Manukan Island is famous for its long stretch of beautiful white-sand beach and fringing reef located on the Southern Coast. Spacious and comfortable wooden chalets are available for guests who want to stay longer to enjoy the sea and soak up the sun. We particularly enjoyed the spectacular sunsets over the South China Sea, which are almost daily affairs.
Manukan’s dive sites are accessible to all levels of divers and I was excited to be exploring these dive sites once more. On our dives here we were very happy to see a thriving underwater garden of staghorn coral in the shallows (from about 3-8m) which then gave way to lettuce coral and brain coral. The gentle sloping reef ended up in the sand at 15m and then gradually got deeper up to about 20m. We spotted a number of trumpetfish, juvenile batfish, a school of barracuda and large squaretail coral groupers hovering just off the reef.
On closer inspection, the reef revealed mating nudibranchs, shy blennies, anemone shrimps, pufferfish and numerous species of butterflyfish, rabbitfish and parrotfish. On our way back to the surface we spotted a cowfish intent on getting its next meal. Despite the large number of storms that hit the area in October last year, the marine life was thriving.
The next day, snorkelling around the jetty, we were met by schooling jacks. However do be aware of boat traffic around the jetty. Also snorkelling is the best at the eastern part the island, as elsewhere in the shallows, storms have damaged the coral garden leaving only sparsely scattered boulders, gobies, and numerous sea stars in the sand.
One the favorite dive site around this island is Mid Reef. This submerged reef consists of several types of hard coral, sponges and anemones. Fish life is also quite impressive with lionfish, stonefish, morays and even the rare Panda clownfish which can only be found at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park.