Sunday, July 28, 2013

Miri offers great diving sites

AROUND the hundreds of tropical islands in Malaysia, there is an incredible choice of undiscovered beaches and diving sites.

Given such natural endowments, it’s no surprise Malaysia is regarded as one of the world’s top diving destinations.

Many may not realise that Malaysia has other diving sites just as good as Sipadan, Pangkor and Langkawi – or even better.

For instance, there are great diving sites in and around Miri waters — some 28 of them from Sibuti (Kuala Niah) all the way to Lutong.

Those nearest to the Miri coast are Eve’s Gareden, Azam’s Reef, Seafan Garden, Anemone Garden, Sunday, Siwa, Tusan, Lakim, Atagomaru Wreck, New Reef V and Siwa Oil Rigs.

Other popular spots are Tukau Oil Rig, Barracuda Point, Sri Gadong Wreck, Beting Niah, Batu Butik, Berabok Bubble and Batu Tar.

Home to over 3,000 species of fish, these diving sites cover 100,000km of coral reefs, about 34 per cent of the total worldwide.

Moreover, they are also breeding grounds for 600 of 800 species of coral reefs in the world, making Miri waters the richest in coral reef species as well as marine life.

Underwater structures

Coral reefs are underwater structures made from calcium carbonate secreted by corals and they are colonies of tiny animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients.

Most coral reefs are built from stony corals which, in turn, consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps belong to a group of animals known as cnidaria which also includes sea anemones and jellyfish.

Unlike sea anemones, coral polyps secrete hard carbonate exoskeletons which support and protect their bodies.

Coral reefs are the most diverse and beautiful of all marine habitats. The development of these oceanic structures is aided by algae that are symbiotic with reef-building corals known as zooxanthellae.

Today, Miri waters are attracting divers from foreign countries, especially Japan, Australia and Europe.

The Resort City is fast becoming a sought after diving destination that’s well poised to attract divers not only at home but also from abroad.

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