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Wreck Diving off Tioman

I took some time off to do some scuba diving in Malaysia – instead of a staying on Tioman and diving from there as a base, I did a Live On Board (LOB) trip to various shipwrecks near Tioman Island.

Getting There

I dived with a group called Stride In on a boat called the Black Pearl this time around. We took a coach from Lavender up to Malaysia in the evening, stopping over at Kota Tinggi for a quick dinner before reaching Tanjung Gemok Marina at around midnight. We got ourselves on board and stayed in port for the night.

The Boat

The boat is called the Black Pearl (no relation to Captain Jack) and it’s quite a small dive boat. The very first LOB experience I ever did was on a boat called the Beach Boy in 2010 also to Tioman, and I was secretly hoping this boat would be bigger, but alas, it was just as smaller, or maybe even smaller! Well it was cheaper, so you shouldn’t be expecting luxury for reasonable budget prices.

Tioman Wreck Diving Black Pearl
The Black Pearl from the water

The boat can hold about 20 people (not including the crew) but the rooms are pretty teeny. We had 3 in a room this time, and both were people I knew so that helped a bit in terms of navigating the space. I took the upper bunk, which was a little precarious because there’s no ladder or barrier (I tried to clamber up without stepping on the bottom bunks, failed miserably and landed with a whump on my arm) so when the boat got rocky at night I was a little concerned about falling onto my friends below.

My biggest issue would be that the dive deck seemed particularly cramped – you didn’t even really have space to suit up side by side. And perhaps I’m a bit spoiled by the Malapascua diving experience where I had a whole space to myself and even a personal basket to put my gear in, but having more space to gear up would have been nice.

I did like the upper deck where we chilled out and had our meals – spent most of my time sleeping up there between dives. Also the food cooked by the crew was quite good and much looked forward to after every dive!

Tioman’s Wrecks

The thing about wreck diving is that most of these sites are located out in the middle of nowhere with just sea all around with no sight of land whatsoever. Only at Gyoshimaru Wreck did we have some land sighting, and even then it was a tiny island with a signal tower and a rocky outcrop, which was apparently what sunk the ship in the first place.

Tioman Wreck Diving Gyoshimaru Gun
The gun shape is still distinct on the Gyoshimaru wreck

Other wrecks we dives at – Temu Wreck, Verrella Wreck and Rompin Wreck. Visibility at wreck sites also tends to be murkier, though our DMs were saying we were quite lucky – our visibility apparently was much better than normal.

My group was just 3 of us and our divemaster M and all of us had cameras so we were usually the first ones in and felt like we had free run of the waters before the rest descended, which was nice =)

Some of the more interesting things we saw:

Tioman Wreck Diving Moray Eel
moray eel hiding behind cuttlefish eggs
Tioman Wreck Diving Cuttlefish Pair
A pair of cuttlefish – one of them looks like it’s waving at us a little
Tioman Wreck Diving Nurse Shark
Many nurse sharks hidden in crevices
Tioman Wreck Diving Nudibranch Purple
Nudibranch with pretty ‘fringe’
Tioman Wreck Diving Scorpionfish
This scorpionfish looks a little like it’s smiling
Tioman Wreck Diving Crab Small
Itty bitty crab

Looking for more posts on scuba diving? Why not check out my dive with tiny weird creatures in Manado or that time I saw whale sharks and manta rays in the Maldives?


Thursday 16th of November 2017

Very good article. Made me wanna start wreck diving. Right now I only tried scuba diving. For logging my dives I like to use, which is a website which you can use as an online logbook, store your diving pictures and use the interactive map to explore new dive sites or chart your own.

Jaclynn Seah

Friday 17th of November 2017

Thanks for sharing Rebecca! it looks a little like the flightradar site to me, but i'll check it out! :)