About

Here you will find articles on an ambitious plan to travel from Singapore to Morocco overland, i.e. without flying.

I will use buses and trains to travel through South East Asia, China, Mongolia, Russia, and Europe.

Read about The Plan So Far.

Location

Palau Tioman, Malaysia

Snorkelling around Tioman Island

Written by Joshua Fuglsang on .

Tags

AsiaMalaysiaTiomanTravel
Lukas swimming in Monkey Bay
Lukas swimming in Monkey Bay - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

Introduction

This is an ar­ti­cle about a snorkelling trip that I did in March 2018. I had a won­der­ful day out on the wa­ter see­ing many dif­fer­ent species of trop­i­cal fish, and even got to see a shark! The wa­ter was crys­tal clear, with more than 10 me­ters vis­i­bil­i­ty.

Snorkelling around Tioman Island

Our day start­ed with a 9:45am meet-up be­fore a sched­uled 10am pick­up. First or­der of the day was to get sized up for our snorkelling gear, be­fore jet­ting across the two foot swell of the South Chi­na Sea.

We ar­rived at a small, rocky is­land in the mid­dle of the ocean with a warn­ing from our driv­er not to go out too far for there is a strong cur­rent. The area im­me­di­ate­ly sur­round the boat was quite des­o­late: the coral was flat­tened by boat an­chors and was sol­id white in colour. I left this area, swim­ming to­wards a pro­tect­ed shelf and dived through an un­der­wa­ter pas­sage, which lead to the oth­er side of the is­land. Vic­tor, my french friend, fol­lowed me through. Here was a beau­ti­ful myr­i­ad of life in­clud­ing colour­ful coral and a vast ar­ray of trop­i­cal fish, such as: elec­tric blue par­rot fish; large, black spade fish; small, long nosed, and striped fish, who were in­tense­ly cu­ri­ous of hu­mans and oc­ca­sion­al­ly took a bite of some dead skin; and a sting ray. In the fi­nal few min­utes of this first stop Lukas, an Ital­ian man I met in Mela­ka, yelled out “shark”, I quick­ly swam over to him and we trailed the 1.5 me­ter reef shark to­geth­er. The shark had a black tip on its dor­sal fin, and a long black stripe down the side of its body.

Our next stop was a beach off a near­by is­land with a clus­ter of rocks off its gold­en beach. On the way out to the rocks I spot­ted many sea cu­cum­bers, march­ing their way through the des­o­la­tion of the once beau­ti­ful reef. Be­yond the rocks was a liv­ing patch of the pre­vi­ous­ly far-grander reef. Here again was a nice col­lec­tion of bright­ly coloured fish par­rot fish; swarms of small­er wrasse fish; and groups of needle­fish, or pos­si­bly half beaks. The needle­fish were long, sil­ver, fast mov­ing, trav­elled in groups, and would oc­ca­sion­al­ly jump out of the wa­ter. Swim­ming back from the is­land to­wards the beach I found a vast for­rest of rolling coral hills. A lot of the coral was white, but some of it was coloured, which was good to see. On the beach were two ap­par­ent “mod­els”, ac­cord­ing to my friends, who were wear­ing high­ly re­veal­ing swim­suits, and were pos­ing in the wa­ter for cam­eras.

Our next stop was a rocky out­crop near to Mon­key Bay. A few peo­ple in our group agreed that this was their favourite lo­ca­tion of the day. Here I saw my sec­ond string ray of the day: a ray of medi­um size with a yel­low body and cov­ered in blue dots. It is fas­ci­nat­ing to watch sting rays move: they sit on the ocean floor and flap their fins, kick­ing up a clouds of dust. The cloud is then de­voured by the ray’s hun­gry en­tourage of scav­enger fish. Along the ocean floor in this sec­tion was a huge fish­ing net, draped along a field of coral. The fish were de­vel­op­ing a com­mu­ni­ty around the net, quick­ly in­te­grat­ing it in to their en­vi­ron­ment. For­tu­nate­ly there wasn’t too much rub­bish on the ocean floor, I can re­call see­ing pos­si­bly three dif­fer­ent pieces.

From here we went ashore to Salang to have our lunch. We hung out with our snorkelling group and en­joyed ice­cream to­geth­er. In our group was a Nor­we­gian cou­ple cel­e­brat­ing their thir­ti­eth an­niver­sary.

The last stop of the day was the rocky head­land of Mon­key Bay. The coral here was in the worst con­di­tion, and the vis­i­bil­i­ty was poor. I swam with­out flip­pers here for I had de­vel­oped a nasty blis­ter. Still, I ranged far on the as­sump­tion that if I cov­ered more ground then it in­creased the chance that I could spot a tur­tle. Un­for­tu­nate­ly I didn’t get to see one, but three from our group did at some of the oth­er swim­ming sites. How­ev­er, I did find a sea snake. Once I found it I left quick­ly for I know that they can be dan­ger­ous. I spent some time at this stop hang­ing out with a group of false clown fish. Clown fish sit on­ly in their anemones and are very cu­ri­ous of hu­mans. I swam right up to the anemone and the clown fish came out to see what was go­ing on. The largest clown fish swam up to me and sat just ten cen­time­tres away from my face, which was a very spe­cial ex­pe­ri­ence.

From here we re­turned home to Air Batang (ABC). I had de­vel­oped a se­ri­ous sun­burn and de­cid­ed to sleep for the rest of the day.

The trip cost us RM75 per per­son af­ter some ne­go­ti­a­tion, or about AU­D25 and last­ed from 10am to about 4pm. On the boat there were six pas­sen­gers plus the driv­er, and all of the gear was in­clud­ed in the ser­vice. It was a very nice day in the end, and I am very glad I at­tend­ed. I think it’ll be one of the high­lights of Malaysia for me.

Conclusion

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Tags

AsiaMalaysiaTiomanTravel

About

Here you will find articles on an ambitious plan to travel from Singapore to Morocco overland, i.e. without flying.

I will use buses and trains to travel through South East Asia, China, Mongolia, Russia, and Europe.

Read about The Plan So Far.