15 May 2014 – Day 2
“Swooshh… swoosh” the sound of waves hitting the beach and the sun rays trying to get into the room woke me up. The waves which were my lullaby last night had turned into my alarm clock in the morning. I smiled and went out of bed early. Today, I will join the Sunny Day Trip which is the snorkeling day trip organized by the resort. With RM 85 (USD 19), I was told that I will visit three to four snorkeling points and also a stop for lunch.
First stop in the morning was to get breakfast. The resort provided breakfast for the in-guests who booked for full board package. Since I did not buy the full board package, I had to pay for the buffet breakfast. The breakfast was average but since there was no other choice on this resort, we had to bear with it.
Soon after breakfast, I followed the boat operator to take my snorkeling gear before going to the boat. There were only 6 people in the boat: my brother and I, an Asian couple and two Caucasian ladies. Along the way, we chatted and complimented the beauty of Tioman. The ocean current was strong, once in a while I felt like our boat had collided into a big rock or something. Thankfully, we safely arrived at the first point – Pulau Tulai (Tulai Island).
Tulai Island is really a paradise on earth. I have been to several islands before including the ones in Thailand but nothing beats Tulai Island. Tulai Island wins hands down. I have written a separate blog post on Tulai Island here. I did not snorkel here since there were only fish and serene view but no corals since the corals had died due to weather change.
Genting Bay was our next stop. I hesitated to snorkel at first. I looked out of the boat into the sea water and could not believe my eyes when I saw the corals deep down into the ocean and fish swimming everywhere. My brother went into the water first and I asked him:
“Ijat, dalam tak? (Ijat, is it deep?)”.
“Dalam giler bang! Kaki memang tak sampai! (Really deep! My feet can’t even touch the ground!)”, my brother answered me.
I took a deep breath and went in. It was so deep! So deep that I had to constantly hold my life jacket for fear that it would slip and I would be left with no life jacket. So deep that when I tried to stand, I could see the huge gap between my feet and the base of the ocean. Still, the corals and fish were so beautiful. They were the very reason why I kept to snorkel despite my initial hesitation. There was also a huge boulder at the bay where one can try and stand there if their feet is too tired from constant swimming.
We stayed at Genting Bay for about an hour and a half before proceeding to Salang for lunch. Since I was staying at Panuba with its private beach and the resort per se, stopping at Salang really caught me by surprise. Salang is like a very small village where only a few chalets exist and there were no cars at all. Only motorcycles were available there. I guess if one does not like quiet place like Panuba, Salang might be a good alternative due to the fact that it has a very nice and wide beach and crystal clear water – the trademark of Tioman.
We stopped at Salang for about two hours. After I had finished my lunch, I saw the two Caucasian ladies swimming to a floating platform not too far from the beach. I was thinking, since the water was very clear and it was so hot and sunny, why not I join them. Thus, I called my brother and off we went to the platform.
I was just enjoying swimming there when the boat operator called us and waited for us near the beach. He said we were going to the last point which was Monkey Bay. And he also told us that “kalau bertuah, bolehlah tengok jerung (if you guys are lucky, you can see sharks)”. He mentioned sharks with a calm composure, as if sharks were some kind of pet fish. Plus, I did think that lucky is a wrong choice of word.
Maybe the boat operator saw my puzzled face, so he explained to me that sharks here do not bite humans. I just nodded but deep in my heart, sharks will always be sharks.
I went into the water with the others when I reached Monkey Bay and it was a bit disappointed actually because most of the corals were dead. I asked the boat operator who told me that all of this happened because of the weather. Green house effect he said. Luckily, the fish that circled us there were beautiful. Luckily too that we did not sight any shark.
We were given two hours at Monkey Bay which for me was not enough simply because this was the last stop and we had to get back to the resort soon after. I bought some time, swimming a bit far from the boat until the boat operator called me. He laughed saying “tadi takut sekarang tak nak balik! (You were afraid initially and now you could not stop!)”.
I just could not anyway. It was my first time snorkel in a deep sea water and seeing fish and corals as big as me (mind you I am big) was something that made my jaws dropped. I was wonderstrucked by the island’s beauty.
It did not take long to get back to Panuba Inn from Monkey Bay. When I waited for something to come such as this trip, time felt like moving slowly. When I was doing something fun, time felt like moving swiftly. We reached Panuba Inn in the evening and rested for a while.
As the sun was setting in, I went to the beach area to snap my favourite photo of the trip – a sunset photo. It was my final night on Tioman Island and I really need to immerse myself into the picturesque moment.
I was glad I took the trip. My nerves were calmed and I was refreshed. I was ready to start my job at a new place in a few days time. Tioman had given me a short but memorable stay.
16 May 2014 – Day 3
The next morning, I checked out and waited for the ferry to bring us back to the mainland. When the ferry arrived and we started our journey back to the mainland, I went to the outdoor deck. I bid farewell and looked at Tioman, getting farther and farther as the ferry moves. It was a sad departure but I knew then that I would come back. That I would return to this beautiful island. That I would never say goodbye to Tioman.
“Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting”.
End of my Tioman travelogue.