Sub project comes to S-E Asia
THROUGH a porthole in the submersible, I could see fish swimming around coral, and gobies burrowing into sand as we descended to the seabed.
United States marine conservationist and submersible pilot Scott Cassell observed that the coral in Pulau Tioman's marine park showed minor signs of coral bleaching, a result of ocean acidification, but was relatively healthy.
While this was his first tour in the region with submersible "The Great White", and very likely the first time a submersible was in Tioman's waters, the experience may be available to underwater enthusiasts in Asia in a few years' time.
Mr Cassell is in discussions to start an Asian offshoot of his Underwater Voyager Project in Brunei, which he visited last week, and said he was open to start the project anywhere in the world.
The project aims to raise awareness of the devastation of the world's oceans by having more people personally visit, and understand, the marine environment.
"Brunei is entertaining the idea of having us back here long enough to build a submersible, train people how to pilot it, and do their own work," he told reporters at Tioman's Berjaya resort on Saturday.
The kingdom is also exploring a marine-conservation project, and a record-breaking 120km dive with the veteran diver. Mr Cassell holds the world record for the longest distance travelled by a diver - 84km in 91/2 hours. He was in Malaysia and Brunei as part of watchmaker Luminox's "Save the Seas" project.