K and I have just come back from our first live-on-board dive trip, aboard the MV White Manta. Despite initial worries, only one of us got seasick (that would be me) and that was a fairly mild case that nevertheless prevented me from eating lunch (which was, like the other meals on board the White Manta, excellent). I deeply regret not being able to sample the green curry, but at that point in time, it was as like to come back up as it went down. An afternoon nap settled me down nicely, and I had dinner with no problems.
One of the we reasons we tried the White Manta was the schedule: leaving on Friday night, we reached Pulau Dayang the next morning and started diving immediately - no long queues at the Causeway, or 4 hour trip along Malaysian roads to get to Mersing. You sleep in a comfortable bed, and arrive rested and ready to dive. And the toilets were actually cleaner and better aboard the White Manta than in the dive centre on Dayang.
I did my Advanced Open Water course on this trip, and the instruction was excellent (as was the instructor to student ratio: we had something like 6 dive instructors/divemasters) so the learning was both easy and safe. Fish life wasn't quite as spectacular as the Maldives, but there was still plenty to see - from cuttlefish and squid, to baby moray eels, to huge bumphead parrotfish. I did my deep dives and night dives (less frightening than I thought: it's hard to be scared of the dark when there's so much light from all these megawatt dive torches. I always remember the poor little baby squid K spotted: the moment she pointed it out, everyone's dive torches transfixed the poor fella until he looked like some WW1 Zeppelin caught in searchlights).
All in all, exceeding expectations. Given a 5-day workweek, this may be the best way to do weekend dives.