Snorkelling at Abang Island
Clear turquoise seas? Colourful corals? Deserted tropical islands with palm trees and mangroves? Snorkelling at Abang Island in Indonesia had all that and more!
Yes to all of the above!
And this would be a great chance to try out my new underwater camera! The video is below.
While on our visit to Singapore, I wanted to go snorkelling. However, this proved a bit tricky. We looked at Singapore itself and couldn’t find anywhere. Also, we looked north into Malaysia but things were just too far away. However looking south, to the island of Batam in Indonesia, a 40-minute ferry ride from Singapore, we found the perfect place on the Enjoy Batam website, snorkelling at Abang Island.
The snorkelling was the initial reason we broke up our Singapore trip with a few days in Indonesia and, to be honest, I am so glad we did! Our break in Indonesia got us away from the city for the weekend and provided a fantastic contrast.
Also, and let us not be coy about this, Indonesia is extremely cheap compared to Singapore.
All equipment supplied
From our resort near Sekupang, we made our own way in a taxi to Batam Centre. Taxis are cheap comparatively and it was about £8/$10 for the 30-minute ride. We were picked up from the centre of Batam by the snorkelling company and an hour or so ride in a minibus took us to a rickety old dock.
I loved the drive, it was a chance to see the scenery and the locals. Like other Asian countries, everybody seems to own some sort of scooter or motorbike. I equalled my personal record too of how many people I have seen fit on a motorbike.
Four, just in case you are wondering.
From the rickety dock, the sunset picture at the bottom of the article, a boat transfer took us to the snorkelling HQ. This is situated in a fishing village on stilts! Thi was very much a non-tourist place. All the people on the trip too, bar us were Indonesians. Bali and the main places where tourists go are a million miles away from this little fishing village and indeed, the whole of Batam.
There, we received an extremely comprehensive 15-minute safety briefing. It’s just a shame it was all in Indonesian and we didn’t understand a word of it! Luckily, there was a lady on the trip who did speak a little English so she translated the salient points for us.
‘Don’t touch anything and leave only bubbles’
Pretty succinct and wise, I will take her advice to heart!
Now, some might have a little trouble with the non-English side of things but I don’t mind it at all. The language barriers can make it fun! As I am the traveller, it’s up to me to understand the local language, not the other way around. Some English speakers, and please do excuse the generalization, tend to be lazy and expect the world to speak English. And yes, we don’t speak Indonesian.
Between the two of us we can get by in most western and eastern European languages but Asian languages are beyond us!
Out of the comfort zone!
I just thought this was a point worth noting if you fancy going on this trip. From a western point of view it may be outside your comfort zone but even so, I urge you to try the snorkelling at Abang Island – it is so unspoilt!
As can be seen below, the dock was on stilts as was the fishing village, it’s a different way of life. A new, solid dock is being built but it wasn’t finished yet.
Collecting our snorkelling gear, fins, life jacket, and shoes, we were soon all kitted up. Although, we have our own full face masks which we used. These masks, I feel, give a better all-around view when under the water. It’s just my personal preference.
Check the Amazon link at the bottom of the page if you fancy buying one, they are surprisingly cheap!
Then, it was time to get back on the boat and head out to start our Snorkelling at Abang Island. This is where my video starts from.
We were going to make several stops at various pristine snorkelling locations with lunch supplied on a deserted tropical island. You know, talcum powder white sands, turquoise water, the whole desert island thing! I was a very excited chap!
Our first stop was just to show people how to use the equipment for those who have not snorkelled before. But after this brief lesson, we got straight into it. As can be seen below, the video shows more than my words can ever explain or do it justice.
Fantastic corals with white sands, fish swimming etc. That is why I made the video. Although notably, while Snorkelling at Abang Island there were not as many fish as we have seen in other places we have snorkelled, like the Caribbean or Mauritius.
We also saw a dolphin from the boat that day, it was amazing. All the snorkelling spots we were taken to were well stocked with corals not far from the beaches of the islands. The only time we went ashore was for lunch.
The corals are fantastic and with the aid of a purple filter on my action camera and a bit of colour correction in post-processing, the video gives a true and accurate representation of the colours.
We spent a good 5 hours at the various snorkelling spots and with a break for lunch and all the travelling between, it made for about a 12 hour day.
Don’t tread on these! The tour company provides footwear as well as fins against these critters. Apparently, if we did get spiked, the way to deal with it was to swim back to the boat and hit near the puncture wound with your snorkel until it bleeds. Fortunately, I didn’t have to try this!
A filter is generally required for filming underwater as the red light is quickly blocked by the water leaving a blue cast. Depending on your depth, depends on the colour of the filter required. You can see this in the video as the deeper you look the bluer the colour.
All this was filmed with a £30 action camera and a £5 filter! No massive expense here! I’ll put links to the kit I used at the bottom of the article as always. I used a purple filter. Also, I tried a yellow one but that gave out a too strong yellow cast. I suspect that one would be better at a different depth.
The beach shots were taken with a combination of a Nikon D7200 and 10-20mm Lens and for the panoramas, a Samsung S8 phone was used. I love the panorama feature on this phone it makes for really striking photos. Also, the non-underwater video was taken on the Samsung S8. If photography is your bag, check out my bag!
Snorkelling at Abang Island – Conclusions
The trip was so worth it. if you are in Singapore or Indonesia and want to do some snorkelling go for this like I shot! I would happily do this again!
I am always looking for great snorkelling locations so if you know any, leave a comment at the bottom of the page and let me know!
For the snorkelling and the transport, it cost about £65 for the two of us.
Link to Tour Company – http://galangbahari.com/ The website is in Indonesian so google translate will be your friend here. We used WhatsApp to contact them. Find the details at this link.
For more of our Singapore and Indonesia travels
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