Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mapur, Malang Biru & Damar, Indonesia

Mapur Island lies 16km east of Bintan Island, the famous dive site here is the Igara wreck also called Turtle wreck. She sunk to the depth of 40m rising up to 11m at the top. Several cargo doors were open and divers can decent right to the bottom. We could still see the remains of iron ore in the wreck. The wreck is overgrown with soft coral and sponges. Current can be strong with the average visibility of 10m. The wreck is huge enough for multiple dives. Common stop over on the last day back to Singapore with LOB.

Gymnodoris rubropapulosa
The reef at Mapur Island were quite nice, there were plenty of nudibranches and healthy corals reef. Strong current and low vis expected. Otherwise this could be frequently visited by Singapore divers.

Not far away, Campalina Wreck lies at 42m upside down with the highest point at 35m. As the depth didn't provide long bottom time for recreational divers, with a luck of good visibility and slag current, we could still hang around at shallow water to admire the top with plenty of fish life living on the wreck.

Malang Biru Island is located south west of Anambas Islands. A LOB weekend trip usually combine with the Mapur Island or Seven Skies wreck. I have been there a couple of times but ONE that I remembered forever, that day, I was Divemastering. After the first dive at Malang Biru, we surfaced to see smiling faces of divers on board, they were shouting "Did you see whalesharks? 2 whalesharks?"  In my mind I was cursing "F@#$% where did they dive, how did we miss that?" All my divers replied with a disappointing look "No! You must be kidding" 

Once we got back onto the main boat, we have to accept the truth, some groups saw 2 whalesharks a 5m and a 3m baby. :-( Those who didn't see were very disappointed and upset. I went down to my cabin to grab my camera (lucky to have it with me on this trip), I had a feeling that the whalesharks are still around. Just as I step out to the dive deck, everyone was screaming and some divers were already in the water with their mask and snorkel. The whaleshark has return! I put on my fins and mask in split second, saw the whaleshark from the dive deck and there I went... We swim with her for almost 30mins, she was about 5m long, huge fish!! She seems to like us and the dive boat, she kept returning to the Whitemanta haul, she must be thinking another whaleshark bigger than her? She swam so close to us that we have to resist ourselves from touching her. We were all smiling from ear to ear when she swam away. SATISFY DIVERS/SNORKELERS!

While the boat anchored for lunch, the 3m baby whaleshark came to check us out, she was just hanging around by the boat, not as excited as the first encounter, all of us were watching from the dining deck. Vincent was asking for someone to go in the water to play with her or else she will go away. Then 1 by 1 we went in the water, current was strong at that point, divers were hanging on the line to be side by side with the giant fish. She stayed on until it's time for us to leave. What a awesome encounter I will never forget!
Damar Island

The reef of Malang Biru was once damaged by dynamite fishing, but they are plenty of fish life here. Great for a check up dive and night dive. Damar Island located north of Malang Biru, it's a rocky outcrop island. There were several pinnacles or huge rocks underwater. The reef are more colorful and healthy with average visibility of 20m. Unfortunately there wasn't much I could remember about these 2 sites.

Travel date :  13-16 Apr 2006, May 2006, 6-8 Apr 2007, 8-12 Aug 2007
Travel route : SG -B-> Mapor, Malang Biru & Damar -B-SG
Accommodation and diving : LOB - Old MV Whitemanta (
Type of diving : Wreck, Reef
Water temperature : 28-30°C
Best time to dive : Apr-Oct

 -F-> Flight -B-> Boat

Jorunna funebris
Nembrotha guttata

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