23.09.2011 - 25.09.2011
Pulau Dayang is an island about 65km from Mersing on the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia. It is the smaller of 2 islands in the area, the other being Pulau Aur. The island is uninhabited except for the resort on it which are mostly occupied by divers from Singapore during the weekends. One of my favourite things about this place is that there are no tourists or day trippers here. The reasons for this will be apparent soon enough.
Leg 1: Singapore - Johor Bahru Customs
For most, the journey starts from Singapore, usually by private hire van arranged by your friendly local dive shop. It will invariably be a Friday night, where you can enjoy the spectacle of thousands of Malaysian motorcycles returning home after a days work. It usually takes less than an hour to get across the Causeway.
Leg 2: Johor Bahru - Mersing
Mersing Jetty is the departure point to the popular island resort of Pulau Tioman, and the lesser known Pulau Rawa. For this trip our group stopped by at Kota Tinggi for dinner. The drive from Johor Bahru to Mersing takes less than 2 hours.
Leg 3: Mersing Jetty - Pulau Dayang
Departure from Mersing is by slow boat, and depending on the tide, can be anytime from midnight to some ungodly hour at which no one is keeping track of the time anymore. Not that it matters, because the journey takes 4 hours, and you're not going to get any decent sleep due to the choppy waters. That is if you're not throwing up the entire trip.
Tip 1: Bring a sleeping bag.
Tip 2: Take a motion sickness pill if there is the slightest chance that you will get seasick.
You will reach the island before dawn, for a few more hours of sleep before the first dive of the day. If you're the kind who cannot enjoy anything without a proper night's sleep, don't bother coming.
The Amenities (or lack thereof)
But the accommodation is still no Hilton. 12 to a bunk. Good luck if you have a snorer in your group.
There's also no hot water. Bathrooms are shared. Food and drinks are part of the deal, and pretty decent. Toilet paper is provided, so there is hope after all.
Be a Fish
"The best way to observe a fish is to become a fish." - Jacques Cousteau
Once the diving gets underway, whatever inconveniences encountered getting here is quickly forgotten. In fact, if the journey was more grueling, it would be a fair trade off for less visitors in these pristine waters.
Ok, less talk, more pics. Here's an anemonefish:
A christmas tree worm.
Seal pufferfish, blue spotted ray.
Other marine life
We spotted this crab and snoozing filefish during the night dive. The sneaky cuttlefish we saw managed to escape the camera's eye.
A titan triggerfish, busy scraping coral.
A sea cucumber, can't imagine having this on the dinner table for Chinese New Year.
Moray Eel...say aaaahhh.
The island is off limits during the monsoon season from November to March. My first dive was in Pulau Dayang, and have been back numerous times. It's actually getting quite amusing seeing first timers taking the agonizingly slow boat ride there. Worth the sleep deprivation though, if you ask me.