Thursday, May 28, 2015

Snorkeling at Sapi Island (Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park) @ Kota Kinabalu [Borneo]

I think it's inevitable that i would have to partake in snorkeling when i was in Sabah as the state is renowned for her beautiful waters and count Sipadan (rated Top Dive Destination in the World) as one of the many islands under her jurisdiction. 

Furthermore, i must make full use of my easybreath snorkeling mask! This one was recently purchased as the old one was surprisingly too big for me! This S/M sized mask was a snug fit and i didn't face any problem with water seeping in. 

The first fish i spotted after jumping into the water; the boring sergeant major fish that was in abundance in every snorkeling expedition except for Maldives!

Maybe i did too much snorkeling in Maldives; it didn't seem as fun in Kota Kinabalu and it didn't help that compared to the Maldives, the water was cloudier, the fishes were less active and coral life was not as vibrant.

I still see the fishes sucking stuff off the seabed and rocks. 

Maybe i am indeed facing snorkeling fatigue; which isn't good news as i would be travelling to the Perhentian Islands next month! :(

Spotted the common sea urchin! 
To be fair, my first ever snorkeling in Krabi back in 2012 did seem to pale in comparison when compared to Sapi Island. Oh well, as we all know, Krabi was badly affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Think this was a pufferfish!

Aside from the underwater conditions, there could be another reason why i wasn't too happy with the snorkeling in Sapi Island; for safety reason, most areas were off limits to the public.

While i applaud the consideration from the authorities, the restriction severely limits the scope of exploration for a person who doesn't dive!

Checked out the little bugger with striking blue streaks! 

Unlike Maldives, the drop was rather far and although i did attempt to swim all the way out (risking trespassing into restricted zone), it was kind of petrifying to find no human around you and all i heard was only my breathing. 

Just to play safe, i guess i would have to be satisfied with whatever that was available!

Let's just make this into a pictorial post; once again, i got too trigger-enthusiastic with the use of my Olympus TG-3 underwater camera! 

The above did appear to be a cemetery for dead corals. 

No idea why this spot was so popular with the fishes! 

Would it even shock you to know that i spent only about twenty minutes snorkeling at Sapi Island. Alex was in the water even lesser than me. Guess we can all point our fingers at Maldives for the disinterest! 


Sapi Island, Kota Kinabalu,
Sabah State, East Malaysia

For my 7 days Kota Kinabalu itinerary, click here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Parasailing - An Exhilarating Experience @ Pulau Sapi [Kota Kinabalu]

I am known for my adventurous, daredevil traits and despite my fear for heights, i always seek to challenge that fear by attempting daring, somewhat safe activities like Forest Adventure.

In my most recent overseas trip, i had the opportunity to fight that fear again and it started by forking out RM 100 per person (or RM 180 for two persons) and then following a bunch of like-minded adventurers to the jetty.

Take the speedboat that would send you to a distant place where the adventure shall begin.

Once it has ventured far beyond the island, one of the crew shall unravel the bunch of materials at the back in a careful manner; ensuring that the ropes are not tangled up!

Rising against the wind, the rainbow parachute started to take shape and without wasting any time, the "captain" of the boat barked at the six of us; "who wants to go first?".

We shall take the lead! As with coral flyer, leave the dressing up to the professionals, especially when the boat was rocking unsteadily on water.

It's ready!

With his nifty fingers, likely accustomed to the same procedure for years, he fastened the strap, hooked the carabiners.

We were asked to sit down on the platform at the back of the boat and get ready for the lift. Want to take some photos? Pass your camera (including mobile phone) to the friendly crew and they would be more than willing to take hundreds of shots for you!

I brought along my Olympus tough camera with me instead as i prefer to have control over my own photos; do note you bear the risk if you accidentally drop your camera / any other item you brought along into the great ocean.

Take-off as the speedboat got smaller and smaller!

The excitement was amazing and it was so carefree up in the sky where there's no one else except myself, and that bugger right next to me.

My apology; he was actually quite quiet and like me, was enjoying the exhilarating sight in front of him with the strong sea breeze brushing against his face and hair.

Option at no extra cost - would you wish to touch the water? You can choose to have only your feet wet, up to your knees or a splash that would require a change of pants. Make your decision and inform the "captain" before you take off!

Breathtaking view in front of us!

From the picture, you might have assumed that the nervousness has worn off; not really as you could see how tightly our hands would grasping the suspension lines!

Shadow of the parasail.

I couldn't really quite gauge how high we were but for any person with a phobia for heights, it doesn't really matter!!! I was more worried that a great white would jump out and grab me by my feet!

The islands ahead of us!

After about six minutes up in the sky, we mere mortals would eventually be banished back to the ground.

The final splash (up to our knees as we agreed) before we were reined in.

RM 180 - gone in six minutes! Given the chance, i honestly would not mind paying again! Next time i shall try the helicopter up the mountains or something.

Next team for the launch!

Control of the launching and retrieving apparatus was via the captain's foot!

I bet we were like that a few moments before. This reminded me of Jurassic Park 3 starting scene; no need to worry since the sky was so bloody clear!

A few other photos.

There were quite a few operators for parasailing and for safety reason, we could only see other groups from afar and anyway, i have full trust in our captain who was my age and had been in this trade for fifteen years!

Time to wrap up!

Photos taken from my iphone by the crew member. Like many people in the tourism trade, the crew had quite a knack for taking good photos!


How to Purchase
As i joined a tour for the island trip, a representative would turn up once we arrived at Sapi Island to share with us the list of sea activities we could join. Don't fret if you don't have sufficient cash, they would collect the money when you reach back at the hotel.

Parasailing for One - RM 100
Parasailing for Two (together) - RM 180

For the summarised itinerary of my 7 days, 6 nights Kota Kinabalu (Borneo Island) trip, please click here

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