The smaller island of Sulug to the south has a number of good locations around it where leopard sharks can be found. There are also trigger fish and blue ringed angelfish here. Keramat Reef is one of the prefered spots as octopi and turtles have been spotted there. An artificial reef made from tyres also lies off one of the beaches, it provides shelter for all manner of marine critters.
This area is perfect for finding unusual marine critters, as we found out! The sloping reef of lettuce coral ends up on a sandy slope at 12-15m where large sargassum and padina seaweed flourish. This is an excellent place to find various algae-eating nudibranchs and sea hares. The seaweeds are seasonal and generally found only from April to September. Lurking unobserved in the sand are panther flounders, mantis shrimps and gobies. We also found a cuttlefish, lying camouflaged on the sandy bottom.
As we searched among the lettuce coral, hingebeak shrimps peeked out, seemingly as curious about us as we were of them. Then a banded sea snake swam past, and we followed it for about five minutes as it went hunting, much to our delight. Transparent anemone shrimps danced away tucked among the tentacles of their hosts and a green turtle passed by oblivious to our bubbles. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, Basir, our dive master, pointed out a painted frogfish under a table coral at 6m. What a way to end the dive!