Full Frame

Katherine Lu - The Hantu Collection

The Hantu Collection – Singapore’s best kept secret for macro lovers

Situated to the South, not far away from the center of Singapore’s central business district, lies a small island called Pulau Hantu. Only 20 minutes by boat from the west coast of Singapore, Pulau Hantu means “Ghost Island” in Malay and is where ancient warriors once dueled to the death. The island is uninhabited, with swaying palm trees and white sandy beaches. This idyllic image is juxtaposed against the Shell oil refinery that sits across the channel on Pulau Bukom.

Many divers in Singapore only know Pulau Hantu from their open water days. And for the beginner the perception that is left behind is green water, poor visibility and nothing to see. The truth is the visibility is not good averaging 3-4m, but for the more experienced diver or photographer what you will find is a macro haven of critters to be discovered. Diving in Pulau Hantu is very relaxed and is usually done in buddy pairs off the dive boat. The reef slopes onto a silty sandy bottom which is where we do our “muck diving”. The dives are generally shallow between 10-15m depending on the site and tides.

For macro, Hantu is a best kept secret. The reef is rich with hard and soft corals and the marine life is varied and seasonal. We have seen a wide variety of nudibranchs, sea slugs, common seahorses, tiger shrimp, frog fish, clown fish, coconut octopus, pygmy squid, bobtail squid, cuttlefish, turtles, banded sea krait, bamboo sharks, and even a juvenile bamboo shark the size of my palm. For the regulars who dive there it never ceases to amaze us what we might find. Take for instance, the Doto greenamyeri aka the “Donut Doto”. This photogenic nudibranch is highly sought out by photographers and many will go to Bali to shoot it. This year we discovered it for the very first time with eggs and it became a new Singapore record. It has been regularly sighted over the past several months so hopefully it is here to stay.

So if you enjoy photographing macro or find yourself on a Singapore holiday stop-over, you might want to consider diving Pulau Hantu the next time.

Find more of Katherine’s photography here.

Whip goby

Whip goby

*Phyllodesmium sp.*

Phyllodesmium sp.

Bent stick pipefish

Bent stick pipefish

*Bornella anguilla*

Bornella anguilla

*Doto sp.*

Doto sp.

*Tenellia sibogae*

Tenellia sibogae

Gorgonian shrimp *Hamodactylus sp.*

Gorgonian shrimp Hamodactylus sp.



Shaun the sheep or *Costasiella sp.*

Shaun the sheep or Costasiella sp.

Pygmy squid

Pygmy squid

Pikachu of thecacera sp.

Pikachu of thecacera sp.

*Sakuraeolis kirembosa*

Sakuraeolis kirembosa

Placida sp.

Placida sp.

*Stilliger sp.*

Stilliger sp.

*Tambja sp.* with eggs

Tambja sp. with eggs

*Tamja sp.*

Tamja sp.