Labas, Tioman – Malaysia

Dive Site:  Labas

Dive Location:  Tioman, East Coast Malaysia

Dive Season:  April through to October

Date Dived:  28 May 2013

Dive Centre:  Divers Cove, Paya Beach Resort

Description of Dive Site:  This site was located off a small island off the west coast of Tioman. As with Chebah the boat journey was fairly long, taking approximately 40 minutes to reach paya beach after our dive. This was a very interesting dive, due to the large number of swim-throughs you can navigate. We went through a number of rock canyons, under some overhangs and through short tunnels. None of these was very long or dangerous and there was adequate space. The reef life at this site was good but does not vary hugely from the sites off Coral island. The main reason to visit is largely the swim-throughs. The visibility when we dived was not excellent, at between 5 to 10 metres, and so a torch is useful in some to help in exploring. The maximum depth we reached was 17 metres. There was a current during our dive, but it was fairly mild. Water temperature was 29’C.

Some of the aquatic life spotted at Labas includes:

  • Colourful Reef Fish
  • Star Fish
  • School of juvenile barracuda
  • Sea fans

Review of Dive Site:  This is a dive site where you can do something a little different, so it is a good option if you are getting bored with the standard Tioman sites. This site is not suitable for beginners or divers who may get nervous as there are short instances where there is no direct surface access. However if you do go along and you are not comfortable going through any of the tunnels they are only short, so you can easily swim over the top of the rocks.

Review of Dive Centre:  For review of this dive centre please see the previous review of the Chebah dive site.

Digital Camera

Chebah, Tioman – Malaysia

Dive Site:  Chebah, off Pulau Tulai (Coral island)

Dive Location:  Tioman, East Coast Malaysia

Dive Season:  April through to October

Date Dived:  28 May 2013

Dive Centre:  Divers Cove, Paya Beach Resort

Description of Dive Site:  Chebah dive site is located off a small island to the north of coral island, north-west of Tioman. It took approximately an hour to reach the site by boat, so it is quite far and a trip best only attempted in calm seas. This site is made up of numerous large underwater rocky formations covered in small hard and soft corals, as well as some attractive sea fans. The soft corals are very colourful, purples and pinks, and this makes a nice change to the dive sites closer to the coast of Tioman, where very few soft corals are found. The maximum depth we reached was 17 metres. There was not much current when we dived here and the water temperature was nice and warm at 30’C.

Some of the aquatic life spotted at Chebah includes:

  • Many Nudibranch
  • Pufferfish
  • Triggerfish
  • Batfish
  • Damselfish
  • Anemone fish

Review of Dive Site:  This was a nice dive site. There was a good variety of coral, small nudibranch and colourful reef fish. In fact I saw at least 5 very different varieties of nudibranch during this dive (some photos below). The depth and calm waters also meant it was an easy dive with little exertion, so it would be suitable for beginner divers. Worth the boat ride 🙂

Review of Dive Centre:  We approached this dive centre last minute as we wanted to dive the day we arrived and we hadn’t planned anything in advance. Barbara was very helpful and booked us in with no problem.  She was friendly and was happy to advise us of tide times and suggested routes for the night and shore dives me and my husband were doing on our own. For the boat dives we were taken to some of the farther dive sites, which is nice as I had not visited them before. The boat was an old fisherman’s boat and was quite slow, but it seems that all the dive boats on Tioman are similar to this. The dive groups were small, which is always good, with no more than 5 in one group when we were there. Some people have told me they found some of the staff a little dismissive, and I have also experienced this in the past, but I think you just need to make sure you approach the instructors, as some of the staff aren’t so confident with english and may not know all the schedule. We were lucky we got to speak to Barbara, as she was excellent and very welcoming.

Nudibranch

Nudibranch
Some of the various nudibranch spotted at Chebah

Soft Corals
Some of the many colourful soft corals at this site

Pulau Lima, Redang – Malaysia

Dive Site:  Pulau Lima

Dive Location:  Redang, Terrenganu, East Coast Malaysia

Dive Season:  March through to September

Date Dived:  28 April 2013

Dive Centre:  Seamonkey Dive Centre

Description of Dive Site:  This is a deep dive site, located around the Pulau Lima, just offshore of Redang. There are a number of mound shaped reefs and submerged rocky outcrops covered in coral at approximately 20 – 31 metres deep. This was a good site to spot macro life, and there was a nice variety of nudibranch dotted around the rocks and corals. The visibility was incredible for such a deep dive, with the light filtering all the way down to 30 metres. Visibility was easily 15 – 20 metres, although I believe we were lucky and it is not always so clear. Water was warm at 30’C. In the deep water the currents were mild but there was a fairly strong surface current while we were doing our 5 metre safety stop.

Notable aquatic life spotted at Pulau Lima includes:

  • Giant Grouper
  • Variety of Nudibranches
  • Lionfish
  • Schooling Yellow Snapper

Review of Dive Site:  This was a good deep dive site and had plenty to look at, as well as multilevel coral and rock formations, so it is easy to gradually work up from 30 to 20 metres to extend dive time. Due to the depth of the site this is only recommended to advanced level divers, and not for beginners.

Review of Dive Centre:  See review of Mutiara House Reef for a review of this dive centre.

Stinger Reef, Redang – Malaysia

Dive Site:  Stinger Reef

Dive Location:  Redang, Terrenganu, East Coast Malaysia

Dive Season:  March through to September

Date Dived:  27 April 2013

Dive Centre:  Seamonkey Dive Centre

Description of Dive Site:  This site consists of one main reef and a number of outer reefs located around the edges, sitting on a sandy bottom. The reef is a cleaning station and hence there is a lot of life in the area. There are many shrimp and a lot of macro life, as well as groups of schooling fish. The depth of the site reaches a maximum of approximately 18 metres. The water temperature was 31’C and currents were minimal. Visibility was great at approximately 15 – 20 metres.

Notable aquatic life spotted at Stinger Reef includes:

  • School of large Puffer Fish
  • Banded Boxer Shrimp
  • Moray Eels
  • Crabs
  • Sponges
  • Porcupine Fish
  • Giant Stonefish
  • Dragonet
  • Crocodile Fish
  • Razor Fish

Review of Dive Site:  This was an excellent dive site. The variety of life at this site was incredible and there was so much to see. So gutted I didn’t have my camera! A definite site to visit for divers to Redang.

Review of Dive Centre:  See review of Mutiara House Reef for review of this dive centre.

Mak Cantik, Redang – Malaysia

Dive Site:  Mak Cantik

Dive Location:  Redang, Terrenganu, East Coast Malaysia

Dive Season:  March through to September

Date Dived:  28 April 2013

Dive Centre:  Seamonkey Dive Centre

Description of Dive Site:  This dive site was a large, submerged mound shaped reef, which slopes down to a sandy bottom. There were many different corals at this site, including barrel corals, mushroom corals, petal corals and sea fans. The maximum depth of the reef at the sandy bottom area is approximately 19 metres. There can be a strong current in certain areas of the site, dependant of the tide and the side of the mound which you are diving on. The visibility on this dive was incredible, at 20 plus metres, however this was exceptional, and it can often be less than this dependant on the weather. Water temperature was 31’C.

Notable aquatic life spotted at Mak Cantik includes:

  • Schooling Barracuda
  • Giant Ray
  • Blue Spotted Ray
  • Yellow Snapper
  • Sea Fans
  • Giant Grouper

Review of Dive Site:  This is an excellent dive site. There was a good variety of life and many reef fish on the reef. The site is easy to navigate, as there is a line and you can spend the dive circling the reef. Due to the depth and the potential for currents it is probably not so suitable for beginners.

Review of Dive Centre:  See post on Mutiara house reef for a review of this dive centre.

Blue Spotted Ray
Blue Spotted Ray

Sea Fan
Sea Fan

Mutiara House Reef, Redang – Malaysia

Dive Site:  Mutiara House Reef

Dive Location:  Redang, Terrenganu, East Coast Malaysia

Dive Season:  March to September

Date Dived:  27 April 2013

Dive Centre:  Seamonkey Dive Centre

Description of Dive Site:  This site is accessed as a shore dive from the Mutiara beach. If you head towards the opposite end of the beach to the jetty you should be able to see an empty flagpole about 75 metres out in the ocean. This marks the artificial reef which is great to explore. Also, from here, you can make you way over to the coral reef afterwards. The site has a sandy bottom and the artificial reef consists of a number of small structures over which coral has formed. The coral reef area has mainly boulders, mushroom corals and flat petal shaped coral. This is a very shallow site, as it is close to shore, and the maximum depth over by the coral reef is approximately 8 metres. Visibility was good, at approximately 15 metres. Water temperature was 31’C. Currents were very mild, but you need to be careful not to pass the headland, as then you will be out of the protected bay area, and currents can pick up.

Notable aquatic life spotted at the Mutiara house reef includes:

  • Batfish
  • Ray
  • Puffer Fish
  • Pipefish
  • Baby Black Tip Reef Shark
  • Crabs

Review of Dive Site:  This is a nice easy orientation dive to get used to Redang waters and is great for beginners. This is also a good site for a night dive as it is fairly easy to navigate and is shallow. There are a number of crabs hiding in the rocks and coral of the reef and if you are lucky you may spot a ray or small reef shark.

Review of Dive Centre:  Seamonkey Dive Centre is based on the same beach as the Mutiara Resort, and is a branch of the PJ, KL dive school. The operation on Redang is small but well run and the staff there know their stuff. They are very knowledgeable in terms of when to dive which sites and the aquatic life in the area. They teach courses as well as do leisure dives. The dive boat is one of the best I have been on, especially as the dive sites are all fairly short distances away. It is fully covered and has an upper and lower deck, as well as a lounge area. As a bonus, the beach they are located on is stunning, so surface intervals are very enjoyable.

Seamonkey Dive Boat
Seamonkey Dive Boat

The Rock, Taman Tunku Abdul Rahman – Malaysia

Dive Site:  The Rock

Dive Location:  Taman Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysian Borneo

Dive Season:  All year round, although January and February are the worst times for visibility

Date Dived:  15 February 2013

Dive Centre:  Dive Down Below

Description of Dive Site:  This site is situated close to Mamutik island and not far from the Pyramid dive site. There is a steep sloping reef which meets a sandy bottom area at approximately 10 metres. A large portion of the steep reef is covered in unusual petal shaped hard corals.   We also saw quite a number of large blue and yellow box fish at this site, colours that I had not previously seen on box fish.There was very little current at this site, however when we dived it was windy, so the sea was very choppy on the surface. The water temperature is 26’C.

Notable aquatic life spotted at The Rock includes:

  • Lion Fish
  • Marble Ray
  • Box Fish
  • Petal Corals

Review of Dive Site: Another site suitable for beginner divers, due to the shallow maximum depth. This spot is a bit different as the reef is steeper than most and the petal shaped corals make an unusual sight, like a large rock flower bed.

Review of Dive Centre:  See review of North Sulug for a review of this dive centre.

Box fish, The Rock

Boxfish

Manukan Out-Reef, Taman Tunku Abdul Rahman – Malaysia

Dive Site:  Manukan Out-Reef

Dive Location:  Taman Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysian Borneo

Dive Season:  All year round, although January and February are the worst times for visibility

Date Dived:  15 February 2013

Dive Centre:  Dive Down Below

Description of Dive Site:  This site is located off the shore of Manukan Island, and consists mainly of a sandy bottom area. This was another shallow site, with our maximum depth at approximately 12 metres. There were lots of hidden creatures at this location, such as stonefish, which are good to look out for. The visibility was good, at about 10 to 15 metres. Current was minimal but there was some surge near the surface. Water temperature was warmer here, at 27’C.

Notable aquatic life spotted at Manukan Out-Reef includes:

  • Stonefish
  • Fusilier
  • Nudibranch
  • Lion Fish

Review of Dive Site:  This is another dive site that is suitable for beginner diver levels, due to the shallow depth and sandy bottom composition. Nice and easy dive.

Review of Dive Centre:  See review of North Sulug for a review of this dive centre

Stonefish, Manukan Outreef
Camouflaged Stonefish

Nudibranch, Manukan Outreef
Nudibranch

Gobie, Manukan Outreef

Gobie by the entrance to his hole

North Manukan, Taman Tunku Abdul Rahman – Malaysia

Dive Site:  North Manukan

Dive Location:  Taman Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysian Borneo

Dive Season:  All year round, although January and February are the worst times for visibility

Date Dived:  15th February 2013

Dive Centre:  Dive Down Below

Description of Dive Site:  This dive site is located to the North of Manukan Island. The reef is situated close to the island, sloping down to a sandy bottom area. There aren’t many corals here, mainly rocky formations, however there is still plenty of aquatic life around. The site is shallow, with a maximum depth of approximately 14 metres. The visibility at this site was good, at approximately 5 to 10 metres and there was not much current. However, there was some surge in the shallower sections of the reef. The water temperature was chilly at 25’C.

Notable aquatic life spotted at North Manukan includes:

  • Moray Eel
  • Blue Spotted ray
  • Angel Fish
  • Anemone Fish
  • Parrot Fish
  • Christmas Tree shaped corals

Review of Dive site:  This was an average dive site for the TAR Marine Park. However I really liked it as I found the Christmas Tree shaped corals really interesting (see photo). I had never seen soft corals like these before – they would sink back into the rocks on approach to hide so you had to wait very still for them to come back out again. They really did look like miniature fir trees! This is a nice easy, shallow dive and so is suitable for all diver levels.

Review of Dive Centre:  Please see review of North Sulug for a review of this dive centre.

Christmas Tree Corals, North Manukan
Christmas Tree Corals

Mangrove Corner, Taman Tunku Abdul Rahman – Malaysia

Dive Site:  Mangrove Corner

Dive Location:  Taman Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysian Borneo

Dive Season:  All year round, although January and February are the worst times for visibility

Date Dived:  14 February 2013

Dive Centre:  Dive Down Below

Description of Dive Site:  This was an interesting dive site located off the coast of Gaya Island, close to the Dive Down Below centre. We descended over the sandy bottom and kept the reef to our left. On this dive you can pass under the ‘Floating House’, which is a floating platform used for snorkellers and other visitors. No-one was in the house when we went underneath but if there are people inside you can wave through the underwater windows 🙂 I saw a huge catfish underneath some rocks at this site, not far from the floating house. This was a shallow site, which is suited to being the last dive of the day, and we only reached a maximum of 10 metres. The water temperature was just below 27’C and there was no current noted.

Notable aquatic life spotted at Mangrove Corner includes:

  • Anemone FIsh
  • Giant Catfish
  • Variety of Nudibranch
  • Yellow Spotted Box Fish

Review of Dive Site:  I really enjoyed this site as it was a bit different to those others we had visited before at TAR Marine Park. This is due to the floating house, which adds another aspect to the dive. Also, I liked the unusual underwater tree structures and there were a lot of different nudibranch spotted, such as a bright red stripy worm-like one. The dive was very easy, with no current and a shallow bottom, hence this is a suitable site for beginners so long as they are careful near the floating house. An alternative for beginners is to circle around the house, so that the route to the surface is never obstructed.

Review of Dive Centre:  See review of North Sulug dive site for a review of this dive centre

Underwater tree, Mangrove

A cool looking underwater tree at Mangrove Corner

Stripped Reef Fish, Mangrove

Striped reef fish at Mangrove Corner