Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pulau Dayang

Returning to Singapore after my safety course I found myself sitting in front of the computer for 12+ hours/day applying for offshore jobs and trying to figure out the industry. Not fun at all. I haven't much hope of actually securing anything for a while so I switched gears a little and started to look for a temporary job to keep me alive until I finally do get something. Not sure if it will be in Singapore but since I was already here and hoping to stay, I randomly emailed a bunch of dive shops around town offering my services. I think that was Wed and Thurs morning and by Thursday afternoon I had a call from one of the bigger centres (Big Bubble) asking if I'd like to assist them for the weekend. Sweet!
Singapore is a terrible dive destination and nobody dives here. Instead all diving is done abroad with people either flying out to Indonesia, Thailand, Borneo, etc. or driving a few hours up the east coast of Malaysia to some of the islands there. Thus pretty much all the diving is done on weekends. So I signed up to join them from Friday night until Sunday evening. It went something like this. Meet at 6pm at the dive shop to pack gear and meet the crew. Catch a chartered coach bus for the 37 divers, 3 instructors and 4 divemasters (including me) to drive about 4 hours to Mersing (including a dinner stop). We arrived at midnight, jumped onto a chartered diveboat/ferry to get to Pulau Dayang. We arrived at 4am, checked into the resort and fell asleep until 8am when we had to get up for breakfast. I did not sleep at all and I don't know how people can really dive under such conditions....
Pulau is a tiny island further out than Pulau Tioman (the largest island off the east coast of Malaysia). I think there are 3 resorts on the island. All our very basic I think and our was typical. It had dorm-style rooms, shared bathrooms, white sand beach just outside and a cliff behind. Palm trees and and open eating area outside for the buffets. It has it's own little pier and that was about it. There was another dive company sharing the place at the same time but from what I've heard, none really like each other at all so there is no real interaction between them.
I was there to assist leading fun divers around but since I don't know the area at all, it was more like a training session for me and I just played backup divemaster to the other guy that was leading the group of 8 or 9 divers with us. We had our own little boat so had some degree of freedom on timing and dive sites to visit which was nice. The best part was that the sites were all pretty close, but I wasn't overly impressed with them. I did see something new on each dive so that was good and I can't really complain since all I really wanted was to just get back in the water. It was all Singaporeans as well so I felt a little out of place but the great thing is that if you are a divemaster you are accepted and I was warmly welcomed, no questions asked. Kind of scary though because they just assume I know what I'm doing too.
We were supposed to do 4 dives on Saturday but everyone backed out of the night dive and we only did 3. Got up early the following morning and did another 2 dives before having the long journey back to Singapore. It's incredibly tiring, but was fun. I did hardly any work and what did I get paid for it? Nothing. But it cost me nothing as well. I more or less got a weekend diving package absolutely free. Value of around $300US. Not bad. Now this divemaster thing is starting to look like a decent investment. Who knows, but if I stick around I may have the opportunity to do more diving this way as well.
So now I am back in Singapore and I am actively looking for some sort of work here that will keep me busy. I can't mooch forever and I've already been here 3 weeks....
Ammon

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