I kept this diary of things we have done in Singapore for 2 years. I have now moved some of it to other travel pages but you can still find links to many of our activities here. I have also created a reading list of books we have read about the region.

Western Japan

Birds in Singapore

Kuala Lumpur stopover

Thai Diving

Singapore Liveaboard

Local Residents

Beijing Summer

Diving with Sharks

Shanghai Heatwave

Taiwan Tourists

An Indian week

Where U bin?

Island hideaway

Steamy running

A Trip to the Zoo

Gardens by the Bay

Jakarta

Singapore walks

Mind the bus

Flower power

Melaka

Early weeks

 

Vicky's Blog

 

My last experience of Singapore livaboards was not the greatest - the boat was quite comfortable but the dive sites pretty disappointing. This time I opt for a trip to the Anambas Islands - about 10 hours by boat to the East of Singapore. This is a popular destination known for good viz and marine life - there were three dive boats meeting at Tanah Merah when I got there at 5pm on Friday afternoon.

DiveRace (class E)

DiveRace Class E

DiveRace "Class E" is almost brand new in June 2015. It carries 24 divers and is very comfortable with twin and 4 man cabins, good deck space, a well equipped dive deck and nice extras like a movie cabin, warm towels at the end of your dive and even a hotpot for dinner on Saturday night. This was its third trip as they test run the boat before moving to a more remote location for week long trips.

Batam sunset

After leaving Singapore we spend a few hours in a marina on Batam sorting out visas then travel overnight to Malang Biru, our first dive site.

The islands we are diving on are vegetation covered rocks in a chain on the way to the island of Anambas - which we don't actually reach. Malang Biru is a rock, about 30m high with a small lighthouse on top. We dive down a slope to around 28m then drift in gentle current looking at fine hard and soft coral and smaller reef fish. Viz is good and the water temperature a balmy 30 degrees.

The other dive site, Repong, is similar. A larger rocky island, another couple of hours to the North East, with similar slopes and marine life. We see a couple of turtles and more fine coral and smaller fish. Sadly there is evidence of dynamite fishing here with extensive coral damage between about 18m-12m. For our fourth dive, at sunset, we are back at Malang Biru where there is a bit more action. The fading light has brought out bigger schools of fish and a few larger fish. A good dive.

On Sunday we arrive by the wreck of the Igara at about 6.45am. One dive boat is already here and another 3 arrive during the morning. This large wreck was an Italian bulk carrier that sank in 1973 - the largest ever marine insurance loss at the time. The stern section has been salvaged and removed but the remaining wreck is still pretty impressive, sitting upright in about 43m of water. Viz was average (5-10m) when we were there but it is still easy to orientate yourself.

After descending the marker line in quite strong surface current we found that it was more gentle on the deck at 18m. The wreck is now heavily encrusted in colourful hard and soft coral. We see many smaller fish as well as some large bat fish as we swim along the side of the wreck and then into a forward hold through a wide crack. From here we explore the forward storage area in a swim through before returning up the line. A second dive allows us to explore the stern and other side of the wreck. Despite the number of boats on the site we see few divers on the wreck.

After diving the captain heads for Batam as we have lunch and start packing our stuff away. Overall some great diving on a very well organised dive boat with a fun bunch of other divers. Here is a link to DiveRace's site. The film of diving the Igara was made by Jo, my buddy.

See the slideshow below for more sights above and below the water...