Tag / cuttle fish
The PJ SS2 mamak square is a pretty popular and cheap dinner/supper place, with a mixture of Chinese (all pork free) and Malay/Mamak offerings. There’s good chicken rice, fried rice, tomyam, and more, but what most people don’t realise is that there’s a pretty awesome nasi lemak half-stall as well.
Nasi Lemak Utara, sharing the same stall with Burger Wan
This is a half-stall because it shares the same spot as the burger stall, with the nasi lemak “desk” facing on the other side. In fact, the nasi lemak guy and the burger guy are related.
Nasi lemak is usually ready by around 7+ in the evening but it often doesn’t last the whole night. There isn’t many dishes to choose from, but the usual suspects of sambal cuttle fish, fried chicken with rempah (my favorite), curry chicken, and cockles are almost always available.
super delicious nasi lemak, at a fair price, check out the rempah too
The rice is fragrant and usually served warm with a sheet of banana leaf, and you get peanuts, fried anchovies, and half a hard boiled egg by default. The sambal is pretty mean and carries quite a kick as well. My go-to order is usually the chicken with rempah (ask for more rempah) and cockles, and that usually comes up to RM 7 or so, pretty reasonable price for what you get.
Next time when you’re there, do give it a try if they are open (there’s no pattern, sometimes the dude takes random holidays it seems).
Nasi Lemak Utara
Jalan SS 2/60,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.117783, 101.622430
The biggest appeal of diving to me is the calmness I get when underwater, listening to nothing but the breath that I take and the bubbles flowing out from the regulator, the sense of weightlessness and the ability to move about without restriction in 3 dimension. It is a form of freedom you never get on land.
The magnificent seascape and underwater creatures, well, they are just a huge bonus. While no picture can convey that sense of liberty, here are some underwater pictures I took from various dive sites at Similan Islands.
My gears were Olympus E-PL3 with the underwater housing coupled, Inon UWL 100 & Dome port, and a single Sea & Sea YS-01 external flash.
swim through, Deep Six
I logged 14 dives over 4 days of diving living aboard M/V Vilai Samut operated by Liquid Adventure. (previous year experience here). The boat departs from Khao Lak at night, so night one started before day one. The sites we went to were:
- Stone Henge
- Deep Six
- West of Eden
- West of Eden (night)
- Elephant Rock
- Koh Bon
- Koh Bon
- Ko Tachai (night)
- Richelieu Rock
- Richelieu Rock
- Ko Tachai
- Koh Bon (night)
- Koh Bon Pinnacle
- Bon Soon Wreck
tiny black reef fish atop table coral at West of Eden
We were lucky to have excellent visibility of at least 30-40 meters in more than 70% of the dives, and had at least 20 meters in the rest of the dives too. Comparing with Pulau Sembilan/Lumut’s 5-10 m visibility…
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pics, and say no to shark’s fins!
giant spiny lobster, night dive at West of Eden
sea snake, Koh Bon
the reef at Koh Bon
clown fish in anemone, night dive at Elephant Rock
an unnerving cuttle fish, night dive at Elephant Rock
lion fish, night dive at Elephant Rock
Dave convincing a lion fish to pose, Richelieu Rock
cleaner shrimps, Richelieu Rock
chevron barracudas, Richelieu Rock
star fish on coral, night dive at Koh Bon
boxer shrimp, night dive at Koh Bon
porcupine fish, Bon Soon wreck
Bon Soon wreck
ghost pipe fish, Bon Soon wreck
This is the follow up to the previous Lang Tengah dive trip post.
After two dives on the first day, we spent Saturday going underwater three times. The first dive in the morning was a deepish dive that bottomed out at close to 30 meters.
The visibility going down was excellent, but once we reached the bottom we literally couldn’t see anything past 3 meters, sometimes you’re lucky, other times you aren’t, and this is an example of the latter.
blue spotted stingray
However, even with the lackluster visibility, we did spot quite a few creatures at this dive site. A beautiful blue spotted stingray were found laying at the bottom, and there were juvenile bamboo sharks hiding in the reefs too. We also spotted a huge cuttle fish who wasn’t too thrill to see us, I did manage to snap a couple pictures of the undersea alien before it jetted off from us.
cuttle fish, not looking terribly happy
this is 1/3 of a bamboo shark hiding within the coral reef
We spent some 20 minutes at the bottom and another 15 minutes or so slowly ascending to the surface. The temperature at the bottom was a chilly 26 C, making it the coldest I’ve been (other than Aquaria KLCC)
underwater thugs wannabe
After brunch, we had another dive, and on this second site, we found what we were looking for – the magnificent leopard shark.
Leopard Shark at Lang Tengah
I’ve seen leopard shark while diving at Aquaria KLCC, but seeing a beautiful specimen in the wild is something else. Ed and I navigated slowly to the side of the resting leopard shark to take a closer position for photography, and just as we were settling down, Terence landed at the back of the shark, thus startled the creature, it took off..
Luckily I was able to snap a couple photos before it got away. Sharks are often more afraid of us than we are of them, and if we are to be able to see these beautiful creatures in the wild, do SAY NO TO SHARKS FIN.
leopard shark taking off
underwater photographer at work
The fifth dive of the trip turned out to be our final dive. Terence and I had initially planned to conduct a night dive at the house reef, but thunderstorm that started at around 6:30pm or so pretty much doomed whatever plan we had.
We took it easy on this dive, averaging only at around 14+ meters, with the maximum depth of less than 23 meters. The seascape was beautiful, and again there were plenty of clownfish to be toyed with.
the ever so photogenic clown fish in anemone
a fish that looks like coral, or coral that looks like a fish?
All the photos taken in this post were with the aid of the INON UWL & DOME unit. The ultra wide angle conversion allows me to get to the subject much closer, hence reducing the wastage of light from the external flash unit (I have a single unit of Sea & Sea YS-01).
For those who are unfamiliar with underwater photography, the deeper we go, the more red we lose (hence everything looks blue), and thus underwater flash comes very handy. However, flash units are expensive, and has limited range, a few feet further and all you see is blue again.
All this means that the closer you can get to the subject, the easier you can lit them up. To make matters trickier, water has an amplification factor of about 30%, hence the importance of wide angle lenses.
this would make a good aquarium backdrop
beautiful sea fan with them ikan bilis
I hope you enjoy the photos, hopefully there are more to come. What I really want now is another flash unit and some external arms get better pictures. We shall see. Expensive hobby, le sigh.
Can’t wait for the next compressed air escapade.
more photos at my flickr set, and for more posts on my diving trips, click here.
After a night’s stay at Semporna at the lion’s lower jaw of Sabah, we packed up our gears and took the boat to Mabul island. The six of us jumped onto the speed boat operated by Uncle Chang’s Sipadan Mabul Dive Lodge.
We were all stoked as it was the first half of our 2 day, 6 dive expedition.
all smiles except for Chan, who is susceptible with sea sickness, noob
A lot of people associates diving at Mabul/Sipadan to be an expensive affair, but with Uncle Chang’s, accommodation is at an affordable RM 60 per night including all meals, with 3 dives at Mabul & Kapalai priced at RM 260, and a further RM 560 for 3 dives at Sipadan (longer boat ride and 1-day dive permit). For those who doesn’t dive, there’s a RM 100 boat transfer fee that includes unlimited snorkeling at Mabul.
We had a bit of an engine problem half way to Mabul, so the usual 45 minute ride took over an hour, no one really complained though. We were too excited for what’s ahead of us.
giant sea turtle
Mabul and Kapalai are arguably the best spots for muck diving, which basically consist of slightly water with higher concentration of sediment, a condition perfect for many exotic sea creatures to call home, albiet with slightly lower visibility.
Our first dive site was at Eel Garden where we spent 43 minutes at 17 meter underwater. There were plenty of giant sea turtle, stone fish, lion fish, and of course, the famous Nemo too.
pipe fish, crocodile fish, blue nudibranch
After stopping at the dive lodge for slightly over an hour, we proceed to our second dive site at Kapalai island and spent a further 42 minutes at a maximum depth of 18 meters.
The dive site at Kapalai consist of mainly sandy bottom with plenty of man made corals. Ship wrecks and other structures make perfect home for plenty of fishes. There were giant grouper, trigger fish, cuttle fish that flashes colors, blue spotted stingray hiding under the wreck, and even a sea dragon too.
clown fish with anemone, blue spotted ray, cuttle fish, hermit crab
We probably didn’t have enough surface interval between the two dives as the boat transfer from Semporna to Mabul took a bit too long. As a result, Chan somehow ran out of air (while I still had some 70 bar left) and Gan managed to throw up after surfacing. I think we almost went off the dive chart for diving again too soon, oh well..
We then went back to the dive lodge and had our well deserved lunch. It wasn’t great food, but perfectly edible with meat, vegetable, rice, and fruits.
fluet fish, angry eel, upside down pencil fish, moray eel
After lunch and a bit of rest to clear the residue nitrogen in our body, we headed to our final dive site of the day, Paradise II at Mabul. There we spent 45 minutes at a shallower 12 meter maximum depth, I managed to finish with more than half a tank of air left.
Paradise II had plenty of turtles, moray eel, sting ray, and we even spotted a hermit crab. It was already 4pm by the time we were done.
Some of the best photos I took on this day came from this dive as shallower water = better colors.
the most beautiful sunset this side of malaysia
We spent the rest of the day completing our dive logs and a bit of tanning. As Uncle Chang’s is located at the west side of Mabul island, by around 6pm when the sun starts to set, the whole resort bask in amazingly beautiful golden rays of light.
They claimed this place to have the most beautiful sunset, and they were right. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
rocking it on at Uncle Chang’s Sipadan Mabul Dive Lodge
After dinner, the live band at the lodge came out and started rocking the crowd. There were 4-5 singers, some of them orphans under Uncle Chang’s wing (part of profits go to orphanage), and the man himself (long hair, white t-shirt) too sang “we are the world”. The singers were actually rather entertaining, with the girl possessing an exceptional though unpolished voice. She’d have made Simon Cowell proud.
After a while, bottles of free rums were given to each table, and the dive masters started pouring cheap red wine to us too. That got the crowd really going, in no time we were dancing on the floor and singing together with the rockers. It was absolutely awesomesauce.
The night more than made up for the canceled Killers concert.
A couple of us spent the night sleeping on uncomfortable wooden deck chair under thousands of stars at night, with sea breeze blowing on our face, and max brenner the cat on my stomach acting as an extra organic heater. It was splendid.
I went back to Penang over the long weekends.
toll fees: RM 93
hours spent driving: 9 hours both ways
petrol: RM 100
distance traveled: 780 km both ways
seafood noodle for two: RM32.50
having dinner with mom: priceless
Seafood noodle – pick your own ingredients
I suggested Japanese food at first, but it was mom’s idea that we go to this fish head / seafood noodle place at Weld Quay for something a bit more special.
Siong Ho fish head meehun is located within Village Coffee Shop at Weld Quay, just a couple hundred meters from the jetty, and actually quite near to where my late grandma’s place where I spent a big chunk of my childhood. It was a bit nostalgic.
Calling Siong Ho a fish head meehun place is a bit of an understatement, the choice of ingredients offered at this place is quite astounding. There’s fish ball, meat ball, fish fillet, fish head, fried fish, kidney, prawn, cuttle fish, squid, minced meat, and even crab.
fish head/seafood mee hun with all the extra ingredients, nutmeg juice
For my bowl of personalized meehun, I chose a couple pieces of kidney (they are very tasty!), fish ball, fish meat, a piece of fish head, prawn, and cuttle fish to go with mee hun and clear soup. You can also choose to have noodle, kueh teow, or thick mee hun, tomyam soup is available too. (but no version with evaporated milk, like in KL)
Mom ordered pretty much the same thing except without cuttle fish, and deep fried fish instead of the fillet.
The seafood’s fresh, the soup is sweet, and I particularly like the fact that they have this whole container full of deep fried garlic on every table. I like my seafood noodle with plenty of those, and I think I refilled probably 3-4 times, it was an awesome idea, why wouldn’t other shops do the same thing?
mom & I having a simple dinner
One other thing that’s available here (and most kopitiam in Penang) is nutmeg drinks. Blended nutmeg with a dried sour plum, prepared in a way that is similar to kedondong (umbra with sour plum) but without the bitter after taste, and more refreshing.
Dinner cost RM 32.50 in total, and for the amount and quality of ingredients we got, not to mention the good taste, I thought it was well worth it.
Village Coffee Shop
107-A, Pengkalan Weld (Weld Quay),
10300 Penang, Malaysia
Tel: 019-458 8693