Published: August 5th 2006August 1st 2006
So after a pretty horrible train journey from Thailand (and very disconcerting looking out the window to see the Thai army patrol the stations of southern Thailand with M16 machine guns), we arrived in Malaysia to the pouring rain, a great welcome after the sunshine of Koh Phangan. Met up with a kindly Malaysian man on the bus to Kota Bharu whose ravings ranged from his travels to Pakistan and Iran, to the wonders of Vitamin C suppments (while insisting we try them...) and finally to the sinful nature of Bangkok and how he has recently found God.
So with all the fun of the diving in Thailand, booked a dive package on the Perhentian Islands (tropical paradise off the coast of Malaysia) to do our advanced diving. Booked with Dive Tribe, a geat dive company on Pulau Kecil, and as it was only the two of us on the course there was no hiding!
The diving was outstanding, with the Wreck Dive on the Sugar Wreck, some Peak Performance Buoyance practice through hoops like circus elephants, and also a Naturalist course to allow us to identify all the fish/coral etc. on our dives, which was very useful. Saw
..has a silver lining
plenty of fishes (trigger fish, angel fish, butterfly, foxface, shoals of squid, bannerfish, barracuda, stingrays...). Not sure if I can apply that knowledge to diving in Ireland... as Paula put it, we can expect to see shopping trolleys, beer cans and rubbish...!
No underwater photos, as we were too busy worrying staying alive underwater, rather than complicate things with a camera, but I have included photographs taken by other bloggers (and duly credited) on Travelblog to give you an idea of what we saw.
Going against all the bad luck we've had with weather, got SCORCHIO weather here for the week (which is why we ended up overstaying!). Knowing that we were heading to Australia, with budget dorms and self-catering, we gorged ourselves on buffet breakfasts, comfort food and of course chocolate&banana shakes while on the islands. With Malaysia being a Muslim country, alcohol is rare, (and expensive when available), so we celebrated the completion of our advanced course with a few tiger beers with our instructor Andy (hence the cheesy grins in the photo).
Last day, we headed snorkelling, saw some giant leatherback turtles, too many blacktipped reef shark (that scared the living daylights out of
us, they're eerily quiet and move really fast in the water) and then some cuttlefish, trigger fish, bumphead parrot fish (probably more frightening than the shark!). Great roundoff to a blissful week in the Perhentian - a highly recommended holiday.
So off to Singapore now, then to Perth by the weekend, where I will FINALLY get to see the green and red of Mayo lining out against Laois in the championship quarterfinals!
There are more photos below