Saturday, June 2, 2012

Last day in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (14 May 2011)

On the last day of my visit to the marine park, I did some snorkeling around the jetty in the morning. It was pretty interesting overall. There were corals and anemones all over the reef. And there were some clownfish around the anemones too. I also found the lionfish which I was told lives under the jetty.  

The visibility again wasn't that conducive to getting good shots, but well, it's OK. After a few dives the previous two days, again I was enjoying myself swimming underwater without needing the tank and other dive gear. 

Later, I did the "tourist" thing and joined a group of others to go snorkeling at some island in the marine park. I can't be sure of the name of island. But it was a real "tourist" thing because the snorkeling spot was basically just a barricaded area where tourists could feed the fishes and where some corals simply looked like they had been transplanted there. The depth of the barricaded area was about 1.5 meters max.

Anyway, my most interesting find was this school of razorfish (Aeoliscus strigatus?) which swam  vertically, heads pointing downwards. They just kept swimming that way, synchronized like a group of water ballet performers, while at the same time moving away to keep a distance from me. Strange fish!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day 2 at Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (13 May 2010) - Last dive

The dive guide took the group to Ron's Reef for our last dive of the day. Visibility (about 2 meters) was the worst of the three dives of the day. We saw the usual tropical reef life.

An interesting find was this little spotted anemone crab on a sea anemone which looked pretty much like a huge, soft pillow or perhaps a thick blanket.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day 2 at Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (13 May 2010) - Second dive

The second dive of the day was at Ribbon Reef. Maximum depth of the dive site was 18 meters. The visibility (5 meters) was a little better than the first dive site.

The most exciting moment had to be the sighting of a green turtle! The animal has a shell length of about 3 feet. And it wasn't "diver-shy" at all. We closed in on it and watched it feed for a while.



I found quite a lot of Christmas tree worms on the corals too. But taking photos of them was a bit tricky. They just flickered out of sight at the slightest (hints of) moments.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Diving in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (4)

Day 2 at Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (13 May 2010)

The first dive today was off Sulug Island. Maximum depth of the dive site was around 19 meters. Visibility (3 meters) was really poor. 

Usually, during the pre-dive briefing, the dive guides would tell us what interesting marine life to watch for. I can't remember now what the special features of the dive site were. Honestly, it didn't look too different from the previous dive spots I went to - corals abound at the first glance.


Some interesting images are below.

These were two big sea cucumbers I came across. Both looked like the same species, probably blackspotted sea cucumber (Pearsonothuria graeffei). Both were probably busy picking up yummy algae or detritus with their black tentacles (those sticky mouth pads with black stalks).

Crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) - coral-eating starfish. Fortunately they weren't a common sight where I dived.

Sponges and a giant clam

A drifting/swimming feather star

Feather star perching on a whip coral (?) which had many white polyps all over it.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Diving in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (3)

Day 1 at Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (12 May 2010)
For the third dive of the day, we were taken to a dive spot called the "Coral Garden". It was the shallowest dive site (15 m) for the day and visibility was only fair (about 5 m). We didn't find the barracudas nor the turtles that the dive guides "promised". Even so, it has been an enjoyable dive.

The dive guides found a very large sea cucumber on the sandy seafloor. The animal was about 1 meter long.

A pair of mating nudibranchs on algae-covered reef.

A scorpionfish resting on the seafloor (arrows pointing at its eyes), raising the venomous spines on its back.

Another shot of the same scorpionfish from behind.

Some mushroom corals. The skeletons of the corals resemble the gills of mushrooms.

The long arms of brittle stars over staghorn corals.

Hinge-beak shrimps (Rhynchocinetes sp.) found on an old tyre.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Diving in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (2)

Day 1 at Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (12 May 2010)
My second dive in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park took place at Edgel's Patch, which is in the southwest of Sapi Island. The deepest part of the dive site where my buddy and I swam to was around 24 m. This dive site again had some interesting fish life, e.g. clownfishes, stick pipefish, and zebra eel. 

But the really pretty and unusual ones had to be the feather stars. They were everywhere, perching on rocks, sea fans and corals, securing themselves using their claws (cirri). It was a pleasure watching some of them stealthily unfurl their arms and started moving about in the current.

In this photo, you can see the "claws" (cirri) on the underside of the animal.