Diving at Pangkor - A personal experience
I get these queries: "What's it like, diving at Pangkor? Is it any good? How's the visibility? Is there anything interesting to see?" In other words, is diving here possible and worthwhile? These questions came up in the first months of 2005.
I didn't know anything about diving, never done it, never thought about it too.
Fortunately a new dive school had just opened in Lumut. It was a good moment to start my diving experiences. This nice little shop was run by a German lady called Claudia with her husband Oliver.
And thus, from scratch I did my Open Water course at an age of 44. Hari Raju was my instructor.
He has worked as a dive instructor on the east coast. No one better to find out the differences between east and west coast I thought! And Hari was a excellent instructor.
He showed me under water also quite some amazing little things I would have missed because of my lack of experience.
In total I did over 50 dives here at Pulau Sembilan.
And so I saw it all, I found (according to the experienced divers) rare nudibranches, turtles (what an experience was that!), barracudas and even seahorses.
One dive was particular because we found a leopard shark trapped in a lost fishing net that was lying on the ocean floor.
We are not allowed to cut fish free from fishing nets which are in use but this net was lost. We freed a leopard shark.
Location of Sembilan Islands
The Sembilan Islands are about 30 minutes away from the mainland. They consist of a few islands, some no more then a rock in the sea.
They're beautiful little atolls, eagles nesting sometimes on some of them. They're beautiful little paradises, not inhabited by humans (although you might wonder if they were in the past used by pirates).
Diving at Pangkor, or to be more precise, at Pulau Sembilan, can be exciting. The average visibility is about 7 meters but on good days you get a lot more. Like I said, you will have the dive site for yourself and there are many places where you can get good dives.
Sembilan Islands are not a marine park, (Pangkor has a lively fishing industry, see my page about Ikan Bilis or anchovies). But Pulau Sembilan can offer you will find many species in abundance, some as rare as pigmies seahorses.
Diving in Pangkor again!
I did several more courses but then the bad luck came. The Sembilan Divers shop closed in June 2006. Thus, there was no more diving at Pangkor for several years.
In late 2011, Quiver Dive team arrived at Marina island. Quiver Divers have 3 shops at Perhentian and they offer now daily dives to Sembilan Island again.
You can go for leisure dives, 3 dives a day including lunch. Additional Quiver Diver Team offers (price RM 320 pp without dive equipment) Book your diving here
There are some claiming Pulau Sembilan is not a good dive site. I can't disagree more. On the good days, it's as good as any dive site in Malaysia. On the bad days, like anywhere it's as bad as anywhere else. But of the 60 or so dives I did here only a small amount was in murky waters.
David from Leeds England has done quite a bit of diving in the North Sea. He joined for shooting some video. He found it good diving in Pangkor.
Meg and Ken from Japan where diving at Pangkor too. They have been diving in the Caribbean, California and Mexico among other places joined a few days and enjoyed it too.
Frederick, a rescue diver from Denmark, who has experience with wreck diving in Denmark had a good few days. He has plans to come back later this year to explore more of the islands and its underwater life.
The closest thing you can get nowadays is get a boat to one of the small atols. You can get a boat at Teluk Nipah to Pulau Giam where you can do some nice snorkeling, price depends on the amount of people and your capability to negotiate the prices.
The serious divers have to go to Pulau Sembilan, book now to start diving in Pulau Sembilan.