Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Open Water Dive Course

At some point of growing up, you'd probably had to go through swimming lessons. Be it primary or secondary enrichment class or that your parents wanted you to take up the skill as a sport. I recall rushing to swimming lessons held at Bedok Swimming Complex when I was just 7 years old (primary one), right after my afternoon classes.

So fast-forward the years, I was awarded with basic swimming cert after all those lessons. You know swimming is a just word until you put physical action to give it a meaning. I still fear about not being able to reach the bottom of the pool but I am not alone.

Despite that, I signed up for Open Water Dive course at ADEX 2015 earlier this year, after persuasion from B. To be honest I wasn't keen about diving except to visit those beautiful waters. My first scuba diving experience was in Boracay in mid-2014. It was amazing and the waters were so clear and pretty.

Back to Open Water Dive course. There's 3 parts to it - Theory, Practical (Pool session), Practial (Sea).

For Theory, there'd be 2 weeknight lessons at your chosen dive company. Mine was at Eko Divers. I managed the theory fairly ok because I spent months going through the contents/questions inside the book, before attending the classes. During the classes (3.5hrs), you'd have to sit through videos and revising questions. On the 2nd session, the dive instructor would teach you how to read the Dive Table. Afterwhich, you'll be tested with a series of questions. The papers will be marked and you will know whether you pass or fail.

For Practical, you'll have to attend a dive practice at a swimming pool, which should be at Outram Secondary School. During the practices you'd have to swim 200m (no time limit) and tread water for 10 mins. Both I did horribly. I think if you don't do too well, you'd have to do it once more, either at the end of the practice or the next day/weekend.
The pool session (est 6 hrs) at 2m depth, will equip you with the skills that will be tested in the sea. There will be a dive instructor assigned to a group. Depending on the number of sign-ups, but I had 6 in my group including myself. My French dive instructor was heavily accented so we had to be extra attentive.

Here's a list of skills that you will learn (in no particular order):
1. Mask clearance - partial and full
2. Mask removal and clearance. Tip: if water enter your nose. Press it and blow. It should clear!!
3. Recover regulator + Clear regulator
4. Alternate Air Source (means for you and your buddy to share air as one of you have ran out of air)
5. CESA - Controlled Emergency Safety Ascend (You'd also require to inflate your BCD orally)
6. Pre-dive safety check - BWARF. Stands for BCD, Weights, Air, Releases, Final ok
7. 5 point descend - SORTED. Stands for Signal, Orientate, Regulator, Time, Equalise, Descend
8. Assemble, put on, adjust and dissemble scuba gear
9. Clear water from your regulator
10. Use your SPG (Submersible Pressure Gauge) and signal your remaining air
11. Recognise and respond to hand signals underwater
12. Demonstrate neutral buoyancy / hovering
13. Take off scuba gear and wear back on at surface.
14. Swim and navigate with a compass at surface and at depth (tried this during the sea session. I think it varies from instructors & whether your group have more than enough time)
15. Remove and replace weights at surface
16. Cramp release on buddy and on yourself at surface.
17. BCD oral inflation at surface and at depth
18. Tired diver tow for 25 metres
19.Remove weights, scuba unit and fins in water too deep in which to stand and exit
20. Post-dive care of scuba gear

That sounds like a whole lot of skills didn't it? Fret not and keep a happy positive learning attitude. This session is really essential for you to learn. However you may tend to forget if you dont practice the skills, plus there'll be a gap period (weeks or month) from your pool and sea session. So do watch videos as well to help you understand and recall the skills. There are plenty available on YouTube.

Find out how to execute certain skills here.

I chose Bintan for my Practical (Sea session) because it is 1 hour ferry ride away. Compared to Tioman which one have to take a ultra long bus ride and then a boat ride to reach. Anyone with motion sickness should also bring along your pills.

We were tested with the above skills in under seawater. The visibility wasn't fantastic, about 2-3m, and not that clear. But it was a pleasant experience. I am contented that I am completed this course. Achievement Unlocked! :)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


today marks the last day of 2014. it has been an unbelievable journey this year. a year of freshness in the open environment and a year of growing up.

i haven't actually blogged about turning 21 in the last quarter of 2014. there was no fancy party nor celebration or any kind, just had a simple dinner and a trip to Alive Museum with the sisters and our partners.

now back to the part of 2014's conclusion.
1) took on my first official full-time job. it is a challenge, but i'm glad that i survived, against all odds and all the hardships and happiness. i looked back at this role that i have engaged in since 2012 (3 months), 2013 (4 months), 2014 (1 year) and am relieved to say that i've no regrets. it was a step into the industry to learn and discover new things. satisfied that i did and still am.

2) developed a deeper attachment with my family - love is that simple. i don't know about you guys, but while growing up, i never really had a comfort home because everyone was busy working/studying and minding their own business. then i grew up and noticed the change - age/care/faith. i'm also thankful that we have taken things to stride and sharing more love. family is the one who never fails, never leaves no matter what happens. i'm also beginning to see how life is so fragile and precious after my grandfather fell ill. but the comforting news to hear is that he have received Christ as His Saviour after many years being devoted to other religions..

3) traveled to Boracay and Taiwan this year. it is just beautiful to travel and to experience the wonderful creations of the world myself. Boracay was just awesome that i will never forget, the sun sea and sand was so relaxing, while Taiwan was an eventful trip that saw us rushing around. will blog about taiwan next time

there's so much to say about personal development and there're definitely more things to work towards in 2015. but for now, i'm just truly thankful to have made it through and for being safe and healthy this year,
for now, i'll just sit by the digital screen in the walls of my home...

Excited for new beginnings in 2015 and hope you are too. Happy new year eve!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Boracay Day 5
Part 1.5

What is a holiday without alcohol? After the previous night, we slept in and missed our Scuba session. I call it the Rest & Relax Day. Y'know most of the time when you're away on a trip.. it is still quick-paced because you have to rush to meet schedules etc.

We laid in the soft white sheets with the comfort of the air-conditioning blowing gently on our faces.. That moment was wonderful and we didn't want my holiday to end. Our hotel neighbors from California had another 2 weeks to stay whilst we had a day. No wonder friends have the thought of emigrating to seaside and live by the beach

Towards the late afternoon, we went by the beach to capture moments to keep as memories. Beautiful island with a scenic view.

I love holidays, who doesn't?

Boracay Day 6 
Part 1.6 

Last day of the trip!!! This picture encourages you to book a ticket and fly there now right?!!?

We planned for our scuba at 9am because we had to leave the island at 11.30am. Mad rush but truly the best water sport that I have enjoyed!

First off, the instructors brought us through a quick lesson on communicating underwater and the use of the equipment. Throughout the session, I was freaking out about going underwater, although excited but really nervous about the outcome.

We tried some poses to get comfortable in the water. I also picked up a seashell on the sea bed. There you see it lying on hand. The red surface caught my eye and I couldn't resist not having it accompany me for my trip to commemorate my first dive trip! :) 

The dive instructors brought us to an area with a stone heart, for photo opportunity. Amazing that they actually transported it into the sea for an extra touch-point for tourists!

I like how the sea bed is layered with the natural elements that are found deep under the ocean. It reminds me of the powerful Him whom created every piece of earth's beauty. 

Right after the dive trip, we hurried to check out and rush to the port to meet up with the travel partners for our ferry. Going back home feels comforting but leaving the sunny island of Boracay was definitely a reluctant move.  

Skipping the nitty gritty details of travelling, here're some interesting photos to share on our flight back. Any idea what is that sand-like landscape?

Goodbye Boracay, I'll come back for you soon. xoxo

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Riding the Waves

6 days to spend on a beach island may sounds long but in fact it is not. Time was spent frolicking under the sun and strolling the long stretch of beach. I can't emphasize how beautiful it is because you simply have to experience it for yourself!! 

Boracay Day 3
Part 1.3

Half of the day was spent at another traveller's attraction - The Ariel's Point. It is a cliff overlooking the sea which 5 diving points for you to throw yourself in. 
Sounds intimating? 

We took a ferry to the cliff area which took about 30 - 45 mins. For more info on ticketing and the attraction, visit their website, Ariel's Point. I was very nervous about cliff-jumping because of the fear I had of not being strong enough to swim up. Nevertheless told myself to try it out. 

We're reaching!! Seems like a very forested area right? It feels like a big private party there with hammocks and the latest hits booming from the speakers. The ticket pricing includes free flow of beverages (beer included) and food. 

We walked through a small cave before reaching the peak of the cliff. The view was gorgeous of course. 

There was many Caucasian amongst the group and they were daredevils who were the first that did the cliff jump. We reckon that they have had similar experiences in their home town based on the movies.. true?
It was a playground with 5 diving areas - 1m, 3m, 5m, 10m & 15m. 

Apart from cliff jumping, canoeing and snorkelling is available too! It was my first time canoeing and I enjoyed it. Where else can do this sport??


This is where I stood after contemplating for many hours. The 3 metres mark. Didn't have the courage to jump from any higher points. Maybe the next trip, I'd pluck up my courage to do the (im)possible. 

To me, it was a feat for my first time. The buddies are truly #yoloadventurers who tried all the sites. Let the pictures below speak for themselves. B jumped from 3m, 5m and 10m. 

15m one is the wooden plank behind this 10m one. 

We left the cliff around 5pm, after about 5 hours of 'action'. It was a good time relaxing and reflecting on the trip. Sat through a rocky ride due to bad currents, and the towels that we used to cover ourselves were soaking wet when we got back.

Here's our first and only group jump-shot. It was perfect angle and scenery. The sun was setting, the tide was low and the atmosphere was just right. 

Enjoyed a simple and quiet night after an afternoon of wildness. 

Boracay Day 4 
Part 1.4

On the middle of the trip, I felt somewhat bored because we did most water sports except those that we tried before and didn't want to pay a high price for (i.e: banana boat and parasailing). 
To kill time, we went around looking for other activities to do - ended up with Go Kart & scuba diving plans (for next day)

Reached back to Station 1 around late afternoon and enjoyed street snacks and enjoyed the sunset. It is a joy to see him happy. You'll realise that happiness is one of the most importance factor in life once you grow older.

Experienced Boracay night life as well! Night time can be quite happening. Feels quite shiok if you stay at Boracay, everyday is like Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat!!! 

Four of us shared a bottle of hard liquor. So much fun with games that I lost myself. 

Love living the life that I missed. There's unlimited things that I can do but have never tried.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Bring it on Boracay

2.07am on a Saturday midnight. Had a long weekday the past two days and finally can take a breather this weekend, especially that B is away.

Boracay Day 2
Part 1.2

It has been 2 months since I visited the island. Memories are vivid with the help of pictures.
That faithful morning, we packed up and left the inn. Excitement filled us because we couldn't wait to get to a better hotel by the beautiful White Beach.

Our home for the remaining nights was Blue Lily Hotel. Per night costed us SGD$100++. Definitely can source for cheaper accommodation along the beach, but varies facilities (i.e: may charge for additional towels).

This place didn't have a proper reception - it was a desk placed outside. Breakfast was fine, so as to service. But make sure that you don't do henna, or they'll probably accuse you of staining the sheets.*
Coincidentally our room was on the ground level, convenient but can be awkward sometimes.
Imagine staying in a quarters like this. Step out and wriggle your toes in the fine sand, and absorb vitamin D from the glorious sunlight.

*p.s: hotels there have a policy to charge you quite a hefty sum if the linens/towels become stained.

The White Beach is probably known for the gradient colors of the sea. Wished we could take from a higher ground to show how beautiful this place is. I CAN'T WAIT TO GO BACK ALREADY!!!

Onto activities.. the usual beach and land games. We did most of the programs offered, but some were too expensive and not worth it. Bali/Batam will be cheaper.
Rates are charged according to season (i.e: rainy period cheaper & vice versa).

Here's an overview of what we did on Day 2 (half day):
- Snorkelling near Crocodile Island (shape like a crocodile, but none that I saw)
- Helmet Diving (15-30 mins)
- ATV up to Mount Luho (15-30mins)
- Go Kart (15 mins)
- Sunset Sailing (15 mins)

We bought a package plan except Go-Kart with recommendation from hotel. So its good to ask around before committing because some are middleman & may charge higher.


Here are our buds. Thanks for being part of this amazing trip!!

We geared up for snorkelling next. I'll always have a queasy feeling of going into the ocean. The tides were insane and fear of negative situations scares me. Panicking will make it 10 times worse. 

But the best thing of being in the water is a very comfortable feeling. 

Enjoyed the feeling of having couple holiday trip because taking shots were so easy and of course, "the more the merrier".
On hand was Mango Fruit Juice from Jonas Milkshake. It tasted lovely - sweet fragrance of fresh Mango and blend of Milk. Must try! 

Helmet Diving

Helmet diving is very safe and wouldn't cause you any distress except that the helmet is extremely heavy and my shoulders hurt the entire time even after I came up.

Briefing will be conducted for underwater communication, and a guiding diver will lead you down. Air pressure is definite, so remember to swallow or press your nose!

Heading back to the ground after the session. It was so fun although heavy. Soaking in the cold waters with fishes swimming around was breathtaking. 
Oxygen will be passed via a tube connected to the helmet. As long as you do not tilt your head down, water will not go in. Even if it does, simply stand straight up again so water will flow down. 


ATV is motorised vehicle, similar to motocycle but bigger. Our journey started from the bottom of hill and up we go... destination is Mount Luho - The peak of Boracay and the best view of the island!

The sun was shining really bright that afternoon but all worth it for this view. 

Dear J actually suggested us to do the Titanic style. We didn't make very good models but the scenery made everything looks perfect, isn't? 

Couldn't find the photos for go-karting and sunset sailing. Shall update this in time to come.

Had the first and hopefully last experience - my iphone dropped into the sea before I board the boat for sunset sailing. For a good 10-15 secs. 

Thinking back it was just a mad rush of emotions. The thought of everything just gone was devastating. Was in a lousy mood and just kept praying. Need to thank the companion(s) who suggested ways to make it better. Especially B because I just blamed everything on him. 

Let me just end with this great pizza place - Yellow Cab Pizza. 
We visited this place 2-3 times throughout. 

Food there is pricy except the stalls along the pavement & McDonalds. 
We also frequent this stall with simple food offering. Just rice, sauce, eggs, choice of beef and other option, which is quite good! 

We caught the dusk at 6:40pm. Dark blue skies hanging over the night with a ray of bright orange on the horizon. The tides low and the light wind gushing on your skin and blowing through my hair. Oh what a beauty this place is. 

Till Day Three's post. Goodnight owls :)