As promised, here are some photos taken from our diving trip to Anilao last Junuary (post on accommodation). These pictures were taken from the first two days of diving.
For anyone who’s interested, these is my underwater set up:
- Olympus EPL3
- PT-EP05L underwater housing
- Sea & Sea YS-01 strobes x 2
- Inon UCL-165 M67 macro wet lens
- Ikelite tray & i-Das arm system
blue ribbon eel, Sombrero
I did a total of 11 dives over 4 days. We visited a number of dive sites but also went back to a few that we really liked.
Anilao really has quite a lot to offer. On the surface it is quite an unassuming peninsula. There isn’t any great beach nor excellent landscape, but underwater it’s a very different story altogether.
clownfish in anemone, Sombrero
While lacking bigger marine life such as turtles and sharks, Anilao is teeming with huge variety of smaller underwater creatures. You can always expect a big variety of fish, shrimps, crabs, cephalopods (octopus/cuttlefish/squid), searhorses and various types of nudibranches basically in every other dive.
juvenile cuttlefish wasn’t very pleased
Underwater landscape at most of the dive sites aren’t spectacular either. Arthur’s Rock by the resort offers perhaps the best seascape with more hard corals and rock formations, while sites such as Basura is shallow with sandy and at some parts, grassy bottoms.
It is when you look closer that you’ll start to marvel at what Anilao has to offer. Hidden amongst the corals, rocks, or sea fan are tiny creatures such as emperor shrimps, transparent shrimps, and and nudibranches.
play time with an octopus in a half bottle
Here, even what looked like floating debris could turn out to be ghost pipefish and other creatures. We were lucky as our guide Richard was great in spotting these and pointed them to us.
an unsuspecting scorpionfish
One of the strangest creatures I saw was this (I’m assuming) algae octopus that went bipedal and started walking away on the sandy seafloor with two tentacles acting like legs. It was both weird, wonderful, and slightly scary, like something you’d see in a B-grade sci-fi. Luckily it was no bigger than a tennis ball.
algae octopus going bipedal
As for diving condition, there is usually very little current underwater. Other than the sites involving pygmy seahorses (maybe on another photo set), dive sites are generally rather shallow, which meant relaxing dives.
the elusive ghost pipefish
The only little problem we had was that the temperature can get a little chilly (about 25-26 C), having thicker neoprene or extra hoods/gloves should solve this problem.
Now this is making me miss diving again. We have a trip scheduled this October, but lets see if there’s a way we sneak one in between.
nudibranch – Nembrotha kubaryana
After attending MIDE (Malaysian International Dive Expo) a few weeks prior and ended up spending quite a chunk of change on gears, Haze and I decided that a dive trip must follow. After all, the last trip was some 4 months ago at Lang Tengah.
After a bit of calling about different dive operators both in Tioman and Tenggol, we settled on diving with the operator at Tenggol Resort, the establishment situated on the far right of the beach if you are facing the island.
our resort is located at the far right of the beach
Due to schedule constraint, we only wanted a 2 day 1 night trip, and the package we got quoted was RM 580 per pax, which includes 4 guided boat dives. However, we also had to pay a RM 250 surcharge due to the fact that they had to use a 24-seat ferry to fetch just two of us from Dungun (other divers were all on the 3D2N option).
Fair enough I guess, hat made it a tad more expensive than normal for 4-dives, but we were pretty adamant on diving last weekend, so we went ahead with the arrangement anyway.
jelly fish, and note the inhabitants within it
Ferry was to depart at 8:30 am in the morning, we started our drive from PJ at around 3 in the morning and it took us about 4.5 hours including a sahur stop at highway R&R to cover some 400 km.
obligatory shot of a family of nemo
Dungun is actually the closest place to get to for any decent diving, unless you actually consider Lumut/Sembilan islands a valid diving option, which I don’t and hence hasn’t bothered to pen down the trip there earlier this year.
I just wish they didn’t delay the opening East Coast Highway to 2015 from the original 2011, that would cut half an hour off, hello JKR!
can you spot the tiny shrimp?
The room we had at Tenggol Resort had 2 single bed on each side of the smallish room, with no table or closet, and an attached bathroom with surprisingly good heated water (works from 7 pm till 8:30 am, as with electricity). Air conditioning didn’t really work well for us but temperature at night on the island is usually pretty comfortable anyway.
We didn’t have any problems with insects or bed bugs but a mat salleh in another room had his back bitten pretty bad. This is definitely not a 3-star or even 1-star type of place, but it will get you through the night if you’re not too fussy.
a pair of nudibranch, Hypselodoris bullocki, yes, coitus
As with any trip at Tenggol (and with most islands), all meals are provided. We were lucky as there was an actual professional chef working (part time) at the resort for that particular week, so we ended up having pretty awesome meal. Your mileage may vary.
a white nudi wandering around – Chromodoris coi
We did 3 boat dives on the day of arrival, and another morning dive on the next day. Our dive master Salleh was a very “chilling” type of guy, but perhaps one that is more suited for seasoned divers than beginners. Briefings were actually very brief, and the DM also didn’t dictate what we were doing underwater for the most part, we were also allowed to stay as long as we wanted instead of some who can’t wait to get out of water once it’s over 45 minutes.
My experience with the DM is a positive one.
Short dive logs, check this image for dive sites:
- Moon Wrecker – 11:26 am 21/6/2012. 43 minutes drift dive with plenty to see and pretty decent 15 meter visibility. Saw some huge jelly fish, and one being attacked/eaten by a Titan Trigger fish, a 5 foot long black tip shark swam by 15-20 meter away too, good stuff. Slightly challenging dive for Haze in the beginning but she cope well. DM led us with another 2 guys – Thomas & Trud (spelling?).
- Rajawali Reef – 2:54 pm 21/6/2012. Plenty of nudibranch in this dive, there were no current, nice and relaxing. Spotted stingrays too, 54 minute dive time.
- Tanjung Gemuk – 5:53 pm 21/6/2012. We spent another 55 minutes on the last dive of the day, nice calm evening water with more nudibranch, stingray, eel, and pipe fish. It was just Haze, myself, and the dive master in this dive.
- Tokong Timur – 8:41 am 22/6/2012. One of the better dive sites at Tenggol that is also a bit more challenging, Tokong Timur is a very small island with a light house atop. There was a bit of a mild current and slightly choppy surface water, saw one really big batfish, and as with anywhere Tenggol, more nudibranch, sea fan, and nemo. Not a bad way to end the trip.
Our maximum depths in all those dives were capped at around 20+ meters, and at one point we touched 27 meter I believe.
Haze’s imitation of a sky dive, or something
With this short Tenggol trip I’ve logged 28 dives in 4 diving trips this year. Diving can be an expensive hobby, I justify it with not having a car loan.
hello stingray, look who’s looming behind
My current set up for underwater photography is the Olympus E-PL3 with the in-house EP-PT05L housing. I have an ikelite plate for it and a single Sea & Sea YS-01 underwater strobe to light up the subject. All photos taken with Inon UWL 100 & Dome port.
My gears are almost complete, I just need to upgrade it to dual YS-01 (or trade this in for dual Inon z-240 and be RM 2-3k poorer), and add a stacked Inon UCL-165 lenses for macro to complete my gears. Perhaps some floats will help too, the equipment is getting heavy.
normal camwhore is so mainstream, this is underwater camwhore!
I think there’s another 1-2 trips to be done in this year, bring it on!
Pulau Lang Tengah is an island sandwiched between the more popular Redang and Perhentian islands, approximately 20+ km from Merang Jetty, which itself is roughly half an hour’s drive from Kuala Terengganu.
Our trip was organized and led by DM/Instructor/UW Photographer extraordinaire Edvin Eng, who was also the first DM Terence and I dived with back in 2004, a whopping 7 years ago.
and Derek is now a certified diver, by Edvin the man
Edvin is always one of my favorite dive leaders, the dude is a joker on ground, but serious and attentive underwater. He also has an eye in spotting weird and wonderful creatures underwater, which is good. However, the very same guy also always poison us in underwater photography equipments, which might or might not be a good thing.
the resort at Lang Tengah, with Derek and Terence camwhoring
The main purpose of the trip was actually to get Derek certified as a PADI Open Water diver, for those of you who are interested to get into this hobby, Edvin is as good as any instructor you can get, you can find him at oceanxplorer.com.my
disco colored anemone, true story
We left at around 1 am from KL on Thursday night and arrived at Kuala Terengganu in the morning just in time for a breakfast of roast duck noodle before hopping on the transfer boat at Merang jetty.
We did a shore dive right after lunch, at the same time Derek was getting his exams. The shore dive at Lang Tengah wasn’t anything to shout about, visibility was close to 10 meter, there were corals, giant clams, and the various fishes, including clown fish, of course.
some sort of anemone?
giant clam, good for 100 plates of char kueh teow
We went on a boat dive after tea time, and there were much more to see here. Plenty of coral banded shrimps, red shrimps, moray eel, scorpion fish, and more.
banded coral shrimp
red shrimp among the corals
a pretty small and shy moral eel hiding in its hole
can you spot the fish?
We were dead tired from previous night’s driving and the 2 dives, and everyone headed to bed and pretty much passed out before 10 pm.
For the last three dives on second day, I had the luxury of using the combination of INON UWL 100 and the DOME unit with my S90 (in Ikelite housing and lit by Sea & Sea YS-01).
Since there are already quite a few photos in this post, I’ll delay the second batch on the next post. By the way, Selamat Hari Raya to all my Muslim friends, and to everyone else, Happy Merdeka!