Well, it may be hard to stay so positive when you’re not all that together, but once that barrier in broken, you’re in for a bolt from the blue. Heh…again, literally. In a positive way of course. Diving did make me forget to be sad.
Now before I story about my royal encounter recently, I've got to record my jet-set experience years ago. Once, I sneaked out of the house to go diving in Maldives. This time, I was NOT in any way emotionally-driven though. You see who in the right scuba-crazy mind could resist an invitation to go for a weeklong dive vacation in MALDIVES (hello...), to live on and dive off a friend's sickeningly ostentatious yacht named La Baroness which with a total of 18 crew including chef means I knew I wouldn't need to lift one finger for didly. Super glossy or what. On top of all that 'tai-tai-ness', totally FOC some more.
At that time, because diving seemed freaky to my dad hence didn't get much of his blessings, so I had to lie la. It may sound bad but I knew I'd be living with deep regret if I hadn't gone after my will. This was one such 'chance of a lifetime' experience that never quite came by again by the way... My first time ever on a live-aboard and already spoilt to bits with the sort of luxury that regular folks like me can only dream. For this reason, I’d be a complete idiot if I didn’t see it for myself, right? Ha! When membership DOES have its privileges, you'd be a total FOOL to not be privileged.
The Crown Prince of Pahang was in Tioman last month to launch his My Reef Foundation. The project involved planting artificial reefs on one of the smaller islands called Soyak, intended to build a 'Fish City'.
Growing corals means growing habitats for our underwater friends to dwell in. Great! Any conservation work has my support and participation. Privileges DOES have its responsibilities too you know.
I went on the police boat with gal pal Datin Rowena, her kids and some bodyguards. Rowena's husband Tengku Intan was onboard the royal vessel with Tengku Mahkota Pahang and his entourage which also included Minister of Science & Technology Dato Seri Jamaluddin Jarjis.
Many more boatloads of other divers and the media were hovering about near us, all waiting for Tuanku to decend.
On the seabed were these underwater 'bungalows', some clusters of PVC grey pipes forming literally fish 'houses'. The night before, Federico together with Tengku Intan and the Crown Prince had already done one dive at Renggis Island (where i often snorkel at) to check on the reef balls they had planted a few years ago. So while the men went diving, we the ladies (Rowena's sister with fiance also came along) and kids went back to JapaMala and feasted!
Room Tour : Tuanku checking out the open-air bath tub in our Sarang Villa
We took Tuanku and his entourage on a short tour and chit-chatted casually about subjects of sorts over pizza and tom yam at Tamarind Terrace. He was impressed with our property as much as we were amazed by his immense love for his island. Despite having recovered from pnuemonia just months ago, he couldn't not dive for a cause. He said he felt a little nervous this time because he hasn't dived for 3 years.
Totally guarded even underwater, the prince was flanked by fully armed navy divers - above, below, left and right plus more surrounding him. I would've felt terribly claustrophobic too but for safety sake, the prince was in good hands.
After lunch, Tuanku invited Federico on a short tour by boat to check out adjascent villages and beaches for possible future resort developments.
This day was as 'a chance of a lifetime' as my Maldives escape. A royal encounter that's pretty hard to come by, we were privileged to have the crown prince grace our home. T'was definitely a bolt from the blue.