I rounded up my 4 divers at Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT) on Friday night and proceeded through immigration, with all the usual comments – “Off again diving Gary?”
Dean, Gena, Angela and David were my leisure divers this weekend. I was not teaching any courses so it made for a nice fun weekend of diving.
We boarded the Ark and headed towards Pulau Aur, the seas were flat calm all night and everyone rested well. We woke around 730am on Saturday and was greeted by a beautiful day at Pulau Lang. We competed 5 dives on Saturday and 2 on Sunday.
Saturday we dived, Pulau Lang, Rayners Rock, Pinnacle 2, Pulau Pinang and back to Lang for the night dive. On Sunday we dived Rayners Rock and Pinnacle 2 again.
All the sites had excellent viz at over 20 metres. Some had a bit of current but nothing that affected the dive. At Rayners Rock on Saturday I spotted a black tip reef shark, another group saw a white tip reef shark and another group saw a school of humpheads. Rayners Rock was the best I have seen it in a long time and this was the first shark I have seen around Aur in a long time.
I was a bit apprehensive about diving Pulau Pinang because it has not been great in the past. But thankfully it was ok, with good sightings of many types of fish, including a school of small barracuda and trevally, gold and silver were swimming around us.
The trevally seemed to be at all the dive sites and were very curious. There was a small school of silver trevally at Rayners Rock and the golden trevally were everywhere, but only 2-3 at each site.
We spotted a school of large barracuda at Pulau Lang during the day dive. During the night dive also at Lang there were 3-4 huge barracuda following Dean and I. There was also loads of other fish and a few morays getting ready to go and hunt. Sleeping parrot fish were fun to check out as well.
During the first dive at Rayners Rock I came across a fish trap that had been abandoned by the fisherman. It had about 6-8 small fish inside, I pulled out my titanium scissors and cut a couple of holes in the wire for the fish to escape. There was a rope running out from the reef and I pulled on it and it appeared to have another trap on the other end. We were running short of our no decompression limit (NDL) and so could not rescue the fish in the second trap.
On Sunday we went back to Rayners Rock and I found the rope in 10 minutes and took the group out to where the second fish trap was. I was amazed to see a blue spoted ray and 3 moral eels inside, along with a couple of half eaten dead fish. There was also a moray on the outside of the cage checking out its buddies inside. Again the scissors came in handy and all except one moray got out, the last one did not look well. The trap was at 30 metres and time was running low, so I tried to coax the last moray out, but could not, so we left. Hopefully it has figured how to get out by now.
All day Saturday and Sunday the seas were flat calm, just like a mirror and there was a familiar feel about the conditions. I was hoping we would see something big. But no such luck for any Whale Shark action. But for sure, they will be at Aur soon. The conditions are definitely looking like Whale Shark conditions.
Dolphins sailed with us on the way home. Just beautiful!
Thanks Dave and Angela for the use of your photos