With the extremely hot weather for the past few days, don’t it remind us, divers how awesome it would be to be underwater in our natural aquarium that does not support captivity? No matter what reasons you may have that is stopping you from having a dive holiday, just like me, we can only “watch the plum to quench our thirst” (Well, in our case, read the blog and pretend diving). :B
If you have not already read our previous post about Knowing MV Nautica – Part 1, here you go! And for those looking forward to what kind of diving does Riau Island have, read on!
A short introduction on Riau Islands:
Riau Islands Province comprises the principal group of the Riau Archipelago, together with other island groups to the south, east and northeast. Batam lies within the central core group of islands.
Right now, you should be having this thought in your head, “Batam? Batam is for massage, not diving!”. Well, we did go to Nongsa point, Batam. But all we did was to clear immigration before proceeding toward the Southern parts of Riau Islands, where the diving conditions are slightly better.
As most of us local divers are used to diving in Malaysia during the season, be it Tioman or Dayang Island, Riau Islands would be slightly different. Personally, we felt that Tioman and Dayang dive sites are much more predictable. If you want a dive that is relatively calm in Tioman and Dayang, you will probably be heading off the “Monkey Bay” or “Pulau Mariam” where we know for sure that these sites are relatively protected by the island and have almost close to zero current. Well, at Riau Islands, what looks like a protected bay might be able to bring you for a joyous and fun ride! We were diving in one of the reef islands which was fairly well protected. Diving 1/3 into our dives, the current would pick us up and send us, as if presenting to us a silent movie, with beautiful reefs by our side. And as we were enjoying the movie, she did an emergency stop. Yes, a COMPLETE stop!
You might feel a little stressful hearing that, thinking if it is really safe then to dive at that site, with such unexpected current. Judging from the fact that you will never drift to the blues (because there ain’t no blues) due to the underwater topography, where the maximum depth of the whole area is only 15metres, we would say “why not?”. Well, of course, with the fact that you did the necessary dive briefing and planning with prudence. MV Nautica is also equipped with a nice dhingy where most of the time the boat crew is “patrolling” on the dive site we are at, to make sure they are aware of where we are and ready to assist in the pick up. I would safely say, we are in good hands!
So, shallow waters? What are we going to see? This is where Riau Islands have surprised us. Due to the fact that the dive sites are relatively unexplored, divers who love healthy corals, photographers, macro lovers and adventure divers are gona like this!
There are massive sea fan, whip and harp corals everywhere! These sea fan that are so breakable that you can barely see them anymore in Tioman and Dayang are all around!
We are also pre-warned before our dives by the cruise director that the marine life here are extremely shy and see us as an alien species in their world. It didn’t surprise us, they probably have never seen divers in their entire life till now and it turns out to be true how shy they are,
except for this puffer fish, whom greeted with us with curiosity!
And if you are a true macro lover, who can spend a good 15 minutes on 1 macro life just observing how they look like, behaves and moves, 5 dives for the weekend will definitely not be enough for you. With spotting of blue dragon, different sea slugs, nudis and shrimps, we never have enough time for our dives!
We got a little bored waiting for our turn to be picked up by the dhingy and decided to play “catch” with the coconut shells that are floating around us. Guess who decided to join us?
On every weekend on MV Nautica, there will also be at least 1 dive site (should your group of divers’ demography allows, I don’t think it would be a problem asking more than 1) that will be at an unexplored site, where we can decide our dive plan, map the sites and name the site with reference to us! We basically descended in our individual group, scatter ourselves and finish our dives with discussions on what the dive site was to us!
Before leaving MV Nautica and Riau Island, the cruise director was nice enough to allow us off board to explore the islands while some others took the dhingy for a ride!
With over 60 hours looking at each other, staying together on board, diving have again brought the world smaller! We ended our trip with much laughter and smile!
With the company of divers, turtles, stingrays, octopus and many other macro creatures, we ended our trip at 9pm upon reaching Ponggol Marina Country Club. Which will be marking the new beginning of many more dives with you guys!
More photos on our Facebook!