Oct 1, 2012

Tioman & Jack Rock, 28-30 Sep 2012

Do you remember your first dive? Are you able to re-imagine all the feelings of nervous excitement and anticipation that precedes your first descent into the depths of the ocean? For a lot of us that first glimpse of a new world is enough to hook us for life, addicted to exploring a weightless world that seems so alien from the distant world back on land. 

Here at White Manta we feel incredibly privileged, not only to be able to work in this glorious underwater realm, but to introduce new divers to this new environment and watch as they become fellow addicts, transfixed by the treasures of the deep blue and the need to blow more bubbles!

This weekend’s trip to Tioman and Jack Rock was made especially memorable as we were able to welcome 12 new divers to the White Manta diving family as newly certified Open Water Divers! Taking on the challenge we welcomed; James Handloser, Helene Le Chevalier, Sophie & Paul Batut, Wolfgang Kassel, Tarek Barada, Benjamin & Clara Montagnes, Pascal & Aude Jauffret, Jack and Suzanne van Lint, all of whom rose to the occasion and completed the PADI Open Water diver course, taking to the water like veteran professionals! All of us here at White Manta would like to extend well-deserved congratulations to you; it was truly a pleasure and a privilege to have the opportunity to introduce you to the world of scuba diving and we sincerely hope to see you back diving with us soon for your advanced open water courses!! Although not completing the full open water course we would also like to give a special mention to Valentine, who took part in a couple of discovery dives and will no doubt soon be joining the ranks of open water divers – well done Valentine, we’ll see you on the course soon!

Congratulations to Gaëlle Montagnes (Mother of Ben & Clara) who completed her advanced course over the weekend, developing her buoyancy skills, extending her depth range to 30m, diving at night and mastering the use of a compass to develop expert navigation skills!

Not everyone onboard was taking part in a diving course however! There were a number of guests who were onboard to enjoy some quality weekend fun diving in the waters surrounding the Malaysian island of Tioman. It was great to welcome back Yiping and Christian (4th time this season!!!), the Tenius family; Barbara, Rainer, Florian, Lisa, Philipp and Maximilian. Jaki, Nora, Katherine and Jennifer were guided by Kim, recently certified as a PADI Instructor. Bringing along their families this time were our French contngency; Arnaud (father of Ben & Clara, and husband of Gaëlle; he must have been exceptionally proud), Ghislain (husband of Helene) and Bruno (father of Paul & Valentine and husband of Sophie).

Peter Walker, our regular videographer ; was back and had recently returned from Cenderwasih Bay, he had some amazing footage of whale sharks to share with us whetting the appetite of divers that might join us to this fabulous destination in the future (Black Manta in there in November). Peter was trialling the use of a special macro lens for his broadcast quality video camera.


Joining us for the first time on the new White Manta, were Bernard, Jutta and Cyril who would all experience the first class service, comfort and relaxation that only a White Manta weekend can provide!

The first dive at Pulau Renggis, early Saturday morning, our divers reported sightings of black-tip reef sharks, turtles, groupers, schooling barracudas and trevallies. The visibility was a huge improvement on our early season trips to this area, allowing us to appreciate the colourful healthy hard coral reefs that attract divers from across the region. At Chebeh (pictured below) and Labas we were able to enjoy a number of swimthrus formed by the giant granite rocks common to the area, moray eels, stingrays, scorpionfish and colourful nudibranchs were waiting to be discovered. For those with the stamina to take on the night dive, sleeping turtles, squid, and some curious cuttlefish provided a selection of the highlights.

Is there a better way to spend a Sunday morning than diving around the famous Jack Rock? Excellent visibility and waters teeming with fish life made for an incredible dive on the second morning. The pinnacle itself is covered in soft and hard corals, anemones and sponges, providing a haven for numerous different marine creatures of all shapes and sizes. As usual our divers’ logbooks were full of sightings of bamboo sharks, moray eels, stingrays, trevallies, barracudas, batfishes and so much more! This site provides an excellent arena for nudibranchs and critter spotting for those who enjoy the challenge of a macro hunt. 

The trip ended at Pulau Yu, a small uninhabited island which was once used as target practice for the Malaysian Navy and is now littered with discarded bomb and torpedo shells! There is also a small airplane wreck for those who wish to venture a little deeper, making an interesting dive to end the weekend! After washing and rinsing all the dive gear the six hour sail back to Singapore gave everyone a chance to reflect on another great weekend diving onboard MV White Manta, enjoying great food, great company of new friends and old, a few celebratory drinks, and the chance to relax in the comfortable surroundings of the best diving vessel sailing from Singapore... MV White Manta!