Finding Nemo....Part Two
Trip Start Jun 15, 2004
105Trip End Jun 15, 2005
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Arrive in Kota Bahru, on route to the Islands, at 5 in the morning, with the intention of catching the bus to the ferry port - but as theres a couple of hours to wait, agree to share a taxi with 2 Irish girls, but then the price keeps changing - 24 RM, 28, 36, 28, and then, when we agree, its up to 40 - walk down the street, find a guy who will take us for 28, who then gets an earful of the guy trying to get us to pay 40!
"Ferry Port" is perhaps an overstatement - more hut by the side of the river, and boat that is to take us the 2 hour journey looks only suitable for rivers.
Arrive at the Islands, after 3 hours (many drop offs around the islands), to beautiful weather, stunning beaches. There are no roads on the Islands, just a dozen or so beaches, and you simply choose which one you want to stay at, a smaller boat comes along side, you board that, and your off.
Chose Long Beach, the busier of the bays, as had been told it was the only place with anything to do in the evenings. Lot of accomodation fully booked, but find an OK place, though shower / toilet block leaves a lot to be desired!
Friday 17th September 2004
Snorkelling day - an organised trip is the best way to see the best snorkelling areas - you could hire water taxis on your own, or kayak out, but this way is so much easier.
Water here is the most crystal clear so far - feels like you can see forever - beautiful coral and fish, onto Turtle Bay, wher, luckily, they have turtles, and amazing to look down and see these huge magnificent creatures crawling along the bottom, and then swim up to the top for air, with me swimming alongside them.
Sharks clearly cant read as well as turtles, as at Shark Point...there were no sharks, or, they have read all about my skills wth an AK47. Tons of fish, who swarmed around you when the boatman dropped food in the water, with the odd fish mistaking me for food.
Went to final site, and did, fleetingly, see a shark, deep down, and running away. Cleverly managed to get sunburnt...cant understand it...lying in the water all day...
Saturday 18th September 2004
Sunburn took its toll - diving was out for today, and hence just lazed around - saw huge meter long lizard simply amble by my chalet, walked to the other side of the island to Coral Bay (yes, theres coral there), lounged on the beach, bumped into a few more lizards on the walk back.
Also had my first beer - probably about 7/8 restaurants at this bay, of which only 2 serve beer - felt like I hadnt had one in ages...but it was only two days
Sunday 19th September 2004
Back to diving! As I've said, the water is so clear here, its puts Thailand to shame, and Thailand was pretty good.
Very relaxed diving operation - get your kit, and go, in small boat, where you enter the water falling backwards instead of standing as in Kho Pha Ngan.
Great to be back in the water again - tons of different fish, but I did chase around too much, and used too much air, so ended up surfacing 10 minutes early.
Dive 2 in the afternoon was too a shipwreck - only four years old, so no gold bullion, but still attracts lots of fish, and has the beginnings of coral growing. Amazing to swim down the side of the boat, in some cargo areas, chasing the fish out.
Only danger area was the tons of jellyfish hanging around - kinda scrawny looking, but you had to watch every where you went
Really good dive, and didnt use up my air too fast this time, though the weather had changed by the time we surfaced - very choppy and chucking it down...just added to the fun of it - for some reason other people wanted to get to the boat quickly, but I was happy floating away!
Monday 20th September 2004
At 10 pounds a dive, its criminal not to dive more - I wont find it any cheaper amy where else, so a day further of diving - 2 more dives, lots more fish, a turtle, and some amazing coral. Only problem was on final dive, I was chasing around again, and used up too much air, so surfaced 10 minutes early.
Have now done the total of 13 dives since I started to learn to dive - just have Australian dives, NZ dives, Fiji Dives, to go!
I passed my three month mark on the 15th - 40 days in Thailand, 12 Laos, 22 Vietnam, 10 Cambodia, and 9 in Malaysia(so far).
THE BEST THING YOU COULD EVER DO IN YOUR LIFE!!
Tuesday 21st September 2004
As no diving today, could finally unleash on beer last night, so surfaced at 11:30 to catch my 12.00 boat - 2 hours on the same rickety boat, though bar one other passenger, empty.
On arrival, wanted to go to the local town, Kular Besit, to catch night bus to KL, but taxi guy persuaded me to go to Pasir Puteh, larger town, more buses, and same taxi fare
Glad I took his advice - was going to walk to the local town..not realising it was 18km away. That Pasir Puteh was in the muslim dominated east was not in doubt the minute you stepped off the bus - large poster clearly stating women should cover up.
Soon became clear I was the only westerner in town as well - and I had 6 hours to kill - no internet, so spent my time in restaurants, where the locals who spoke English would take it in turns to come and have a chat with me, have a drink, go, and then the next one would turn up.
Waitress took too much interest in me as well - in full burkha (its not called that here but you get the idea), she advise I'm very handsome, and presents me with her address to write to - and asks for mine - not having the presence of mind to give an address in Whitefields, Manchester, I actually gave her my address (I couldnt think how to lie!!), so Mr Kelly can probably expect a visitor at some point. Didnt think it would be culturally acceptable for her to do that here, but you learn every day - unfortunately she wasnt exactly stunning...and as I'm so handsome ,my choices must be limitless...........