13 August 2007

Road Trip to KK

.This gorgeous sunset right outside my bedroom window had me reminiscing my carefree days as a student.

Everything was last minute. Everything was fully booked. Luckily we managed to get the last unit in Marina Courts Apartment, KK but we havent found any accomodation in Limbang. Caryn made a few phone calls and later, Simon - a Limbang-ian who dives with us frequently - offered us accomodation at his hotel, the Prime Hotel. How convenient! He bought us a hefty dinner - fresh king prawns galore cooked in all possible sauces.. too bad i dont eat prawns, took us to Limbang's Tokyo Lounge for karaoke and this is where we caught one uncle (see rear @ pic below) nipping at a hostess' blouse with chopsticks! Whattha!! The durian season is here, there are durians everywhere, even Simon's car reeked of durian. He then asked if we would like to have durians for dessert and took us to his durian farm. There, his workers would park and wait throughout the night, listening out for thuds from durians falling. Count the number of thuds and search for the exact same number the next morning. Crikey!!
.Albert, Chris, Simon, Eric, Ai Thin, Caryn and mua.
He reminded us that we can stay at his hotel in Lawas - Perdana Hotel, KK - Beverly Hills, during our next trip. Are there any more surprises, Simon? And thanks for being such an amazing host.

Our road trip to KK began at 9 the next morning. It wasnt as bad as i had thought it would be. Probably 'cos i slept 3/4 of the way there. Thanks to Chris i can now see how ridiculous i looked and must have amused other drivers.

.Quite unwilling to get any darker than i already am.

Water rafting was out. There was no way we could have made it to Beaufort by 10am for the train ride to Padas Rivers. Huuuu. After several near-bladder-explosion scare, we finally reached KK at 1ish pm. When we reached the shopping mall, my eyes and hands took control. My eyes were scanning display windows and mannequins, my hands lured me to racks of clothes.. there was no way i could resist the temptation. We visited Scubazoo's office and saw intensive underwater video editing with quality that will put my videos to shame. Then it was on to more important things - finding an operator to dive with the next day. In the first dive shop we stopped at, there was this English instructor, Mark, who speaks in this British-campur-Msian accent that has an uncanny resemblance to that of Nick from SWV.

"You sound exactly like someone i know, Nick"
"Nick from SWV"
"Oh, he's my best friend"

What a bloody small world we live in.

Eventually, we decided to stick with Reuben Kentuts from Scuba Paradise Borneo. He is the one that photographed Nicky in Mantanani Island but having dived there that morning, he told us viz was crap and there is possibly a less than 50-50 chance of seeing Nicky so he advised against going there. His DM, Martin took us Sapi Island instead. It is one of the 5 islands within the Tungku Abdul Rahman marine park that has a beautiful beach. It being a weekend saw lots of families, couples, groups of friends and loners too soaking up the sun, snorkelling, picnicking, feeding the fish and even discovering scuba :)
.Eric at Sapi Island's jetty.
Our first dive at Agill Reef was over really quick. At 20m deep, Martin asked to check our SPG 45mins into the dive. We still had 150 bars left (tanks usually are filled to 200 bars). I think he was in disbelief, he took Caryn's SPG.. shook it and beat it against his hand thinking it malfunctioned. Little does he know we've got gills. Muhuuhuu. I quite enjoyed this dive, we keep the reef to our left and circled around it. There are the usual suspects: cardinals, damsels, nudis, puffers, parrots, and gobies! I spotted a black ray goby but it was fast for me.

Our 2nd dive was at Sapi Reef. We dropped off to a sand patch and Martin quickly spotted a flounder. It's almost impossible to photograph with it constantly trying to pack up sand on its body. There are alot of different corals here; branch, table and cabbage corals and i noticed heaps of filefish. This is also where we saw the blue spotted stingray tucked under a boulder. I stuck my hand in for an eye shot.

And our last dive for the day was at Clement Reef. It is located at the west side of Gaya Island. It was already 2pm and viz has gotten worst. There were silt everywhere giving the much-hated backscatters and made focusing rather difficult. I was rather engulfed in disappointment that we didnt see any frogfish, seahorse or anything that was rare in Brunei then i heard a loud muffled scream. It was a shrieking "MMM, EeOOO,MmMM..eeEEK" Coming from Caryn, she grabbed my arm and pointed out a fat-ass yellow nudi that looks exactly like a ladybug! I think that was the highlight of my trip. Huhhh. And my battery died on me.

.Caryn and John - doing his upside-down safety stop.

.Two fishermen right on top of our dive site.

The dives were ok although i must say it could have been better. It's quite irritating to surface knowing you have more than half of your air left and before we even familiarised ourselves with the reef and pick our subjects, time is up. Nick reckoned we were spoilt by Sipadan. Anyhoos, many thanks to Kentuts and Martin for arranging our dives.

Jazz Festival didnt seemed as happening as the usual ones held in Miri. Tickets were sold out but when we checked it out at 10pm, it appeared rather deserted so we gave it a miss and popped in to Shenanigans and Cocoon.

.Dont think i've eaten so many prawns at any one time.. cos they made me!.

.The trip back to Brunei was quite agonising.
.Insane queues.
.8 friggin' hours.

.Shocking, but I would do it all over again.


Andrew said...

Wow!!! What a elegant pic of u there sleepin. i nominate that pic of the month.

Lee on August 14, 2007 at 9:39 PM said...

Haha.. i dont know whether to cry or to jump for joy. LoL..

Nonnie King on August 14, 2007 at 11:14 PM said...

Gosh, we're just so near to each other that time.

You stayed in Marina court, I stayed in Promenade.

You went to Sapi, I went to Manukan. But Manukan sucks.. only dead corals...

Lee on August 15, 2007 at 12:26 AM said...

Wow Nonnie, i wonder if i'd recognise you if i bumped into you. Perhaps i did :)
Is Manukan that bad now? That is the place that got me started on diving. I presumed you snorkelled! You'd be surprised what might lie within those dead corals :)

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