Tioman Mega Dive - too much fun in the sun
Contributed by Tim Hochgrebe
a 'week in the city' to attend MIDE'07 I couldn't wait to get my bare feet in
the sand and to move from talking about diving to actually doing it.
I was part of a number of international press who were invited to attend this
new anual dive event on Tioman Island - which for those who don't know is located
in the South-East of mainland Malaysia. A 4 day festival which promised lots
of activities, diving and other fun in the sun.
Flying Berjaya Air directly from KL to Tioman we were there in a flash and welcomed
by a whole ceremony of women in beautiful traditional dresses as well as the
Tioman Mega Dive volunteer girls ... who were also nicely dressed, yet slightly
We were taken to Berjaya Resort which is the largest and only 5-star resort
on Tioman Island, and a very nice place indeed. Featuring a full dive shop with
its own jetty and a number of dive boats, a few swimming pools, golf course
and most importantly the sunken pool bar ...
Tioman considers itself as one of the 10 most beautiful islands in the world
and indeed there are amazing landscapes, beaches and of course beautiful people
was great to meet so many other people who's job and passion it is to 'make
the world into divers' and keep divers diving, including the guys from Scuba
Diver Australasia, FINS, Action Asia, X-Ray Mag, DivePhotoGuide, DiveZero and
even the Russian Octopus Magazine.
Amin, the main organiser of this event managed to get some amazing sponsorship
from Tourism Malaysia, Berjaya Hotels & Resorts, PADI and a number of diving
organisations and the amount of local and international press attending this
event was phenomenal. As
an event organiser myself (which is for the annual Byron Underwater Festival)
I know how much effort it is to organise proper sponsorship.
The event itself was scattered around the island - many of the 16 local dive
centres participated and our schedule was tightly packed with diving, beach
games & parties as well as some land based exploring of the island. The
Mega Dive Program included an underwater treasure hunt where 'real' treasure
chests were hidden. around the dive sites of the island and Mega Dive participants
could dive away with 1000s of dollars worth of amazing prizes. Like any 'proper'
dive event there was of course a photo competition again with fantastic prizes
and with the underwater photo legend Mathieu Meur giving talks on how to improve
of the more novel things to happen at Tioman Mega Dive was a traditional Malay
underwater wedding - now it's not that Malay people traditionally get married
underwater ... in this showcase one couple (who actually in this case were not
a real couple) dressed up in traditional Malay dress and sat underwater in about
5 metres of water in what was unfortunately tragic visibility. There were plenty
of underwater press trying to get a photo and many onlookers on the pier - all
in all an event that I hope will be more successful in the coming years ...
The long standing annual Tioman crown of thorns clean-up was also integrated
into the Mega Dive Event this year and over 700 crown of thorns seastars were
collected and destroyed to save the reef around Tioman Island.
Mega Dive Events included a questionable 'Miss Tioman Mega Dive Competition'
... I am not so sure if that is an appropriate thing to do these days plus considering
that Malaysia is 70% Muslim ... but of course the participants were all stunning
The events where participants around Tioman were supposed to come together for
beach parties, beach games and the TMD-finale were quite poorly visited and
there is quite some work to be done if this is to turn into a successful annual
All in all I had a very good time especially catching up with other people
in the dive industry that you normally only briefly meet at dive shows. Here
we could actually dive together and spend some time speculating about the future
of diving ...
For more photos watch this slide show of Tioman Mega Dive