Friday, 20 August 2010

Sharks, mouse deer, Tiger beer

Day 6-8
Pelangi Beach Resort, Redang Island

This morning we were up early to get out on one of the included snorkelling trips. They run 2 a day, one at 2pm as we did after we got here yesterday, one at 9:30am. Breakfast was another ufet of two types of noodles, eggy bread and something else I didn't like the look of. It was OK, especially the eggy bread which warmed up OK in the grills they have to make toast

We were shipped out to the Marine PArk Centre on another, smaller island a little way off called Pulau Pinang (not THE Penang) . Snokelling was good, with some great coral and plenty of colourful fish. I even caught a glimpse of a small reef shark. We rented snorkels and masks as well as the obligtory lifejacket which anyone who has been snorklling more than a couple of times (apart from Jane) doesn't need. I mean, you can jjust float there breathing through the snorkel as long as you want without one, and if you hve a life jacket on you can't dive down to get a closer look at stuff. We chatted to a young English guy who had a Malaysian Chinese girlfriend who was stuying in the UK

On heading back it was time for lunch again, more of the same cold buffet (this wil be a theme on the next few days, believe me). We decided to duck out of the afternoon organised sborkelling trip and instead headed off to gor round a local reef reachable from the shore near where we were staying. This proved a good move because there was some reasonable coral for so near show (though showing signs of bleaching as is the case globally which is largely agreed to be due to increasing sea temperatures). There were a fair few fish as well: parrot fish, seageant fish, the odd yellow angel fish. Carrying on around the headland we swam to what is called locally Shark Bay, and the title wasn't a lie as we saw small black-tip reef sharks pretty close to shore. This made missing the trip worthwhile.

We headed back to our room to shower and go out for a pre-dinner drink at the Coral again, then same old same old buffet food for dinner. We then headed out to explore some of the other bars on the beach. The furthest to the north is Reef which had some Chinese teenagers doing cantopop karaoke, LAguna Beach I decided not to drink at as it was RM13 a beer (normal is 10), Redang Beach Resort was good, and one of our regular haunts. Our own place wsn't much cop, and there was Coral whichwas our overall favourite, and we got to know the barstaff well. So we enjoyed a beer or two at a few places before heading back to our room for bed.

As I'm behind I'm doing all our beach nights as they all were similar. Next day we had out breakfast and headed out on the jungle trail over the island to visit another beach. This has a very exclusive (and expensive) Berjaya resort hotel, but the beach was suposed to be stunning. The trek was amazing. Over a hill on a well maintained trail through otherwise dense rainforest whichbecame mangrove at the other end. There was wildlife galore. We saw a chameleon, a few squirrels, lots of macaques, and a mouse deer. At least I think it was a mouse deer, as I only caught a glimpse.
Soaked on sweat we arrived at the beach, and it was indeed stunning with ice-white sand and turquoise water, but this wasn't the resort beach and was a little rubbish strewn. We wandered over to a handy cafe for a Coke, then to the Berjaya. It was very swish, full of Italian tourists and had an immaculate beach. We had a melon juice to drink then found some shade to sit and enjoy the view before heading back.
We'dmissed lunch at the Pelangi, and he afternoon snorkelling trip, but went back to Shark Bay and saw loads of small sharks. Really close to shore in really shallow water.

Evening was more of the same then to bed

Next day we did the morning snorkelling trip, and hired an underwater digital camera to take some photos. We went beyond the Marine Park we had gone to on the first day to another reef which was not too interesting as it happened. Also the camera didn't work when we got there so got no underwater pictures. That afternoon we just hung out on the beach, though our view from the Pelangi was obscured by a large banner put up for a rock festival they were holding at our place this weekend. Our rest on the beach was also disturbed by them setting up. Two days before the show, and they were doing sound cecks before packing their stuff away in case of rain. Muppets

Instead of the buffet at Pelangi we ate at the Redang Beach Resort and had Malay standards which were good, and, more importanty, hot. We also went to the Coral for a last cocktail (aware that our ringit was running low and here was no ATM) and to say goodbye to the two barmen here who we had got to know quite well, then went to pack and go to bed.

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