Monday, October 8, 2012

TROPICAL ISLE AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA..


Late afternoon on Friday 28th September, the 14 of us boarded the plane from KK LCCT Terminal 2 bound for Tawau.  The 45 minutes flight felt like 15 minutes for I was just about to doze off when the crackling sound of the announcement to land came out breaking my reverie.  My last trip to Tawau was like ages ago and that was for work related trip.  I was looking forward to visiting Tawau again as it would also give me the opportunity to visit my sister and her family of whom I have not met for a long time.  But that would come later as we first had to travel to Semporna to stay for the night before the trip to Sipadan Island.

The 2 vans were waiting for us upon landing at Tawau airport. The driver told us that the journey to Semporna would take about 1 1/2 hours though it later felt like forever.  The journey was mostly on flat land and in between dozes I managed to glimpse vast oil palm plantations.  We were told that we would be staying at the Dragon Inn in Semporna and when arrived, we were pleasantly surprise as the inn was built on the sea which looked like  a floating resort.
 

walkway of the Dragon Inn


.. no time to shop...*sob*

The following morning we woke up early to catch the boat to the islands. After breakfast, we headed for the jetty where the Chairman of Sabah Parks, YB Dr Joachim Gunsalam (now Datuk) and his family were waiting and travelling with us.  Incidentally, this trip was sponsored by Sabah Parks as part of its offer to the Reigning Unduk Ngadau and the Committee who will in turn promote these local tourist destinations.


cloudy day

the other boat... 


children of sea gypsy


the sea is their playground...they can stay underwater for a long time and
catch fish with their bare hands.



the lady tourist was crossing the bridge to get to the other house, saw us watching and gave us a little dance ..hehe



 ..friendly diver tourists at Mabul Island with friendly locals



the other boat.. it was racing  with our boat ...:)


We had earlier been worried as the weather forecast had forecasted a scattered rain and thunderstorm.  But the weather couldn’t have been more perfect.  We set off into 2 boats and out into the open sea we went. The water was a little choppy and the ride was quite rough that at times when the boat hit the large waves, it would bob up and down giving out that loud thud that it felt as though the boat would split into two and my breakfast threatening to spill out.  We finally arrived Sipadan Island after like more than an hour of a see-saw ride. ..phew! Sipadan Island is a small rainforest covered tropical rising from a depth of more than 600 meters from the bottom of the Celebes Sea. It is touted as one of the best diving spot in the world!  

my first glimpse of the famed Sipadan island

to the turtle hatchery

.. out to the open sea releasing the day old baby turtles

 ..Go, baby go!!

of the hundreds released, we were informed that only 70% will survive. 
Others will get eaten by sea predators..

awww... 'sweet young things' - that's Elsie and Mell

                   And  the not so young ladies...
Opps can't remember who they are...hehe


We were received by the Sabah Parks Representative who went on to tell us a little bit about the island. The island is now protected and inhabited by army and Sabah Parks Staff only.   In its effort to preserve the island’s pristine state, the Park since 2005  has ordered all the onsite dive resort operations to move out  and has also limited only 120 divers on the island daily.  

Sabah Parks showed us their turtle hatchery place. This is part of their program to rehabilitate and protect the endangered leather turtles from extinction by collecting the eggs laid by the turtles, placing them in the hatchery and to later release them to the sea.



Some of us later went snorkeling as diving would take a lot preparation of which we were not prepared at all.   We had fun snorkeling saw various types of sea creatures but we unfortunately did not have time to venture and explore more of the place.  In the background, I thought I heard the Sabah Park Ranger warning us not to step on the corals as a piece of coral can take years to form.  Oopss,  sorry but I think I had accidentally knocked onto some when I lost my balance as I tried to remove water that had seeped into my goggle.  In the process, I stumbled due to the weight of the life jacket, teetered over and I felt a sharp pain in my legs. I had grazed my legs on the prized corals! 


..the present from Mr Coral..  :).  I was not alone having this.  We were later given first aid treatment by the Park.

We later said goodbye to the island and left for Sipadan Mabul Resort where we were to have our lunch.  Sipadan Mabul Resort which overlook the turquoise blue sea is nestled in a coconut grove on the south-east of Mabul Island. After our lunch, we headed home with a stopover at majestic Kapalai Resort and the stunning Bohey Dulang Island.

 'bye Sipadan


..did I say Mabul Island is nestled in a coconut grove...


a stopover at the beautiful Kapalai Resort


.. price to stay at this stunning place is beyond reach for ordinary folks like me.
Government servants are given special rates though....lucky 







 above : Kapalai Resort, floating man-made Sandbox...
 God's spectacular creations...
the soft gentle breeze and wide crystal clear open sea
 as far as your eyes can see
 under the clear blue skies

 ..the Bohey Dulang Isle..note the cyan coloured waters
Hope someday to join a Photography Safari at this island..

sea weed  - a pure marine-packed collagen

..still young giant clams.. 


..the Sleeping Lady Isle, sleeping peacefully. 
could not help noticing the twin peaks ... hahaha..isn't she gorgeous!?



goodbye Bohey Dulang.. hope to visit again someday

We arrived Semporna almost 5:00 pm and headed direct to Tawau where the Tawau Kadazan Community there accorded us a grand dinner reception.  



A LESSON ON LIFE FROM DAD...

Just sharing this beautiful message received from a friend through WhatsApp which I think also received from someone. Guess it has been ...