September 20, 2010
Just got back from Redang island for Project AWARE + diving trip. 2010 is now officially a diving year for me since this has turned out to be the 5th diving trip of the year after Sipadan/Mabul, 2 trips to Tenggol, and a previous trip to Redang in June.
Haze, Joel, Wan Czin, Yuki, Horng, Ian, Irene, Vinn, Zess, Gabriel, Terence, KY
Project AWARE is also known by the less glamourous name of International Cleanup Day whereby beach enthusiasts all over the world come together and basically spend a morning clearing up a section of beach from things that shouldn’t be there.
Our group managed to picked up some 500+ cigarette buds from just one small stretch of beach in front of a resort, and there were 5 other teams that picked up similar amount of ciggy buds and other junks too. One other interesting thing we picked up, among ropes/bottle caps/slippers/etc was a piece of soiled underwear :S
Project AWARE is usually partly sponsored by the resort, and hence we also scored 3 dives at a reduced rate. However, the visibility weren’t great, and our instructor too were reluctant to take us to some of the more interesting/challenging sites due to the larger amount of divers on each trip. This was actually my 2nd participation of Project AWARE, with the previous one all the way back in 2004 at Redang, my 2nd dive trip.
After this trip, I now logged 45 dives in total, with 31 of them from this year and 14 from 2004.
Since this is a space is sorta known as a food blog, I shall also introduce the best 3 layer tea from this side of Malaysia – the little kopitiam at Redang Beach Resort manned by an uncle. The blend of evaporated milk, tea, and palm sugar’s perfect! The lor mai kai (steamed glutinous chicken rice) is pretty awesome too!
As for accommodation, we stayed at Pelangi resort, which in my opinion is a bit better than Redang Beach resort. There’s attached toilet on each room instead of communal hostel style arrangement, for example. Food wise they’re both similarly sad though.
There’ll be a bit more on this trip in the coming post(s), but in the mean time, please help complete the survey on Shark’s fin on the side bar on your right. I need the information for an upcoming post, thanks!
February 7, 2010
I didn’t know I was going on my 3rd diving trip this 2-6 February until about a month ago.
It was Irene who mentioned that she’s going to Mabul/Sipadan with her sisters and 2 other guys, since she sounds like a crazy person who is fun to hang out with, I decided to tag along despite not having met anyone face to face prior to this trip, Irene including.
rather refreshing to be flying a non-budget airline for once
So I logged into both AirAsia and MAS for flights to Tawau and decided to take the non-budget route since the price difference was not more than 10% in this case.
RM 434 paid for the return fare, including 20kg luggage allowance, pretty delicious meal (the nasi lemak is just as good as those served on Air Asia, and comes with Ferrero Roche too).
Tawau to Semporna, at Dragon Inn
When I reached Tawau at 11+ in the morning, Irene, Lynn, Jen, Chan, and Gun had already been waiting there for some three hours after flying from KK. We chartered a van (RM 250 both ways) to our destination for the day – Semporna.
The 90+ km journey from Tawau (nearest airport) to Semporna took just over an hour. Instead of lush pristine Borneo jungle that I had envisioned, it we were greeted with rows upon rows of palm trees with the occasional village houses instead. Not a whole lot of visual treatment going on.
Semporna, at the lion’s lower jaw
Semporna is often the stopover town for divers and travelers alike heading to Mabul/Sipadan islands. Located at the southeastern corner of Sabah (the lion’s lower jaw), Semporna has a population just over 100k, with a rather tiny town center that isn’t even as big as SS2 in PJ. You could walk the whole downtown area in 15 minutes or so.
the view from Dragon Inn Floating Resort
We checked into Dragon Inn Floating Resort to spend the night. Since there were 6 of us, we chose the dormitory style accommodation for the night to give everyone a chance to chill together. At RM 20 per person per night it was really cheap, but unfortunately the lack of air conditioning proved to be a major problem not for being too warm, but for having too many mosquitos making a feast of us.
Speaking of mosquitos, here’s quiz from Lynn (answer at the bottom of the page): What’s the difference between a mosquito and a fly?
Umai – a traditional Sarawakian delight
Irene brought a packet of Umai all the way from Kuching for me (thank you very much!).
Umai is a traditional Sawarakian food that is best described as a sort of raw fish salad. A packet of raw fish (white fish) that is pre-marinated with lime juice and onion that is served by mixing with red chili, fresh lime juice, and probably some salt and pepper.
Give it a few tosses ala yee sang style and you’re ready to roll. It was actually quite refreshing, kinda like the cross of Japanese salad and Chinese yee sang but with a heavy lime juice taste and a hint of spiciness. I liked it and would try a fresh version when I find myself at Sarawak next time.
dinner at the restaurant by the bridge
For dinner, we took a short walk from the resort and settled upon the little restaurant by the bridge that connects town center and the resort. The vegetable was okay, spicy squid rather tasty, and the venison somewhat tough and forgettable.
We sat under the sky with a gentle breeze brushing our hair, waiting for the next day’s diving excursion at Mabul and couldn’t care less if dinner wasn’t exactly impressive. It was less than RM10 per pax anyway.
Next up – Mabul island.
Answer to Lynn’s quiz: A mosquito can fly but a fly cannot mosquito!