Kyspeaks.com

Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / joe

Before earlier this year at Sipadan and Mabul islands, my previous diving trip was Redang, way back in 2005. After the very first dive at Mabul island, I realized how much I actually missed diving and promised that I would do it perhaps 4 times this year.

I guess I over achieved, it is June and I’ve went on 4 diving trips already. This time at Redang island, it was a trip organized by Terence to con our buddy Horng in getting his PADI Open Water certification.

turtle at Redang
Terence chasing the green turtle

Together with Haze, Kim, Kerol, FA, Joe (went to Tenggol with), and dive instructor Edvin from OceanXplorer, we started our journey just after midnight from KL to Kuala Terengganu on Friday.

The drive took a little less than 7 hours, which proved to be a bit of a mistake in scheduling. As our boat does not leave till past 9 am, we ended up having to spend over 2 hours at Kuala Terengganu for breakfast. Should have left at perhaps 1:30am instead to optimize the journey and catch more sleep prior.

haze, FA, kim, kerol at Merang Jetty
Haze, Kerol, FA, and Kim. bottom rigth: 2 vagabonds found on the boat

In contrast with the departure point to Tenggol at Dungun where there were perhaps half a dozen people heading to the island, Merang Jetty was absolutely packed. There were tourists representing all continents, a cacophony of foreign languages and various local accents served as white noise while we board our relatively comfortable boat.

A little less than an hour later, we arrived at Redang.

KY & Haze, Joe with his cam, Horng and Edvin
KY & Haze, Joe, Horng getting his PADI certification by Edvin

While Tenggol was a hidden paradise, Redang felt more like a well oiled machine all prep up for tourists.

Boat load of people being herded to the resort registration counter like sheep by hounds, tractors hauling your luggage, loud PA system announcing snorkeling time, and huge dining area not entirely unlike school canteen.

Eagle Ray at Redang island
freaking lucky Horng, Eagle Ray on his first ever dive

Having said that, while I don’t particularly like the commercialization of the island, it does have advantages some can’t live without.

There’s projector with Astro showing world cup, convenient store, pub by the beach with dance floor and all sorts of alcohol, and even eateries offering pretty awesome Cantonese noodle and lor mai kai (glutinous rice with chicken).

Terence, Horng, KY, Joe geared up for diving
Terence, Horng, KY, Joe,  diving at Redang on 2nd day

I did 5 dives at Redang, the first was the shore dive in conjunction with Horng’s very first compressed air breathing experience in the ocean. We saw a magnificent spotted eagle ray!

nemo, cleaner fish
puffer fish, nemo’s cousin, and cleaner fish on my fins

The second dive we did was with the resort’s dive operator at the site just a couple minutes from the beach. The dive turned out to be pretty forgettable, not a whole lot to see and a tad too many divers at the same time. I did manage to get some cleaner fish to service my fins though 😀

Luckily quite a lot of people left the island on Sunday (our 2nd day). The lesser crowd was a blessing, and though not related, the diving was much better too.

blue fish, more nemo, moray eel
blue coral fish, moray eel, more nemo, blue spotted sting ray

Our second dive at Tanjung Tokong dive site had the best visibility I’ve ever experienced, we could see well over 30 meters. It was like diving in 1080p HD quality.

We ended up visiting a lot of nemo in our 5 dives. There were other usual suspects like moray eel, trigger fish, cleaner fish, shrimp, puffer, porcupine fish, green turtle, and blue spotted sting ray. There weren’t a lot of nudibranch though.

Unfortunately, there were also some signs of coral bleaching due to the warm ocean temperature, hopefully that will reverse itself in due time.

shrimp, ikan kembong, porcupine fish
another eel, ikan kembong?, cleaner shrimp, porcupine fish

While the diving weren’t superb, they were still pretty enjoyable. The excellent vis at Tg. Tokong was a savior, and of course the feeling of being in water with total freedom and almost total quietness was always something I love.

Kim and Kerol did a discovery dive with Ed and totally loved it, I think there’s probably more certified divers in #porkgang next year. As it stands, all the guys are certified divers, and none of the girls are. Lets change that soon guys!

Time to continue my second Tenggol dive trip post.  I intend to use this blog as sort of a dive log so just in case I lose the precious book, at least the information would be here. What a concept, right?

In case you missed the first post, it is here – Tenggol Island dive trip – redux

With the help of my latest toy – the Bamboo touch & pen, I now present you my very first awesomesauce drawing of Pulau Tenggol dive map, something I shamelessly copied from Tenggol Island Beach Resort website.

To avoid exercising plagiarism to the fullest, I added a little smiling clown fish to the dive map for that extra cheerful factor. Sweet isn’t it?

diving at pulau tenggol, nudibranch, blue spotted stingray
Nembrotha kubaryana (nudibranch), blue spotted sting ray

  • dive #3 – Amazing Grace
  • date/time – 27/03/2010 4:59pm
  • depth – 18.5 meter
  • duration – 46 mins
  • visibility – 10-20 meters
  • temperature – 29c

After the relatively deep dive two, we took the boat to Amazing Grace for our final dive for the day, a dive site located near the southern end of the neighboring island closest to Tenggol.

lion fish, seaweed, giant green turtle
seaweeds and giant Sea Turtle

Like other sites at Tenggol, there were more nudibranchs to be found. I spotted this very colorful nembrotha kubaryana crawling up on a coral, while it resembles land slugs more than other nudi, you’ll be hard pressed to find something of this color above ground.

There’s a mild current at this location and we did a very relaxing drift dive, a perfect end to the day. Spotted a giant turtle that turns out to be the only one we saw in the entire trip.

party at Tenggol
KY, Rich, San San, Joe, Terence, Jonathan with ze Whisky

After dinner, the six of us spent quite a few hours talking quite a lot of crap with the aid of a bottle of whisky so thoughtfully brought to the island by Jonathan (Joe brought another bottle for the next night too).

With no TV, restaurant, or let a lone a pub, it is imperative to BYOB to this island.

Tokong Laut dive site, Pulau Tenggol
swimming under boulder at Tokong Laut, bat fish

  • dive #4 – Tokong Laut
  • date/time – 28/03/2010 9:31 am
  • depth – 34.2 meter
  • duration – 43 mins
  • visibility – 15-20 meters
  • temperature – 29c

Tokong Laut is one of the more challenging dive sites at Tenggol. With swift current at entrance, you have to descent pretty quickly to avoid getting swept away by the moving water.

It is also the very same dive site we had to abandon almost 6 years ago when Terence did exactly that, swept away by current.

soft coral, nudibranch
anemone, Pteraeolidia ianthina (purple nudi) chromodoris coi (white nudi)

We did concure Tokong Laut this time around, and boy it was some rewarding experience! There were plenty of big size bat fish all over, and we particularly enjoyed those “swim throughs”. When Charlie the dive lead talked about swim throughs on land, I thought it was about finning through uninteresting places, little did I know that we got to swim through openings beneath huge boulders. The experience was exhilarating, almost but not entirely unlike cave dives.

Of course, there were more nudis at this site too.

awesome lunch at Tenggol Beach Resort
exceedingly good lunch!

I must give two thumbs up for the food at Tenggol Beach Resort, all our meals were really good. The collage above was from one of our lunch/dinner session. WIth fish, prawns, chicken, and vegetable to go with rice, it was out of our expectations. My previous dive trips usually accompanied by lousy foods.

Lost World, Pulau Tenggol, giant sea fan
can you spot the tiny white shrimps on the top right pic?

  • dive #5 – Lost World
  • date/time – 28/03/10 12:03 pm
  • depth – 31.3 meter
  • duration – 45 mins
  • visibility – 15-20 meters
  • temperature – 29c

Lost World, Pulau Tenggol, giant sea fan
KY, Rich, and San San. Hypselodoris apolegma (purple nudi)

Dive #5 was another pretty deep dive at Lost World, which isn’t on the map above (can’t exactly remember where it is located). We spotted some tiny white shrimps, more nudi, as well as angel fish, among others. The feature of this site though, must be the sea fans. They were plenty of white sea fans making up the very beautiful seascape.

BBQ lunch on the beach
BBQ by PDRM Terengganu

After the 2nd dive, we were treated by the local PDRM who happened to be at Tenggol for an excellent BBQ lunch. The grilled cuttle fish with kunyit and BBQ ikan kembung were excellent! So were the curry and they even had rice too, it was amazing. Who said cops aren’t friendly?

There were 3 more dives at Tenggol that I shall post soon, and hopefully with some videos too.

Pulau Tenggol was where it all got started back in 2004, I got my PADI Open Water & Advance Open Water diving license together with Terence and Saint.

When my colleague Richard (he was at xmas eve party 2009) told me about this diving trip, the memory from 6 years back found it’s way from my secondary storage and told me I had to go back there, and Terence agreed too. This despite having just came back from Sipadan less than 2 months ago.

Dungun, on the way to Tenggol island
breakfast at some Malay restaurant at Dungun

Together with Richard, San San, Jonathan, Joe, and Terence, we packed our gears and drove up to Dungun last Friday. Spent a night at some cheap hotel, and headed to the Jetty after the excellent breakfast with nasi minyak, roti canai, and nasi lemak at some Malay restaurant by a junction (there aren’t many junctions at Dungun).


Tenggol Island Resort, precisely where we were back in 2004!

Some 45 minutes on pretty choppy water later, we arrived at Tenggol island, and as fate had it, we checked into precisely where we did some 6 years back.

The island still looked exactly like it did when we first got here. It was still relatively untouched, with virgin jungle embracing the sandy bay that has 4 very small resorts housing not more than a few dozen divers at any one time. It is nice to see that the place doesn’t turn to another over commercialized island.

Charlie Lee, the dive master/instructor
this is Charlie, our resort operator & dive leader

We got our room keys, unpacked, and immediately suit up for the first dive. Our resort operator and dive leader, Charlie Lee, and I share a similar talent in drawing. While I draw maps to food, he excel in underwater topography, and drew maps of every dive sites before we visit them.

The maps come with depth, underwater geological features, path, and so on. Very impressive!

diving at tenggol, turtle point
Ahh, being underwater, I miss it already

Our first dive was at Turtle Point, located at the Southern end of the bay, it is protected from the sometimes vicious current at Tenggol. With a maximum depth of 18 meter, the site is usually chosen for check-out dives.

My log book told me that it is also the place where I had my very first dive, though at that time we only went to the relatively safe depth of 9 meter.

Joe and Terence diving, mini barracudas
Joe busy working, baby barracudas, Terence, blue coral fish

  • dive #1: Turtle Point
  • date/time: 27/3/2010 11:26 am
  • depth: 17.6 meter
  • duration: 43 mins
  • visibility: 10-20 meters
  • temp: 29c

Four out of six of us brought cameras with casing fit for underwater usage, which makes for plenty of photos. You can check out the photos I took at this FB album

sea cucumber, tang fish, crown of thorns star fish
giant sea cucumber, tang fish, evil crown of thorns star fish

It was nice to get underwater again, Turtle Point was very stress free. We saw a school of baby barracudas, and unlike their grown up counter parts, they looked so cute when they’re at only 1-2 feet in size.

Sea cucumber, tang fish, and various other coral dwelling fishes were spotted too. There’s also the crown of thorns star fish that actually eats coral.

Phyllidia varicosa, dive computer, moray eel
Phyllidia varicosa (scrambled egg nudi), Suunto D6, moray eel

We went on shore and had a very good lunch of curry chicken, vegetable, and rice. Usually lousy food is expected at dive resorts, but the meals we had with Charlie were all rather good, way beyond expectation.

Shortly after that it was our second dive of the day. We were pumped!

  • dive #2: Tangjung Gemuk
  • date/time: 27/3/2010 2:20 pm
  • depth: 26.9 meter
  • duration: 44 mins
  • visibility: 10-15 meters
  • temp: 29c

nemo and friends, puffer fish
Nemo and cousins, skinny puffer fish

Tanjung Gemuk is located a bit further away and had a bit of current going on. We took advantage of the current and did a very enjoyable and relaxing drift dive for the most part. Spotted puffer fish, two different types of clown fish, the “scrambled egg” nudi branch (sea slug), and more.

We probably covered 4-500 meters in 44 minutes. It was another excellent dive on just the first day.

There are 6 more dives on this trip, and I shall continue on the coming posts. For now, time to sleep!