Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Aur Island And Dayang Island Spectacular Diving

Aur Island or Pulau Aur is located 65 km east of Mersing on the east coast of Johor. Together with surrounding islands Pulau Dayang, Pulau Lang and Pulau Pinang, it makes up for about half of Johor Marine park. The blue waters here are deeper than around the inner islands. Due to its remoteness from the mainland, visibility is excellent and sightings of big pelagics are common.

 Historically Aur Island Aur has been known to Chinese sailors for centuries. A map printed in the 17th century, which derived its information from the famous voyages of Admiral ZhengHe in the 15th century, identifies Aur as two island (as indeed it does appear to be from a distance) according to its two peaks, Xi Zhu Shan (west bamboo mountain) and Dong Zhu Shan (east bamboo mountain).

In the 19th Century, Aur harboured a thriving population of about 1,400 inhabitants consisting of fishermen, traders and slaves. The islands were an ideal location for pirates to run their business of pillaging, ravaging, slave trading and even sinking a great number of boats during fierce raids with foreign boats on their way to Indonesia or to Thailand and beyond.

However, cost of boat rentals is high and scuba diving has been possible only in groups pre-arranged by dive shops in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Spectacular dive sites include Teluk Teluran with large undulating corals which are home to various octopuses, crabs and moray eels  the Ming dynasty wreck at Teluk Mariam and the wall diving at Pulau Pinang, which is also good for drift diving.

The main kampung on Aur is Kampung Teluk Berhala. Everyone seems to be related to each other.
There's a school, a police station, a small surau, a balai raya and a jetty there. There's also the friendly Makcik Fatimah who owns the only grocery store in the village. It may be small but it is well-stocked. There's also the only public telephone on the island, solar powered and accepts only telephone cards. According to the locals the telephone is unreliable. Further south is another cove called Teluk Sebukang. It's quite hard to reach by foot so a boat ride is advisable. Just go to the jetty and ask any available boatman his schedule. For a price, you can take a boat ride to the nearby island of Dayang or other villages on Pulau Aur Island.

Accommodation is available only on Aur Island and Dayang Island In Malaysian Pulau Dayang and Pulau Aur. Amenities are pretty basic as electricity to the rooms is limited and there is no hot running water. It is a popular getaway for divers based in Singapore for which reason it can be quite busy at weekends. However, you may have the island practically to yourself on weekdays.


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