The Next Level: Advanced Open Water Diver (AOWD) in Tioman

After my OWD, I was itching to go on another trip. I wanted to complete my AOWD soon since Tioman’s monsoon season was arriving and I did not want to wait till the next year. I was also planning on going on leisure diving trips and wanted the AOWD so I could do more and see more during my trips. For example, I would be more comfortable diving in currents after doing drift diving and would be able to dive deeper after doing deep diving.

My pool instructor suggested for me to dive in Pulau Tioman aboard MV Nautica for the weekend to complete my AOWD since he was teaching that weekend, so I signed up for it through Amazing Dive. This time, I signed up alone since my friend could not make it and I thought that since I was stuck on a small boat with a group of people, they would be forced to talk to me when we hung out in the common areas.

Before leaving, I had to complete a short online theory portion, just reading and answering multiple choice questions.

aowd

Then it was time to go on my trip and on a Friday evening, I lugged my bags to Punggol Marina Country Club where the boat was. I suggest taking a cab cause I thought taking public transport would be a good idea but completely regretted it. Getting to Punggol MRT was fine but then I got a little lost on the LRT system and ended up on the wrong loop, and even after I finally got to Nibong, I had to walk around the circumference of Marina Country Club carrying my heavy bags under the hot sun until I managed to find my way in…Though you could probably get there pretty easily if you have a good sense of direction which I guess I lack.

Once I found my way though, everything was smooth sailing. I was greeted by the crew and escorted to Nautica:

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This is from their FB page. I didn’t get a good photo of the boat 😦

All the gear was already nicely set up for us!

gear

The itinerary was all planned out:

itinerary

And we sailed off at around 6.30pm~

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Thankfully for me, the group of people and crew aboard were really friendly and I immediately got involved playing card games, talking, and chilling at the front of the boat or the dining area.

dining

I got to know my dive group (4 other bros) better and we spent the evening talking, drinking some beers and forcing each other to finish the whole tray of wings. Which we did. Eventually. The wings were pretty amazing.

wings

We finally retired at about 1am, and when we woke up the next morning, Nautica had already brought us to the Tioman waters. After some snacks and a dive briefing, we commenced our first dive at Pirate Reef. This was a check out dive for us to get used to diving again.

After the dive, we had breakfast, then dive #2 at Labas. This time, we did our peak performance buoyancy dive, which taught us to control our buoyancy better and be able to hover in the water at a certain level without moving up or down too much.

coralfish2

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LOL it looks kinda shocked

We had lunch after the dive, and had some additional time to chill so a bunch of us ended up jumping off the second level of the boat into the water. Some people managed to do flips..

flip

But I felt that there was a high possibility that I would crack my head and die so I went for a more classic pose..

jump

The crew had some fun too!

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Next up was Tiger Reef for our dive #3: underwater navigation dive. We had to perform a square pattern with our buddy underwater using a dive compass.

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Look at the compass on my wrist! (cause I forgot to take a proper photo of it oops)

There was even more food after the dive (we were getting really full by then…) and then we went to Soyak for the dive #4: drift dive. Drift diving was pretty fun as the current pushed us along and we did not have to exert much effort to keep moving along the corals.

By then, the sun had set. Armed with dive torches, some of us ventured into the water to snorkel around Renggis to try to look for sharks, but to no avail. We swam back to the boat and went on our night dive.

night2

night4
LLoyd, from the other group took these photos. I don’t have a GoPro 😦 . Yet.

This time, we also saw 2 sharks, one a cat reef shark and another a juvenile blacktip.

Had a great BBQ dinner waiting for us when we got back 😮 And I took like… a few more servings after this 😛

dinner

The night was once again spent chilling and enjoying the sea breeze before turning in for the night.

We woke up at 7am and prepared for our final dive at Jahat, our deep dive. For this dive, there wasn’t much to see as we went to the side where we could go deep, about 26m deep. It was actually really fun cause we didn’t have to worry about avoiding the corals around us and we had the freedom to move around and swim any way we wanted to.

floating
Just floating in the water

Ending the dive brought about a wave of glumness for me as it marked the end of our trip. I felt quite doleful when the boat started on its route back to Singapore. Fortunately, my new dive bros made the return trip full of laughter! We had about 10 hours which was enough time to:

Have a spontaneous photoshoot session

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Trying hard not to step on the ground cause it was BURNING!

ps2

ps1
This is pretty romantic…
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-My crew-

Turn MV Nautica into #Clubnautica and get tattooing services

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The stamp reads: I dove on MV Nautica
tattoo
Disclaimer: I only wrote the words, Samson on the far left drew everything else!

Sleep and suntan

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Seems like instructor Jared needs to recover from a headache…

WERE WE NOT GOOD STUDENTS?!?!

sleepsuntan

Give the captain of the boat a show…

show

Ambush our instructor in his room (maybe that’s why he gets a headache with us around)

ambush2

ambush
He looks happy now but he wasn’t when we first went in..

Get a leg Jacuzzi session at the back of the boat

jac1jac2

papparazo
Getting spied on by paparazzi 😮

And finally, have another photoshoot session.

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Look at our unintentionally coordinated clothing.. #squadgoals
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THE FULL SQUAD
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The other group gets inspired too haha

And then we got back to our normal working lives…

All in all, this was an AMAZING (the shop or the adjective hmm…) trip, thanks to Jared the instructor, Arshad the PIC of #clubnautica, and all the wonderfully helpful crew members who took awesome care of us 😀

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~Follow me on instagram: sgdivegirl

**The PADI AOWD consists of 5 adventure dives which vary from location to location and the dive shop you do it with. The deep dive and underwater navigation dives are mandatory. The dive shops under ADA have since converted to SSI instead of PADI. It’s still the same experience though!**

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