Advance Open Water Diving (AOW) in Redang Island, Pulau Terrengganu

Following the last entry on Open Water diving course back in May 2017, we planned quite an impromptu trip again to Redang end of September for our Advance Open Water diving course. 

There were some minor changes in the planning for our trip this time round. Instead of taking the bus they offer for pick-up and return from the airport to jetty and vice versa at the rate of RM30 per person, we opted for taking Uber Rm10++ one way for 2 at a flexible hour. And the bus would usually drop you at Terrengganu's Chinatown for a walk and a quick lunch before sending you to the airport and we figured that we didn't want that. 

The second change was we went for the standard room instead of a superior room at Redang Beach Resort. The room was only slightly smaller, and though it is further away from the Dive Centre, the rests of the facilities are about the same as the superior room and most of us divers are out all day anyway. We could still hang our wet apparels along the corridor with rack provided as we do not have a balcony. And the rates are approximately RM70 cheaper. It was much quieter and serene by the end of September as they enter into Monsoon season in Octob, and so we enjoyed it better without too much of a crowd.

If you wonder why do I want to go with the same instructor at the same place, probably we were affirmed with trust and comfort knowing how it's being conducted, and we are already familiar with the equipments at the dive centre. Many divers do share this special bond with their dive masters and instructors and I believe we too have established this connection. The advantage of taking Advance Open Water with the same instructor is he/she knows full well which are the areas you are lacking back in those practical skills training during Open Water. 

For us, he picked 5 sections to complete. The 5 sections we did was Peak Buoyancy Dive, Night Dive, Deep Dive, Fish Identification, and Navigation Dive.

We met a couple of divers whom are more chatty and many of them return to Redang island at least once a year. They find that Redang island truly offers the most comprehensive package for food, accommodation, and maybe even convenience for Malaysian divers to embark their annual diving pilgrimage. There are plenty of other dive sites in Tenggol, Tioman, Perhentian in East Malaysia, and of course Sipadan, Mabul, Kapalai in West Malaysia. But I won't be surprise in the near future, after exploring other dive sites around Southeast Asia or overseas, we might dive again and again in Redang island. Or even best, to take up a course in diving with Nitrox!

These few photographs were taken by one of our very dear dive instructor who has worked 24 years in Redang, with his Nikon D800 camera and other equipments. We are totally satisfied with these shots. Our interest sparked to get either GoPro action camera or Olympus Tough-5 for our next dive, for now we have yet to decide which one to go. 

Took a photo of Robert and his camera gear while waiting for whale sharks to appear at Tanjung Ran

Photo Credits: Robert Heng Hiroshi
Black Coral Garden dive site with a school of yellow snappers

Photo Credits: Robert Heng Hiroshi
At Black Coral Garden dive site spotting marble ray

Photo Credits: Robert Heng Hiroshi
Tanjung Ran dive site with whale shark and suckerfish

Photo Credits: Robert Heng Hiroshi
Mat Chantek dive site with soft corals

Photo Credits: Robert Heng Hiroshi
Mat Chantek dive site

Photo Credits: Robert Heng Hiroshi
Mat Chantek dive site

The reason I shared about getting a camera it's because our Xiao Yi action camera did not survive the 30m dive. Though reviews said that the casing could withstand a maximum of 40m depth, our camera's casing gave in and it was probably due to the O ring which wasn't cleaned and dried properly after a couple of dives. Water penetrated into the lens and when we dismantled the battery, there are signs of corrosion, however, the SD card survived. We decided to rent the underwater camera, Lumix for the rest of our dives but without the red or the right filter and extra lighting, the photos surely won't turn out to be great. However, I managed to control my buoyancy much better this time and though some photos are blurry, I am excited to still document and identity them as much as I can. This gives me a better focus and purpose for my future dives too!

Another photo of whale shark which V took as we paddle our fin in full speed to get the closest we can at Tanjung Ran

Divers waiting to board after a satisfactory dive seeing whale sharks at Tanjung Ran

It is definitely not a comprehensive lists of information, and the photos fail to also capture the sharp details of theirs. But it became personal to me as I encounter them on each dive sites and a journey that starts from NOW! You'll probably come across similar species in Redang or anywhere in tropical dive sites. 

Have fun learning them!

The one swimming away in white tail is Blue Ring Angelfish

Encrusting and branching Fire Corals, I believe there's also a parrotfish on the right side of this image but I am not able to identify from this photo taken without clearer features. (*Oops!)

Note that Fire Corals have stings so always be aware to keep a distance at best.

Click here to read the article on "How To Identify Fire Corals and Treat Stings"

Soft Coral Colony

Leather Coral

Leaf Plate Coral

Boulder brain coral at the top of the image and Barrel sponge at the bottom with its round opening

Gorgonian Sea Fan

Dead Man's Fingers Coral

Clownfish hosting on Torch Coral

Elephant Ear Coral in white

Plate Corals

Red soft coral among the soft coral colony

Close-up shot of which I lost track of what this might be!

I am not entirely sure if this is Jansen's Wrasse (will seek some advise on this)

Closer shot of Leather Coral

Pineapple Sea Cucumber

Snow White Feather Star

Whip Coral Shrimp

Boschma's Feather Star

Boschma's Feather Star

Aha! Sea Turtle

Cushion Starfish and Partner Shrimp

Ritteri Anemone

Longfin Bannerfish (Butterflyfishes)
Size: to 25cm

How I differentiate this from Schooling Bannerfish is the central white band and the second black band which runs from the dorsal fin to the anal fin. The line terminates at the tip of the anal fin on Schooling Bannerfishes while it extends higher to the anal fin for Longfin Bannerfish. (*if I am not mistaken!)

Scrawled Filefish
Size: to 75cm

Staghorn Coral

Not long before this trip, I came across Kasia Molga's Coral Love Story | Chapter #1 in Vimeo. The work intimately connects with us in the form of wearable piece in alarming us on coral bleaching alerts. The dancer from the video breathes and express bodily movements along with the coral reefs. The wearable piece fades in and out in motion, signifying the endangered species far from our daily reach but have inevitably caused by seawater temperature rise due to urban developments in our hands. 

I used to hear so much about it and still be ignorant. Though there is little I can do now, I have nonetheless grew affection and understanding in knowing these creatures better. 

What about you?

Thanks for reading up and stay tune for more! 


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