The dive site is located to the northeast of Pulau Tenggol. Access by dive boat should take less than 10-15 minutes, although there seemed to be a problem with one of the boat engines that we got to the dive site much later than expected. The dive site is adorned by spectacular boulder rocks and near-vertical cliffs.
The dive profile can be considered to be straightforward. Tanjung Api is located between two other dive sites known as Coral Garden and Sri Nakhoda. The island should always be to the left of the diver, and as long as the divers adhere to a good diving depth of between 20-25 metres, there should be less worries on being swept away to the open sea.
Visibility was somewhat poor at between 5-10 metres only. Average bottom time was about 40-45 minutes.
The dive started quite well as I descended to the end section of the dive site called Coral Garden. The visibility was probably much better than the rest of the dive. The scene was rather brilliant with a superb collection of soft and hard corals such as Millepora sp., mushroom coral (Sarcophyton sp.), lobe corals (Porites solida) that were dotted with colourful Christmas tree worms (Spirobranchus giganteus), soft finger corals of Sinularia sp., plate rice corals (Montipora capitata), whip gorgonians (Junceella sp.), etc.
In term of fish species, there were quite a healthy dose of them, although my earlier dive at Tokong Timur was decidedly better. A few minutes after the descent, I was greeted by schooling yellowback fusiliers (Caesio teres) that gathered over a large coral head. A companion diver dropped a few bits and pieces of bread, hoping that the yellowback fusiliers would cram the place. Oddly, it proved to be a futile attempt as the yellowback fusiliers seemed unperturbed by such unnatural act of feeding. Suddenly, a six-banded angelfish (Pomacanthus sexstriatus) appeared in sight, and I spared no time to capture a shot. Among the schooling yellowback fusiliers was also a lonely longfin bannerfish (Heniochus acuminatus) which I normally encountered in pairs or large family. There was also a raccoon butterflyfish (Chaetodon lunula) which striking colours struck my attention immediately. This was probably among the few dive sites that I have encountered there different species of angelfish. Apart from the six-banded angelfish that I saw earlier, I also ran into a pair of blue-ringed angelfish (Pomacanthus annularis) and an extremely rare find of emperor angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator) which is probably the most ornamented of the species. Last but not least, I saw a highfin coralfish (Coradion altivelis) which is probably a subset of the butterflyfish family.
As mentioned earlier, the dive profile is flanked by a sloping reef crest on one side and the wide open sea on the other. Our dive guide did warn us about not going beyond the allowable diving depth as it was easier to descend deeper with such dive profile. Luckily for me, the visibility was rather poor that I found no real incentive to venture further down. There was a particular section of the dive that had an extreme thermo cline that it changed from snuggly warm water to sudden near-freezing. It was said that such condition is favoured by manta rays, but who was I kidding. With such poor line of sight and my recent out-of-luck misses with the big kinds, a dream encounter with manta rays was only a dream, pun intended.
Along the sloping reef crest, I found a dose of soft corals of wide varieties. There were plenty of the usual soft finger corals from Sinularia sp. with occasional spots of sea anemones (Heteractis magnifica), branching gorgonian sea fans (Acabaria sp.), small-polyped gorgonians (Paramuricea clavata), branching leather soft corals (Litophyton sp.), mushroom leather corals (Sarcophyton trocheliophorum), etc. Among other marine organism that I saw on the reef slope were black star feathers (Comanthina sp.), coxcomb oyster (Lopha cristagalli), dorid nudibranch (Chromodoris quadricolor) and black sea cucumber (Stichopus chloronotus), etc. The sea anemones at the dive site seemed to be filled with the rare Clark's anemonefish (Amphiprion clarki) rather than the usual false clown anemonefish.
Overall, it was a fairly easy dive with barely discernible currents. I was rather disappointed with the poor visibility and the lack of any big encounters.