5 Weird And Wonderful Marine Creatures To See On A Dive In South-East Asia

6th December 2019

The areas we visit on our South-East Asia cruises (Simian Islands, Indonesia, etc.) are some of the best places on the planet to explore the world beneath the waves. Exotic sealife is waiting to be discovered and a Star Clippers sailing offers plenty of time for diving and snorkelling.

So, whether you find yourself in the Similan Islands or Senggigi Beach, here are some weird and wonderful marine creatures to look out for.



Chances are you may not have ever heard of a nudibranch, but these little molluscs are likely to be the most colourful sighting on any dive. Known as the ‘Jewels of the Sea’, they are born with a shell and then shed this to reveal vibrant shades of yellow, blue and orange. The strange name comes from a combination of the Latin words for ‘naked’ and ‘gills’ and there are around 3,000 different species known to scientists.

Tioman Walking Catfish


Officially known by the Latin name Clarias Batu, Tioman Island off the coast of Malaysia is the only place you’ll find this curious sea creature. Quite undistinctive to look at, the catfish earns its charm and name by the fact that it can ‘walk’ on its fins from one pool to another.

Whale Shark

Whale Shark

Although the sighting of a whale shark is very rare, it sits right at the top of many divers’ list of things they hope to see. These gentle giants are the largest fish in our oceans, making the chance to swim alongside them an experience that you will never forget. Iconic for the way they open their gaping mouths to feed on small crustaceans, your best chance of spotting one is in the waters around Ko Tao in April/May or September/October.


Sunfish (Mola)

Also known as the Balinese Sunfish, Molas are another creature of the deep that you physically won’t be able to miss. They’re easily recognisable by the way that their bodies are flat, making them appear bullet-shaped. Two large fins protrude from both the top and bottom of their bodies, making them just as tall as they are long. Many people mistakenly believe the name comes from their round physique, but it’s actually a nod to the way they like to ‘sunbath’ on the surface of the water during warmer months.


Harlequin Sweetlips

Our final fishy fellow on the list will bring some more colour to your diving or snorkelling session. Sweetlips, so-called for their protruding soft lips, come in a variety of different species and can be found all over the Indo-Pacific. Living in small groups or pairs, they gather around the crevices of coral reefs to feed on invertebrates like shrimps and crabs.

Juveniles tend to be more colourful that adults; for example, the harlequin sweetlips starts life red with white spots but later develops a much darker skin colour with black spots. Scientists have also observed youngsters undulating through the water so that they mimic poisonous flatworms and therefore escape predators.

If you are a keen diver or you enjoy water sports like snorkelling, a Star Clippers cruise will be perfect for you. Speak to the team today to discuss our South-East Asia cruises and see where we can take you. You can call us on 0845 200 6145 or use our online chat.

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