Friday, February 29, 2008

Year of the Rat be dammed!!!! or A case for a Mandi Bunga

Ok, 2008 is turning out to be quite an inauspicious year for me (and another fellow piggie). So far we're only a couple of months into the new year and already I've experienced an extraordinary string of bad luck. When the first unfortunate incident happened, I was kinda waiting for the other shoe to drop. Since then, it's been raining footwear on me, I am starting to wonder if Lady Luck is an octopus with a ransom on my head!. Don't believe me? Let's see...

#1. My Canon S80 compact camera LCD screen cracked. Cost to repair: RM380

#2. My house was broken into. Lost a ton of stuff including the home theatre sound system. Cost of loss: Around RM5000. Cost to my sense of security: immeasurable.

#3. My iBook suddenly died. Cost to repair: RM80 (Luckily the problem was a minor one. Otherwise would've been at least 2K) but if counting the petrol needed to purposedly drive up to KL repair it at the BV2 Mac shop: RM400! Why on earth isn't there an Apple store in Melaka???

#4. The underwater camera casing for my standby camera broke. Cost to repair: probably not worth it. Better get a replacement. Cost of replacement? RM600. But since this is a spare, might not bother.

#5. The car battery died one morning. Luckily manage to jumpstart. But the mechanic said I had to change the battery. I only had the car for one year! Cost: RM300

#6. Had to rebook Airasia tickets for the March divetrip due to logistic reasons out of my control. Cost: RM300 (not to count the RM280 I will have to burn for the old tics!)

And last but certainly not the least....

#7. I LOST MY iPhone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Another Sad Love Song....

I was YMing with Nickxandar the other evening, and in between discussing about the hotties on Amazing Race Asia 2 and who will be booted out on American Idol, we got to talking about sad country love songs. You know, the ones about empty promises, lost loves and broken hearts.

One particular tune that came to my mind was a song on Trisha Yearwood's latest CD Heaven, Heartache and The Power Of Love entitled "Sing You Back To Me". I really enjoyed listening to the song because of its simple delivery: just her vocals backed by a classical guitar. Nick, however, felt that the song was a bit too depressing and should (never?) be listened to when one is in the midst of a break-up. I feel that this song can be used as a benchmark to gauge one's recovery. To quote Nick, if you can hear it without the waterworks then you're over the person already....

Sing You Back To Me

I’d like to write a song
A sweet and simple thing
And if I do it right
It’d be the only one I’d sing
‘Cause it would bring me everything I’d need
A song that I could sing you back to me

Sing you back, bring you back
A miracle of page and pen
You’d hear it and be here again
And always and forever there would be
A song that I could sing you back to me

There must be a million words
And all I have to do
Is lay my heart upon
Those rare and magic few
Why can’t it be as easy as it seems
A song that I could sing you back to me

Sing you back, bring you back
A miracle of page and pen
You’d hear it and be here again
And always and forever there would be
A song that I could sing you back to me

Sing you back, bring you back
A miracle of page and pen
You'd hear it and be hear again
and always and forever there would be

A song that I could sing you back
Bring you back
A song that I could sing you back...
To me

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tioman 2008 Part 5: Best Of The Rest

Pretty woman.... walking down the beach... pretty woman... :)

Ok, back to underwater pics. Hehehe.

Another nudibranch.

A very pretty starfish... hmmm... I never realised that a starfish has only five erm... legs... until now.

This is a Crown Of Thorns aka as an Indian Swami's cushion.

The prerequisite 'Nemo' shot.

It took me at least 20 shot to get this semi-decent pic of a nudibranch I've never seen before. Reason #1: Underwater currents were too strong.
Reason #2: Dang nudi was only 1 1/2 inches long. Hard to focus!
Reason #3: Case of poor toolman blaming his tools. :(

Awww... so cute! Note: cute as in ugly but adorable. :)

Close-up of another type of clown-fish. Asther, what species is this ah?

Yet another nudi. This one was also quite a difficult one to shoot as its color was almost identical to the surrounding, making it almost impossible for my camera to focus on it properly.

Erm... Asther, is this a type of sea worm or just another anemone?

Nudibranchs were everywhere. One only had to stay still for a minute and concentrate.... which was almost impossible when the current kept blowing us away and the DM was going faster than the speed of sound.

I guess Valentine's Day came early for these two lovebranchs. ;)

Ok, last nudi pic. I promise.

This is the most peculiar type of giant clam that I have ever seen.

A pair of black anemone fish guarding their nest from pesky divers shrieking "Nemo!"

I thought this was a flamboyant cuttlefish (very rare and hard to spot!), only to be crushed when Yanni bluntly told me, "It's just a broadclub cuttlefish lah!". :((

There were lots of sea urchins everywhere, a sign of an endangered reef ecosystem as these spiky creatures eat up corals.

And this is Rosman (left), my de facto dive buddy in Tioman. Most of the land pics were taken by him.

The band of reef pirates taking a group photo before going out to sea.

Mana mana kita pergi pun ada orang nak ambil gambo kitorang. Macam selebriti aje. Hehehe

Two Mat Salleh divers who came along for the ride trying to act cool and macho while being splashed by sea water. Eh, painful, ok?!!?

Ok, that's it for Tioman. Hope you guys enjoyed it. Until next time when we explore the wonders of Pulau Weh deep in the heart of tsunami country in West Sumatra... Amazonman out!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tioman 2008 Part 4

Here are some more underwater pics I took in Tioman. This set is all about hard and soft corals. No nudibranchs, I promise. :)

Corals comes in all shapes and sizes, soft and hard, and in all the colours of the rainbow.

Some of them live in harmony with certain species of fish in a symbiotic relationship which sees one party providing shelter and protection to another, in exchange of food or another form of protection.

Some hard corals take peculiar shapes which, to us, resemble land vegetation, like cabbage or flowers.

In truth, these fascinating sea creatures are nothing like their dry land counterparts. In fact they're not even plants. They're actually animals!

Mary Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?.....

With little blue bells and cockle shells....

And little bubble corals bunched up in a bow.

No need to spend trillion on a rocket to Mars, this is what Mars looks like. You don't believe me? Then go to Mars to prove me wrong!

Hmmm.... looks like a pottery class project gone awry.

This giant block of concrete was deliberately dropped into the sea as anchorage for ships and boats. I'm not sure if that's such a good idea considering the abundant reef in the vicinity.

And last but not least, this is what I would call a view from the top of a coral reef high rise building. That, or really really mouldy bread. ;)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Tioman 2008 Part 3

The reef surrounding Tioman was surprisingly healthy in terms of coral coverage and fish abundance, when compared to other east coast islands like Redang and Perhentian.

Visibility too was quite good, with some places reaching 15 - 20m. The undersea currents, were another thing altogether. But I suspect that had to do with the fact that it was still technically monsoon season here.

There were of course lots of fish everywhere, schools of thousands of fish swimmming everywhere above, below and around us.

There weren't that many varieties of nudibranchs that I could spot.

And the ones that I did were very difficult to to take pics of due to the extreme underwater currents.

So I ended up just taking pics of the bigger stuff, like this blue spotted stingray.

There were lots of this particular species of anglefish.

According to the divemaster, nesting season for the cuttlefish was coming soon.

I guess these guys were getting a head start, checking out the properties available to set up a home. ;)

It feels a bit surreal seeing something I usually eat in a deep fried batter floating around like this.

This little fella was hiding under a wooden beam directly below the Salang jetty.

With so much fish swimming about, it's a wonder why Kamal couldn't catch not a one!

I am always fascinted by the sea fan and its intricate branches and fronds.

Later that evening, I went on a night dive at the same site and found this huge hermit crab waiting for me.

And this my friend, is a 'ikan yu bodoh', according to Panda, aka coral cat shark (the fish, not Panda).

Final pic of the day: a large sea pen ( i think). It was the size of a baseball mitt!!