Following up on Camilla’s last post about the abandoned shack we stayed in… We didn’t make reservations, only to find that everything was fully booked by the time we arrived on the island! We weren’t the only ones in that situation, either — every day we were on the island, we saw people scrambling around looking for a place to stay and occasionally spending the night on the beach. Of course, the problem with sleeping on the beach in Malaysia is that you occasionally have to deal with getting soaked in sudden thunderstorms!
While we were walking around looking for a room, we passed by an old abandoned resort in the jungle along the beach. We didn’t want to end up getting drenched in the middle of the night, so we investigated the place. No idea why or when it was deserted, but it looked like it was a decent place back in the day. All of the chalets had attached bathrooms, the published prices were reasonable, and it had a stony beach and what looked like an unfinished pier. Most of the rooms were pretty dirty/moldy/had missing walls or broken floorboards, but the former open air reception area/cafe looked reasonably clean. We noticed a mattress on the floor, a mosquito net, a broom, and all kinds of rat poop.
Obviously, we preferred to have a real room, so we kept looking. Unfortunately, the functioning resorts were all full, so we went back to the abandoned one, cleaned up a part of it, hung our food, hid our packs, and trekked off in search of dinner. Once we cleaned up the place, it was surprising decent. We woke up in the middle of the night sometimes expecting the worst (thinking the water lapping against the shore was footsteps and that lightning was flashlights and that there were people or animals coming for us in the middle of the night), but all things considered I think it went reasonably well. Especially when you consider the horror stories we heard about places other people were staying — at least we weren’t paying RM200 a night for a cockroach infested room!
Camilla’s aside: Every time we returned to what we referred to as “the shack” we inspected the premises. One evening we noticed the food bag we had hung had a hole in it and an orange peel had been pulled out. Brian said it must have been the rats. Since we had hung the food, the rat must have been swaying or riding the food bag trying to get into it. This reminded me of a passage from All Quiet on the Western Front where the soldiers had to hang their bread from the rats. One night a soldier saw a rat riding the bread. I wish I had seen it. It gave me a good laugh, nonetheless.
Unfortunately, Camilla’s DSLR camera stopped working back in Tasik Chini, so all of our photos here were taken using a GoPro camera one of her coworkers lent her for underwater photography. It has a fisheye lens, so please forgive the image quality.
Other than that, we just did a lot of snorkeling and scuba diving. A lot of the coral here seems to be dying, but we saw some turtles, pufferfish, bamboo sharks, clownfish, nudibranches, and even a cuttlefish!
A white eyed eel:
Camilla and a pufferfish (it’s slightly below and to the left of her, click on the image to see a bigger version):
Brian and Camilla:
A whole school of fishies:
The most popular turtle around (They lead snorkeling tours to him):
Understandably, he’s a little shy when he comes up for air (Notice him hiding his face as he swims back down):
Camilla doing some snorkeling:
And finally, a clownfish frolicking about:
Colors in the underwater world are a little washed out if you don’t use lights, and the effect is exaggerated with this camera. Eventually we might work out a way to correct the images for the fisheye effect and washed out color, but right now we’re a bit busy traveling!
Next stop, Kota Bharu and then Taman Negara National Park.