Chillin’ on Tioman

Back in September, my brother Tze-Yaw and I went on another of our dive trips. I look forward to these more than any other. Living on opposite ends of the earth as we do, these dive trips are the precious and rare occasions where we have the luxury of enjoying each other’s company for more than 48 hours at a time.

Our short stay on the island of Tioman was idyllic. The only thing I would change is to have stayed longer! My brother’s friend (no, not girlfriend) Jessica came along for the ride. What a blast we had!

The diving was definitely worth the trip. Tioman is an island, and most of the diving occurs on the western coast, to take advantage of the relative shelter provided by mainland Malaysia to the west. So although pelagics are rare, the critters and the turtles more than made up for the lack of big life. Check out these shots taken by my brother Tze-Yaw.
All three of us are fond of nudibranchs and other sea slugs, and Tioman did not disappoint. Tiger Reef became unofficially nicknamed Nudi Valley for the sheer volume of nudibranchs and other sea slugs. It was a macro wonderland.
Topside, the staff at Paya are the best I’ve ever experienced anywhere in the world. In comparison, the Caribbean is downright inhospitable. From the wait staff in the dining room to the dive centre manager, we got an unbeatable level of personal service. One day, the dining room manager actually sent over a plate of moon cakes as a gift!
Not to be outdone, our lovely dive master Remy decided to jig for seafood after our dives one afternoon. Back at the resort with a big bucketful of squid and fish, Remy rigged up a fire on the beach right in front of our chalet and proceeded to grill up the freshest, sweetest seafood I’ve ever eaten, simply seasoned with butter and pepper.
I would have happily died on that beach that very night.
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