but only saw them occasionally. Black and white tips were common in the Pacific, just smack em and they back off.

I dove extensively in Guam, Palau, Saipan and Thailand. I never got to Truk though, always wanted to. Wish I could dive the South China Sea after reading your post.





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