How did you spend your Lunar New Year? We celebrated Lunar new year the usual way in an unusual setting – onboard MV Nautica! Of course, lunar new year with steamboat, Lou Hei and pineapple tarts onboard MV Nautica! Now, that’s something different isn’t it? Cheers to this enthusiastic group of divers who spent their long weekend (5th Feb to 9th Feb) onboard Nautica, we had so much fun and laughter.
During this trip, we had 1 group of Advance Open Water Divers led by Wee, while the others did leisure dives. On the early morning of 6th Feb, the avid divers started gearing up. The dive day started at 10am, divers were dispatched in groups with their respective instructors and divemasters and the dive trip officially commenced.
Well, diving in Riau can get unpredictable due to the strong current and low visibility at times. Nonetheless, the first day of dives turned out well. There were several sightings of squid, stingrays and blue-spotted rays as well as Nudis of several variety. A leisure group was very lucky to have spotted a turtle. During surface interval, we made our way to the island nearby. It seems everyone enjoyed water-splashing and chitchatting while soaking themselves in the clear water. We were literally sun-tanning while lying in the clear blue water – but that did not last too long because the following days were gloomy.
The following days were dark and gloomy, the sun was obscured by thick layers of clouds and all of us were praying the sun would appear soon. Well, that did not deter us from diving despite the choppy sea conditions and strong wind. We continued with dive day 2, which was also the eve of Lunar New Year.
During subsequent dives, it was obvious the visibility was not at its best, the currents were strong underwater, it was literally a drift dive. There were Macros everywhere, leisure divers Geetha and Eva spotted a seahorse and a school of barracudas.
Since dive day 2 (7th Feb) was also the eve of Lunar New Year, we did what the usual Chinese would do – have reunion dinner together. Even though everyone came from different backgrounds and of diverse nationalities, we got together to Lou Hei, a tradition for Chinese New Year. We got our Chinese divers to explain the rationale of the Lou Hei tradition, and we managed to do it our way – Lou Hei in English, all I could hear was “To great health and wealth! Job promotion! More money!”.
Dive day 3 (8th Feb) was the first day of lunar new year. The weather that day was much better but still overcast, nonetheless divers went ahead with their divers and everyone enjoyed themselves. The highlight of the day would have been the magnum ice cream after dinner!!
During the last day (9th Feb), the dive conditions were on the poor side. Nevertheless, all the divers were still chirpy which made the day even better! – I guess they knew they were going home after 5 days on a boat. On the way back everyone gathered at the deck and caught movies together into the night. And that’s how we spent our Chinese New Year onboard MV Nautica!
Written By: Tan Zuoying