Some Malaysian Dives Sites Temporarily Closed

July 22, 2010

This just in: Malaysia has closed several popular dive sites around Redang and Tioman islands. The reefs of the closed sites are suffering from coral bleaching, caused by global warming. It’s hoped that by keeping divers and snorkelers away from the reefs, they will recover faster.

The closure is in effect until October, which is basically the end of the season for the east coast islands.

The out Malaysia’s The Star newspaper for full story.

Filed under: News — Michael @ 7:11 pm

New Tioman Dive Guide

April 18, 2009

My trip to Tioman has already borne fruit. The Tioman dive guide is now ready. The guide covers the six major dive areas around Tioman, along with useful information about how to get there, where to stay, etc.

Next up: Komodo!

Filed under: Site Updates — Michael @ 9:14 pm

Tioman Diving

April 13, 2009

I’ve just finished my last dive here on Tioman Island in Malaysia. Nine fantastic dives in three days, and apparently I’ve only seen about half of the prime dive sites. Why aren’t more people raving about this place?

Admittedly I’m still a “newbie” diver, but to me this place easily matches or betters Koh Tao, and comes very close to the Similans for the quality and number of dive sites. But you be the judge. Here’s a brief overview of my dives and what I saw. The site will be updated with detailed dive site descriptions shortly.

A clownfish peeps out from its anemone.

Firstly, I had to resist calling this post “Finding Nemo” or “Nemo Found” because the first thing that struck me was the number and variety of anemone fish to be seen here. They’re everywhere, in every stripe and color, and some can be coaxed out of the anemone – by our clever dive master, at least.

Almost all of the dive sites around Tioman are within about a 30 minute boat ride of the west coast resorts, so the typical regime is to go out for two dives in the morning, around 9:00 am, come back for a late lunch, then go out again for two dives in the afternoon. You’re of course free to skip one session or the other, and depending on which two dive sites are scheduled, you may even be able to join one dive and not the other, if the boat is passing it’s pier on the way from the first dive to the second.

A large sea turtle ‘beds down’ in some staghorn coral at Renggis

The variety of corals here also seems to be much wider than I’ve seen before, including many varieties I’ve never seen and will have to look up when I get home. The fish numbers aren’t quite what I’ve seen in other dives, but the variety is very broad. Just about everybody’s favorite dive site is Renggis, a boulder islet just 100 meters or so offshore from Tioman. I dived it twice during my stay, since just about everyone else I was diving with wanted to go back and see it again. On the first dive here, I saw a sea snake, white-tipped sharks, many turtles, a moray eel, the biggest box pufferfish I’ve ever seen, and much more. On the second dive, we spotted a very large cuttlefish, more sharks, morays, giant triggerfish, and more again.

There are also a few wreck dives around the island. We did the Sawasdee wreck this morning, which is an interesting dive. It’s deep, at almost 30 meters, so compared to the other generally shallow dive sites, I enjoyed it more for the challenge than the scenery.

Some sites have occasionally strong currents, but with the small boats, most of them can be done as drift dives. I particularly enjoyed a site called Soryak for this.

As for Tioman itself, it is not a very developed place. It is part of a marine park, and the Malaysians seem to take this a bit more seriously than Thais do. The level of development is probably comparable to Koh Tao in Thailand, although Tioman is bigger and has an airport. Also, Tioman is not as dive-centered as Koh Tao. There are a lot of dive shops on the island, but there are a lot of people (probably more than half) who don’t come here for diving. There are a couple of high-end resorts, but most of the accommodations are fairly basic bungalows. I’m staying at Panuba Inn, which sits in its own small bay with its own house reef, and I’m diving with Bali Hai divers, which is based at the Panuba Inn.

Filed under: Dive Log — Michael @ 7:21 pm