Archive | June, 2013

Visiting Celebes Beach Resort at Pom Pom Island, Sabah – Malaysia

So we found out about this place called Pom Pom Island last year at MIDE (Malaysian International Dive Expo), I’d honestly never heard of it before and couldn’t even point to a region on the map where I thought it might be.

It turns out, it’s in Sabah, about 30 mins boat road from Semporna, which is about 2 hours drive from Tawau airport. It’s not surprising though, with there only being 2 resorts on the entire island. One is a proper high end resort with cabins on stilts called Pom Pom Island Resort, rooms go from RM600-800 a night and it’s not a particularly dive oriented place.

The resort we found out about was Celebes Beach Resort (CBR) who were offering a 3d2n dive package for RM999 (regular price RM1280). It’s a pretty good deal as it includes return transfer from Tawau including the boat and unlimited shore dives (and yes it has a really nice house reef).

We decided that was too short, so we ended up going for 5d4n back in May, we booked the trip last December and have been excited about it ever since! I haven’t been diving since my birthday last year at Pulau Weh.

It was quite a trek to get there, including getting up at 4.30am to catch a 7.30am flight (flight is around 2hrs+), then a 2 hour van drive, then the boat across – I think it’s about 7 hours in total door to door. But the view from the boat across from Semporna set us in the right mood straight away.

From Semporna to Pom Pom

There was 13 of us in total, 11 divers and 2 non-divers – quite a gang 馃檪 This was what greeted us when we stepped off the boat onto the island, blue skies and clear emerald waters – really a paradise.

Pom Pom Island

Another awesome thing about CBR is it directly faces the sunset, so after a hard day diving you can just chill and take in the sunset with the gentle sea breeze and the sound of lapping waves.

Pom Pom Sunset

Well that was the case unless you had a bunch of Chinese tourists in front of you shouting at each other and doing cheesy poses for the entire sunset…yes that happened.

LOLwut

Other than that is was spectacularly peaceful and beautiful.

Pom Pom Sunset

This is the beach directly in front of Celebes Beach Resort, and yes it’s rather nice 馃檪 You can just walk straight in from there to dive the house reef.

Celebes Beach Resort

It’s a cute resort, it has air-con and hot water (although if it’s doesn’t rain much the water gets salty as the water table depletes).

Celebes Beach Resort

All meals are included (breakfast, lunch, tea time and dinner) and there’s a free flow of tea/coffee/milo and water. You can also buy beer & soft drinks at fairly reasonable prices.

This is the whole gang including the 2 dive masters (Matt & Graham) and the Instructor/Resort Manager Nurul.

Pom Pom Island

I think it’s pretty safe to say we’d head back there again, beautiful place, chilled vibe and REALLY good diving. I’ll write about the diving aspect in the next post. It’s not the cheapest place to go, and it is a trek to get there but IMHO it’s totally worth it.

Both Air Asia and MAS fly there, you can get the tickets pretty cheap during promos, so check it out. You can find Celebes Beach Resort on Facebook too here.

Goodbye for now Pom Pom.

Goodbye Pom Pom

We shall meet again!

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Continue Reading 6 CommentsMalaysia, SCUBA Diving, Trips & Travel

Couch-to-5k – Week 1 Workout 1 Conquered!

So I didn’t count my first try, because I only got half way through (I did about 1.04 miles in about 16 minutes and then collapsed).

I had my rest day, as I should, then today I retried the first workout with new, more reasonable speeds. After some reading, a jog should be quite slow, you should be able to hold a reasonable conversation and drink water when you are jogging.

If not, you are probably going too fast, or actually running. That’s what happened to me on the first day, I had my brisk walk at 3.5mph and my jog at 7mph – which is actually pretty fast (almost an 8 minute mile, way too fast for a beginner).

So I went down to 3.5mph for my 5 minute brisk walk warm-up, 3mph for my walking intervals and 5mph for my jogging intervals. It was still a good workout, but I didn’t collapse and I made it all the way through.

I even used the first minute of my cooldown to do a quick 1 minute 7mph run 馃檪

Couch-to-5k Week 1 Workout 1

Not too bad, ended up at 1.84 miles in 30 minutes 馃檪 That’s approximately a 16 minute mile overall, and a 12 minute mile for the running sections (far more reasonable) and would have me doing a 5km run in about 50 minutes (that’s more walking than running though). Onwards and upwards!

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Continue Reading No CommentsCouch-to-5K, Fitness

The Pa-aling Divers Of the Phillipines – Compressor Diving

Every time I watch this video I’m like…WHAT. The technical term for this is Surface-supplied diving, and this type is known as compressor diving.

Seriously 40 metres, no safety stop, not even a slow ascent. Their DCS (Decompression Sickness AKA “The Bends”) symptoms are so bad some of them go back down just to relieve them.

No BCD, and some of their fins look like ping pong bats..

Apparently one of the cameramen went for a drive dive using their gear..pretty scary stuff.

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Continue Reading 1 CommentSCUBA Diving

Couch-to-5k & A Treadmill & Me

So we’ve had a plan to get a treadmill since we bought this house, we even allocated a space for it on the upstairs landing and had a plug point put in the floor – especially for the treadmill. But due to the house, the renovation, then the wedding – we had no budget to actually buy the treadmill..

So the poor lonely power socket has been gathering dust for the past 2 years, and has only been used for steaming clothes, ironing and vacuuming. But a week or so ago, we were at 1-Utama to watch a movie and we happened to see the treadmill we’ve been looking at (actually a newer model) on sale at a pretty good price.

There’s not a whole lot of treadmills available for sale in Malaysia (fitness, what?) so we have limited choices, we ended up getting a NordicTrack T8.0, which honestly doesn’t have great reviews. But it feels comfortable and has decent features (28 workouts, mp3 line in, fan, incline etc).

Last week we had it delivered and set up 馃檪

NordicTrack T8.0

And honestly I had no idea where to get started, so I did some googling (as per usual). After some reading I came across this program called Couch-to-5k, which seems ideal for me.

I’m not terribly unfit, as I walk my dog about 1.6km twice a day – but I’m not terribly active either and I certainly can’t sustain a decent running past a few minutes without collapsing. I do spend far too much time sitting in front of the computer.

Too many people have been turned off of running simply by trying to start off too fast. Their bodies rebel, and they wind up miserable, wondering why anyone would possibly want to do this to themselves.

You should ease into your running program gradually. In fact, the beginners’ program we outline here is less of a running regimen than a walking and jogging program. The idea is to transform you from couch potato to runner, getting you running three miles (or 5K) on a regular basis in just two months.

Sounds reasonable to me. So I grabbed the Android app here for US$2.99 and today I took it for a spin.

I collapsed after about a mile (15 minutes) of alternate jogging/walking. After some post work-out research, it seems my jogging speed is too fast for a beginner and I won’t be able to sustain the workout. I was walking at 3-3.5mph and jogging at 7mph, it seems like I need to slow it down a bit to maybe 2.5mph for walking and 4.5-5mph for jogging.

Perhaps I’ll be able to complete the entire 20 minutes then. But one thing is for sure, after spending the damn money on the Treadmill I am going to be able to run 5k continuously – and hopefully lose some weight in the process 馃檪

I plan to do a real 5k race when I’m ready, the program should take around 8 weeks but I might take a little longer, there’s no shame in repeating days/weeks.

Here’s to fitness!

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Continue Reading 9 CommentsCouch-to-5K, Fitness