Lazing around under the sea off Aur
Ros looking up as her group went for their dive.
Diving with my buddy, David (below).
From left, Li Chien, Suat Choo, David and I at Mersing just before we returned to Singapore.
The individual chalets.
Timber beams support the resort built on the rocks at the water's edge.
The boatman going for a snorkel.
Relaxing with a snorkel around the resort.
The boat in the distance is a training platform for novice divers.
From the resort we enjoyed the twilight, just before the BBQ dinner was served.
Dusk fell as we returned from a dive.
Weekend diving at Pulau Aur, organised by Kg Glam Community Centre's BSAC Club's expedition leader Lee Suat Choo. Four of us -- Suat, David, Li Chien and myself -- signed up with a tour operator that runs the resort in Aur in the South China Sea.

On Friday evening we boarded the coach at Newton Circus car park and arrived groggy at midnight in Mersing port where we transferred to a ferry for the four-hour trip to Aur. As usual, the airconditioning in the cabin was freezing and I spent most of the time on the open deck. We arrived before dawn, slept for three hours and had our first dive. We met Rose who was with another group.

The water was clear to about 10m, the corals were unspectacular and marine life scanty, although we saw a school of frowning Napoleons. The sunset, though, was magnificent as it spread across the wine-dark sea, and I wished I had taken my full-featured SLR camera instead of the red point-and-shoot compact. This model, a gift from Canon Singapore, was waterproof but only to 5m down. So, I could use it only while snorkelling. The dive pictures were taken from Suat's dive camera.

The resort was built on timber beams rising from the rocks at the water's edge. We had to clamber like monkeys when we moved around. The two days on the island were hot, and in between the dives, there was little to do but hide in the airconditioned dining hall.

This was my third trip to Aur, and I swore during the freezing boat ride to the island that it would be my last. But now in the comfort of home, as I drooled over the pictures, I wished I were back on the island.

April 21-23, 2000

All pictures by Francis Chin, except the two undersea ones by Suat Choo (second from left, folded arms).