Diving Perhentian. Diving off the Perhentian islands are good with about 20 dive sites within the surrounding archipelago accessible by small boat. The reefs are beautiful and rich in marine life.
The Perhentian Islands lie approximately 20 km off the coast of North East Malaysia only 65km south of the border with Thailand. The two main islands are the big island, Pulau Perhentian Besar and Pulau Perhentian Kecil, the Small Perhentian Island. Kecil attracts more travellers as it has cheaper accommodation, while Besar has more expensive resorts. Kecil is the party, backpacker’s island. This was my second visit to the smaller Perhentian island.
We camped on the island for 5 days diving four different sites and snorkeling for a couple of hours.
For more information on the island, accommodation, beaches and food CLICK HERE
Visibility: it is said to vary between 8m-20m, we experienced 4m – 15m, visibility varied between sites, it was better in the mornings than afternoons.
Water temp: 30oC (Mares Smart Dive Computer)
Beautiful, healthy reef with a huge variety of coral. There is a massive diversity of reef fish, some pelagic fish and small sharks. A variety of the more common macro life can also be found.
Most of the marine life is similar to that found on many healthy reefs all over South East Asia. Diving is nice, but not so special that it is worth spending a lot of money for experienced divers to travel here especially for diving.
T3 (Terumbu Tiga)
Big rocks, some small swim throughs. Patchy reef Barrel sponges, Gorgonian sea fans, solid table coral. Giant clams. Many small reef fish, nothing bigger than titan trigger fish. Apparently Barracudas and bigger pelagics are commonly found here, we did not see any.
Good macro life on the rocks, many nudibranches; Anna’s magnificent slug, varicose wart slug and leopard nudibranch. Some coral banded shrimps.
Viz 12m, Max depth 18.9m, water temp 30C
Shallow dive site. Beautiful reef, Gorgonian fan coral, Solid table coral, Robust staghorn coral, Brain coral, Barrel sponges, Slipper coral, mushroom coral and more. Many anemones. All the common reef fish, False clown fish, Clark’s clown fish, Red breasted wrasse, Bicolor parrot fish. Giant moray eel and Blue spotted stingray.
Viz 12-15m, Max depth 16m, water temp 30C
Tokong Laut (temple of the sea)
Big pinnacle, rich in marine life the deepest reef in the area drops to a sandy bottom at 22m.
Beautiful hard and soft coral. Giant puffer fish, Giant moray eel, bearded scorpion fish, schools of Harlequin sweetlips.
Some Bluefin trevallies patrolling. A single bumphead parrotfish.
Viz 15m, Max depth 22m, water temp. 30C
The Sugar Wreck
A sunken freighter, The MV Union Star on the west side of Perhentian Kecil, was used to transport sugar. About 30min away, most dive shops charge an extra R20 ($5) for fuel. The wreck rests on the sand at about 20m with the highest point 6m below the surface. We saw some lionfish, scorpion fish and bamboo sharks. Visibility was fair at 10m, making the wreck visible from the surface. We could penetrate the cargo hold, there is an airpocket that you can stick your head into. We did not see the greater barracuda that is often spotted in here.
It is a nice wreck, but there were so many people here during our dive, you had to swim in line, waiting to enter certain areas which kind of spoiled the dive for me.
We dived with Anti-gravity divers on Coral Bay beach. Diving on the island is very well priced. We paid RM80 ($19.80) per dive including gear rental, dives with your own gear was RM65. The cheapest that I saw advertised on Long beach was RM75 per dive.
The diving was great and staff fun and professional, important for me, free coffee so we were hanging around the dive shop a lot.
We camped right next to the dive shop at Maya camping. We paid RM20 ($5) per night for our tent bargain at $2,50 each!
The snorkeling from the beach at Coral Bay where we were camping was shallow, but very nice. The biodiversity is fantastic with a variety of coral and colorful, small reef fish.
Towards Rainforest campsite we saw a couple of small black tip sharks, some small barracudas and a bump head parrot fish. We rented a kayak and paddled to Long beach. We were snorkeling just after Romantic Beach and saw a school of 15 big Bumphead Parrot fish. Wear a rash vest or wet suit for the sun and sea lice, I was stung pretty bad on my arms and legs.
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