DugongSea grass grading
The dugong (also known as a Sea Cow) is a large marine mammal whose range spans the waters of at least 37 countries throughout the Indo-Pacific. It has no dorsal fin or hind limbs, instead possessing paddle-like forelimbs used to manoeuvre itself and a fluked, dolphin-like tail. The dugong is heavily dependent on sea grasses for subsistence and is thus restricted to the coastal habitats where they grow, with the largest dugong concentrations typically occurring in wide, shallow, protected areas such as bays, mangrove channels and the lee sides of large inshore islands.

Seagrasses are flowering plants with the same basic structure as terrestrial (land) plants but they have adapted to live in the sea. Seagrasses are central to a web of life. The seagrass beds are very important because they serve as spawning ground, nursery care center of young fish, primary food source and productive habitats of numerous marine species. The young fish live hiding behind seagrasses in order to conceal themselves from predators. Seagrasses provide food for the dugongs, green sea turtles, mollusks, sea urchins and other marine organisms. Seagrasses produce oxygen; they keep the water clear by trapping sediments, stabilize the sea bottom, prevent erosion and reduce wave energy in fragile environments. The presence of seagrasses indicate a healthy ocean environment because they can only survive in clean water.

Having dived and snorkeled the waters around Sibu Island we knew that there are large areas of sea grass and our boat drivers frequently reported that they had seen "a large animal coming up to the surface to breathe"

Our suspicions were confirmed when a group of Scientists and volunteers from the University of Malaysia approached us to provide dive equipment and assistance for their project of mapping the sea grass fields and grading the quality of the sea grass around the waters of Sibu with a view to begin a replanting operation to attract more Dugong to the area.

The whole resort got enthused with the project, many guests never having heard of a dugong before. The happy band of dugong lovers worked diligently, diving in the shallow waters all day and grading grass in the “Kids Club” laboratory late into each night. On day three they were even rewarded with a dugong sighting!

Kids club laboratory