Long weekend cherry on top

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Tomorrow is already Friday and I’m only now just getting around to writing about the holiday weekend that had just passed. I’ve been sitting on this entry for a while, I know. My reason/excuse is valid, as I’m trying to catch up on some posts, photo transfers and updating my You Tube vlog channel.

The memory of what happened last Sunday is still fresh on my mind, however.  It just seems like every dive day that I have always comes with a new accomplishment or experience, so I’m never left empty-handed. This one stands out in particular thanks to a number of reasons:

  1. It was my first non-training related open water fun free dive session.  Phew, what a mouthful. In other words, I got my certificate and filed it away.  What I got to do this time around was just focus on the diving and not going through a training checklist with an instructor breathing over me. Visiting instructor Stefano has left Brunei already by the way.
  2. After a brief hiatus to focus on meeting my certification requirements, I reunited with original dive crew – Cekli Dive Crew. While Cekli himself was not available, my friends, the Brunei freediving pioneers Fun and Sur, were on board to accompany me.
  3. The boat manifest was made up of a mix of freedivers and scuba divers.  The latter being led by Kimmy.  The mash-up happened sooner than I thought!
  4. I tried not to let my anxiousness about diving with the Brunei freedive pioneers get to me but it was at the back of my mind throughout the trip. My previous time away from the pressure and focus on training helped considerably as my debut with them turned out good — we were diving as equals and I was able to get and stay down there like I’d been freediving a while.  Of course I have to improve on my bottom time, but overall  I’d like to believe that Fun and Sur were relieved about not having to babysit me as much.

We went to two sites – Champion Reef and Hornet’s Reef, embarking the boat from Jerudong Beach.   I had been to both as a scuba diver before, so it was really nice to be able to go from surface to the 14-16m sea beds below without tanks. There was no current and the viz (visibility) was near perfect so mother nature was really nice to me on my re-entrance with that crew. It was a whole different experience, going down only when I could see something worth the while from the top.

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Yours truly saying hello from the bottom. Thanks also to Fun and Sur for the video captures.

To be honest I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking out for.  My eyes have yet to adjust to being an ocean spotter. That’s where my dive buddies Fun and Sur were really helpful, pointing out underwater marvels.  At Champion there was a huge anchor and chain left on the sea bed and became the focus of our attention when I wasn’t saying hello to the scuba divers below.

We gave Little Dale Shoal a go but the viz there at the time wasn’t in our favor.  Again, I didn’t really know what I was seeing. I was just tailing Fun and Sur.  The scuba divers trusted our survey report and we unanimously agreed to go for Hornet’s Reef instead. Fun and I were sort of chasing a barracuda and watched it briefly before it got away with stealth speed.  A  large cuttlefish also became the photo or video subject of the day as us divers lingered around it for a while.

What a cherry topper to a holiday in the country. Bear in mind this was in addition to the Friday adventure at Teraja so you can imagine how great of a weekend it was for me.

Introducing Cekli Freedivers at the front and Kimmy Divers of the Sunday love boat.





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