Friday, 11 April 2014

Perhentian Islands

We took a boat to the Perhentian Islands in the east coast state of Terengganu, peninsular Malaysia. It was by luck that we reserved three nights at Alu Alu dive resort. Knowing little about the two Perhentain islands (aptly named 'big' and 'small') we planned to take a look around our base and then move on. When checking in to our accommodation we met Ben, a chatty and friendly diving instructor. We decided that we would try a Discovery Dive with Ben. Another couple, Catherine and Mihir, who were much more experienced than us joined us for a dive in D'Lagoon. The conditions were terrible under water, very poor visibility. We dived to around 12 metres and couldn't see much beyond a metre, two metres where it was good. We saw some corals and fish but mainly concentrated on where we were going, trying not to loose each other in the murk.

Afterwards we had a fantastic meal with Cath and Mihir of fresh fish and squid cooked to perfection on a charcoal BBQ right on the beach. It was great to hear about their upcoming wedding and share stories of our travels so far. Chris, now a squid conesieur, claimed that it was the tastiest squid he'd ever eaten, which is saying a lot! 

Although the diving hadn't been a beautiful serene experience, because of the poor conditions, our main objective was to see if we could both equalise underwater, as we'd had problems previously. On this point it was a grand success and we signed up to undertake our PADI Open Water diving course. This gave us the physical skills and basic knowledge to be proficient to dive with an instructor or dive master. 

We became quite hooked on the excitement of diving. It was most enjoyable to search for exotic fish and bright corals. Each trip we took we discovered and learnt about new (to us) species, and of course, built up our diving log. The waters were warm, the location stunning and the teaching support we received was "super good". We took our learning one step further and become PADI Advanced Open Water certified. This means that, though still diving with a Dive Master or Instructor, it primarily allows us to go deeper - down to 30m. Lucie was our Dive Instructor for the Advanced Course and she was very encouraging. 

We ended up becoming good friends with Ben and Lucie, having done 22 dives in total and hung out with them most nights. Lucie was kind enough to compose a video of our training, see below. 

So our three days reservation turned into a two week stay. Finally, with a heavy heart we had to say goodbye to our wonderful new friends. We left the pretty Perhentain Islands with a new skill under our (weight) belts and headed down the coast. 

Diving is a sociable pastime, and on the Perhentain islands we'd meet Carrie and Lee, expat colleagues living and working in Malaysia. Carrie invited us down to Kapas Island, two hours south and opposite her house on the mainland. We spent a great evening playing cards with Carrie and her friends. Carrie invited us to stay at hers, although she would be away with work. We were delighted to accept her very generous offer, especially when we discovered her place was right on the beach! 

Super Scuba - learning to dive in the Perhentian Islands

Home sweet home in the Perhentians

Beachfront gardens

 Some strange local beasties on Kapas

Roughing it at Carrie's place

Making good use of our time and jetsam from the beach

The storm clouds approach as we depart for KL


  1. Good knot skills under water! I reacon my sis won though

  2. Awesome video guys!! Bravo!! xxx