The Perhentian Islands
Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
394Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
'I can safely say the waistband on my shorts is now sub-rectum..'
We've just got back from one of the best days we've had so far - a full-days tour of the Perhentian Islands including a bumper batch of snorkelling around five magical locations, a superb bite to eat on an island paradise and a dip and a rip in the most perfectly secluded unspoiled tropical beach you could ever hope to find. Seriously, I've never seen anything like this, never thought in my wildest dreams something so pristine, so perfect could possibly exist. Bright white sands, chunky cartoon-like rocks, palm trees shooting off into the sky like rockets and crystal clear emerald waters of a kind that couldn't possibly be represented in a holiday brochure. This is all supposed to be the other way round isn't it? As Nick said, if it gets better than this then I don't wanna know. Cos' it can't, it just can't.
The snorkelling was well worth the 50 beans we shelled out. That's less than a tenner by the way, and to give you an idea of how far that went, here's a quick run down of what we got up to:- a full days scouting around the islands by speedboat for a lengthy snorkel around the five hotspots. Such a high speed out on the boat gave us enough sea breeze for a blissful cooling blast across the crystalline waters of the region, and as we rocketed our way from one island to the other, the ocean parted and sprayed us in its own tantalisingly tropical way. I was sitting portside, quietly, in my own silent awe, mindblown at the surrounding mountains and lush vegetation when Nick turned round and nodded sagely in my direction with a smug satisfied grin across his big farmer's face. 'THIS, is what I left my job for,' he said, and as the others gave an acknowledging chuckle I laughed along too as I felt one of those big balloons of excitement blow up inside my rib cage. ('Me too!')
There's not much point in going into too much detail here, other than I did things and saw things I never expected to see, like diving down for a bit of a wander and coming across a shark poking around the sea bed. It was sleek, sophisticated and actually looked a bit of a menace to be honest. I nearly burst when I saw it, and I don't think I could ever put in to words how a moment like that feels. To be sharing space, underwater, with a f'kng shark!
Then there was Lighthouse Point, where we dived from the concrete tower straight through the middle of a mass of brightly coloured tropical fish. It was like being smothered with living confetti, totally overwhelming.
If this wasn't enough, our third surprise came a bit later on when the skipper spotted something huge in the water next to the boat. Straight away he killed the engine and screamed for us to jump in. I was straight over and under, and there, to my utter joy was a giant turtle, directly beneath us, lunging around for food on the sea bed with the kind of grace only a giant turtle could demonstrate. We swam with it for ages, right behind it, and for a moment I had a lump in my throat. This was something else.
Other than that we've been spending the rest of our time generally kicking about down here on Long Beach - the serenely curved bay on which we're staying. Much of this time has been spent sitting around on the soft white sand surrounded by deeply tanned girls in bright coloured bikinis, people watching, snacking on freshly barbecued fish or just throwing a frisbee about in the warm turquoise sea to while away the day. Got some great sunset pics and came face to face with a huge monitor lizard when I got lost poking around in the jungle. All good. Had a few interesting nights with the Monkey Juice too.
Not all of it was chocolate and roses though. With paradise comes people, and in this case we happened to come across a few proper royal idiots - clueless, arrogant and with absolutely no regard for others. Even ended up toe-to-toe with a guy who forgot his manners, and that never happens.
AND I had my camera stolen, so can't show you any pics of this bright blue diamond island. There were some great ones on there too. So you'll just have to take my word for it when I say: 'this place is gaaaargeous..'