Day 118 - Underwater Amazement
Trip Start Jan 10, 2011
221Trip End Jan 08, 2012
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The first was at Chebeh North where we saw another turtle and a large barracuda as well as a more puffer fish and moray eels. Versus Phuket, a few more people here opted, like us, to not wear wet suits but we remained in the minority. With a rash guard and shorts we were a perfect temperature in the 27C water; able to feel the colder and warmer currents running invisibly through the surrounding sea.
Dive 2 at Golden Reef was Mia's favourite in Tioman. The corals were a rainbow of bright colours with the purple and greens particularly radiant. We had 2 very cool swim-throughs under this coral. We saw another 4ft Barracuda and some more blue spotted rays as well as myriad types of fish and a very active sea cucumber (this is a slug about the size of thermos that when not lying inert on the sea floor has weird sinuous tentacles/limbs reaching out of one end of its body). Eli spotted what was the highlight: 2 white nuddy branches mating. It looked like 2 slugs riding a 3rd below - which evidently is the form one of them takes so they can get together. The variety and splendour of life under the sea continues to amaze and enthral us, spurring on the urge to dive again and again.
We were keen to hit up one more dive before we spent our final night in Tioman and we were thrilled to be able to dive 'Magic'. This site in entirely below the surface in the middle of the sea (no islands nearby) and frequently has strong swirling currents. We used the undertow to drift along as much as possible, skirting below large corral ridges when we couldn't. The branch corral formations here were less colourful and sometimes almost dull, sprawling beyond the 50ft visibility in 'fields' of different varieties. These factors plus a clouded sun combined to produce a hauntingly serene and almost alien environment - the vision of which was fleeting as we swiftly floated from one to the next.
On our way to happy hour (a 2 day tradition) we spotted a giant lizard floundering near a stream. It jumped in and began to swim away to our delight and amazement. For our final dinner in Tioman we enjoyed a seafood barbeque at our hotel: Mia had the snapper and Eli the Barracuda (they were all out of stingray...).
As it turns out we should have paid more attention to the few insect bites Mia acquired over the first two nights. Waking up the 3rd morning we were pretty sure bed bugs were the culprit and they had buffet'd on her arms and legs overnight. Fortunately for Eli, they weren't attracted to him.