Friday, 27 April 2012

On the South China Sea KK April 26th 2012

South China Sea, Gaya island

Just off the KK coast, Gaya (sounds like Guyer) island is about the size of British Guernsey, and is just 1 of a series of 5 islands forming the marine park here. Trekking around, or even across it will take sometime, more time than I have enthusiasm for such a major effort, so a day trip is going to have to suffice this time. Should be enough to get a flavour of what it's like to trek in an isolated jungle, with just wild animals for company.

It's 23 RM to get on the boat, 7.2 RM for the use of the jetty, 10 RM to visit another island and another 10 RM to actually get onto an Island. They talk me into going to another island, Sapi, reputed to have a nice beach with clear waters around the island. Doesn't seem to be any schedule, just wait around for the boat to fill with eager tourists and off it go's. 10am, a round up of passengers that are milling around along the quayside. Life jackets are handed out as folk are ushered into their respective boats. Just an Aussie family and me in this boat - he looks rather a grumpy so and so, she seems pleasant though, and the daughter, well, let's just say a typical teenagers attitude.

On the South China Sea heading for Gaya Island, bumping along quite nicely. Not quite the speed boat ride of Langkawi, but fast enough, quite comfortable though. Passing the illegal Filipino settlement, looks like we're going to the farside of Gaya and just as well actually since anyone wandering around here, especially a Western tourist might well end up being held for a ransom demand. A sea of a deep dark blue turning to turquoise and the light blue around the islands shores. Thick, dense jungle covers the hilly terrain, and occasionally a stretch of beach is noticed, quite deserted. About 20 minutes to the jetty, but first it's a drop off at Sapi Island for the Aussies, and Mr. Grumpy. Sapi and Gaya are just a few hundred metres apart, so it takes just minutes to get between the two.

The waters are clear, no hint of any pollution which is surprising given the proximity of KK, and I doubt the illegal Filipinos have any comprehensive sanitation! This doesn't seem to be any significant tourist spot, about a dozen school kids and a couple of tourists, that's all. Noone to take the development fee here, so straight on the find the jungle trekking path. 2 1/2 hours here, so a relatively short trek. Bit of guess work as to where the path actually starts, but it's through and behind the shower block. First sign says, "don't feed the monkeys". Better find a stick, let the hike begin!

Following the contours of the islands coastline through some dense vegetation, this is definitely real jungle stuff, dirt path and mosquitoes included! About an hour and ten minutes before I need to make a u turn and head back, assuming I don't get lost of course. No map, but a good sense of direction, some orientation lessons at school and it's just one track anyway - getting lost, I doubt it. Butterflies, lizards and ants are the sights, crickets and a chorus of bird song make up the sounds of this jungle experience. Back at the pier, a few minutes to get some food and a drink from the restaurant here. More staff than customers by the looks of things. About 20 minutes to take in the views of clear waters, exotic fish and tropics islands in the distance. Next stop, Sapi.

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