I forgot to post this lovely little island we went to when we were in Malaysia called Pulau Tenggol. Pulau means island, much like our pulo, and Tenggol means, I don’t know, tingle? So Pulau Tenggol means “island of tingles”?
It was really a little piece of paradise there. It was a cove, so there were very little waves, as it was protected from all sides by the mountains. We went there basically just to snorkel and for lunch after. The pictures weren’t really much, since I took these not while diving, but from the surface while snorkeling, so the quality wasn’t really that good.
This puffer fish was huge! It also wasn’t very shy. I’d free dive really close to it, and it didn’t even budge. It was like: “take yo’ picture, you mofo’, then scram!”
Of course we have our token clownfish photo, mainly because they’re so common and so easy to take pictures of. They’re feisty little scrappers, very territorial of their patch of anemones. I’ve actually been “pecked” quite a number of times by clownfish and their nastier cousins, the damselfish. When they nip at you at full speed, it feels like someone made you batok.
This picture is very deceiving. This was taken from way up on the surface, as this was very deep waters, and that grouper was an absolute monster! Easily that thing was about as long as I was! I actually panicked when I first saw it beneath me, because it looked like a shark. But large as it was, it was very shy, and the moment it saw me, it went under some corals. Huge motherclucker!
Here’s a cute one. The other snorkelers were asking about this school of huge fish, that was circling at the shallows. They were huge, skittish and swam very fast. The dive masters were all trying to guess what they were, even bringing out a fish identification book, trying to find the species of fish. I scrambled for my camera and I asked it these were the fish. Everyone said yes. Then I looked closer and I said: “I think these are bangus.” So I asked them to look for Milkfish in the book, and lo and behold, the picture matched the fish that we saw. Strangely though, the Malaysians had no idea what they were. I told them they’re the most popular fish to eat. I’m surprised they don’t know it! Plus, I got confused. I always thought bangus were freshwater fish? Some said they were saltwater, some said they were freshwater.
Pulau Tenggol is famous for their sea turtles. We saw quite a few of them, so we were pretty much happy to see these shy creatures. Some won’t mind you until you’re close enough to touch them. Then, I guess knowing that we don’t swim very well, calmly swim away when we get too close for comfort, into the open blue.
This sexy beast, the one with yellow fins chasing the turtle, mystified me. I tried to consult so many fish identification books, but couldn’t seem to find a description that matches this exceptional sample of undersea grace and beauty. It was muscular, sinewy, and a powerful swimmer.