Tune into Marine SIG on BFM Radio

By SL Wong

Tune in to BFM Radio 98.8FM today at 2pm to ‘Earth Matter’s to listen to the Marine Group and SSI chat about the upcoming Shark Awareness Programme in Tenggol 3-6 June.

MNS-SSI shark awareness programme

By SL Wong

Learn all about sharks and learn to be with sharks in a unique marine awareness programme on Pulau Tenggol, Terengganu.The Marine Group and SSI (Scuba Schools International) is organising a special programme from 3-6 June for World Oceans Day in conjunction with ‪#‎myfinmylife‬.

And SSI is generously sponsoring 30 shark specialty certificates and 30 snorkeling certificates to the tune of RM9,600!

Over the long weekend, you will learn in a fun and informative way about the role and importance of sharks within the marine ecosystem; shark and shark-finning trade and consumption; and appreciating sharks and their ecosystem through snorkelling skills training and certification.

shark-id-mary-chan.jpg

Specialty certification ID

At the end of the programme, you should have
• sound knowledge of sharks in the ecosystem (SSI Shark Specialty Certification)
• snorkeling skills for marine-friendly snorkeling (SSI Snorkeling Certification)
• an interest in championing shark and marine conservation.

(The SSI Snorkeling Certification and SSI Shark Specialty Certification are generously sponsored by SSI)

Secure your spot by 10 April 2016. Go to Files to download the Programme Brief (MNS_SSI_SharkAwarenessProg_About_160302) and the Registration Form (MNS_SSI_SharkAwarenessProg_Registration_160302).

For more information, e-mail Adeline <adeline_cploh@yahoo.com> and also check out: #myfinmylife, http://www.divessi.com/sc-sha, http://siputscuba.com/ and http://pulautenggol.com/

Programme: MNS-SSI Shark Awareness

Dates: June 3—6 (Fri—Mon)
Costs: RM830 (quad share) RM910 (triple share)
Places:
30 participants
Venue: Pulau Tenggol, Terengganu
Facilitation & Training: MNS Marine facilitators and SSI instructors

Payment deposit due: by 10 April 2016 (Sun)
Payment balance due: by 30th April 2016 (Sat)
Boat leaves from: Kuala Dungun Jetty

WOD2016

Learn all about sharks and learn to be with sharks in a unique marine awareness programme on Pulau Tenggol, Terengganu.

Join MNS Marine (the Malaysian Nature Society Marine Special Interest Group) and SSI (Scuba Schools International) for World Oceans Day 2016 as we focus on the ocean’s most magnificent fish in Pulau Tenggol.

This programme is held in conjunction with the anti-shark’s fin soup campaign My Fin My Life Campaign, of which SSI and MNS are partners (see attached).

By joining this programme, you will:
~ learn about the role and importance of sharks within the marine ecosystem,
~ learn about shark and shark-finning trade and consumption, and
~ appreciate sharks and their ecosystem in the wild through skills training and certification in snorkelling (so you minimise harm to yourself and the ecosystem).

Here’s what you will experience:
~ seminars, group discussions and games
~ snorkeling skills training and certification as well as snorkelling sessions to appreciate sharks in the wild.

At the end of the programme, you should have
~ sound knowledge of sharks in the ecosystem (SSI Shark Specialty Certification) ~ snorkeling skills for marine-friendly snorkeling (SSI Snorkeling Certification)
~ an interest in championing shark and marine conservation.

The fee covers all island costs including accommodation (air conditioned rooms with attached bathrooms on a triple/quad share basis), all meals, boat transfers from jetty, snorkeling gear, activities, guided boat trips for snorkeling, marine park and MNS marine fund fees and group travel insurance. (see Registration Form for details)

Please arrange your own transport to and from the jetty (details below).
The MNS Marine facilitation are volunteers led by Wong Siew Lyn (MNS membership no. F/Q/9321/B) and

Adeline Loh Chooi Ping (MNS membership no. O/E/20559/B).

The SSI Snorkeling Certification and SSI Shark Specialty Certification to the value of RM9,600.00 are generously sponsored by SSI.


Itinerary
(subject to change)

DAY ONE
Check in
Introduction to programme
Lunch
Snorkel school
Dinner
Shark Specialty Course I

DAY 2
Breakfast
Shark Specialty Course II
Lunch
Free and easy
Guided Snorkelling
Dinner
Conservation activities

DAY 3
Breakfast
Beach clean up / conservation activities
Lunch
Free and easy
Guided snorkelling
Dinner
Conservation activities

DAY 4
Breakfast
Free and easy
Check out

Getting there

Pulau Tenggol is an island off the coast of Terengganu, accessible by a 45-minute speedboat ride from Dungun. Tenggol is not built up like Redang and Tioman. Dungun is 365km from Kuala Lumpur (5 hours by car). Buses depart frequently from Terminal Bersepadu Selatan for Dungun (Plusliner or Transnasional [21 seats; 81⁄2 hours; RM36.20 one-way])

How to Register as a Participant

Secure your spot by downloading the Registration Form (MNS_SSI_SharkAwarenessProg_Registration_160302) here fill it out completely and submit and pay the deposit by 10 April 2016.

For more information, email Adeline <adeline_cploh@yahoo.com> and also check out: http://www.divessi.com/sc-sha, http://siputscuba.com/ and http://pulautenggol.com/


Background

The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) is the oldest membership-based conservation organisation in Malaysia. It has branches throughout the country and carries out numerous activities. Each World Oceans Day, MNS Marine volunteers organise a marine awareness programme for members. The programme’s aim is coral reef and marine conservation. Through snorkeling skills training and marine ecosystem knowledge, participants appreciate what the marine ecosystem is, why it’s important to protect it, and how to enjoy it using good and eco-friendly snorkeling skills. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/mnsmarinegroup.selangorbranch/)

Scuba Schools International (SSI) is an international training and certification agency that provides training, scuba diving and snorkeling certification, and educational resources for divers, dive instructors, dive centres and resorts. It promotes responsible dive business operations and active environmental protection. Its specialty courses provide further training in specific skills and knowledge. For one, it has a shark specialty course that actively promotes the positive image of sharks by imparting knowledge on the biology and ecology of sharks as well as correct techniques and approaches when encountering sharks. (http://www.divessi.com)

WOD: Pulau Perhentian 2014

Dates: June 7—10 (Sat—Tues)
Pre-trip briefing & full payment due: 15 May (Thurs) at 7pm, online (via e-mail)
Boat leaves from: Kuala Besut Jetty 10am (June 7); Arwana Jetty 12pm/4pm (June 10).

GreenRevolution_WOD_CHLai

Photo by Lai Chong Haur

Join the Marine Group (Selangor Branch) to celebrate World Oceans Day (WOD) at Dive! Pulau Perhentian. We’ll stay at Bayu Dive Lodge and dive with Alu Alu Divers.

PACKAGE 1: Snorkel Diver Course
Are you comfortable in the water? Can you swim proficiently without the aid of a life vest? If yes, then this course will teach you how to snorkel and duck dive properly without harming yourself and the marine environment.

Day 1: Academic – Introduction to Snorkelling and Marine Life Identification
Day 2: Confined water skills training and Marine Life Identification
Day 3: Snorkel training 
and completion of course
Day 4: Free and easy

Cost: RM795/adult and RM398/child 8—12 years old includes return boat transfer ex-Kuala Besut, 3 nights accommodation in air-con room/hot water shower on twin or triple sharing basis, meals, course fee, *MNS sessions, Marine Park conservation fee and a nominal donation to the marine group fund.

WOD-Logo-2013jpgPACKAGE 2: Fun Dives
Six day dives with free equipment rental. Additional day dives are RM60/dive and night dives are RM90/dive.

Cost:
RM850/pax includes return boat transfer ex-Kuala Besut, 3 nights accommodation in air-con room/hot water shower on twin or triple sharing basis, meals, *MNS sessions, Marine Park conservation fee and a nominal donation to the marine group fund.

PACKAGE 3: Non-Divers/Snorkellers

Family members who are accompanying members signed up for either Package 1 or 2, can also join the land-based activities.

Cost: RM550/adult (5-12 year olds RM275) includes return boat transfer ex-Kuala Besut, 3 nights accommodation in air-con room/hot water shower on twin or triple sharing basis, meals, *MNS sessions, Marine Park conservation fee and a nominal donation to the marine group fund.

*MNS sessions consist of after dinner fun activities, beach clean-up and data recording, and for divers – an underwater clean up / Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris, and a not-to-be-missed guided nocturnal beach exploration. For the low-tide walk, please bring torchlight(s) and wear slippers/sandals/booties for your own personal safety.

ProjAwareLogoTo enquire, book/or pay: Minimum 8 pax required to guarantee trip, so don’t delay. A RM250 deposit will book your place and if the trip is cancelled, we’ll refund your deposit, less the transfer fee. An additional joining fee applies for non-MNS members/families. Please e-mail H.Y. Leong at mnsmarinegroup-perhentian(at)yahoo(dot)com for payment instructions or further enquiries.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

1) An adult must accompany all children under 21 years old.

2) Every participant must sign a waiver of liability form; parents can sign on behalf of children under 21 years old.

3) For non-MNS members, please add RM70 for one-year MNS membership or for families (parents and children up to 18 years old) add RM80.

4) We find roommates for those travelling solo.

5) Transportation to/fro Kuala Besut is on your own. See below for options and speedboat departure time.

6) Divers, please bring your dive card! If flying, divers are advised to wait a minimum 24 hours after the last dive before boarding a plane.

How to get to Kuala Besut: 

Car-pooling arrangements can be made at the pre-trip briefing. Please offer to share travel expenses and driving duties.

Flight: Air Asia / Fire Fly / Malaysia Airlines to Kota Bharu, taxi/van to Kuala Besut. Pre-arrange with other participants so you can split the taxi fare.

 

KTM Train: Due to early morning boat transfer, you’ll have to overnight in Kota Bharu first, or head straight to K. Besut where there is a budget hotel. Check KTM’s website.

 

Bus: Long-distance buses serve Kota Bharu and Kuala Besut. Check with your nearest bus station.

Speedboat Departures

Boat transfer is included in the cost and is about from 30 to 45-minutes. Actual time of departure also depends on the tide; the journey can be bumpy so plan accordingly if you’re prone to seasickness. We will be dropped off at the Arwana jetty, and it’s a 500m walk to Bayu Dive Lodge.

Besut Jetty Meeting Point: Please arrive at the jetty by 9.15am on June 7 and congregate in the seating area next to the Marine Park office where you will meet our event volunteers/facilitators: Gary Phong and Adeline Loh.

Arwana Jetty:Boat(s) pick-up is 12pm and 4pm from the island on June 10. Please plan your onward travel accordingly and inform the hotel staff/MNS facilitators a day before.

 

 

A different kind of holiday

By Teoh Tee Hui
Photos by C.H. Ong and Lai Chong Haur

Sixteen people including three children participated in the MNS Selangor Branch Marine Group’s World Oceans Day event at Pulau Perhentian Besar, including new member Teoh Tee Hui. Here she tells us why she had made the right choice.

I WAS torn between two different dive trips – to choose between picking up rubbish underwater in Perhentian or to dive leisurely in Pulau Tenggol. Somehow, somewhat, I chose to go Perhentian.

Event facilitator Lai Chong Haur picked us up from Petaling Jaya the day before to drive to Kuala Besut. It was an interesting drive as there were the four of us to keep company and we had the second event facilitator Siva Prakash (The Fish Man!) to tell us about fishes and the eco system throughout the drive.

We put up a night in Samudra hostel which was about 5 minutes away from the jetty. The following morning, we met up with the rest of the participants and got to know each other a little better.

MNSPerhentian00017_1st dive!

1st dive!

There were several leisure dives to have a look at the beauty of the dive sites in Perhentian. This made me feel fortunate to be able to enjoy the beauty that the underwater world was able to offer us…while the corals were still alive. 

LaiChongHaur-withbanner

After the ‘Dive Against Debris’ Project AWARE clean-up

The first cleanup dive was at this place that was known as the dumping ground around Perhentian. There wasn’t that much rubbish as we had expected. The next dive site was actually near the shore and near a campsite. And yes, there was lots of rubbish to be picked up! I was in Perhentian for a leisure dive just last September; I was never aware how dirty it was until this time round!

We also had a beach cleanup, which was great. It was a fruitful beach cleanup as there was an assortment of items that were picked up – fishing nets, plastic bottles, food wrappers and a lot of cigarette butts.

The marine videos and after-dive briefings were really informative to educate us about how fragile the marine ecosystem is. Cruelty in shark finning and underwater do’s and don’ts reminded us how we should behave in the sea. We had a post-mortem of the cleanups to understand better, how and why this rubbish ended up in the sea and on the beach.

MNSPerhentian00186_nets which will be big problem later if it is left there

Vacationers willing to spend time helping out with the Clean Coast Index study

Although the participation was not too great in numbers, we had at least more than eight vacationers who took time off to join us. This created awareness in a small number of people but hey, every journey begins with a single step. We also had little ones who participated in the beach cleanup 🙂 Also, meeting interesting people and camaraderie forged for a common cause.

For sure, I did not regret my decision to pick up rubbish. 🙂

Event co-ordinator’s note: The visibility at the first cleanup site was poor, so after awhile, the divers headed to the second dive site. The cleanup dives were sponsored by Alu Alu Divers. The volunteer holidaymakers emerged from some of the resorts along the 1km-long study area…and with some of the staff members from Bayu Dive Lodge, in total about 30 people participated in the beach cleanup / MNS-MIMA Clean Coast Index study. The data is being tabulated and analysed…results out soon!

Perhentian – as seen through C.H. Ong’s lens

One of the members who participated in the Snorkel & Dive Perhentian trip in June 2013, has given us his permission to publish these photos on this blog complete with the original captions (yes including the ones with no captions). None of the underwater pictures have been digitally manipulated (just a tiny bit) except the really green ones that made the editor feel green, so those have been converted into black and white.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

WOD: Pulau Perhentian 2013

Dates: June 1—4 (Sat—Tues)
Pre-trip briefing & full payment due: 15 May (Wed) at 7pm, MNS HQ Auditorium KL
Boat leaves from: Kuala Besut Jetty 10am (June 1); Arwana Jetty 12pm/4pm (June 4).

Join the Marine Group (Selangor Branch) to celebrate an early World Oceans Day (WOD) at Pulau Perhentian Besar!! Open to all MNS members and the public (joining fee applies). We’ll stay at Bayu Dive Lodge and snorkel/dive with Alu Alu Divers/SCUBA Schools International (SSI).

Click here to read about our WOD event last year.

Snorkel Diver course (Package 1): Are you comfortable in the water? Can you swim proficiently without the aid of a life vest? If yes, then this course will teach you how to snorkel and duck dive properly without harming yourself and the marine environment.

Day 1: Academic – Introduction to Snorkelling and Marine Life I.D.
Day 2: Confined water skills training and Marine Life I.D.
Day 3: Snorkel training
and completion of course
Day 4: Free and easy
Cost: RM795/adult and RM398/child 8—12 years old includes return boat transfer ex-Kuala Besut, 3 nights accommodation in air-con room/hot water shower on twin or triple sharing basis, meals, course fee, *MNS sessions, Marine Park conservation fee and a nominal donation to the marine group fund.

Testimonial by Mary Chan, snorkel diver 2012: “I took the course even though I have snorkeled hundreds of times before! No regrets though; it was good to go through a systematic snorkeling course as they not only teach you the basics (which, of course, I already know) but also the safety and ecological side of being in the sea.” 

PACKAGE 2: Ecological Diver course

Open Water divers will learn two specialty courses – Perfect Buoyancy (how to hover with correct finning techniques) and Underwater Naturalist (identify marine life).

Day 1: Academics/Briefing
Day 2: Perfect Buoyancy (PB) module + Reef clean up (ecological module)
Day 3: PB dive/underwater naturalist and completion of course.
Day 4: Free & easy
Cost: RM1,230/pax includes return boat transfer ex-Kuala Besut, 3 nights accommodation in air-con room/hot water shower on twin or triple sharing basis, meals, course fee, *MNS sessions, Marine Park conservation fee and a nominal donation to the marine group fund.

Testimonial by Valle Sinniah, ecological diver 2012: “I signed up for this course mainly because I wanted to improve my buoyancy. Instead I got more than I hoped for. I learnt about fish, coral and other marine life and at the same time an opportunity to contribute something back to the reef.” 

PACKAGE 3: Fun Dives

Six day dives with free equipment rental. Additional day dives are RM60/dive and night dives are RM90/dive.

Cost: RM850/pax includes return boat transfer ex-Kuala Besut, 3 nights accommodation in air-con room/hot water shower on twin or triple sharing basis, meals, *MNS sessions, Marine Park conservation fee and a nominal donation to the marine group fund.

Testimonial by Jelli B., fun diver 2012: “We learned from each other as well as about each other, for example, a talented artist and a passionate beach-comber (who enthusiastically led the group on a beach-combing night-walk along the tide-receded beach).”

NEW PACKAGE 4: Family Members

For accompanying family members (non-divers/snorkellers) of participants taking up at least one of Package(s) 1-3.
Cost: RM550/pax includes return boat transfer ex-Kuala Besut, 3 nights accommodation in air-con room/hot water shower on twin or triple sharing basis, meals, *MNS sessions, Marine Park conservation fee and a nominal donation to the marine group fund.

*MNS sessions consist of after dinner fun activities, beach clean-up and data recording and guided low-tide beach exploration. For the low-tide walk, please bring a torchlight and wear slippers/sandals/booties.

To enquire, book/or pay: Two pax have signed up but a minimum 8 pax required to guarantee trip. Deposit RM250 to book your place. If trip is cancelled, we will refund your deposit. Please e-mail H.Y. Leong at mnsmarinegroup-perhentian(at)yahoo(dot)com for bank-in instructions.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

1) An adult must accompany all children under 21 years old
2) For non-MNS participants, please add RM70 for one-year MNS membership or for families (parents and children up to 18 years old) add RM80.
3) We find roommates for those travelling solo.
4) You can also make full payment at the pre-trip briefing but please bring exact change.
5) Every participant must sign a waiver of liability form; parents can sign on behalf of children under 21 years old.
6) Participants who complete the courses will receive a SSI certification card.
7) Transportation to/fro Kuala Besut is on your own. See below for options and speedboat departure time.
8) Divers, please bring your dive card! If flying, divers are advised to wait a minimum 24 hours after the last dive before boarding a plane.

How to get to Kuala Besut: 

Car-pooling arrangements can be made at the pre-trip briefing. Please offer to share travel expenses and driving duties.

Flight: Air Asia / Fire Fly / Malaysia Airlines to Kota Bharu, taxi/van to Kuala Besut. Pre-arrange with other participants so you can split the taxi fare.

KTM Train: Due to early morning boat transfer, you’ll have to overnight in Kota Bharu first. Check KTM’s website.

Bus: Long-distance buses serve Kota Bharu. Check with your nearest bus station.

Speedboat Departures

Boat transfer is included in the cost and is about from half hour to 45-minutes depending on the tide, and is likely to be bumpy. We will be dropped off at the Arwana jetty, and it’s a 500m walk to Bayu Dive Lodge.

Besut Jetty: Please arrive at the jetty by 10am on June 1 and congregate in the seating area next to the Marine Park office where you will meet our event volunteers/facilitators: Lai Chong Haur and Siva Prakash.

Arwana Jetty: Boat(s) pick-up is 12pm and 4pm from the island on June 4. Please plan your onward travel accordingly.