Snorkeling at Manukan Island, Sabah

pulau manukan

Manukan Island or Pulau Manukan is a 20 minute boat
ride from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. It’s one of the more popular islands in
Sabah due to the attraction of its white sandy beaches and rich hued
waters teeming with marine life. The abundance of corals and
availability of water sports makes this a premier destination for
island hopping in Sabah.

manukan island jetty

Manukan Island is part of the chain of islands that makes up Tunku
Abdul Rahman Park in Sabah, Malaysia. The island can be reached by the
jetty at Kota Kinabalu city. The boat ride costs RM 15 and can
accommodate 10 people, so if you’re in a group that’s less than the
quorum, be prepared to wait a while until 10 people sign up.
One can rent a boat for a day too.

manukan island heading

The boat that takes you to the island is a modern speed boat and it
easily navigates through the clear waters towards the island of your
choice. The boat had a mixture of travelers from all over the world and
the early morning skies were perfect as we headed towards Pulau
Manukan. Snorkels can be rented from the boat operator at RM 10.

manukan island boat

The boats that are allowed to dock at Pulau Manukan has to be
registered with Sabah Parks and it’s required to meet safety
requirements e.g. life jackets must be worn during the journey. The
waterfront of Kota Kinabalu zips by as the boat departs and there is a
constant wind from the speed of the boat billowing at you. The boat
occasionally runs into waves so splashes of water into the boat are
pretty common.

manukan island docking

The lush green island soon comes into view as the boat slows down to
dock at the Pulau Manukan island. The natural beauty of the island is
apparent – calm, green waters with a diverse amount of fishes swimming
around and white, sandy beaches at the fringe with deep green lush
trees lining the island.

manukan island friendly fish

The rich marine life on Manukan Island is apparent as we disembarked
from the boat – the high tide submerges the lower part of the jetty and
people can be seen feeding the fishes with pieces of bread. The island
is a protected zone so no fishing or harming of the marine life is
permitted. This makes the fish breed with abundance and they’re quite
friendly and unafraid of human contact.

manukan island bouys

Pulau Manukan has chalets for overnight stays but most people come
here just to relax and enjoy the natural offerings of the island on a
day trip. The red buoys bobbing around the perimeter extending 100
meters out from the beach are designated swimming areas. There is a lot
of boat traffic outside that demarcation and the speed boats carrying
island visitors frequently passes very close to the line so it’s a good
idea to keep inside the perimeter.

manukan island pier

The Manukan Island pier is a wooden catwalk hovering over the
vibrant green waters and the natural tranquility of the island is
palpable as you walk towards the beach…

manukan island welcome

There is a “Welcome to Pulau Manukan” sign at the end of the pier and a RM 3 conservation fee is to be paid at the booth before entry to the beach is permitted.

manukan island chalet

The chalets nested in lush greenery greet you as you first step on
the beach. The polished wood chalets look perfectly in place on the
island, due to the matching theme and decor of the architecture.

manukan island lets go

I did not waste any time in hitting the beach as the warm sands and
appealing shade of water looks too tempting to resist. I donned my
snorkels and started to float and swim around, appreciating the
wonderful diverse and unique marine life in the waters.

manukan island snorkelling

This is me in the snorkels. The water on Pulau Manukan is incredibly
calm and hosts a wide variety of fishes. I wish I had an underwater
disposable camera to show the readers of sixthseal.com the incredible
scenes that I saw while snorkeling:

There was friendly little swordfish swimming at the top of the water, skimming over my snorkel masks every now and then.

There were many different multicolored fishes which come over
and take bites out of pieces of bread that you offer then, occasionally
nipping at your fingers.

There were sea cucumbers of all sizes, lining the seabed…

There were starfish and corals of mind-boggling variety and complexity.

Since I didn’t have an underwater camera, I had to snorkel out into
the waters to retrieve select pieces of marine life so I can take
photos of them:

manukan island starfish

This is a starfish taken from about 30 meters out to sea. It’s an unusual blue color with a brown underside.

manukan island sea cucumber

OMG! My thing fell off! πŸ˜‰

manukan island corals

This is a piece of the ubiquitous dead corals that wash out onto the
beach. I couldn’t very well lug one from the seabed, so this would have
to do.

manukan island guard

There are lifeguard posts located at the beach for drowning swimmers (though most non-swimmers I saw were wearing life vests).

manukan island beach

The beach at Manukan Island is beautiful – the scenic islands surrounding it are easily visible from the shore.

manukan island waters

The tranquil waters of Pulau Manukan…perfect for snorkeling…

manukan island reading

Reading a good book by the shade of a tree on the beach…

manukan island girls

These are two travelers that I met while I was on Manukan Island – very friendly people, they were snorkeling as well.

manukan island bombs

This is a WWII memorial at Pulau Manukan…there were bombs and
shells on display by the beach, which were presumably recovered on the
beach after the war.

manukan island fishes

The fishes in the water are clearly visible through the calm, green waters…

manukan island leaving

…and all too soon, it was time to depart the island.

Pulau Manukan in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah is a great place to relax and unwind. It’s a great island…

Greetings from Melbourne

melb_arrive.jpg

Hello, I’ve arrived in Melbourne yesterday or the day before, I
really can’t gather my scattered thoughts right now, The outdoor doof
was very cold. More about that later, got back yesterday and slept for
more than 24 hours (what a waste) to recover from my non sleep in the
day before I left and the non sleep in the plane. Anyway, I’m going off
now, I’ll do a day by day run through when I reach home, it will be
sporadic posts like this until I get back. Later!

Mt Buller Postmortem Part II

It has come to my attention that Vivien, my classmate from high school,
has set up a blog. You can visit her
here [blogspot.com]
and someone should tell her that she doesn’t need to do 100 push ups after
just eating 4 cookies. Heh. =D

Anyway, I had a one hour break today and decided to pop into the campus
bookshop with my film developing slip to see if it has been processed. I
was told to check in on Thursday and the price lists states that APS film
takes 6 working days to develop. Well, guess what? They were erring on the
side of caution, because it was already done today! Woo hoo.

The pictures didn’t turn all out well. There were only a couple of
good ones in the bunch. I was pretty impressed with the girth of the
photos though. I took most of them in the panoramic setting so they turned
out really long. It seems that APS film can be developed either in C
(normal size), H (sized like a 16:9 television) or P (panoramic). APS
seems to be a pretty interesting film format. I’ve heard about it before,
but didn’t really know the specifics. If you’re interested, have a read
through the summary of the format

here
[kodak.com].

Well, developing APS film wasn’t as expensive as I thought, but it’s not
cheap either. The processing costs for the 25 exposure roll cost me A$21.50. That comes with 2 index
prints and a Kodak Picture CD though. Added to the cost of the disposable
camera (A$25), that comes to nearly A$50. Tsk tsk…sounds slightly disturbing,
because I’m used to taking pictures with a digicam. Anyway, here are the
pictures from Mt Buller on the day my digicam had a near death experience.

A panoramic shot of me at the bottom of Blue Bullet 1 quad chairlift. This
picture was scanned from the prints.

Carving up the slopes. This picture is taken from the Kodak Picture CD.
The quality of the images in the CD is really bad, you can get much higher
resolutions by scanning in the pictures manually instead of getting a
Picture CD.

This is the friendly manager of YHA in Mt Buller.

Ripping the blue Summit run.

A really grainy shot of the village from the chairlift. A lot of the
pictures turned out badly because there was condensation on the lens of
the camera, and I didn’t realize it. Furthermore, a third of the pictures
have been slightly obstructed by my gloves. The viewfinder of disposables
are not exactly the most accurate things, because I could have sworn that
I see the glove in the viewfinder.

Read Mount Buller Part I.

Mt Buller Postmortem Part I

I just arrived back in Melbourne an hour ago, hurting all over. Heh. It
was a very good weekend, I got a lot of runs in and it was snowing every
day too.

It’s snowing!

I actually only skied 2 out of the 3 days I was there, because I
only arrived at 1:30 pm on the first day and couldn’t justify paying for a
full day lift ticket. I just walked around the village and slopes during
the first day because I could only check into YHA at 5 pm.

This is where I stayed.

I skied the second day and boarded on the third.

Skiing down Bourke Street.

It was pretty punishing
because I was really out of shape. Loved it though. =D I did a couple of
runs down Bourke Street (a green run) on the first day and then went down
the blue Shakey Knees run. I didn’t know it was a blue run until I was
halfway down, and thought…hey, this is pretty steep. I was enjoying
myself so much, I went into an aggressive alpine crouch to pick up speed
(woo hoo adrenaline rush) and wiped out towards the end in an effort to
avoid a stopped skier. Very nice run, but a bit embarrassing on the lift
up. It was a T-bar lift and I unconsciously sat down on the T-bar and
tipped it (I was riding alone) while it was going up an incline. Bourke
Street seems rather anti-climatic after that.

View from Blue Bullet 1 quad chair lift.

I did catch the Quiksilver
GP at night but couldn’t take any photos because it seems that my digicam
does not like snow. I put it into my pants while skiing and forgot to do
up the zip, and as a result, snow got into the pocket and got the digicam
wet. It won’t even start up after that, but after a day of drying out, it
can be started up and the view pictures function is still working and I
can still copy out the pictures, but some buttons seem to be disabled. Doh!
I should have done up my pants zipper but I must have forgotten after
taking it out to snap some photos. (Update – I just tried starting up
my digicam and everything works now. Damn, the Nikon 885 is one tough
motherfucker.
)

Blue Bullet 1 chair lift area.

Anyway, I got a disposable film camera on the second
day before I went boarding. Oh, one funny thing happened today. I went up
to the blue Summit run even though I’m not that good at boarding. I went
for a regular aligned board even though I’m a goofy on a skateboard. I was
carving up the slopes of the summit when the fog rolled in and I
accidentally went down a wrong run. I saw a black diamond flash past and
stopped near the Howqua black run. I had the choice of taking the Kofler’s
T-bar which goes up a steep incline (I do not like heights), taking a long
trek back up the blue Chute run or try to carve black Hawqua. If you’re
not familiar with the color codes, greens are easy runs, blues are for
intermediates and blacks are for experts only. I’ll rather go down black
diamond Hawqua
than take the T-bar up the steep Chute incline coz it will only take one look
down for me to piss my pants. Heh. The end of Hawqua wasn’t really hard
actually, but there are several hazards, including one steep turn that
only has netting between you and a drop down the slopes. I didn’t do too
good though, coz the powdery snow was pretty hard to navigate with my
board. I accidentally did a hard toe edge brake and started losing my
balance. I had the presence of mind to do an ollie to compensate for the
drift but ended up carving my toe edge straight into the power and I must
have flipped 5 meters and ended up face first in the snow. Oh boy…I
couldn’t stand up for a full minute. Heh. I had the wind knocked out of me
and I felt like I cracked a rib. That’s a nasty way to fall, I
reckon…falling ass first is okay, that’s not painful, but going face
first is pretty horrible. Anyway, that’s it for today. I have to wake up
at 7 am tomorrow for my ITPM group meeting. Stay tuned for Part II
tomorrow. I still have a bunch of pictures that’s not up from the
disposable film camera. I’m going to get it developed tomorrow.

Enjoying the fire in the main village.

Read Mount Buller Part II.

Sarikei

I went out at 8 am this morning to get some breakfast with Diana. Picked up Daniel too and headed off to Sugarbun to get something to eat, partly because it’s air-conditioned and partly because we haven’t eaten there in a while.

Me and Diana

Hung around there for an hour before Ah Chan joined us. We had to leave at 10 am though, to meet up with Yi Ching and Justina to go to Sarikei. We went to the city bus terminal to catch the bus, but the buses leaves in 2 hour intervals and we just missed the 10 am bus. We decided to take the express boat to Paradom and catch a bus from there. The bus fare from Paradom to Sarikei is RM 5.40, the most I’ve paid for a bus ticket in Sibu. Heh.

Me and Daniel

An hour later, we were in Sarikei and got some lunch while waiting for Jonas to pick us up.

Lunch at Sarikei

Obligatory picture with Sarikei signboard to show I was there

The pineapple replica in Sarikei town

After lunch, we walked to the tallest building in Sarikei (some government building) because it was air-conditioned. It was really hot today. We walked to Courts Mammoth after that to pretend to try the couches there. Another thinly veiled attempt to enjoy their air-conditioned premises, of course. I saw this interestingly named coffee shop besides Courts Mammoth. It’s named Ma Li Cafe which cracked me up.

Ma Li

If you speak Foochow, the words “ma li” will no doubt elicit chuckles. For those of you who don’t, it sounds like a mild profanity in Foochow. After that, we walked to SMB St Anthony (a high school), who seems to produce several individuals of high caliber.

St Anthony High School

Jonas picked us up from St Anthony’s and we headed to get some ABC special to cool down and headed off to Ngiu Kee to get a large bottle of cold mineral water.

Eating ABC special (an iced dessert)

We went to this new park in Sarikei after that, it’s called the Water Tower Park, if I’m not mistaken. The main feature is an old water tower.

Water Tower Park

The Water Tower

Jonas dropped us off at the government building again after that and we got visitor’s passes to go to the top floor. The top floor is the 10th floor (what did you expect?) and there is nothing much there, except a good view of the river and some exceptionally cool air conditioning.

View of the river with ferry in dock

A friend of Justina’s picked us up after that and took us to Sebangkoi, a nature reserve about 30 minutes away from Sarikei town. Took heaps of pics there and Yi Ching had cramps and was trailing us all through the reserve. =D

Bridge over a waterfall

Rapids

Arrrggghhhhh…the croc got me!!!!!!!!!!!

We headed to Daniel’s uncle’s orchard after that, where I was promptly bitten 1000 times by 1000 mosquitoes.

The orchard

Managed to walk though most of the orchard, which contains ‘landmines’ in the form of holes (some going down as far as 1 feet) which are covered by shrubbery.

Landmine

Tr navigation. I also managed to drive this mini tractor thing, which has no gas pedal, but only a lever to move faster. The gear shift is in between the legs too, and the tractor jittered all the time, which makes an interesting experience.

Mini tractor

We drove Daniel’s uncle’s car to Jakar (har har…sounds like penis in Malay) to get something to eat. Headed back to the orchard after that and hi uncle drove us back to Sibu at around 8:15 pm. Interesting day, but I managed to get mild heat stroke from the obscene heat. Poor Yi Ching was struck by heat stroke too, we’re both sensitive that way. Now where did I put my Poh Chi Kit pills?

all.jpg

From left: Huai Bin (me), Yi Ching, Justina, Daniel

Flight Cancelled – Fog

I have finally arrived in Sibu at 10:10 am today. I couldn’t take the
Sunday flight out coz the fog grounded all of the incoming planes, which
were routed to Sydney. After a 2 hour wait, the airport cancelled all
remaining flights and put us up at the
Rydges with dinner and breakfast
vouchers and a cabcharge coupon (lets you get on a cab for free). The
hotel is in corner Exhibition St. and Lt. Bourke Street. Right in the
middle of the city…I would have thought they will put us up at the
Hilton opposite the airport. Heh. Rydges is not a bad hotel nevertheless,
I think its a layby hotel for cabin crew coz there are heaps of them
walking around. I got a suite with a king sized bed all to myself. Not bad
at all, although I would have preferred to fly out on Sunday. Well, there
were two flights out of Melbourne on Monday, the 3 pm and the 11:50 pm.
The MAS people said they will try their best to put us on one of those two
flights. I didn’t get to go on the 3pm coz I have a connecting flight that
couldn’t be made with the 3pm, so they assigned me to the 11:50 pm one. Oh
well. I didn’t do much though, just slept through the night and woke up at
9:30 am to line up at the MAS counter and grabbed some breakfast after
that. I slept most of the afternoon as well. Heh. MAS paid for two nights
at the hotel, but I had to check out at 9 pm to catch my flight back. The
flight was overbooked so good thing I was there earlier. Anyway, I
couldn’t get the pics up coz I don’t have image editing software at my
home computer. Will pick up a warez CD of Photoshop on my way back later.
Feeling tired now…nearly had an accident just now too. Those damn brakes
need to be changed.

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