snorkelling at pulau payar + hiking

on friday we took it quite easy, watched tv, Uncle Tin and Isabelle came over in the afternoon. in the later afternoon, Fun Khoon took mum and i on a shortish hile at the youth park up the hill. i think it took about 40 mins to go up, mostly sloping paths or steep steps. one bit was climbing a steep incline with a rope.

it was incredibly hot and humid with no breeze. i was on the brink of feeling faint with overheating, as the exercise alone was not too much, it was just my body temperature. at the top there was a kind of kitchen where you could help yourself to tea / boiled water. once we cooled off, there were exercise machines ( for situps, biceps etc) which we had a go on, and took in the view of other hills and Georgetown. on the hike, we saw lots of people hiking for fitness and a whole family of ‘normal’ monkeys.

saturday we left at just after 7am to get the ferry to langkawi coral/pulau payar withUncle Meng, Catalina and Noel. it was a 2 hour ferry trip to this diving platform, just off pulau payar. we had a funny guide who kept making jokes, clearly the same every time! we snorkelled a bit straight away, along with everyone else so it was pretty busy! there were lots of fish though, and Noel got bitten!

At one point, mum, Catalina and i were near the platform and i suddenly noticed what seemed like a huge barracuda right behind us. it was over 1m long and rather mean looking. i didn’t show the others in case they panicked as this wasn’t that long since we got going. we saw it from the platform a bit later, and Uncle Meng said they are friendly towards humans!

After lunch we went on a little boat to the shore, where baby sharks are usually to be found. we saw 2 of them from the jetty, happily swimming together in opposing figure of 8s, alongside lots of snorkellers. there wasn’t much to do here so we left after us kids had a quick dip.

Later, mum and i swam from the platform to shore. it wasn’t intentional as mum thought it looked too far, but we ended up so close to shore that we thought we might as well go ashore. the sand was fine and white, with scattered coral and shells.

while snorkelling, mum pointed out some white sand-coloured fish that were in a pair, near the ground, kind of sitting/floating near a kind of cove made in the sand. they were well camoflaged and seemed to be quite at home together, maybe the cove was their house!!

other highlights of the marine life were:

  • blue coral
  • tiny back fish with a bright blue bit on their head, lingering under the coral
  • yellow and black angler (or is it angel?) fish
  • colourful iridescent fish – possibly clown fish
  • very pointy stick-like fish that lingered near the surface
  • fish that camoflaged with the beige hard coral and seemed to be eating off of it
  • i think i saw the antenna of a lobster hidden in the coral

later on, mum sat on the step and fed bread to the fish. they came right over and ate it from her hand – it was amazing! they were flapping around, coming out of the water! also amazing was the fact that the fish were constantly fed but still always they rushed to the food.

it was disappointing that the water near the platform was quite cloudy, esp after lunch. i thought it was the excess of bread, but Uncle Meng disagreed. he said that he realised that it was the spring tides so would be worst fro visibility due to all the tidal motion – plus the recent rain. closer to the beach the water was much clearer though so i think the bread also had something to do with it.

with all the activity, i found myself hungry at various points through the day. this was quite a strange feeling, as i’ve only been hungry once or twice throughout the whole holiday! bring on the exercise, then i can eat more… ;-)

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