Pictures: Dive trip – also Tasha doing math homework – what a horrible location to do homework, Tim diving, Natalie eating a “huge Prawn”, Natasha and Annika playing on beach
Since we found out we would be stranded, Josh wanted to learn how to scuba dive. While we waited to get off the island, the days were filled with swimming, home-work (math – ugh), walks, etc. and Josh spending all day at the dive center. The time worked perfectly. Josh was able to complete his Open Water Padi Dive Certification with flying colors – Hurray!!!! As a part of the course, he has to do 4 dives. 2 were from the shore which Tim and Natalie accompanied (we are both certified divers but hadn’t dove in a long time – actually – trivia note – our honeymoon was in Cozumel, Mexico spent diving every morning on the reefs). The last day we went out on the boat and did 2 boat dives – one a reef and the other a small island. Girls tried their snorkeling at the island, but waves kind of scared them. Natalie will finish the blog —
Tioman Island was a great respite after months of packing and planning, and then Christmas! Since it was monsoon season, much of the island was closed, which really made it nicer as it was very quiet. I liked the routine we got into: Tim up early, reading out on the porch and looking at the waves; the rest of us up later – Josh to his dive class, me with a cup of coffee on the porch, and the girls usually on the beach. The rest of the day was just more of nothing! Annika would play with the cats at the guesthouse. There are all kinds of stray cats on the island. They all have bent tails! They say that’s how you know they’re from Tioman. Annika named them all and made special friends with one, whom she named “Tiger.” She and Tiger kind of look alike! This morning when we walked down the path to the boat, Tiger followed us quite aways and finally stopped and looked woefully after us. Back to the “routine:” Dinner was always fun, because we would walk down the path that paralled the beach and check out whatever restaurants were open – usually a rickety wooden table, made even more wobbly because its legs sit in the sand. On the way back to our bungalow, it was really dark because there weren’t many lamps, and the jungle would come alive with sound. And there was not an ounce of car noise because there aren’t any!
We didn’t know it when the day began, but Josh did his final dives on our last day. He and Tim popped up after their first dive, and I heard Tim exclaim, “I see a ferry!” which meant that we would be able to leave the island the next day. Tim and Josh did the first dive of the day off the boat, but fairly close to shore. They saw turtles, moray eels, sting rays, and lots of “Nemos” playing in the anenomes, as well as a myriad of brightly colored tropical fish. Josh’s favorite were these small neon blkue ones. The visibility wasn’t great due to the monsoon, but there’s so much variety on the reef, that it didn’t matter. We were really proud of Josh. Getting an open water certification is not an easy thing and takes some courage, and he did a great job and loves it. We’re hoping the girls will see the beauty of what’s under the ocean, because so far, they’re a bit uneasy about all those fish swimming down there and not sure they want to look at them! In their defense, the day they were snorkeling off the boat, the sea was rough and a bit intimidating. I went on Josh’s second boat dive, on a reef that encircled a little island. We saw a HUGE grouper, a huge shark, a huge moray eel, a huge turtle, and one very small octopus!