Pulau Dayang and Pulau Aur offer the most interesting diving of the Johor Marine Park Islands. Surrounded by deep waters, the two islands offer an excellent opportunity to encounter pelagics. The Johor Marine Park islands comprise of Pulau Rawa, Pulau Besar, Pulau Hujung, Pulau Tengah, Pulau Tinggi, Pulau Pemanggil, Pulau Sibu, Pulau Aur and Pulau Dayang.
Johor has long been recognised for its economic success and its bustling city centre, Johor Bahru (popularly known as JB). The country’s richest state, it has much more to offer other than shopping, seafood and durians. The islands off the East Coast offer sun-drenched golden beaches and inviting turquoise waters teeming with marine life. The Marine Parks of Johor are in two distinct regions: The inshore islands of Pulau Rawa and Pulau Besar, and the offshore islands (65km east off Mersing) of Pulau Aur and Pulau Pemanggil.
April to September
8m to 25m
28 to 30 oC
Between 1 to 3 knots
Located towards the east of Mersing about 65km from the mainland. Pulau Aur will delight you with its pristine environment. This remote island is about two hours speed boat ride from Mersing, on the mainland. Surrounded by deep waters, Pulau Aur offers excellent opportunities to encounter pelagics. Pulau Aur, noted for its pelagic sightings, is famous for its whale sharks and manta rays. The diving itinerary ranges from rock boulders and submerged reefs to wrecks. The channel between Aur and its neighbouring island Pulau Dayang is rich with coral reefs in relatively shallow waters. Pulau Pinang offers a rocky area with steep drop-offs frequented by giant stingrays, groupers and barracuda.
The blue-spotted stingray, common in Malaysian waters, can normally be sighted at Captain’s Rock. Look out for the comical dogface puffer fish. It loves to swim solo and attracts plenty of attention for its elongated face and box-like body.
Towards the northeastern tip about 200m of Pulau Dayang is Rayner’s Rock, a solitary large boulder breaking the surface at about 4m high. Diving is good around the eastern portion with a mixture of both hard and soft corals providing shelter for a profusion of marine life. You can expect to encounter schooling yellowtails, rainbow-runners, trevally and closer to the reef, groupers, damsels, butterfly fish, scorpion fish and the elusive Spanish dancer nudibranchs can also be sighted here.
This submerge reef is located towards the south of Pulau Aur and Pulau Pinang. The top of the reef begins about 12m and slopes in excess of 25m. If dived under the right circumstances with slight currents, a large number of pelagics including Jacks, fusiliers, barracudas and black tip sharks can be sighted. Among the hard corals and scattered soft corals are wrasses, puffer fish, damsels, lionfish, snappers and in between rocky crevices and lobster.
Pulau Rawa (not to be confused with the island of the same name in Perhentian) 16km off the coast of Mersing offers an amazing dive with offerings of small caves and swim through punctuated with black corals and sea fans. Nurse sharks can be spotted resting in the crevices. The depth range is between 5m and 28m with a visibility of 10m to 20m.
Characterised by quiet, powdery white sand beaches and the promise of spectacular sea views, Pulau Besar is surrounded with such crystal-clear waters that visitors can see the reefs and marine life without even getting wet. Dive sites include Jahat, Sakit Mata and Mata Tikus.
Lying between the channels of Tioman and Aur, Pemanggil is a great stop known for pelagics such as whale sharks, manta rays, martins and even dolphins. There is also the possibility of encounters with lobsters at some of the bays around the island.
Disembark at the Senai International Airport and, from there, take a taxi to the Tanjung Leman jetty.
Take the Transnational at Puduraya bus station from Kuala Lumpur to Mersing, Johor.
From Johor Bahru, take the federal road for a two hour drive to Kota Tinggi towards Mersing, and exit at Tanjung Leman Jetty / Pulau Sibu. From Kuala Lumpur, take the .North-South highway towards the town of Kluang, Johor. Exit at Kulai and follow the road to Kota Tinggi using the Mersing route, and exit at the Tanjung Leman jetty.
Accessibility to the above islands is from the Mersing jetty and Tanjung Leman staging point. Departure from Mersing is dependant on the tide.