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In Malaysia it’s perfect to do a diving course because the prices are lower than in some other country. We finished the Advanced Open Water Divers course from PADI and it was awesome!
There are a lot of amazing dive spots in Malaysia but if you want to dive on a budget, the best place you can go to is a diving center on Perhentian Islands. Perhentian Islands are on the North-East coast of Malaysia. You can take a Grab Car to Besut, there you take the ferry to the Perhentian Islands. The two main islands of Perhentian Islands are Pulau Perhentian Kecil and Pulau Perhentian Besar.
Pulau Perhentian Kecil is mostly for backpackers. It attracts more budget travelers compared to Perhentian Besar. There are also a lot of diving centers over there. One of the many diving centers is ‘Panorama Diver Perhentian’, it’s based at long beach. Every night there is a fire show at Long Beach.
There are many dive sites near Perhentian Islands, so it’s a good diving destination that is located around 20 km of Northeast Malaysia. There are over 20 dive sites that are easily to reach by boat.
Diving near Perhentian Island
The most important thing to know is of course the dive season.
- From April to October there is a good visibility in the waters around Perhentian Islands. In this season the water is around 27 to 32 degrees Celsius. In June to August the islands get very busy so it could happen that the accommodations are fully booked. During this period a 3 mm wetsuit is ideal.
- From November to March the islands are basically shut down due to the rough seas and the bad weather conditions.
Some amazing underwater animals you can spot near Perhentian Islands are green turtles, yellow boxfish, octopus, stingrays, reef sharks, nurse sharks and schools of barracuda. Besides that, there are many wrecks to discover. The nesting season for the green turtles is from May until July.
Advanced Open Water Diver course from PADI
This diver course means you must do five dives and a theoretical part. It’s all about advancing your diving skills. In a lot of diving centers you can get a book to study the theoretical part.
During the practical part you learn about buoyancy and navigation, you try a deep dive, and you choose three specialty dives. You decide which three specialty dives you would like to do. Examples of specialty dives you can choose from are dry suit, wreck diver, night diver, deep diver, fish identification, enriched air nitrox, dive against debris, etc.
With the Advanced Open Water Diver course, you gain more diving experience, you sample different types of diving, and you practice navigation. It’s the perfect addition after the Open Water Diver course.
Panorama Diver Perhentian
Panorama Diver is a 5-star dive center from PADI. The safety is number one in this diving center, that’s why before diving they brief everything properly. After the briefing, where everything is clearly explained and they repeat the important topics, everybody does the buddy check.
When that’s done, you walk together to the water, where the boat is. With the boat you go to the dive site that was discussed before. After the dive you sit together, and you have time to log your dive.
With Panorama Diver you can do Fun Dives or Diving Courses. Besides that, they also offer low-budget rooms or dorms if you want. They go diving in more than 20 dive spots that are fitting for every level of experience.
Our diving experience in Malaysia
Our experience with this dive center is amazing. We did our Advanced Open Water Diver course, like I mentioned earlier, and we also did five extra fun dives.
For the Advanced Open Water Diver course, we did a dive for peak performance buoyancy, underwater navigation, a deep dive, fish identification and wreck dive.
During the buoyancy dive we learned how to control our buoyancy with different tasks to perform. You also learn how to dive with less weight, and you improve your air consumption.
The navigation dive taught us how to improve our observation skills and how to use an underwater compass accurately. It seems easier than it is, but it’s dangerous if you lose your way while diving. That’s one of the reasons we dive with a local to discover new places.
With the deep dive we dove to a maximum depth of 40m. In the beginning it didn’t work out like I wanted because I canceled my deep dive. My body was working against me, and I was feeling so bad. Luckily, I could still finish the course and my fun dives because the day after I was feeling way better. During the deep dive you learn how to manage your air supply, identify and deal with narcosis and you learn to recognize your personal limits. We were playing with an egg yolk (it stays together as a yolk) and a pack of skittles, which were rock hard due to the high pressure.
With the fish identification it was interesting to learn about all the fish that were swimming around us. Of course, it’s nice to dive in other countries to find other beautiful sea animals. When you see it in real life it’s different than seeing a picture. Our goal is to dive in many different places so we can discover the underwater sea life.
Next up was the wreck dive, this was diving near a wreck so you can observe it. You learn what you can do and what you can’t do when diving near a wreck. If you want to enter the wreck you’ll need another certification because it’s highly unstable and dangerous for inexperienced divers.
Besides the course, we also did five fun dives. During those dives we saw so many fish. We saw a big jellyfish, a bamboo shark, black tip reef sharks, box fishes, clown fishes, and much more.
Fun fact: I really love clown fish, better known as Nemo; they are so beautiful. We found Nemo. Did you know that most of the time you find the clown fish in or near sea anemones? They are all over the place near Perhentian Island. You see them all the time while diving there, it’s awesome. Clown fish make their home near sea anemones because it protects them from predators. The tentacles of the anemones have stinging cells (nematocysts) that release a toxin when predators touch it. The clown fish develop an immunity to the toxin because they first perform a sort of dance with the anemone by gently touching the tentacles with different parts of their body. So, clown fish get acclimated to their host (the skin of the fish gets a sort of mucus that makes him immune to the tentacles).
Another fun fact: all the clown fish are born male. They can switch their sex, but the change is irreversible.
Okay, this was it for this blog. I hope you enjoyed reading about our dives in Malaysia. If you want to read about our next dive, you can check out Diving through the rocks in Croatia.