The Redang Archipelago, Terengganu's central marine park, is
Malaysia's oldest and most studied. It comprises nine islands, Pulau Redang itself
is the largest, Pulau Pinang is much smaller and there are seven islets, Pulau Kerengga
Besar, Pulau Kerengga Kecil, Pulau Paku Besar, Pulau Paku Kecil, Pulau Ekor Tebu,
Pulau Ling (also called Pulau Chipor) and Pulau Lima.
Situated 45km northeast of Kuala Terengganu by ferry, this area has good visibility
and the most prolific coral reefs in Peninsular Malaysia. Off Pulau Ling, there are
two huge boulder corals (Porites Sp.), the largest known coral structures off Peninsular
Malaysia. Porites corals grow very slowly so these massive structures could be hundreds
of years old.
Staghorn, table and boulder corals dominate the shallow reef flats and coral gardens,
soft corals, encrusting corals and sea anemones are found on the steep granite cliffs.
Hawksbill and Green turtles nest along the west coast of Pulau Redang and the remarkable
variety of jellyfish attract passing Leatherback turtles. The largest of the marine
turtles, the Leatherbacks used to nest regularly on Terengganu's beaches but are
now relatively rare. Reef fish and pelagic species are plentiful with many of the
smaller fish shoaling in large numbers. Manta Rays and Whale Sharks are often encountered.
One of the exciting aspects of diving at Pulau Redang is being able to find a large
variety of shrimps. Many species of shrimps thrive commensally with larger creatures,
mainly acting as cleaners. Living on their hosts' waste products or as parasites
they blend in with the host for protection.