Thursday, 25 December 2008

Gunung Benum 2,107m

Date: 25 Dec 08 - 28 Dec 08 [3D/2N]
Location: Gunung Benum - Pahang
Altitude: 2,107m ASL
Difficulty: 8.3/10 (
Trail length: 12.3km
Camera: Canon EOS 350D
Lens 1: Tokina AT-X 124 AF Pro DX 12-24mm f/4
Lens 2: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
Filter: none
Post editing: PS CS3
Organizer: Lucy
Members: Lucy, Uncle Yong, Dan, Ah Du(杜), Khor, Uncle Law, Doreen and Ang
Guide: Tengku Azlan from XplorerAdventure
Crews: MarkCheng and Zulfar (Chowfun) - also from XplorerAdventure

My reason to go there
- Because of the gigantic pitcher plants, I guess they are among the largest in the world. 
- Because Gunung Benum is at a different mountain range, not on the Titiwangsa
- Wanna see the waterfall Lata Berembun

Day 1
7:30 a.m. Breakfast at Kuan Nam, Butterworth
8:30 a.m. Leaved Butterworth for Raub
1:00 p.m. Stopped for lunch at a small village near to Kuala Kubu Bharu
2:00 p.m. Reached Raub town, did last minute food shopping
3:30 p.m. 4WD from Sg. Klau town to Sg. Chalit (45 minutes ride)
4:30 p.m. Set up tent, prepare to overnight at Lata Berembun Waterfall (610m)
7:30 p.m. Dinner
11:00 p.m. ZZZZZ

Day 2
8:30 a.m. Breakfast
9:40 a.m. Started to hike from a trail before the Lata Berembun Waterfall (620m)
3:15 p.m. Reached Kem Dingin, 1670m
5:00 p.m. Celebrated Uncle Yong's birthday, 70th birthday! (Chinese 71)
9:30 p.m. Dinner
11:00 p.m. ZZZZZZ

Day 3
8:30 a.m. Breakfast
9:40 a.m. Started hike from Kem Dingin (1670m) to the summit
4:40 p.m. Reached the summit (2107m), after so many false peaks!

Day 4
6:30 a.m. Breakfast
8:30 a.m. Started to descend from the summit (2107m)
5:30 p.m. Reached Lata Berembun Waterfall (610m)
6:00 p.m. Clean up, bathed and changed
7:00 p.m. 4WD leaved Lata Berembun to Sg. Klau
8:30 p.m. Dinner at Sg. Ruan 
10:00 p.m. Leaved Sg Ruan for Penang
4:00 a.m. Home Sweet Home

Rewards of this trip 
- Saw the largest pitcher plant I have ever seen, great !!
- Rhino hornbills encounters
- Good weather
- Beautiful view along the trail and from the summit
- Cold! Very cold … but it was damn nice man !!
- Celebrated Uncle Yong 70th B’day at the summit
- Lucy, Uncle Yong, Ah Du, Doreen and Uncle Lau completed their peninsular G10
- All good hikers and good teammates, everything went smooth and on time
- Good food, although slow Azlan cooked us some great meals
- Good guides, 3 of them were great..
- For the first time I can bring 2 lens and a lot of other stuffs to a big hike like this coz the guides carried all the food and flys
- The 4WD ride in and out of Lata Berembun was thrilling

Challenges of this trip 
- Day 2 hike to the summit was energy draining, there were so many false peaks it made the final hour felt like forever
- to make things worst it rained at the final 20 mins before I got to the summit, fortunately it stopped once we got up there
- Water points were scarce – only at Lata Berembun and Camp Dinging, none in between
- Day 1 we have to collect water from Lata Berembun and hike for 6 hours
- Day 2 we have to collect water from Camp Dinging for 2 days and cooking at the summit
- I carried 5.5 liters of water all the way from Lata Berembun to the summit, coz I tried not to drink the water at Camp Dingin, but I ran out of water on day 3 and have to drink the teh-o-ice water from Camp Dingin on my way down to Lata Berembun
- There are quite a lot of leeches between Lata Berembun to Camp Dingin
- There are some sandflies at Camp Dingin, especially at the water point
- Kena a painful sting from a Euclea stinging caterpillar, pain comparable to a bee or jellyfish sting, but I'm glad I got it so I now know how it felt like ...

- Guides: 1 guide + 2 helpers 
- 4WD Fee: Included in package
- Entrance fee: Included in package
- Camp site fee: NIL
- Guide fee: RM175/person
- Food: Included in package
- Porters: Included in package

- Day 1 - 6 hours hike was long, but ok
- Day 2 - 7 hours hike was energy draining
- Day 3 - 9.5 hours down was pretty ok
- Gigantic pitcher plants can be found rite after Camp Dingin and along the way
- Camp Dingin is pretty nice, large and flat, good for 20 hikers or more
- Summit is cold and nice, campsite fits 20 or more easily
- Water point at Camp Dingin is 2 mins down on the left. Water is yellow and not much even during raining season
- Water must be collected at the one and only river crossing 15 mins from Lata Berembun, next water point is Camp Dingin and no more water points after that.
- View from the summit is spectacular, Gunung Tahan, Genting and Rajah can be seen from there
- A certificate of completion was provided by XplorerAdventure, cool


Saturday, 6 December 2008

Gunung Tangga 2,014m

Date: 06 Dec 08 - 07 Dec 08 [2D/1N]
Location: Gunung Tangga - Cameron Highlands
Altitude: 2,014m ASL
Difficulty: 6.6/10 (
Trail length: 11.3km
Camera: Canon EOS 350D
Lens: Tokina AT-X 124 AF Pro DX 12-24mm f/4
Filter: none
Post editing: PS CS3
Organizer: Taiping Goh
Members: Lucy, Uncle Yong, Dan, Ah Du(杜), OngLee, CS Law, Chiroro, James, Mickey, Kampar Ong(Moon), Uncle Yeoh, Mark, Jean Soh and Sean
My reason to go there: I have never been there, hope to see Raflesia and hope to see Gunung Brinchang/Irau/YY/YB/GY/KB/etc from the summit

Not many pictures this time due to the rain. 


The Journey 
05 Dec 08
19:30 – Depart from B’worth - if was raining
22:30 – Sleep at performance hall near Guan-di temple, Kg. Rajah  - if was raining

06 Dec 08
09:00 – Hike starts from Pos Brooke - if was raining
15:00 – Arrive at Campsite, 1,800m ASL - if was raining

07 Dec 08
09:00 – Hike to summit - if was raining
10:00 – Arrive at summit, 2014m ASL - if was raining
13:00 – Leave campsite, trek down - if was raining
18:00 – Arrive at Pos Brooke - if was raining
20:00 – Dinner at Lai Fatt, Kg. Rajah - if was raining
24:00 – Home

Rewards of this trip 
- Saw Rafflesias
- Pretty nice trail, moderately easy
- Met new friends
- I know how to cook Bak Kut Teh … lol. Uncle Hooi thought me how to cook..

Challenges of this trip 
- It rained non-stop before the hike until after the hike, we were soaking wet + covered with mud for 34 hours, very the syok...
- Slippery trail because of the rain
- Restricted from moving around, thanks to the rain
- No view from the summit, again thanks to the rain...
- Some sandflies at LWP and campsite
- ......... and finally the washing, sigh!

- Guide: 2 Orang Asli + Taiping Goh
- 4WD Fee: NIL
- Entrance fee: NIL
- Camp site fee: NIL
- Guide fee: RM75/=
- Food: RM13/=
- Transport: don’t know yet (Passengers AA share petrol + tol cost - Drivers don't pay)

- It would be a moderately easy trail to hike if there was no rain.
- Rafflesia are not hard to find there
- Campsite can fit perhaps 15 or more
- Summit is small, would fit perhaps 2 tents
- LWP is 2mins off trail
- Met another group of 18 ascending lead by Forest Gan during our descend
- I saw fresh tiger tracks(it was raining throughout the night) near our campsite, we figure that a tiger must have been near to our campsite perhaps before sunrise.
- I also saw some other large animal tracks near to the tiger tracks, according to the other guys, it was a Tapir.
- Gunung Tangga is located somewhere between Gua Musang and Cameron Highland, accessible via Pos Brooke. Orang asli controls the access there, so get a hiking guide to arrange the necessary, they don't like intruders.
- Met team Good-Good hiking club(from KL) members at Guan-di, 40 of them going for a 3d/2n Yong Yap hike.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Gunung Bubu 1,657m 2008

Date: 25 Oct 08 - 27 Oct 08 [3D/2N]
Location: Gunung Bubu, Ulu Kenas, Kuala Kangsar, Perak
Altitude: 1,657m ASL
Difficulty: 6.2/10 (
Trail length: 10.2km + 1.8km
Camera: Canon EOS 350D
Lens: Tokina AT-X 124 AF Pro DX 12-24mm f/4
Filter: none
Post editing: PS CS3
Members: Uncle Yong, Dan, KL Tan, Doraemon Ang and 10 hikers from KL('YOU-HIN LIAU'; 'Eng Wah Lok'; 'Chee Weng Yeoh'; 'Kaw Pua'; 'Teck Chai Lai'; 'keng heng tan'; 'Chu-huan Jong'; 'Victor Chan'; 'Lawrence CY Lo')
Drivers KL
Guide: + my GPS
My reason to go there: There are only a few mountains at the west side of PLUS highway, Bujang Melaka, Jerai and Bubu …. I have hiked the other 2, so I thought that it would be great to do the remaining..


Albums from other cameras:

Day 1: 9:00am - 3:00pm from starting point/100m(Kem Bina Negara Ulu Kenas) to Camp Garding/945m (Long break for lunch by the river/400m)
Day 2: 8:00am - 10:00am from Camp Garding/945m to Summit/1657m (Explore other peaks at summit)
Day 2: 11:40am - 2:10pm from Summit/1657m to Camp Garding/945m (Long break at last water point/1390m)
Day 3: 9:50am - 3:20pm from Camp Garding/945m to Kem Bina Negara Ulu Kenas/100m (Long break for lunch at river crossing/450m)

Rewards of this trip 
- nice quiet campsite(Camp Garding)
- Lots of streams along the trail, very clean water
- There are streams on both sides of Camp Garding
- Relaxing hike, moderately easy hike
- Not too cold, very nice temperature during the day and night
- Clear blue sky for all 3 days, no rain

Challenges of this trip 
- There were a lot of leeches, especially on day 1
- I stumbled upon some sort of wasp colony and got bitten all over, ouch
- Venomous ants bites
- Very few sandflies 

- Guide Fees: NIL
- 4WD: NIL
- Permit fees: RM10.00 (for 1-40pax)
- Camp site fees: NIL
- Food: approx. RM19.00 
- Transport: RM40:00 Passengers AA share petrol + tol cost - Drivers don't pay

- 3 days / 2 nights
- Camped 2 nights at Camp Garding, which is about 2 hours from the summit
- 4 people from Penang, 10 from KL 
- No guide, 4-5 people have GPS with them, however led the trail
- Started & ended at Kem Bina Negara Ulu Kenas
- There were leeches all the way from the carp park until Camp Garding
- Lots of bees and butterflies 
- Didn't see any Raflesia, but we saw a Raja Brookes during river break, evident of Raflesia colonies.
- Lots of hornbill encounters; there were several different calls, but I could tell exactly which species they where. (poor visual due to the thick forest canopy)
- Temperature at campsite (24°c before bed time, possibly <21°c after 3:00am)
- There are streams on both sides of Camp Garding
- Camp Garding was devastated by some sort of tropical avalanche quite recently(I think <6 months ago), what used to be a flat campsite that could accommodate 50 campers is now reduced to several small areas that accommodates perhaps 20. What used to be a stream at the right side of Garding has been transformed into a wide opening littered with boulders and other forest rubbles. However the stream on the left is still small and nice.
- Camp sites on the summit seem really good, especially on the west peak. I think it could easily accommodate 20-30.
- The LWP(Last water point) before the summit is about 1 hour from the summit

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Macro Oct 2008

Date: Oct O8
Location: Tukun, BM
Camera: Canon EOS 350D
Lens: Tamron SP AF90mm F/2.8 (Di) Macro 1:1
Filter: none
Post editing: PS CS3

After seeing Alex’s recent superb macro album( makes me wanna do some macro for myself too.
Couldn’t find much unusual insects that day. These are my bounties. I give myself 5.5/10 .. hope to be better next round, critics welcome, just tembak saja….

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Pulau Redang 2008

Date: 2 Oct 08 - 5 Oct 08 [3D/2N]
Location: Pulau Redang, Malaysia
No. of dives: 5+1

Accessibility to dive sites: 8.5
Marine Animal Density: 7.3
Dive site terrain Quality: 8.5
Marine Animal Diversity: 7.6
Visibility: 6.0
Overall Score: 7.6

Entry: Boat
Difficulty: OW-AOW
Dive Sites: Fringing reefs/Sandy Bottoms/Pinnacles

Underwater camera: Canon Powershot A80
Underwater casing: Canon Waterproof Case WP-DC900 for Powershot A80 by Canon
Underwater strobe: Fantasea Cool Flash Nano
Underwater filter: NIL
Post editing: PS CS3
Members: Rockson, Lilian, Sam, Winnie and 22 other snorkeling members
DI & DM: Teng Jan Shir, Rina, King, Alex and Leong
Resort: Redang Pelangi Resort (Contact: 019 475 1357)
Reason of my visit: To dive the sandy bottoms of Redang, to see the different side of Redang’s dive sites, wanted to see the blue-ring octopus and to find frogfish

Dive sites
- Rina’s Reef x 2
- Cina Terjun
- Tanjung Tengah(help take pictures for 10 discovery divers)
- Tanjung Tengah(night dive)
- Terumbu Kiri

Rewards of this trip
- Frogfish, ornate ghost pipefish, seahorse and leafy filefish
- Big schools of reef fishes(diamondfish, bigeye snappers, fusiliers, needlefish, damsels, giant sweetlips, razorfish and anthiars
- Group of 7 blue spotted stingrays togather at one site, normally we see them lone
- Several hawksbill turtles
- Good weather, clam sea
- Many longs dives, >60mins(which is rare with Pelangi coz they limit all bottom time to max 45mins regardless of how much air is left)
- Met DI/DM Rina and King, finally got to meet them
- Met Leong, Cecilia’s(wanderingbabe) hubby

Challenges of this trip
- Thermocline at 20m and below, bad viz(1-2m)
- Lost buddies again, at Rina’s reef, dove alone, it was a peaceful 45mins alone
- No blue-ring octopus
- No weird nudis at the sandy bottoms

Regrets of this trip
- All pictures of the ornate ghost pipefish and razorfish are bad
- Way under exposed yellow boxfish pic

- 5 dives = RM300 (1 dive free for helping take pictures)
- SVIP bus B’worth – Merang – B’worth = RM140
- Pelangi resort off season package RM330(for extra bed)

- It was a last minute trip for me. Joint the trip because there was one more place on the SVIP bus and added extra bed to the room.
- I’ll be back for the sandy bottom dives sites, there is so much more to explore, to be continue…

About Pulau Redang
Redang Island, paradise of the Malaysian east coast group of marine park islands, is situated 45km northeast of Kuala Terengganu. Gazetted as a Marine Park in 1994, it is a heaven for scuba diving and ideal for memorable holidays with crystal clear water, powdery white sandy beaches, spectacular off shore
snorkeling. The island is also an important conservation site for sea turtles. Previously, the indiscriminate economic exploitation of turtle eggs had caused fewer turtles returning to nest on the island. This has led the Terengganu state government to set up the Koperasi Setiajaya Pulau Redang in 1989, a cooperative aiming to develop and manage socio-economic programmes that could improve the livelihood of Pulau Redang locals without endangering its natural resources.[citation needed]
The waters around Pulau Redang also contain two historic shipwrecks. H.M.S Prince of Wales and H.M.S Repulse were sunk here at the start of World War II, setting the stage for the Japanese occupation of Malaya.

The Pulau Redang archipelago comprises Pulau Redang, Pulau Lima, Pulau Paku Besar, Pulau Paku Kecil, Pulau Kerengga Kecil, Pulau Kerengga Besar, Pulau Ekor Tebu, Pulau Ling and Pulau Pinang. Pulau Redang is the biggest of all the islands in the Marine Park, measuring about 7 km long and 6 km wide. It's highest peak is Bukit Besar at 359 metres above sea level. The boundary of the Pulau Redang Marine Park is established by a line linking all points 2 nautical miles (3.7 km) from the shores of Pulau Redang, Pulau Lima, Pulau Ekor Tebu and Pulau Pinang. The other nearby islands of Pulau Perhentian Besar, Pulau Perhentian Kecil, Pulau Lang Tengah, Pulau Kapas and Pulau Susu Dara are also gazetted and protected as Marine Parks. Today, only the bigger islands like Redang, Lang Tengah, Perhentian and Kapas have resort facilities for visitors. The management of Marine Parks primarily involves protection of the sensitive marine and terrestrial ecosystems by controlling the impact from human activities. These include waste & pollution management and conservation of coral reefs and terrestrial habitats.
The 2000 film, Summer Holiday was filmed on the Laguna Redang resort, and a replica of the tea house now serves as the resort's gift shop.


Monday, 1 September 2008

Bali 2008

silhouette of a Batfish

Date: 1 Sep 08 - 7 Sep 08 [7D/6N]
Location: Bali, Indonesia
No. of dives: 12

Nusa Penida
Accessibility to dive sites: 7.0
Marine Animal Density: 7.5
Dive site terrain Quality: 8.0
Marine Animal Diversity: 7.0
Visibility: 8.5
Overall Score: 7.6
Entry: Boat
Difficulty: AOW
Dive Sites: Walls/Fringing reefs/Pinnacles

<- Mola-mola a.k.a Ocean sunfish

Accessibility to dive sites: 10.0
Marine Animal Density: 8.2
Dive site terrain Quality: 7.5
Marine Animal Diversity: 8.0
Visibility: 8.5
Overall Score: 8.4
Entry: Shore
Difficulty: OW
Dive Sites: Muck/Sandy bottoms

Harlequin shrimp ->

Accessibility to dive sites: 10.0
Marine Animal Density: 8.2
Dive site terrain Quality: 9.0
Marine Animal Diversity: 8.0
Visibility: 8.5
Overall Score: 8.7
Entry: Shore
Difficulty: OW
Dive Sites: Wreck/Fringing reefs

<- divers approaching Liberty Wreck

Underwater camera: Canon Powershot A80
Underwater casing: Canon Waterproof Case WP-DC900 for Powershot A80 by Canon
Underwater strobe: Fantasea Cool Flash Nano
Underwater filter: NIL 
Land Camera: Canon EOS 350D
Land Lens: Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC
Land Filter: NIL
Post editing: PS CS3
Members: Lilian, Sam, KL Tan, Choon Wai and Dan 
Reason of my visit: To see Mola-mola, Liberty Wreck and Seraya muck diving

divers swimming below a school of jack fish a.k.a bigeye trevally

Dive sites
Tulamben – Liberty wreck, Coral Garden and Drop Off 3 dives
Seraya - 3 dives
Nusa Peninda – Crystal Bay 5 dives and Manta Point 1 dive

ornate ghost pipefish

Rewards of this trip
- Saw Mola-mola
- Saw Manta rays
- First time seeing Harlequin shrimps, Ornate ghostpipefishes, spinecheeks anemonefishes, Tozeuma shrimp and Ribbon sweetlips
- Seen a lot of other nice marine animals including Robust ghostpipefish, pygmy seahorses, frogfish, octopuses, coleman shrimps, harlequin mantis shrimps, squat lobsters etc
- Great 30m visibility
- Great dive gang with other divers from the same boat
- Great dive guide – Sebastian
- Everything was very smooth 
- 7 sunny days
Black spotted moray surrounded by hinge beak shrimp

Challenges of this trip
- Extremely cold water 18-20 Celsius at Crystal bay
- Hard time operating the Nano strobe, it won’t fire sometimes and I don’t know where to point it, lol… lots of spoiled pictures this time, sad!
- Air Asia almost unloaded our luggages due to some complication, fortunately after some argument we won the battle ..
a manta ray at Manta Point, Nusa Penida

Regrets of this trip 
- I screwed up all my pictures the pygmy seahorse and Robust ghostpipefish at Drop off, 
- I screwed up most pictures of the Harlequin shrimps, all of Crinoid Shrimps, poor quality pictures of spinecheeks anemonefishes and frogfish
- Couldn't find a Tiger shrimp at Seraya(coz I screwed up all pics from Lembeh)
Zebra crab - Zebrida adamsii

pair of Coleman shrimps hiding amongst the thorns of a fire urchin

Kentrodoris rubescens

Mexichromis multituberculata

Phyllidia occelata

Squat Lobster - Lauriea siagiani

Ribbon Sweetlips

Leaf scorpionfish

Spinecheek anemone fish, they are not very common

a nudibranch, I have found the name of this yet

Flabellina bicolor

Chromodoris hintuanensis

Hypselodoris infucata

Armina sp1

Blue ring Octopus, not showing its rings

Ovulid (false Cowry)

juvenile Painted frogfish

- USD 505 for 12 dives inclusive of 5mm wet suite rental, 6 nights accommodation, all land transfer, all breakfast and lunch on diving days
- LCCT(KL) to & from DPS(Bali) = RM339.00 (Zero fair offer from Dec 07)

- Diving at Bali is great, very good place to dive and relatively inexpensive
- Scuba Bali as our dive operator was great
- Ribbon sweetlips are really beautiful, slightly different from the harlequin and oriental type, they have a bit more color
- Harlequin shrimps are really slow moving and approachable, and relatively large in size for a coral reef shrimp 
- The Mantas we saw were not fully grown, teenagers perhaps
- The Mola-mola we saw was at 19m and cleaning, it came to us by itself, it was an amazing 20 minutes encounter. It came very close to me(2m from me)
- Strong current at Crystal bay, but I like it a lot coz it was exciting
- My favorite dive sites would be Seraya, Manta point and Liberty Wreck
- We had a day for sight seeing – Ubud, Tegalallang and Kuta
- Very nice guesthouse stay. Name of guesthouse was Puri Sindhu Mertha
- And of coz Balinese are very friendly and nice people

About the Mola-Mola
- The Mola-mola A.K.A Ocean Sunfish is the heaviest known bony fish in the world. It has an average adult weight of 1 tonne. Sunfish live on a diet that consists mainly of jellyfish. Because this diet is nutritionally poor, they consume large amounts in order to develop and maintain their great bulk. Females of the species can produce more eggs than any other known vertebrate. Adult sunfish are vulnerable to few natural predators, but sea lions, orcas and sharks will consume them. Among humans, sunfish are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, including Japan, the Korean peninsula and Taiwan, but sale of their flesh is banned in the European Union.[1] Sunfish are frequently, though accidentally, caught in gillnets, and are also vulnerable to harm or death from encounters with floating trash, such as plastic bags.
- Liberty Wreck the American USAT Liberty Glo (aka USS Liberty shipwreck) in Tulamben is Bali's most famous and accessible dive. This is one of the safest wreck dives in the world. This large war victim is just meters from the shore. The armed cargo ship was built in 1918 and served as a supply ship during World War II. It was torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-166 in 1942 while in the strait approx. 10 nautical miles south-west of Lombok (she was carrying railway parts and rubber for the war effort). The ship was rescued and towed towards Bali by a Dutch destroyer the HNLMS Van Ghent. The damage done to the ship was so great that the attempt to reach Singaraja failed, the crew was evacuated and the ship was beached in Tulamben.