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!