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.
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, 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, 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.
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, 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!
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 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.
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!
Just got back from a 3 day 2 night trip from Redang last night. It was my 4th diving trip for the year and my first time to Redang since September 2005. Original cast from the previous trip – Terence, Kerol, and Kim were on this trip, but we’ve also added FA, Haze, Joe (who went to Tenggol with us), and of course, Horng who got himself certified with PADI Open Water.
It looks like we’ll be going on more island trips soon, Kerol and Kim both did discovery diving and loved it, and the gang now already has 4 certified divers.
Will blog more about Redang very soon, about the place, the crowd, the food, diving, and more. But in the mean time, here’s a lovely picture of nemo and friends that I shot on the 4th dive of the trip with superb visibility.
nemo and friends at Redang Island
Sipadan, Tenggol twice, now Redang, where’s next! I’m already missing it.
My recent diving trip to Tenggol island marked the 3rd time I attempted underwater photography. This post is more on some of the better photos I took with the limited equipments I currently operate while breathing compressed air – Canon S90 with Ikelite Underwater casing.
Paradise with beach, crystal clear water, and sun, right here in Malaysia
Looking through the photos make me want to have underwater strobes and a couple Inon wet lenses so much. It’s a wish that can be answered by a few dozens RM 100 bills I can’t really afford to part with at this moment.
There’s always a delicate balance on splitting the limited amount of dough between gears and diving itself. Oh well, soon, soon…
Anyway, here are some of the better photos that serves a good summary from the 3 day trip.
nemo in anemone
Nemo, the artist formally known as clown fish, is quite abundant at coral reefs around Tenggol.
In one instance, Haze was talking to our dive master Charlie and used the word “nemo” before correcting herself and address it as “clown fish”. Charlie had to tell her that nobody uses clown fish anymore, not even the .. ahem.. older generations. Pixar is really that influential.
blue spotted stingray
Ikan bakar never looked so pretty. I found this blue spotted stingray (the colors are gone when you .. bakar them :S) hidden under some corals, these bottom dwellers usually like to hide under boulders, which makes this quite an opportunistic capture. I like how the blue spots turned out.
Haze, KY, Dave, and Rich
First pic was when we just arrived, the second on one of our normal boat dives with me and my full set of gears, and the last one just before the night dive on second day.
By the way I think that was the only pair of jeans on the whole island.
this crab is probably quite yummy on dinner plate
A lot of crustaceans come out to play and prey at night, Rich spotted this fancy crab amongst the rock and I was able to snap a pretty decent photo with the built in flash. I so wanted to have this on the dinner table, but alas, Tenggol is a marine park.
spiny lobster, even more yums!
Also known as rock lobster, this decapod would probably taste even better than the crab mentioned above! This thing was huge, at least 2 feet in length. But then looking through sea water amplifies your vision by around 30%.. emm..
the 5 sisters of Tenggol
This is one of the five sisters of Tenggol. They are five Vietnamese ship wrecks laying at the bottom peacefully at over 30 meters depth, there’s another wreck on slightly shallower water in the middle of the lagoon too.
We went to the wrecks every morning for 3 days straight. The slightly murky water, low light condition, and the quietness of being underwater gives this site a pretty ghastly feel. One can only imagine what went through the refugees’ minds from the moment the board the boat with all their belongings to feel the war torn country to the point when they reached Tenggol and had to sink their boat to make sure they weren’t gonna be towed out and left alone drifting in open sea.
A wide angle converter would do me good at this site.
look ma, a green turtle!
This was the only green turtle spotted over 8 dives. A shy little one about 2 feet in length.
Turtles aren’t very common in this part of the world anymore, this probably has something to do with the fact that they’re still selling turtle eggs at Kota Bharu and Kuala Terengganu, with the authority turning a blind eye on the grotesque abuse on animal conservation effort in this country. It’s just sad.
Giant barracuda, smile!
Schools of juvenile barracudas are pretty common at Tenggol, but the big ones less so. This was one of the two giant barracudas we spotted during the last dive. They’re some 3 feet across and can look downright scary, this photo doesn’t do justice to the awesomeness of this fish though.
look at the stars, look how they shine for you
Other than going underwater and enjoying the beach, the other thing that I absolutely love about being on an island is the stars. They are absolutely brilliant at night, thousands and thousands of stars when the sky is clear.
We were just chilling on the beach, under the star, and sipping some whisky at night. It was awesome, I want to be back there now!
This is the last of 3 part series on my diving trip at Tenggol that happened from 27-29 March, 2010. Click on part 1 and part 2 (with dive site map) for previous entries.
Above is a short video from dives I did at Tenggol, editing it made me miss diving lots, but it’s all good since I’m already planning another trip to Tenggol over the labor day weekends. This time I’m going to have my own set of equipments too, yes, diving is now a serious hobby for me.
Work hard, play hard.
wreck diving at Palau Tenggol, Terengganu
dive #6 – House Wreck, Tenggol
date/time – 28/03/10 2:48 pm
depth – 25.0 meter
duration – 33 mins
visibility – 10-15 meters
temperature – 30c
This was the second time I visited the house wreck that is located within the protected bay where the resorts sit, the last time was on the 30th July, 2004. It was a relatively easy dive albiet the relatively murky condition. Terence took his time to snap pictures during descent and somehow managed to get lost and had to surface alone and missed the fun completely, poor thing.
nudibranch – sea slugs if you can’t be bothered
dive #7 – Pasir Tenggara, Tenggol
date/time – 28/03/10 6:05 pm
depth – 14.9 meter
duration – 53 mins
visibility – 15-20 meters
temperature – 29c
For the 4th dive of the same day, we chose to go shallow for a more relaxing dive at Pasir Tenggara. Saw more nudibranchs, starfish, and managed to take a couple more videos of clown fish too. It started drizzling as we surface, but luckily water wasn’t all too choppy.
star fish, table coral, and them nemo!
dive #8 – the 5 sisters, Tenggol
date/time – 29/03/10 8:22 am
depth – 35.8 meter
duration – 51 mins
visibility – 15-20 meters
temperature – 29c
For the last dive of the trip, we went to the famous 5 sisters dive site. Here lies 5 Vietnamese regufee ship wrecks at over 30 meters underwater. Looking at these relics made me wonder how the refugees must have felt when they arrived at this small island and had to sink their ships just so they can’t be towed out to international water and left for dead.
We stayed at depth for only about 15 minutes before proceeding to shallower water to avoid decompression time. Visited some artificial coral reefs too.
Due to my failure in checking the underwater camera casing’s seal properly, a couple drops of moisture went in, but thank god it wasn’t a full flooding. Gotta be more careful next time.