In Part One of my “scuba diving on tioman” series I chatted about how I arrived at the conclusion that Salang Bay, Tioman was the perfect place to learn to scuba dive and I also gave a backstory about my history with with ocean. In part two I share what the actual course was like. [spoiler alert – phenomenal] And I also show you some pics of my experience.
Grahame (my scuba diving instructor in Malaysia) and I scheduled a date to start and that was that. You can easily do the course in four days (three nights) but since I live so close to Tioman and we didn’t have three nights clear, we decided that I split the course over two weekends. Which worked perfectly for me. Obviously it’s better to do it all at once with no pause but it was a necessary evil due to my work schedule (and spending two consecutive weekends on Tioman is hardly torture. Just look at the place.)
Getting to Tioman Island.
Getting to Tioman is a pretty simple process for foreigners and locals alike. The Scuba Guru website actually has the best information on the process depending where you are coming from so instead of me re-writing it out, just go visit their “How to get to Tioman Island” page for yourself.
The PADI Open Water Course.
I must say that overall I found the course a lot more easy going than I had anticipated, which was a huge relief. I had visions of studying all night while fumbling around with “complicated” equipment in the day. Turns out I was totally wrong. Yes, there is some academic knowledge to get you head around but it is a small part and completely helpful information – I actually really enjoyed what I learnt. It’s given me a new understanding about how air and our bodies behave underwater and at difference pressures.
As it turns out, the “complicated” equipment isn’t that complicated at all. They just look that way to someone who has never needed put it on. And trust me, once you have experienced what that gear does for you, you may never want to take it off! Everything has a fail safe and everything is really simply laid out with great form and function, I must say i’m really impressed at how we went from diving in huge body suits and iron helmets to today’s slick set up.
Grahame lays out the basics really well and underwater, he’s actually a bit of a legend. As a student I cannot think of a better equipped instructor from whom to learn. He’s being doing this on Tioman for 13 years now so his experience and confidence really put you at complete ease under the water. Not even for one moment did I feel uncomfortable.
After I passed the course, and bragged about it on Facebook, a friends comment really summed up the what this achievement unlocks – “a licence to a new magical world” – is something along the lines of what they said and it’s 100% true. You may see a lot of people going diving when you are in beautiful locations like Salang Bay but when you think about, and look at the numbers, only a tiny fraction of humanity get to see for themselves what it is like down there.
With 5 dives to my name I’m still brand new, so everything is completely alien and magical to me. The sea life, the coral, the fish, everything. It is completely brilliant. The way a turtle nonchalantly glides past you, a cuttlefish changes colour before your eyes, or a school a fish, thousands strong, envelop you is absolutely mesmerising. These are moments that take your breathe away, and moments that I will never forget.
I am absolutely and 100% convinced that everyone should take the opportunity to experience life underwater. It is so special that you simply cannot go a lifetime “only” seeing things on land. You just can’t.
And it’s easy! It’s not hard at all. So do it.
Do you want to get certified?
Maybe, like me, you’ve been considering getting your Open Water scuba diving certificate and that’s what led you here. If thats the case , great! I can definitely recommend going with Grahame. His experience is unquestioned, he knows the waters of Tioman Island like the back of his hand and, also, because he is a private instructor, you get more personal attention – unlike at the big dive shops where you get lost in the crowds (and hopefully not underwater.) Go check out his website over here for more scuba information.