Lang Tengah reef: Degrees of degradation

By Norlida Kamarulzaman

Lang Tengah, an island in the east coast of Terengganu was the destination for the marine group from July 28-30, 2001.

The island itself was quite unspoiled still since there were only two resorts on the island. Sadly, the underwater situation was a little different. At all the spots that we dived around the island, different degrees of degradation of coral reefs have occurred. Compared to some five years ago, the number of fish and other sea creatures seemed to be less.

The cause of this could not be determined without extensive studies made but it could be due to the development of the resorts on the island. Some may also be due to the careless and destructive behaviour of several divers and snorkellers.

During one of the snorkeling trips, one snorkeller (not in our group) stood on a beautiful table coral and fortunately, the chalet snorkeling organiser saw him and ordered him to stop immediately. It was obvious that some visitors were really ignorant on conservation matters and could not even be bothered to find out about them.

Below are some first hand accounts from members who went on the trip:

“The diving was not fantastic. Plenty of dead corals and what is surprising is that there were many table corals turned upside down. They were intact. Who did this? When?

Also surprising was that many of the giant clams were isolated in sandy patches, and not embedded in coral. Some were lying on their sides so goody-two-shoes put them facing up and tried to lodge them.

There was a trek to a rocky outcrop about half an hour from Square Point. The view there was spectacular and so we decided to do the trek again the last morning if only to take a few pictures for memory. At this point there existed a geological oddity. A strip of black igneous volcanic rock about three feet wide ran from the top of the exposed rock into the sea. Millions of years ago this area must have been volcanic.”

– Otto

“The trip to Pulau Lang Tengah was our first activity since joining MNS in June this year. It was an eye-opener for us because not only did we have fun, but we also learned to appreciate what Mother Nature had to offer!

We were occupied with strenuous activities such as snorkeling, trekking and rock-climbing. It was indeed an exhilarating experience, testing our stamina and coping with fear. We met a group of interesting people, each of them with unique knowledge to share.

The island itself was a breath-stopper! White sandy beaches, crystal clear water and various species of sea creatures. We look forward to joining the Marine group in their future activities.”

– Cww/P.fong

“Lang Tengah is a typical tropical island as described by weng/p.fong, except for the coconut trees. We had fresh coconut from the tree. Here, it was not only about beautiful landscape but nice people too. I always remind myself how fortunate and wonderful that I stand at the cross-road seeing the battle of urbanisation and conservation; vis-à-vis our survival- beauty appreciation.”

– Jojo