Pulau Paku Kecil is opposite the rocky cape of Tanjung Tengah in Pasir Panjang. It is located to the south of its bigger sister island, Pulau Paku Besar, which is also a popular diving and snorkeling spot.
Access is by boat from Pasir Panjang for about 5 minutes. Diving depth is limited to about 20 metres before the coral growth meets the sandy bottom. Visibility during my dive was quite good, at about 10-15 metres.
There was a strong current at the later section of the dive especially towards the "sea whip garden".
Descending toward the sandy bottom, the coral collection that I could see was of soft and hard ones, though not entirely unique for Redang. The number of barrel sponges (Xestospongia testudinaria) that I could find is quite astounding. Another characteristic of this dive site is the variety of mushroom and leathery corals that one could find, such as mushroom coral of Sarcophyton sp., leathery finger coral of Sinularia sp., etc. Apart from that, you can also spot various colours of Dendronephthya soft corals, a massive garden of whip corals, on which a number of black feather stars are clinging on for daily meals, sea fans, the rare harp gorgonians (Ctenocella pectinata), as well as other types of hard coral of varying colours.
The fish variety that I saw was not bad either. I saw at least 5 blue-ringed angelfish (Pornacanthus annularis) at different locations, a friendly and curious spotted boxfish (Ostracion sp.), a school of yellow-lined fusilier, black-tipped rockcod (Epinephelus fasciatus), etc.
This dive site is also known for the sighting of Jenkins whipray (Himantura jenkinsii, common length at about 2 metres and wing span of 1 metre). We did see one here, but it was successfully hiding under a boulder rock. I had better luck during my next dive at Kerengga because I managed to see 2-3 of them.