While waiting for our boat to arrive, again, we played poker. The way back to the land was another choppy ride. Please make sure you sit at the back of the boat if you don’t want all your internal organs to jumble up inside you. It was a bumpy ride all the way back to land!

Yuin took us to his favorite hangout for lunch. It’s this small warung nearby Pantai Boran where only locals would know how to get there. Here, you see makciks dressing up to the nines in their best baju kurungs and branded bags. They spent their free time chatting and gossiping at the warung, while having lunch together.

We had the best keropok ever! It’s slightly brownish in color and the sauce that went with it was delicious! I ordered a plate of nasi goreng kampong – which is slightly spicy and the nasi goreng kerabu was nice too!

After eating, I overheard a pakcik saying, “Ikang! Ikang!” Then, the group of makciks suddenly got up and hurried to a stall by the sea bank. We decided to check out what’s happening and saw the group of elderly people grabbing fishes as if they were for free!

The pakcik told us the fishes are caught fresh from the sea and there is no preservative. I wanted to buy some but we do not have a fridge or ice box and I don’t think the fishes would make it in the 8 hours drive back to KL! The pakciks saw us with cameras, made way for us to snap some pictures. It was very nice of them!

Then, we went to Pasar Payang – where you can get all kinds of things there – from batik to keropoks, durians to Rayban sunglasses. Don’t be fool by this market though! You may have thought the cloth selling here are cheaper – yes, they are cheaper compared to KL but that doesn’t stop them for charging RM300 for a set of cloth to make a set of baju kurung! I wanted to get a cute little flowery pink baju kurung for Ern Ern but it costs RM45 just for one tiny dress! So I decided to forget it!

After a walkabout the pasar, we stopped by for durian kunyit. The flesh was yellowish in color and they are less creamy compared to D24, it costs us Rm20 for two durians. So expensive? I am not sure how much does durians cost, so it’s ok. Haha. We went on our long journey back to KL after dropping off Yuin at his hostel.

I didn’t know there is this thing called Satar, Terengganu version of otak-otak in triangular shapes (for those who don’t know what otak-otak is – it’s BBQ-ed fish mousse in spices). Ms Han, being the makan Queen introduced us to it. I didn’t want to buy too much in case if I didn’t like the taste, so we bought 5 for RM2 to try. The Satar is really good!

We stopped by Kuala Abang to take some photos. I remember this place because we stopped by here before when I attended a wedding in Kuala Terengganu many years ago. I remember how picturesque it was. The beach was still picturesque but sadly, the place is riddled with rubbish thrown by irresponsible people who came for a picnic. Rubbish were strewn everywhere. It made me wanna go there and pick up all the rubbish before I leave but we were running out of time.

As we went along our journey, we kept a look out for satar because we wanted to ta pao some satar to bring them back home for our families to try. So, we went on satar hunting mode. Whenever we saw a billow of smoke, we would go all Spartan-ish and shouted, “SATARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!” It was hilarious when the smoke actually comes from burning rubbish! See – we don’t need alcohol to laugh like drunks! Unfortunately, we couldn’t locate any because it was already late evening. Oh well, there is always another time.

We stopped by Kuantan and had a feast at Alor Akar, again, another of Ms Han’s favorite restaurant when she was working there on a project.

All in all, it was a relaxing trip – except for the nearly drowning experience by Yuin and the kena-sebijik-you-tak-dengarbriefing incident. Other than that, it was a perfectly okay trip.

Coral White

We woke up early for breakfast. It was raining the night before, so I guess the sea is going to be even more choppy today. I was right. The moment we got to Marine Park (by the way, you need to pay RM5 each person at the jetty before going into the islands), the wave was strong. It was dangerous to even climb on the jetty! We had to go with the rhythm of the crashing waves!

We waited to be briefed before going into the sea, didn’t want to kena screwed for not listening again! After the short briefing, I looked at the sea and was apprehensive! The waves came crashing to the shore in its entire splendor! Didn’t want to risk it, we went to the other side, in which the waves looked less intimidating.

I was telling them, we saw moray eel here before, under the jetty. I am not sure if the moray eel is still alive, seeing the polluted waters! The water was rather hazy – just like the sky in KL! Everything in the water seemed murky, not sure if it’s due to the crashing waves. I don’t know this place can be a marine park since most corals are dead. It’s like a coral graveyard. Everything is white in color, littered with rubbish especially plastic bags from all the fish bread! I even saw tyres! There are more people than fishes. I doubt the moray eel is still there with the amount of pollution. Probably migrated elsewhere!

The pounding waves made it rather difficult to swim, so I decided to “drift” ashore. I didn’t see any of my friends anymore – it’s difficult to remain together because we were all bobbing in the sea according to the rhythm of the waves. It proved to be a mistake because I was washed ashore mercilessly by the waves. I was laughing when I landed on the shore – not because it was fun! I saw a Chinese girl also being washed ashore and she tumbled like a ragged doll. Luckily her bikini didn’t fall off! For once, I thanked God that I am heavy! I suffered some scratches on my left leg as I crashed into the dead corals sand.

I quickly got up and saw Ms Han and Yuin were already at the beach. They too, find it impossible to snorkel in the waves. We couldn’t locate Ms KNS (kanasai – lol!) and was shocked to see her already sitting at the floating platform far away in the sea. She gained admiration for doing just that from the group of screaming girls who don’t know how to swim – the ones that came with us to the island in the same boat earlier. Haha!

We got back to the resort to have our meals because we were super hungry, fighting off the waves. Then we waited again for the next snorkeling session, spent one hour playing poker. More like teaching poker to Ms KNS.

The second spot to snorkel for the day was not too bad. The water was clear and I could see corals from the boat itself, so I didn’t go into the sea. There were two non-swimmer girls who didn’t buckle their life jackets properly. One jumped into the sea first, only to have the jacket moved up and covered her face. She was frantic and Mr Moody (one of the fellas who ticked us off at the snorkeling gears counter) helped her and soothed her. She was choking in sea water and kept spitting. I think she cried from the grimace of her face. Before her friend joined her in the water, I quickly helped her to buckle her life jacket properly to save her from the same experience.

Speaking of life jacket – you guys really have to take it seriously when the instructor tells you to wear your life jacket all the time. Our friend – Yuin had the scare of his life when he swam past the perimeter near our resort to the open sea. The sea was too choppy and he had to cling onto the buoy to stay afloat. Worse, he realized the buoy would eventually lead him to the bottom of the sea. He had no choice but to swim against the current to get back to the shore. We were all worried for him and kept looking at the sea for his silhouette. He went missing for awhile till he suddenly showed up at the shore behind us instead of from the sea!

We got back from Pulau Lima and decided to swim in the clear blue sea before tea time. It was enjoyable. I think it would be even more fun to have spent the whole morning nearby our resort, rather than going to the marine park – which is a serious waste of time! Ah…. I wish I am still soaking in the clear, blue waters, staring up in the blue skies and think of nothing.

We spent the entire evening, basking in the sun and swim, but for me – I went back earlier to take a bath and then joined them to take photos.

During dinner, we were supposed to pay RM30 for bringing our own wine so we decided to keep it low key. Mana tau, when the sparkling wine was popped, it was so loud that the entire crowd stared at us. I said, if they ask us to pay, I will tell them it’s just fruit juice and down the bottle on the spot. Luckily they didn’t push it and asked us to pay. We quickly got out from the dining area before the pub starts operating! Speaking of being kiasu! Haha!

It started raining like cats and dogs when we got back to our room and again, I thanked God we didn’t took a stroll at the beach, otherwise, we would be all soaked in the rain! We wanted to play some cards or perhaps, chit chat and drink the last bottle of vodka, but again, the day ended unceremoniously as we went comatose in bed after plastering masks on our faces and snored the night away.

A Trip to Redang Island

This trip marked my third time to Redang Islands. I think I went once back in 2001? 2002? (don’t remember!), followed by company trip back in 2007. I am glad I enjoyed all three trips. This trip was an impromptu trip, all started with Ms Han missing the islands in Sabah and wanted another trip to the beach, so, we just arranged one the very last minute.

The four of us decided to drive up to Merang via the East Coast Highway. The journey was rather entertaining till one after another of us fell asleep, except the driver lah of course. Haha. It was way past my bed time, I couldn’t keep my eye lids opened. We were all awaken when passing by Paka Powerplant in Dungun and were all excited to see the magnificent bright lights and fires coming out from the power plant. It wasn’t as bright as it used to be, maybe the power plant was not at its optimum level or something like that. Well, I am no engineer so.. I won’t know.

We reached Merang a tad early because of the non-stop drive from KL, except stopping twice for petrol and toilet breaks. We parked the car in the parking lot and slept for an hour. Woke up, then scouted for breakfast. I was asleep most of the time because I was still groggy and moody. We chanced upon a shop selling nasi kerabu somewhere near Bukit Rakit and the BBQ chicken that accompanied it were awesome! The shop is called, Nasi Kerabu Jumi.

We waited for our boat ride to Redang Reef Resort. It took about 30 minutes to reach the islands from land. The ride wasn’t a smooth one because of the choppy seas and also, screaming girls in the motorboat. The boatman actually slowed down for them to snap pictures! Must be first timers. I tried hard not to roll my eyes.

We got off the boat and ushered ourselves at the canteen for briefing. There was still some time before the first snorkeling session, so we went to our room to unload our bags and things. I packed heck a lot of snacks, worrying we might not have enough to eat but silly me.. we ended having to carry the whole bag of goodies back because we were simply too full to eat anything else!

Ah.. white sandy beach!

When we went to collect our snorkeling gear, we were a little cheesed off by the staff because they didn’t even bother to look at us when we wanted 4 sets of gear. We waited around 10 minutes, then only the two fellas manning the booth sarcastically said to us – well, you didn’t listen to briefing? You can only collect your gears at 1 pm. So – is it a big problem to just tell us that, rather than letting us wait like bloody idiots. Why did you guys open the bloody counter if you are not opened for renting? This is really uncalled for! Nobody told us to get coupons from the reception area before getting our gears either. Bad service!

We went back to the beach in front of our chalet for a quick swim to cool off the steam. It wasn’t a good swim because the whole area was infested with jelly fishes and sharp rocks! We were lucky nobody got hurt.

Rocky beach during low tide

The first area we went to snorkel was Pulau Paku. I remember coming here. I remember the big, colorful parrot fishes, nemos, large clams which clamp shut whenever you swam past them and giant reefs. They were no where to be seen. Fishes were smaller this time and the entire sea bed was greenish in color. At first, I thought they were all dead and coated in moss but, was told that, they were actually alive and would change colors if you touch them! If corals are dead, they would be all white. I guess I learned something that day.

After the short snorkeling session, we went about taking photos and took a walk surrounding the area. The old hut used to film the movie, Summer Holiday back in 2000 is still well kept. It used to be dilapidated when I first visited it back in 2001? Or was it 2002? I can’t remember!

Blue, blue sea

The day ended unceremoniously because we were all too tired from the long drive and were sleep deprived. We wanted to play some games or maybe, have a booze session but we don’t want to be waking up in a massive hang over for tomorrow’s event, so, we simply collapsed in bed after a few glasses of red wine and coffee. LOL.