When we tell divers about Miri, the common responses we have gotten was ” What? Is that abbreviation for miracle?….” Indeed, Miri is a beautiful miracle that we have uncovered…The reefs of Miri are located in two main areas; the shallower Siwa reefs closer to the shore, and the deeper Tukau shoals. Both areas are a thirty to forty minute boat ride from the marina, but there are additional sites closer inshore.
Many types of shrimps can be found within the corals. During March & April, tiny shrimp spawning attracts pelagic groups with occasional whale sharks & manta rays joining in the “feast”. Further offshore on the deeper reefs of Santak and Tukau, the visibility can be over 30 metres. Santak is identified with huge gorgonian fans within the pretty topography lined with beautiful combination of hard, soft and anemones. The top of the reef is about 20m deep with walls drop to depth of 45m on each side. Tukau, on the other hand, has flatter topography. Schools of fusiliers, snappers, jacks, barracuda & butterflyfish are residents to this level terrain. For rays lovers, blue spotted rays can often be found on the sandy patches. If the drift kicks in, this site could be a very fun and relaxing drift dive with lots to
see in almost a 1km long stretch from north to south.
Night dives can be exciting too in Miri with surprises abound in the shallow reef. Crossing path frequently with lone hunting barracuda barely noticeable except for their light bodily gleam. Curious batfishes attracted to your light source might “sniff” closer to check you out. With sharp careful eyes, you might also come across a cat shark sneaking out to hunt; or a family of bump head parrotfish getting to a cosy spot to rest….
The waters off Miri also have their share of history, with two wrecks from World War II located close to shore. While one remain unnamed, the wreck of the Atago Maru can provide a superb wreck dive. The Atago Maru is located 8km from the beach, rests in 14m of water, and has slowly sunk into the sand over the years, so she only shows a few meters of freeboard between the sandy bottom and her deck railings. Effects from monsoon has also drew their marks on this superstructure…
So the next time when someone talks about diving in Miri… you should say “Ah…Yes….Miracle in Miri”…
Rafael Tan Wen Kai
1 year old diver, Eko Divers