Sunday, June 11, 2017

New dive site discovered at Vernon Banks in Labuan

LABUAN: Labuan could well be the next underwater paradise for scuba divers from all over the world with more unique dive sites being discovered, including the latest one the Vernon Bank dive site’.

The new dive site,  located over 40 nautical miles off north Labuan was first discovered about five years ago by an engineer turned boat operator Ahmad Nasir Othman, 60,  who has been taking anglers there.

However, it was  Clement Lee, and his diving colleagues who explored the pristine reef for the first time in April 2017.

The Labuan born Lee, 65, is the Tourism Malaysia Ambassador for the diving segment (2017-2019) and is an internationally renowned diver as well.

Based on his observation there, he believes the dive site has the potential to be on par with other popular scuba dive sites across the globe.

“The new dive site has its own uniqueness compared with other internationally renowned dive sites and it is certainly a great site to be explored,” he said  adding that this new dive site is different from the much sought after dive sites of Sipadan and Mabul islands in Sabah when it comes to the marine species and underwater landscape.

The Vernon Bank is stated in the old British admiralty charts and publication and the site has a number of rare marine species like the porcelain crab, fishes like the bubble Goby and the colourful Nudi branch among others.

Vernon Bank’s uniqueness

Under good weather, with a twin engine 115HP boat, the journey to Vernon Bank from the Labuan marine jetty takes about one and half hours.

“I did not discover the Vernon Bank site but we heard of it many months ago. Hence, we have been planning to dive at the site since last year with our diving team.

“Yet we had to postpone our intention many times due to our tight schedule and the weather.

“Me and the other divers including Miri based Co.Co.Dive general manager, Ross Kelly, and the diving centre’s Labuan-based manager Roy Jak Ngau finally reached Vernon Bank on April 26 and again on May 1.”

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