It is 6.20am and we are late! The cab was late and we were late to reach the boarding gate. The early morning crowd wasn’t helping either. By the time we reached the gate, it was already 5 minutes passed the boarding time. We were told to RUN to the terminal. We did exactly just as told and that was the time when I nearly dropped my pants along the way. Literally!!
After almost 3 hours we reached Tawau where our transport have been waiting to take us to Semporna before we catch a boat to Pulau Mabul. The journey to Semporna took about 1 hour and another hour to Mabul.
At Semporna – Local boys fooling around.
Our home for 6 days
When we reached our “home” for the next 6 days, we saw the Bajau Laut/Asli kids scurrying to our boats. They came and ask for foods and clothes. The place we stayed is a very modest setup. Plywood clad rooms, wooden decked floors, shared toilets, no TV and certainly no electricity for the first half of the day. (The people here depends on generator for electricity and to have it run for the whole day would be very costly for them). And uninvitingly our heart whispered “What? Is this for real? We gonna be staying here for 6 days?”. Meaning that everything was so simple and basic. We were thrown back into reality. This is reality. No luxury whatsoever. And the food is also basic, plain rice with ikan goreng and labu goreng. But believe it or not it tasted good. When you have less you’ll tend to appreciate it more.
Bajau Laut kids
We spent most of the days without much activity. We only went for snorkeling, yes snorkeling, twice during the whole stay. (Snorkeling? sounds just like for kids). The corals and fishes here are way dazzling compared to the ones in Perhentian or Tioman. On the other days we would walk around the island and stroll through the Bajau Laut’s settlement. Or just sits on the front deck, viewing the open sea, with hot teh O. (If you are lucky you’ll see sting rays, eagle rays or even turtles from the front deck). Or admiring the nature’s beauty and every sunset which are so amazingly beautiful. And the best thing we had here was the biggest swimming pool and the biggest aquarium the world has to offer. Awesome!
The neighbour. View from our room
During the mornings the Bajaus would come over our place and offer us their daily catch, mainly crabs, squids, kerapus, tenggiris and lobsters. The price is cheap considering those are really really fresh catches. Tenggiri batang for RM4 per kilo and Kerapu merah for RM50 per kilo. We had ketam and slipper lobsters which costs around RM30-40. They were marvelous, nothing in KL can be compared to the freshness of the crabs and lobsters here.
Catch of the day
We met and made some friends there. Most of them were from KL and came in to dive around Mabul, Kapalai and Sipadan. Also a lady photographer from Beijing, China, came here alone. Yes, alone. And there was this one Benny, from France. He told us that he has been away from France for more than 5 years. He had to leave Mabul for a couple of months because of expiring Visa. When we asked him where he will be heading. He said, ” I don’t know”. Just the answer that we love to hear!
I found myself walking faster and faster on this wooden titi everyday
Our Beijing friend
Our host orang nogori Encik Scubajeff with his bazooka
One thing that concerns us was cleanliness. Rubbish were seen in the waters. The villagers need to be educated on the importance of keeping the waters clean. If not this paradise will be gone before long and nobody would want to come here anymore. It is a sad thing to watch.
A sight to behold!!
Come the 6th day, we sadly have to leave. That day we realized that the value of this whole trip was not about the posh hotel rooms, five star facilities, luxurious bathroom or extravagant menus. We realized that the value was all around us. The people, the nature, every glorious sunsets we witnessed and everything we saw around us. It taught us well. There are people on the other side of the world who are less fortunate but they just make do with what they have and they live happy. And lots of thanks to our host, Encik Scuba Jeff. Adios…