Scuba Diving trip at Lazarus Island
Diving in Lazarus, Singapore
Lazarus Island, also known as Pulau Sakijang Pelepah, is one of the Southern Islands in Singapore. It is south of Singapore’s main island, off the Straits of Singapore, and is uninhabited. Lazarus Island is currently connected with St John’s Island by a causeway. Together with Pulau Seringat, the total land area is approximately 47 ha. Lazarus island offers a quiet environment from the big city with a laid-back ambiance, sandy beaches, and inviting waters. The water currents can be quite intense and are highly recommended only for experienced divers.
Lazarus Island has spectacular views, and it is proof that there is more to Singapore than its popular urban tourist spots. It is hardly crowded and is the real definition of secret beauty. It is also a great place to shop for dive gear. PADI Dive Centers extremely well serve it. Local sites are worth exploring, no matter your level of experience, and it’s a perfect place to plan a more extended dive trip to some of the world’s best dive sites in nearby countries.
Lazarus has some well-known and numerous diving opportunities, and you are bound to have fun over and beyond what you would ever expect. It is considered one of Singapore’s best-kept secrets and is a perfect place for all explorers, especially the divers in Singapore. It is also considered a haven for the divers since nothing is left to chance regarding divers’ safety. The dive crew consists of many highly qualified and experienced PADI Instructors and Divemasters, all fully certified in Emergency First Response procedures.
The affordable rates and excellent services offered make it the best destination to have fun and go low on costs. There are some gems hidden that are definitely worth the trip. Local dive shops available offer tours to nearby sites for the divers. Nudi branch are often seen, on these treks, sometimes in big and other times in small groups. harlequin sweetlips also move along the sandy bottoms, and getting up close to one of these incredible creatures is sure to be a lifetime experience.
Diving in Lazarus Island not only results in having fun, but one can see the wondrous magic of life underwater. Although visibility can be a challenge on some days, the diversity of marine life here is fantastic. It gives one the perfect realization of the beauty and importance of animals that live underwater, no matter how small. You get the opportunity to see first-hand nature, feeding techniques, and how these living things survive as a whole. Only a diver can tell the beauty that lies under the water on this island.
There are hard and soft corals and plenty of macro life, including many strange and beautiful nudibranchs. Tidal currents are a factor here, and alert divers who can manage to look up from the reef may spot sharks or turtles. The place is more comfortable to access although it could have many people, especially during the weekends and holidays.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit the global diving industry hard, as many countries shut their borders and restricted travel to slow the virus spread. Singapore has not been spared either, and is pulling out all the stops to revive its crucial airline industry.
However, there is a hidden gem for scuba diving beginner to learn scuba diving course in Singapore at this period of time. Lazarus is 20min boat ride from marina south pier, scuba-do dive centre conducting open water dive course almost everyweek.
I firmly believe that learning and enjoying scuba diving doesn’t require you to spend money like there’s no tomorrow.
Most Singaporeans will get their Open Water certification in Tioman Island. However since we cannot travel, the only option is to take the course in local waters. generally, there are two diving spots in Singapore, Pulau Hantu & Lazarus Island. Of course, you can charter your own private boat with friends if budget is not an issue for you. Taking an open water course in Singapore will cost you around $S650-$750 and min 10 years old to sign up.
Which dive shop should you get certified at?
Diving in Singapore is generally affordable, but prices vary. You can save a bit if you opt for SSI Open Water over the more well-known PADI. It’s basically the same course and just as widely recognised. With PADI, you can also do free e-learning for the theoretical part before you travel, cutting down time in the classroom and maximising your time in the water.
After you’re certified
After you get certified, you’ll probably get bitten by the diving bug and start planning your next trip right away. When you’re a newbie it’s easy to get swept up in “superstar” destinations like Raja Ampat, Similan islands and the Maldives. What you’ll realise is that many of these are secluded destinations that really are expensive to get to. A diving trip to such places will set you back thousands of dollars.
To keep costs well under $1,000, there are two main aspects to consider while planning your trip: the cost of the trip itself (flights, accommodation) and the cost of diving at your chosen destination.
Should you buy scuba diving equipment in Singapore?
There’s a ton of gear involved in scuba diving. Broadly, you can divide them into two categories. There’s the “soft gear” like mask, snorkel, fins and wetsuit. Then there’s the more specialised technical gear like air tanks, regulator, BCD (buoyancy control device) and dive computer.
Here’s a list of common diving equipment and ballpark pricing if you buy them at specialty retailers.
|Item||Things to look out for||Price|
|Mask||Good fit with no leaks
Made of tempered glass (not plastic) to prevent cracking
|Snorkel||Good fit with no leaks
|Fins||Flexible flippers are better
Adjustable open heel style is more comfortable
|$25 to $60|
|Wetsuit + boots||2mm shorty is sufficient for tropical dives
May need diving boots for shore diving or colder waters
|$100 to $200 (wetsuit)
From $30 (boots)
|Weights + belt||The more experienced you are, the less weight you need||From $50|
|Tanks||Not recommended to buy your own because of the cost of transport & maintenance||Over $500|
|Regulator||—||$130 to $200|
|BCD||Not recommended to buy your own because of the cost of transport & maintenance||From $300|
|Dive computer||—||From $200|
If you’re just starting out, there isn’t any reason to buy any gear as most dive shops include rental in the price. However, certain operators may charge extra for “soft gear” rental like masks and snorkels.
After diving a few times, you’ll start to figure out what works for you and might want to buy your own mask, snorkel and wetsuit for comfort. For example, I don’t dive in full wetsuits anymore. I usually wear a 2mm surfing wetsuit top and board shorts (leggings if it’s cold) instead. Because this is less buoyant than a full wetsuit, I don’t need as much weight on my belt.
An important note on scuba diving safety!
While it’s nice to get a good deal on an expensive hobby like scuba diving, I cannot overstate the importance of safety.
When you dive with a dive shop, you’re basically putting your life in their hands. Apart from checking out the dive shop’s reviews and pricing, you should ideally also check out their operations to make sure you can really trust them.
It’s worth paying a bit more for:
- Experienced staff who know what they’re doing
- Communicative attitude, willing to answer your questions and listen to any qualms you have
- A small divemaster-to-diver ratio (1 to 4 is the highest I’d go)
- Well-maintained equipment and boats
If anything makes you feel uncomfortable, walk away!
Also, when scuba diving it’s extremely important to buy the right travel insurance. Make sure that (a) scuba diving is covered to the depth you’re diving and (b) the insurer is known for good emergency assistance. In the unlikely event that you need to be whisked off to the nearest decompression chamber, you’ll be glad to have spent a few bucks more on good travel insurance.
Two dives at Lazaus Islands. The dive sites will be selected on the day based on the tides and currents.
Location: Marina South Pier
745am: Board the Charter ferry at marina south pier
830am: Dive one
1030am: Dive two
Dive Site Information
Water Temp: 28-30 degrees Celsius
Visibility: 1-8 metres
Air Temp; 28-30 degrees Celsius