Penang & Perhentians, Malaysia

Apologies, family and friends for the lack of contact. It hasnt been that long really, 9 days? I have actually lost count, I have no idea what day it is today, its great.

I will start where I left off, which was just before I caught the bus to Penang from Singapore. The ride went ok. I was next to a Malay-Chinese guy and strangely he seemed as lost as I did when the bus stopped in Penang. Fortunately though, I was met immediately buy Nav. It was great catching up with him, it wasnt as if 2 years had passed since we last met.

I was staying at Nav’s house. He lives there with his mum, dad and youger brother – also a pretty scary parrot thing, an old alsatian and KiKi(one of those very small dogs, not sure of the breed). Penang was great, mainly because Nav was my guide for the three days, I met all his friends and went to some pretty cool bars. Visited a few temples and got the train to the top of Penang hill(see flickr). Got some good advice from Nav’s friends who dived about the Perhentians and Thailand. It was kinda sad to go, since the three days was pretty great.

I left, and caught another overnight bus to Kuala Besut(very cheaply too) and arrived at the jetty at 7am. The Perhentians are beautiful! It is paradise here, exactly my cup of tea. I am staying on Long Beach on the smaller Island. I had originally intended on staying at a place called D’Lagoon, but I think I have made the right choice. Long Beach is about 400 metres long, with hostels/gueshouses/basic shops/Dive shops along the front. I know what your thinking – but its not tacky or overdeveloped here at all. There are no roads, no concrete, no cars and no night clubs =)

The water is crystal clear and sapphire in colour, the sand is white and soft and the sea is warm. Since I got here I have dived everyday. It is brilliant! I had to do a refresher course(a little revision session and an easy reef dive) before I could crack on with the fun dives. The place I am diving at is great. Their prices are really cheap, as in 9 quid a dive(believe me that is good!) and the service is extremely good. The staff are especially good too, they are all pretty jealous of my Papua New Guinea diving trip thats planned. A few of them are planning to head out there in their own boat once they get the funds together.

Initially I was diving twice a day, but the last two days(including today) I have been doing it only once, my ears a tad paiinful, so I am giving them a rest. So far I have seen some pretty cool stuff. Today I was doing a pretty hairy dive(really strong currents) and seen a massive grouper, rays, yesterday I seen a bamboo shark(which doesnt really count), moray eels and some pretty big rays again.. Theres too many things to name, the seas are teeming. I still havent seen a reef shark or a turtle, but I am told that they are scared of the divers here and you are guaranteed to see them if you take a snorkelling trip. Tomorrow I am doing an adventure dive to a wreck nearby. I am a bit pissed off that I am doing Advanced open water in PNG because there are a few sites here that are worth checking out, but I need the advanced to dive at, so I might get on the blower and change the Course in PNG to fun dives and do my advanced here. The dive tomorrow is actually going to count towards my advanced, so it means I will get more out of PNG as I could specialise in something interesting.

My accomodation is pretty basic. It can be described as a badly made garden shed on stilts with a straw roof. Still its only costing me 4 pounds a night and its right on the beach. Theres another beach about 15 minutes walk through the jungle, and the word is that theres a promo for a room with air con and a bathroom for 12 quid.

I have met up with a few people here, spent last night on a deserted beach with 3 guys from Ireland, a Finnish guy and a Malay/English dive instructor(she has a very strange accent) – sipping tiger beer and Orang Utan whisky. It really difficult to find a drink round here(but we managed). It wasnt so pleasant getting up at 8 to go diving in strong currents with a hangover.

The only bad thing about this place is the mozzies. No tan for me yet I am afraid, on account of the horrid state of the right,arm which was resting against the mopxxie net and subsequently got chewed to death.

I am thinking of staying here a bit longer actually. I will see though..another 5 weeks here would be lovely =)

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