The divesites of Langkawi

Why would you choose to dive in Langkawi? No-one has ever mentioned diving this island in the same list as diving Egypt, Sipadan or Palau. And with limited visibility, what can you expect from diving this area on the west-coast of Malaysia? The answer is: heaps!

 

While on a short boat-rides to the divesites, around the 99 islands, you can spot eagles, hornbills, dolphins, porpoises, otters and monkeys. Those animals are just a bonus to the heaps of marinelife you can spot daily on the dives. The usual visibility is between 2 and 4m; with so many particles in the water there is just not enough light for hard-corals but the soft-corals are thriving.  And since you can’t see very far, macro-diving is the way to go in Langkawi.

 

Under water:

You will find bright, white whipcorals densely covering the bottom, with purple and blue variations in between, red harpcorals and yellow fans where the slow currents bring them nutrition. Enormous purple barrelsponges with white and pink broccolicorals all around them. Even in limited visibility there is a lot of color!

 

Looking closer, in between and under the rocks, in the corals and in the sand, it is full of life. With good buoyancy control, we can focus on the small creatures in the reef: decoratorcrabs, anemoneshrimps, whipcoral- and razor-shrimps, and nudibranchs are aplenty. But what most people come diving for are of course the seahorses.

 

The seahorses can be found in many colors, once you know where to look for them, of course. They hold to the corals with their tails and spend their time eating plankton, small shrimp and tiny fish. When we are lucky we get to see a pregnant male (yes you read that right, it is the male that will carry the babies to term). They are, however, not very good models and often shyly turn away from cameras; it takes a lot of patience to get a good shot. So far 3 species have been identified in the waters around Langkawi: The common seahorse (H.kuda), the tigertail seahorse (H.comes) and the Spiny seahorse (H. spinosissimus).

 

Easier to take pictures of are our frogfish. These little “blobs” sit still in the coral waiting to ambush their prey. They have amazing camouflage even when they are orange or pink. They use their little “hands” to hold on to the branches of the rusty gorgonians or the rocks, where they completely bland in.

 

Have you ever seen a Toadfish? These bottomdwellers are usually found under a rock. The species we have around Langkawi had a very camouflaged face with a beard (like a scorpionfish). The beautiful eyes are at the top of the head and look like they have long lashes. When disturbed, this fish will retreat backwards in its hiding place.

 

There are only a few fish that swim vertical, the seahorse head-up and the Razorfish head-down. You can find both around Langkawi. These small fish adapted their swim position so they can hide in sea-urchin spines and in Langkawi between the whipcorals. They are usually found swimming synchronized in pairs or small schools and can swim much faster than divers.

The Divesites:

White Coral Corner

max depth: 12m

max divetime: 60min

atmosphere: a rocky area with lots of macro life leading to very densely growing white whipcorals

The Stables

max depth: 12m

max divetime: 60min

atmosphere: Where the seahorses live! Spend the dive with your head close to the bottom to find these well camouflaged little creatures.

Cepu Island

max depth: 30m

max divetime: 60min

atmosphere: A resident school of pickhandle barracudas, trevally, snappers, big groupers on a steep rocky bottom full of macro life. A carpet of white and pink broccolicoral hides the nudis and seahorses.
 

Tanjung Intan

max depth: 14m

max divetime: 60min

atmosphere: Pipefish are often seen on the rocky part of this divesite, seahorses are between the white and red whipcorals. Often a mild current, ideal for a slow drift

Beras Laut

max depth: 7m

max divetime: 60min

atmosphere: Rusty gorgonians with seahorses and honeycomb moray eels

RazorReef

max depth: 9m

max divetime: 60min

atmosphere: shallow hardcorals with an area of white gorgonian whipcorals with lots of small marinelife. Many razorfish usualy spotted here.

Crimescene

max depth: 7m

max divetime: 60min

atmosphere: Shallow trainingsite.