I kept this diary of things we have done in Singapore for 2 years. I have now moved some of it to other travel pages but you can still find links to many of our activities here. I have also created a reading list of books we have read about the region.

Western Japan

Birds in Singapore

Kuala Lumpur stopover

Thai Diving

Singapore Liveaboard

Local Residents

Beijing Summer

Diving with Sharks

Shanghai Heatwave

Taiwan Tourists

An Indian week

Where U bin?

Island hideaway

Steamy running

A Trip to the Zoo

Gardens by the Bay


Singapore walks

Mind the bus

Flower power


Early weeks


Vicky's Blog


Batam mapIt's not easy to go diving from Singapore. Although you are in the middle of the South China Sea you are surrounded by shipping and the waste product of 5+ million people. Up the east coast of Malaysia is one option. Another which I had not tried is down through the Riau Islands to the south.

The whole archipelago to the south of Singapore is called the Riau Islands. this includes Batam and Bintan which have become built up as cheap Indonesian labour is attractive to Singapore manufacturers. As you get further down between Batam and Bintan and beyond it changes a lot. Sparcely populated coastline and uninhabited little islands proliferate and this is where we go looking for new dive sites.

MV NauticaThe MV Nautica has only been operating for a few months when I book a weekend trip. A steel hulled dive boat with 6 cabins it is comfortable and robust. We take the ferry to Batam on Friday night and then transfer to the boat which is waiting for us in a nearby marina. We are onboard by 9.00 and are soon being served dinner by the friendly crew as the captain heads off south for an overnight cruise to our first dive site. I meet my cabin mates and after a briefing on the boat and a bit of relaxing we settle down for the night.

DivingI wake the next morning in a beautifully peaceful spot in a circle of small uninhabited islands (see top). Our first dive of the day, on an island called Pom Pong is OK but not great. Good to get underwater but the visibility is not that great. Highlight was a huge puffer that I see before it retreats to a cave. We head on south for the next couple of dives which actually are better. Viz is clearer and there is great coral and masses of smaller fish as well as a fast drift in the middle of dive 2.

Night diveThe day finishes with a night dive then dinner and games. A very friendly gang on board - we finish the beers and move onto wine and whisky! Next day we are heading north again and the viz deteriorates. There has been a lot of rain which can't help. This is a fun way to spend the weekend. The diving wasn't brilliant but it was fun to explore new sites and the crew and dive guides were very good company. With a third day you could get further south and probably find much better conditions. Still it was a great experience and I would go again when I had a weekend free on my own.

Check out the slideshow below for more info...