(Day 232 to 239)
11.07.2010 - 18.07.2010 35 °C
A 4-hour transfer from the highlands to the Perhentians was supposed to be a simple, stress-free option. Ha, what a joke!
The minute the driver picked us up we sensed he was in a mood. Anyway, off we went through the rolling hills’ and very windy roads at speeds that Michael Schumacher would be proud of. After an hour of hanging onto anything possible in the car one girl was inevitably car-sick and we stopped to the driver’s irritation..
We kindly asked him to slow down, but he clearly thought our request ridiculous as he travelled at 30 km per hour from that point on. I genuinely thought he was being considerate towards the sick ones, but when after 45min of this we told him he could go faster now, he exploded: ”Well which will it be? Fast or Slow? I cannot do in between!”
We explained that we didn’t want to break the land speed record today nor did we want to age slowly while trying to get the islands. He then sped up again at lightning pace, told us to complain to his boss if we weren’t happy and screamed some more at us when we told him to stop the car..
Anyways, to cut a long story short, we had a psycho driver, on the edge of a psychotic breakdown and we very seriously feared for our lives!
We were grateful though when we finally arrived on the quiet, idyllic islands of the Perhentians. We decided to spend our time on Coral bay on the small, backpackers island, Perhentian Kecil. Coral Bay is quieter, and I think prettier than Long Beach, however, long beach does have far more choice of accommodation, bars and restaurants on the beach, and the beach is nicer for swimming.
Days were spent, snorkelling, sun tanning, sipping on long cold drinks, tanning and some relaxing too.
One activity we did do, and which I would highly recommend doing if you’re there, is to do a snorkelling trip, but make sure you go with Matt at Maya Bungalows & restaurant. He was so friendly, passionate, got involved and swam with us also taking some great pics. He had 2 underwater cameras for us to use too.
The highlight was what we actually saw. We went to 5 spots around the two islands, the first was Turtle beach where there was some exquisite coral, and Steph got to see her first Bumphead Parrot fish and Trigger fish.
Next was Turtle Bay. Here, Matt searched the floor bed for Hawksbill Turtles feeding on the bottom. When he did we all jumped in and watched from the surface until it decided to surface for air. This was amazing to see and everyone was trying to get close to it and take pics as it broke the surface. We followed about 4 turtles here.
Lunch was next at a fishing village followed by Shark point so see Blacktip reef Sharks. Again Matt got into the water, armed with his camera and plastic water bottle which he uses to attract the sharks, and it works! He scrunches it under the water and a few moments after we had 4 large Black-Tips circling us in the shallows, great for photos. We thoroughly enjoyed that experience although some of the nervous snorkelers in our group began to freak-out.
One thing I’ve never seen whilst diving or snorkelling are Remora (sharksuckers) swimming on their own and especially swimming with humans. But this was the case when we were watching the reef sharks. A Remora was trying to attach itself on my chest whilst we were swimming around and it just wouldn’t go away. It was the funniest sensation when it did attach itself for a short moment and felt like he had taken a nibble of me
Being on this paradise island, I decided to do 2 dives. Unfortunately the visibility was very poor, but The Temple of the Sea dive site might have been special as there was an abundance of fish around.
The rest of our time was spent chilling and watching beautiful sunsets from our restaurant over the sea or watching as storm clouds with florescent lightning shows danced in the distance.