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Tag / tenggol

Nudibranch is a type of shell-less mollusk (octopus is a mollusk too!) that dots the ocean, typically hanging at the rock wall, coral, or bottom of the sea. Also known as sea slugs, these creatures are pretty tiny, typically not larger than your pinky.

Nudis come in a huge variety of shapes and colors, but they usually have a recognizable head with a pair of antennas, and an naked gill like organ at the rear that looks almost like a flower. The colors act as a deterrence and/or camouflage, some nudis can somehow “move” venoms from their prey to the outer part of their body to make themselves toxic to their potential predators. Fascinating stuff.

Tenggol island was partly made famous by the abundance of nudibranchs, and in my last trip (31st April to 2nd May) and over 8 dives, I’ve spotted at least 11 different types of nudis at dive sites around the main and surrounding islands.

The photos below are taken with my Canon S90, either with the miserable built in flash that’s half blocked by the underwater housing, or with natural light. Color temperatures are corrected, as with a bit of contrast adjustments.

I am dreaming a set of underwater strobes, but those toys are pricey….

Phyllidia varicosa (scrambled egg nudibrach)
Phyllidia varicosa

Also referred to as the scrambled egg nudi, this one’s pretty big in size, almost 3-4 inches in length. I don’t know who came up with the name, but if you serve my scrambled egg in this color, I’m probably gonna reject it.

Flabellina exoptata
Flabellina exoptata

From the puplish base, white tips and the blue rings, this looks like a flabellina exoptata but I could be wrong.

a black nembrotha something?
black nembrotha something?

It took me better part of an hour to find out the name for this nudi, no luck. Anyone know?

Atagema intecta
Atagema intecta

Again, atagema intecta might not be the correct species name for this black nudi with tiny brown spots all over. With 3000 or so species of nudibranchs it’s quite a drag to find the correct name sometimes.

Chromodoris coi
Chromodoris coi

The white and grey nudi with black outline’s just lovely.

Phyllidia coelestis
Phyllidia coelestis

The first time I spotted this lovely blue and black nudi with yellow spikes and tentacles.

Chromodoris magnifica
Chromodoris magnifica

This one’s also called the stripped pajama nudi, not hard to see why. But does anyone seriously still have pajamas of this yellow, white, and black color scheme?

1. Phyllidia pustulosa 2. Nembrotha kubaryana 3. Pteraeolidia ianthina 4. Hypselodoris bullocki
1. Phyllidia pustulosa 2. Nembrotha kubaryana
3. Pteraeolidia ianthina 4. Hypselodoris bullocki

These few are the more common ones around Tenggol, with Pteraeolidia especially plentiful. In the last dive I could spot at least a dozen of them within 10 meters in diameter.

Mine’s at the pristine beach on Tenggol island. 6 dives yesterday and today, now waiting for sunset, dinner, and a night dive.


sand, sea, bliss!

Still no whale sharks, but we have at least another dive tomorrow before heading back to civilization.

How’s your weekends?

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.

diving at pulau tenggol
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.

nudi branch: sea slugs
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.

starfish, coral, clown fish
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.

I’ll see you in a couple weeks, Tenggol!

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!