Conference suite included...
12.08.2009 - 17.08.2009
The blue water twinkled as our speedboat bounced over it, hammering back down hard enough to elicit a groan from some of my fellow passengers. Sitting in the bow of the ship, the salty wind making a bird's nest of my hair, I was loving it.
The east coast of Malaysia receded into the distance as we approached the twin islands of Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil. It was Kecil I was headed for and even from a distance I could see it was my most idyllic destination yet. The sand was fine and cream coloured, the shallow water turquoise and the palm trees which lined the beach rustled in the breeze. OK, it might have been a little short on accommodation, but I really enjoyed sharing the floor of an air conditioned conference suite with 7 other people!
I mainly spent my days in paradise snorkeling. From the very first try I was hooked by the fascinating and beautifully exotic underwater world that revealed itself to me. When I saw my first neon fish I followed it for 10 minutes not realising I would see hundreds of them by the end of the week. So many varieties! Different shapes, sizes and patterns in a hypnotising array of colours. Huge clam like creatures with pulsating neon lips, coral gardens of pale pastels, anemones with families of Nemos protected by the adults who would come and square up to your goggles if you swam down for a closer look. Stingrays lurked on the ocean floor, squid floated past in formation and hours could be spent herding and splitting the various shoals of fish swimming around.
You know there are sharks about when you run your fingers through some red fibres hanging in the water and they dissipate instantly. Blood. After a check we were all still intact we looked outside the group for the source and sure enough, lurking in the gloom was not one but 2 sharks, measuring our interference and swimming away. Over the week we saw many sharks of varying sizes; though none were big enough to be dangerous, some were large enough to be bold. The biggest we saw circled a group of 5 of us before swimming through the center in a "you don't bother me" gesture.
I also saw my first sea turtle. It was enormous, at least a meter long, with a perfect shell covered in a symmetrical pattern of hexagons, coloured in hues of reddish brown/green. Even the skin was perfectly patterned - I was entranced. The creature had a real feel of the prehistoric about him, with folds of tough neck skin and an air of continuing as he always had been. And yet the spatula, oar shaped flippers moved him through the water with surprising grace, searching the ocean floor for food and then surfacing for air. I want to be reincarnated as a sea turtle.
The evenings were filled with all the things evenings on a tropical paradise should be filled with - seafood BBQs, lying on the sand starwatching, drinking by candlelight, dancing round bonfires and shisha pipes on the beach.
Heaven x x x