Monday, January 21, 2008
In 2006, lead by Affendi Yang Amri of Univ. Malaya, I was invited to join an expedition to survey the marine biological resources of Layang-layang Island, Sabah. I went as MSMS scientist. The journey there was not an easy one, Mr. Affendi has overcome many hardships and negotiation to make this expedition a reality. There was many obstacle waiting for us, and one of it was from mother nature. The expedition was nearly canceled due to very rough seas. We took AirAsia flight to labuan where all of us will hitch a ride with the navy to Layang-layang island, so it was their call to go or not to go. But luckily after stranded one day in Labuan, the weather starts to clear and the navy said its a GO. So it took us nearly 9 hours to reach Layang-layang island and by the time we reach there, it was late at night. So we went to bed after settling all our stuffs.
The next morning, we went to unpack all the gears and start planning for the diving. The coolest part of this expedtion was our dive boat, we dive using the navy assault bot! The boat even have an emergency braking system and the pilot was kind enough to demonstrate it to us, it was COOL! Never knew a boat can do that :D. The fisheries research centre in Layang-layang was well equip and has a very good laboratory, so we made ourself a home there hehehhee..We thought all the hardship now was only the working part, but Mr. Murphy decide to pay us a visit and the compressor Univ. Malaysia Sabah brought brokedown and we have no way to refill our dive tanks. So with the super tight budget, Affendi somehow save the day and manage to work things out with the resort :D. After diving for a few days, and experience many interesting events (only the expeditionist know what i meant by interesting :D). It was time for us to go back, so once again, we hitch a ride, but with a cargo transport ship for the navy. It took us nearly 11 hours to reach labuan and there was no bunker :D. So we literally camp on the ship :), check out the photos below & a short video i made...
On the way back to mainland from POSTIARS II expedition in 2006, we were greeted by a group of whales :). My camera was not powerful enough so i've made a short video of the encounter, please click http://www.ocean.ukm.my/kee/download/whale_sightings.wmv
Saturday, January 19, 2008
In July 2007, I went to Tenggol Island with my wife, Dr. Norhayati & Jennie (postgraduate student) for a diving excursions organised by Edvin Eng of Ocean Xplorer. Basically we were supposed to get more underwater photos for an exhibition in UKM. But for me, I wanted to learn more of underwater photography technics from my Sifu, Mr. Edvin Eng :D. He was the one whom inspired me to be better in underwater photography because all this time I alwaz thought that to get a good underwater photos, one must need a DSLR set up. Bt he prove me wrong big time with his out of this world shots! (http://www.oceanxplorer.com.my/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9&Itemid=15). He taught us that by adding some add-ons equipment with compact camera, the point & shoot camera can also produce amazing results! The best part was, all the set-up was more cheaper than a DSLR set-up for underwater. So with his guidance and a little tweak here & there..we climbed another level in underwater photography. I'll just let the photos below speak for itselves....
Thanks a million to my Sifu, EDVIN ENG
My wife in action :D
Sifu (the guy in the middle) is showing how he created his magic.
One peaceful evening, Affendi called and said "Interested to autopsy dugong hehehehe...?". I said "YES!!!" right away... Apparently there was a dugong carcasses found nearby a beach in Johor. Affendi of Univ. Malaya was involved in Dugong project previously and they got his contact and called him. So with the support of UMMReC & MSMS, they manage to transport the carcass to Univ. Malaya to determine the cause of death. Ms. Jillian Ooi brought out the manual by Dr. Helen Marsh and we follow the manual all the way! We started around 6.30am and finished at 8pm. All of us smelled of rotten flesh and were exhausted from cutting and hacking the dugong's meat and bones. It was a valuable experience for us and we was ask if we will do it again, and all of our answers was "......................"