The owner of the KL hostel had said there was a hostel on the island which the ferry people seemed to know nothing about but it transpired that one of the other passengers knew about it. We explored the options on the beach first and decided that since we were there for a limited time we would take a more expensive beach hut. It was basic but private and it was right on the beach with lovely views. Unlike some other huts we had looked at it had electricity 24/7 and the bed was extremely comfortable.
Since it was late afternoon we contented ourselves with a walk along our little beach to find some food before exploring the other side of the island which we had been informed was the party side. It looked like a slightly bigger version of our little cove so we decided we were very happy with our choice. We even passed the hostel and though it looked nice and was cheaper it was in the jungle which since we had made quite an effort to get to the island we were glad we had decided on the beach hut with sea view.
We returned to our own beach for the sunset which failed to make an appearance due to the thick cloud building up. The cloud did however provide us with a rather spectacular thunderstorm. Since photographing lightening is on my photography bucket list (If you know me you are surely not surprised I have one) I was rather happy with this. The lightening was mostly sheet with some forks forming and was frequent whilst the storm rumbled on for long enough for me to get a few decent shots amongst the many duds. It was a good end to good day.
The following day we headed out on the resort snorkelling trip. The sky was cloudy but there was no mention of when the storm might come in. We reached our first stop and jumped in the water to go shark hunting. It’s not quite as exciting/dangerous as it sounds; we were looking for reef sharks which are rather small and shy creatures. I spotted one straight away but true to form it soon swam off. My friend was a less experienced snorkeler so I helped her readjust her mask and soon we were off to explore. It turns out that the shark I spotted was to be the only one I was to see that day but I did see lots of colourful fish that as always I completely failed to identify. We swam to an area known for shark sightings and though I didn’t see another one my friend saw one before it too swam away. Since we had both seen one shark, all be it different ones, we were both happy with the first stop.
The second stop was fish point which was very shallow but did indeed have many more fish. I always feel a bit unsure in shallow water. The water was so clear I was sure I would kick the coral so though we saw lots of fish I found it less fun than our first stop.
Our third stop was by far the highlight of our stay in the islands for me. We stopped between the big and little island and slowly started looking for turtles. Soon a fellow boat spotted one and waved our boat over. He had spotted a large turtle and I jumped in as soon as I had my mask on, not even waiting for my turn on the ladders. I am glad I did as I was almost on top of the turtle, which was a long way beneath me in case you are worried for it by the way. It soon moved on but slowly so I was able to keep pace with it despite my lack of fins. It stopped once or twice yet my friend and I were the only ones able to keep up with it. Its length was at least half my height and it was the biggest turtle I have seen so far. As well as the turtle we saw some fish swimming under it, alongside it and on top of it. It was quite simply, amazing.
After this lunch was always going to be a let down. We knew that as it was Ramadan the town we stopped at would be quiet, in fact originally we expected to return to the resort for lunch. It turned out there was one open restaurant and we were lucky to be served quickly as the place soon filled up. Our two boat companions were not so lucky. As we were leaving we discovered that despite arriving not long after us and before almost everyone else they were only now being served. In the end they left without eating as we had been told we would be collected at 2pm and they didn’t want to hold us up. Unfortunately our guide did not have the same concerns. At 2:30pm he finally appeared and was completely unrepentant for his lateness. I get that some cultures are more laid back than others but our poor companions had missed their lunch to be there and were understandably not happy. I wouldn’t have been either if I had missed my meal. To add insult to injury as soon as we reached out forth stop to started to rain. Now I know they can’t control the weather but it was hard not to think that the half hour we had spent waiting on the beach should have been spent in the water and now the rough waves meant most of us were not comfortable going in to the water. By consensus we decided to move on to the fifth stop. Once there the rain was less so we tried but the water was still quite rough and my friend who is not the oceans biggest fan was obviously not happy. As the tide was going in I also had concerns about how the swim back out from the beach would be. We soon returned to the boat. Our two companions tried but soon they too had difficulties and also returned to the boat. It was a shame that a trip which had started so well would end that way. We did mention our displeasure to the resort reception but their response was that the boat had stopped. They didn’t seem to understand that it was his tardiness and cavalier disregard for our disappointment that we found upsetting, not the weather. Sadly there was nothing to be done so my friend and I decided to concentrate on the turtle and first stop when we remembered the day.
The rain didn’t last long and once it cleared it left a lovely sky which my friend rightly predicted would make for a lovely sunset. As the sun went down my friend suggested we head to the jetty to watch it and it was indeed a beautiful sight. We weren’t the only ones with the idea but we did last the longest and got some great shots. I even got to play with some long exposures since I found a few sturdy wooden railings to use a make shift tripods.
The next day we had booked to leave on the 4pm ferry so we spent the day lazing about on the beach. It was exactly what I needed after a busy two years in one place. The sun was warm and though I stayed in the shade due to having rather red shoulders from the day before I enjoyed it none the less. I had my kindle but struggled to stay awake long enough to read it and I soon dozed off. We did venture off the beach for lunch but straight afterwards it was back to our loungers. I’m not usually a beach person but I must admit it was a lovely restful day and I am glad we had booked to last ferry to give us the maximum amount of time on the island. I am always sad to leave a plac de but this time there was the added sadness of leaving my friend behind. She had decided to head to Malaka instead of Penang so we would be parting ways in Kuala Besut.