During the weekend, I swam so close to Nemo and his clownfish cousins that I could have reached out and touched them. And I watched wide-eyed as inquisitive fish swam up to us to stare at us! Watching a proud school of barracuda swim past was also an amazing sight I’ll likely never forget!
And it all began with an invitation to join Project Mares’ maiden cruise to Tioman (‘Mares’ is Spanish for ‘seas’ and pronounced ‘mah-res’). It was my first cruise ever too! And I am thankful to the two diving enthusiasts (Trina & Lionel a.k.a the Boss) for making diving and snorkeling trips more accessible to us.
I had never lived on board a boat before, especially not one that was subject to rocking by the waves 24/7. Thankfully, my body adjusted well and I had no seasickness!
So if you are ready, take the plunge with me into my memories of that fantastic weekend…
~ YOGA ~
Practising yoga on board a boat was certainly a first for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it! We do the Mermaid Pose (how apt!) here…
* Ever seen Cookie Monster do yoga? That’s me, by the way! *
Us after the yoga session
Our yoga instructor, Wendy, even attempted a headstand on the beach where the sand was so soft. I have NO idea how she did it but she has my respect!
~ MASSAGE ~
I know all the ladies enjoyed the full body massage on board (either within the saloon or up on the sun deck), with products sponsored by Australian company, Sukin. We also took home goodie bags with Sukin’s bath and beauty products, worth $104 each. The company was also generous enough to stock all the bathrooms on the boat with their products!
The goodie bag sitting prettily on my bed was a welcome surprise!
We also received a 1-week Amore Fitness pass, $50 Amore Spa Voucher and accessories from Curated Editions!
How’s that for indulgence?
~ FOOD ~
I think I enjoyed the food on board as much as I enjoyed the dives! I have no complaints whatsoever with the meals – I just wish I can bring the Thai chefs home with me as I’m missing the yummy Thai food already!
Every meal was a delight and the BBQ dinner (with free flow of cocktails) was such a treat!
Now, I’ll introduce you to the Boss, who’s both a Professional Diver & a Professional PhotoBomber *LOL* Can you spot him?…
~ The DIVES ~
On both Saturday and Sunday, I woke up around 6am so as to catch the sunrise. There’s something magical about watching the sky change by the minute. The sky’s the most beautiful canvas I have ever seen, and at such sights, I can’t help but think such splendid sunrises can only be the handiwork of someone divine.
On Saturday morning, the sunrise was awe-inspiring. The wispy cloud formations looked like something from a fairy tale:
The black specks in the sky are actually birds. Lots of them!
And we had a great day of snorkeling and discovery scuba diving for the beginners (like myself) and open water dives for the experts.
I’m not a good swimmer and had never gone snorkeling before but I thought a lifejacket would prevent me from drowning. What I did not expect were strong currents which swept me further away from the boat and the group. Paddling was futile and I felt powerless as I was being swept away against my wishes. But I knew I just had to relax and someone would come after me. And one of the instructors did.
On such trips, it is necessary to have capable instructors and for participants to have faith in them. The DiveRACE instructors were outstanding and I really got to enjoy the snorkeling and watching all the pretty fish. The experience was really priceless.
Then came our discovery scuba sessions. The first one commenced from the shore so we weren’t jumping straight off the boat. Here, we’re likely being asked “Who wants to go first?” and I’m definitely thinking “Not me!”
So what we had to do was to get into our wetsuits. And ensure the mask doesn’t fog up later…
Grab our fins (I call them flippers) and head out to sea…
Got everything strapped on and dived when we were ready…
Then came my turn… *Woo hoo!*
I got to see different fish whose names I do not know. But I did recognize 3 Nemos (i.e. clownfish) among the sea anemone and I also saw a school of barracuda! It was extremely scary swimming amongst sea urchin though! I had to keep reminding myself to RELAX and to continue breathing using my mouth instead of through my nose.
Here’s Andrea & Winnie, both of whom enjoyed their dives too. I think Winnie spotted a turtle! *envious*
After we were done with our dives, we tried to do a group jump shot on the beach, which failed miserably but still looks kinda cute so here it is:
The second discovery scuba dive felt more scary as we got off the boat and into the waters directly. I’d love to tell you that I did not freak out but I totally did. At one point, my mask (or what I call oversized goggles) started filling up with water. I frantically signaled to my French diving instructor that I wanted to go back up to the surface as I didn’t know how to get the water out of my mask while underwater. (>_<)
Then we dived again and I spotted a bat fish, more Nemos, and some colorful parrot fish. I couldn’t believe how colorful EACH fish was! It’s as though they swam straight out from a watercolor painting of an overenthusiastic child. And of course, there were the cheeky fish who swam up to us to stare at us. LOL! We were amused by the curious fish and I would have laughed out loud underwater if I could. Ha!
They make diving look so easy…
On Sunday morning, the weather wasn’t as great. With the break of dawn came dark clouds and strong wind.
But the certified divers were going ahead with their morning dive… I shuddered at the thought of entering the water…
One of the instructors is a Frenchman named Eric, and he doesn’t look at all apprehensive!
Later in the day, we headed back to Singapore and the sky was beautiful.
With the fabulous crew
Finally, a big thank you to Trina (who’s seated next to me) for inviting me. This is one cruise I certainly won’t mind joining again.
Do check out Project Mares and DiveRACE on Facebook. They are organizing a Fireworks Cruise on National Day (9th August, 5pm). There’ll be a BBQ Buffet Dinner! Seats are running out fast so hurry. Book NOW by contacting Trina @ 81396657 or email@example.com.
Project Mares on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Project-Mares-Pte-Ltd/337689559595807
DiveRACE on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/DiveRACE/290667977880