Pulau Aur is one of the Southern most diving destination in Malaysia, as a result, the island is probably more popular to Singaporean than the average Malaysian. Which explains why Gab, who used to work in Singapore helped organize this trip right after our Redang Project AWARE dive trip last September.
The operator was FWS, and we stayed at Pulau Aur Diver’s Lodge.
the journey to Pulau Aur via Mersing
Racheal who missed the Redang trip due to illness was able to join us on the last dive of the season with her boo Norman. Terence, Gab, Irene, Horng, and myself fit into 2 cars and started our journey to Pulau Aur on Thursday evening, taking advantage of the holiday on Friday (Deepavali.)
While the road journey is only some 360 KM, the east-west bit was through old trunk roads and thus it took a good 4.5 hours to get there while driving relatively speedy. This is evident from Irene’s constant exploit of the poor IKEA soft toy to cover her face over the windier part of the track.
Port Cafe by Mersing Jetty
We arrived at Mersing just before midnight, parked the car and took care of supper in the TSH (tourist slaughter house) looking restaurant that is the Port Cafe. As it turned out, food wasn’t all too expensive at less than RM 10 per plate, and the nasi goreng Cina was exceptionally tasty too!
slave style boat transfer from Mersing to Pulau Aur
The boat to Aur left Mersing just past midnight. There wasn’t any real seating space on this boat, there were 2 “decks” of sleeping space instead. If you’re like us and got on the boat late, all there’s left would be the rear upper deck that has about 3cm headroom.
The experience was a bit like sleeping in a coffin, except there’s an additional falling hazard and the aircond was too cold. It was still fun though, I slept through most part of the boat ride, bliss!
the resort at night, we arrived before day break
We reached the resort before sunrise. Being ushered down the boat onto another platform in the middle of water while still super woozy was certainly an experience. The resort wasn’t even really in sight at night, it felt like we were on set for Pirates of the Pulau Aur or something, that sorta woke me up.
Pulau Aur Diver’s Lodge does look a lot more inviting in daylight
This is the view of the resort taken from the small jetty that’s only good enough to park a sampan (shallow water). The seating area’s for moonlight BBQ dinner, with Narcosis bar on the left. There are altogether 18 rooms in 9 different semi-d chalet.
Our rooms were located on the 2nd level and it was already too high to climb after exhausting dives. I’d appreciate an escalator around here, but the view is fantastic though.
breathing compressed air – bliss!
Diving is done from the very same boat that we took from Mersing. We set up our gears and left them on the big boat, but going to and from the diving boat to resort had to be done via the sampan. A bit of a hassle but we weren’t really complaining.
nudibranches at Pulau Aur
There were 9 dives scheduled in 2 days, I did 8 and skipped the last night dive mainly due to exhaustion. Over here there was no time to do anything else, it was dive, eat, dive, eat, dive, eat, dive, eat, and with some naps in between.
This was really a proper diving trip, there weren’t any activities for snorkelers.
we take a sampan to the bigger boat before each dive
Besides the platform, Pulau Aur Diver’s Lodge does not really have a beach. There were, however, two very short stretch of beaches at each side of the resort accessible via the very poorly maintained wooden bridge (one of which already completely destroyed). The resort owner explained that maintenance of these bridges/walkways are done by the Malaysian government…
Since it was the last dive trip before season ends, the water condition was not exactly the greatest. We were in fact pretty lucky to not have to deal with any thunderstorm or crazy huge waves when we had to be under or on the ocean.
Visibility, as a result, wasn’t too great either, and most dive sites had mild to strong current, not particularly friendly to beginners.
Terence with his new gear, weird sea creature, color-coordinated Racheal
That said, we still had pretty decent dives that could have been even better if not for the fact that our Dive Master somehow always think that fighting the current head on is such a great idea.
There were the usual suspects under the sea – several types of nudibranches, bat fish, cleaner fish, clown fish, baby baraccuda, puffer fish, angel fish, and so on. Horng even spotted a cuttlefish!
Our hope of swimming with a whale sharks though, will have to wait for future trips.
awesome food at Pulau Aur Diver’s Lodge
The food at Diver’s Lodge was really way better than our expectations. We had moon light buffer dinner the first night, and really awesome BBQ dinner the second night. There were unlimited grilled prawns, beef, squid, cuttle fish, and so on. I still miss the sliced fried potato there.
Even the lunch/tea time food were pretty good, fried chicken, fish, and of course, that awesome homemade donut with Hershey’s chocolate sauce.
earth is 70% water, don’t always be land bound 😀
I think I’m done with diving for 2010, next year we’ll get the girls to learn diving too! Kerol, Kim, Haze, Diana and more (and also the return of Gareth), can’t wait!