Cats, wrecks and sharks

ABC-05I loved staying at ABC (Air Batang) on Tioman Island. It was peaceful. The beach was beautiful. The locals were friendly. The food yummy. And we still had no internet.

Our chalet was one of the furthest from the jetty…all of about 800 metres away. The path wound it’s way over bridges, past shops, resorts and private homes, between trees and through restaurants that spilled over the path towards the beach. There were a few bicycles and motorbikes driving up and down the path to avoid, otherwise it was the same slow, relaxed pace we had become accustomed to.

Restu Resort & Chalets really was a restu sort of place. A lovely green garden, basic but comfortable rooms and large covered balconies. The balcony was a great place to sit and enjoy the evening light, or watch the torrential rain and thunderstorms that occasionally passed through.ABC-01


Another basic beachfront restaurant became our place to eat – three times a day, every day. The couple and their son who ran it were lovely and the food tasted amazing. It felt like eating at my parent’s home – including going to the fridge to grab a drink whenever I wanted one (except I had to pay).

Cats are everywhere on Tioman. On the beach, under (or on) restaurant tables, sitting on your balcony deck chair and at every dive shop. They don’t all seem to have owners but usually hang out in the same place. They must get fed regularly because they look healthy enough too. We started giving them names based on where they were or what they did…

Beach puss, velcro puss (wouldn’t leave us alone), dive puss (jumped into our dive gear), coughing puss (it started coughing and sneezing every time it came near us). Silly games one must play every now and then!

We chatted with B&J Divers first about going out diving. It seemed like a very busy, very organised dive business with lots of dive courses on the go and plenty of fun divers every day. However, being on a busy boat is not always conducive to filming and taking it slow underwater.

So we wandered along a bit more then came across the relaxed team at Eco Divers. They were perfect for us. Fun and knowledgeable instructors and DMs, reasonable prices and a big, old, converted fishing boat with plenty of space for us, our cameras and coffee, mint tea and biscuits between dives.

ecodivers shop
Can’t believe I didn’t take a photo of Eco Divers so had to use this old one from their website!
Very Swedish colours on Eco Divers boat…

We started off with a deep dive on an old wreck. In typical wreck fashion, the vis was bad and we could only see about 5 metres ahead. I find wrecks really erie. Boats aren’t meant to be on the bottom of the sea. The entrances are dark and forboding. Big eyed fish stare out when you shine a torch inside. Every part of the boat is covered in marine growth giving it a very forgotten appearance. Yet there is so much life when you look close. Nudibranchs, sea urchins, old groupers and of course loads of sponges, sea squirts, barnacles and encrusting corals.

I found it hard to film the wreck. Because it was so dark and murky, overview shots only revealed a small part of the hull. Then when I got close and used my lights, the clips were over-saturated in colour. Note to self: change white balance when you use lights. Thankfully I did change my camera settings and got a few clips in the end that were passable. (Check out the video link at the end of this post to see what I saw…)

I’m quickly realising there is so much to consider when filming underwater. Conditions change between dive sites and also during dives, meaning I need to constantly be aware of my camera settings and adjust them accordingly. Another good reason to be really familiar with my camera functions so I don’t spend 5 valuable minutes scrolling through menus!

Our next dive site was Renggis Island. A much shallower reef with large healthy coral beds, reef sharks and an artificial reef complete with running treadmill. You’ll have to watch my video by clicking here to see what I mean…


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