ISLANDS OF MALAYSIA
The Independent Travel Guides to Malaysian Islands

TENGGOL | PERHENTIAN | SIPADAN | MABUL | TIOMAN | LANG TENGAH | RAWA | MANUKAN | SAPI | PAYAR | REDANG
MAMUTIK | LANGKAWI  | PANGKOR | GEMIA | GAYA | SULUG | TULAI | AUR | DAYANG| PENANG

::THE INDEPENDENT SERIES:: Malaysia Hotels & Travels|Singapore Guides|Island of Java|Magical Bali|Swiss Travel|National Parks

T.A.R MARINE PARK > DIVE > HANGING GARDEN
 

Kota Kinabalu Hotels & Resorts
Hyatt Regency
Gayana Island Eco Resort
Nexus Karambunai
Shangri-la Rasa Ria
Manukan Island Resort
T.A.R Marine Park Beaches
Pulau Sapi
Malohom Bay
Pulau Manukan
Pulau Mamutik
T.A.R Marine Park Dive Spots
Hanging Garden
Sulug West - Suman Reef
T.A.R Marine Park Snorkeling Spots
Manukan Island
Sapi Island

 
 
 



[MORE PHOTOS]

LOCATION:
On the eastern side of the massive Pulau Gaya, which is the biggest island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Access by boat from Jesselton Point jetty (formerly known as Sabah Port Authority) in downtown Kota Kinabalu is about 10 minutes. This dive site is actually very close to the main beach at Pulau Sapi, hence it is not uncommon for dive boats to depart from this popular beach.

Note that for divers using the jetty at Jesselton Point, there will be RM6 terminal fee charged by the port authority for the round trip journey. Also, Sabah Marine Park recently imposed a diving fee of RM20 per day for local divers or RM50 for foreigners.

This dive site is also known as Clement Reef on some dive maps.

DESCRIPTION:

The dive goes down for about 20 metre maximum depth. The visibility was surprisingly good at about 10-15 metres. There was no discernible current through this 1-hour dive. The dive profile started with shallow bottom where colourful soft and hard corals thrive healthily around the area. Among the notable hard and soft corals that I saw were Sarcophyton and Dendronephthya soft corals, various types of sea anemones, Porites solida corals, rarely-seen bubble corals (Plerogyra flexuosa), etc.

To be honest, the main highlight of this dive site was the astounding varieties and sizes of the sea fans that it offers. I guess the dive site is named a Hanging Garden for obvious reason. The biggest one I saw was probably 1.5 metres in height with considerable width (scarlet sea fan, Melithaea sp.). Other sea fans that I saw include harp gorgonian fan (Ctenocella pectinata), Euplexaura sp. fan coral, Solenocaulon sp. fan coral, Villogorgia sp. which was infested with feasting black crinoids, etc (yes, there were plenty more fan corals than what I could name of!).

As for the sponges and sea slugs, this dive site did not fare badly at all. There were a number of the common barrel sponges (Xestospongia testudinaria) and pale-blue tube sponges (Kallypilidion fascigera). I saw at least ten nudibranch during my dive, some of them managed to get into my underwater camera. The ones that I saw were
Shireen's phyllidiopsis nudibranch (Phyllidiopsis shireenae), painted thecacera (Thecacera picta, somewhat dramatic in colours, though not entirely visible from my camera), and celestial phyllidia (Phyllidia coelestis).

This dive site sadly did not offer much in term of marine fishes. There was a large school of yellowtail snapper (Ocyurus chrysurus) making their rounds above the coral reefs. Other than that, hiding under the sand was a blue-spotted stingray (Dasyatis kuhlii) that catapulted itself away when perturbed by my dive guide, a number of blood-drop squirrelfish (Neoniphon sammara), some Clark's anemonefish (Amphiprion clarkii), a surgeonfish (Acanthurus sp.), and last but not least, a rare sighting of porcelain crab (Neopetrolisthes maculatus), or also known as anemone crab, often seen residing inside the carpet anemone (Stichodactyla mertensii).

Overall, I thought the one-hour dive was acceptably good when it comes to sea fan variety, some nudibranch and soft corals.

MY RATING:

malaysia-islands.com

ABOUT | LINKS | TRAVEL TIPS | FEEDBACK