“From Birth, Man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to the earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free” Jacques-Yves Cousteau
The incredible underwater world
Diving itself is a wonderful, magical activity. I simply love it. Get me started on it and I can go on talking about it for hours. It fulfills me, calms me and relaxes me.
Once I am underwater everything else disappears, nothing else matters and I feel free. Freedom, this is what diving is to me. Not to mention the overwhelming feeling I get when I come across the beauties of the underwater life.
I love being a scuba diving instructor. I love diving in some of the most spectacular places and bringing new divers into this fantastic world. It can be a little frustrating at times, but the personal reward I get from it is priceless. The smile on the face of students back from their first dive, make my day.
Dom and I freelanced at the local dive shop on Iboih Beach, Rubiah Tirta Divers. It is a local family business started back in 1970 by Mr. Dodent and now run by his three sons: Yudi, Isfan and Iskander.
We worked most of the time but if we didn’t have any student we could go fun diving which was a bonus since not many dive shops allow their instructors to do so. The relaxed atmosphere of the Island was pretty much reflected at work as well.
I worked and fun dived in several places in south-east Asia and I can say Pulau Weh has definitely something special about it.
Diving conditions in Pulau Weh
The diving is quite diverse, with the Indian Ocean to the east of the Island and the Pacific Ocean to the west, both contributing to the bio-diversity of the marine life. The variety and the quantity of marine species found here is outstanding.
There are colourful fish simply everywhere you look! It also helps that the visibility is always good, normally around 25 mt. and rarely dropping below 15.
Diving is good all year round but when the water starts to get cooler around end of September beginning of October, that’s when the big creatures of the sea come out the most.
Schools of Mobulas (Devil Rays) and Manta Rays can be easily spotted together with slender Black Tip reef Sharks.
Currents are very challenging in almost every dive site around the island. Not for the inexperienced, I would say. We found ourselves on many dives having to perform some “underwater rock climbing” in the middle of ripping “washing machine” style currents.
All for the great of good and a proper adrenaline rush. Loved it! Only five minutes boat ride from the dive shop there is a dive site called “Arus Palee”, literally translated into English as “Bastard Current”. This dive site definitely keeps up to its name!
Diverse dive sites
My favorite dive site is “Tokong” a massive pinnacle of volcanic rock surrounded by a variety of colourful fish, black tip reef sharks, devil rays and the occasional manta ray.
It is also known as the moray eels world capital, in fact they can be found hiding into every hole. Everywhere there is at least a moray eel. Here is where I took most of my underwater pictures in Pulau Weh, it is a paradise for underwater photography lovers.
Pulau Weh is also a great place for deep diving.
There is a particularly exciting deep dive, the Sophie Rickmer Wreck. It is a 134 mt long World War II cargo ship that lays at a maximum depth of 60 mt with the top starting at about 37 mt. We dived it a few times, the only downside was the long decompression time on the way up.
Unfortunately I was unable to take photos of it since my underwater housing can only make 40 mt. I absolutely love wreck and deep diving, so the two combined together were a total high!
We had some pretty awesome unforgettable times! Every time I go diving somewhere else now, no matter how good the place is, I always think of Pulau Weh.