Singapore's first Dive Trail opens at Sisters’ Islands
Comprising two trails of about 100 metres in length each, they were developed to showcase and encourage a deeper appreciation for Singapore's marine biodiversity.
Nur Afifah Ariffin, Channel NewsAsia
Channel NewsAsia 8 Nov 15;
SINGAPORE: The Sisters’ Islands Marine Park Dive Trail opened to the public on Sunday (Nov 8). Comprising two trails of about 100 metres in length each, they were developed to showcase and encourage a deeper appreciation for Singapore's marine biodiversity.
It takes 20 minutes by boat to get to the site, which is located at Pulau Subar Laut, or the Big Sister's Island.
Dr Karenne Tun, Deputy Director (Coastal and Marine) at National Biodiversity Centre, said: "Generally, because of the location of the islands itself, currents can be very, very strong. So what we have done is select the site that has the most suitable windows for diving. So in a month, we'd probably have the best opportunity to dive at this site."
Each diver will also be given a booklet that can be brought underwater. It is filled with activities divers can do along the two trails, which are marked by signboards to explain the types of marine life in the area.
The shallow trail is about five to six metres deep. Divers can get up close to the soft coral reef, sea urchins, and underwater worms. The shallow trail leads into the deep trail, which can go as deep as 15 metres.
A diver, who manoeuvred through the trails on Sunday, said: "It was a positive and interesting dive experience. I didn't expect this in Singapore waters."
To protect the marine biodiversity, only experienced divers are allowed on the trails. In addition, only dive operators that meet all the criteria set by the National Parks Board can organise dive trips here.
Divers and operators must adhere to certain guidelines, which were set to safeguard the reef. Dr Tun added: "That includes, for example, no touching of animals. Take a photo if you want, but don't touch them.
“Divers need to have at least an advanced level of certification or above so that they are more comfortable diving in an environment that might have slightly stronger currents and low visibility. They also need to have good buoyancy control."
Divers will be guided through 20 stations marked by signs that will bring their attention to the variety of marine biodiversity and reef features present in Singapore’s waters.
Registration opened on Sunday for the next dive window on Nov 22.
LAURA ELIZABETH PHILOMIN Today Online 11 Nov 15;
Scuba divers itching to get underwater without leaving Singapore can now consider Sisters’ Island Marine Park, which opened to divers on Sunday.
Home to a variety of marine life such as sea stars, hard and soft corals, giant clams and clown fishes, the dive site is located at Pulau Subar Laut, or the Big Sister’s Island, which is a 20-minute boat ride out.
Signboards that serve as station markers underwater will guide divers around the two 100m loops about 6m and 15m below the surface. Divers are given underwater educational resources, which they use in simple biodiversity or water visibility surveys. Visibility underwater ranges from 1m to 5m depending on weather conditions — when TODAY visited, visibility was about 2m to 3m and there were strong currents.
Dive windows will be regulated by the National Parks Board (NParks) and interested divers can sign up for limited slots by contacting any of the approved dive operators listed on the Sisters’ Island Marine Park website.
Ms Magdaline Yeo, a recreational diver for 15 years who was part of the first group of divers to visit the dive trail on Sunday, said her dive was “surprisingly enjoyable”.
“I didn’t think there was going to be such biodiversity around and about in Singapore ... And I’m actually quite happy NParks put in such stringent requirements because you can see that it’s quite delicate and definitely needing people who have a bit more experience, with buoyancy especially,” said the 37-year-old architect. LAURA PHILOMIN
More videos about the first public dives
WATCH: Get underwater with our reporter Avril Hong as she explores the newly-opened Sisters' Islands Marine Park Dive Trail. http://bit.ly/1L5ZKTPNParks - Let's Make Singapore Our GardenPosted by 938LIVE on Sunday, 8 November 2015
Dr Karenne Tun, Deputy Director of the National Biodiversity Centre (Coastal & Marine) at NParks - Let's Make Singapore Our Garden, says it could look at developing other dive trails if the response is good. She said this at the opening of the Sisters' Island dive trail.Posted by 938LIVE on Sunday, 8 November 2015
VIDEO: Take a plunge and manoeuvre through Singapore's first Dive Trail, which officially opened today. Afifah Ariffin went underwater to take a look at the marine life. http://bit.ly/1QcpztiPosted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Sunday, 8 November 2015