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Published: January 29th 2012
Here are our thoughts--voyagers’ thought
Here not the land, firm land, alone appears
, may then by them be said,
They sky o’erarches here--we feel the undulating deck beneath our feet
We feel the long pulsation--ebb and flow of endless motion;
The tones of unseen mystery--the vague and vast suggestions of the briny world--the liquid-flowing syllables,
The perfume, the faint creaking of the cordage, the melancholy rhythm,
The boundless vista, and the horizon far and dim, are all here,
And this is Ocean’s poem.
In Cabin’d Ships at Sea, Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman
After getting my advanced open water certification in Taiwan in 2011, I always put Sipadan, Sabah, Malaysia on my traveling shortlist. On February 24, 2012, I finally was one of 120 permitted divers of Sipadan on this day. And now I was on the road to this diving mecca in Borneo, where also is known for Mt. Kinabalu, orangutans, and Rafflesia flowers. It’s the second time I went abroad as a solo traveler. First time, in 2010 I got my open water certification in Guam, a peaceful and modern island with a lot of Japanese.
As a solo traveler, the most intriguing part in the airport is companies you met unexpectedly. They sat usually next to you. “Any WI-FI here?” is a very friendly ice-breaking in the airport. It means that you have tried to do something but in vain and now you just want to make friend now. Luckily, an enthusiastic diver, from mainland China, was my first travel company. She has been in Semporna several times and is a mature diver. The topics of our conversations included politics, transportation during Chinese New Year in China and Taiwan, and best seafood there. We shared our own travel plans and diving experiences with each other because at this boring moment we had to wait for our delayed plane.
The conversations was awesome but our red plane did not arrive yet.
For a budget airplane, Air Asia truly do a lot of things to reduce the price of our tickets but not include they would ignore what the passengers felt when any plane was delayed. Unlike other air companies, you could easily see everything, including taking-off and landing, to satisfy your curiosity about airplane and airport in your waiting room before the gate in the Air Asia‘s airport. That’s mean when my plane, from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau, was delayed. Passengers could either have something to expect on the runway, or do their texting, small-talking, and napping, and no complains. When the red plane finally arrived, some passengers even videoed the very process of landing of that red plane. What a lovely experience here.
When I arrived in Semporna, meaning place of rest, it’s already midnight. (It took about 90 minutes driving from Tawau airport to Semporna.) I check in the Holiday Dive Inn as soon as possible and stayed with other backpackers in the dormitory.
Second day is my laid back day with nothing to do but fooling around in Semporna, that it’s coastline was fringed by stilt village. A beautiful and romantic scene for a morning bird. Waking up in about 6 o’clock, I followed fishy taste to a fishing port, where vessels and speedboats were going back and forth. Plenty of fishes and edible sea grass wrapped by banana leaves in crates were uploaded here. Hustle and bustle. Local people looked for tasty fishes for their supper and some kids waited in the entrance of fish market with black plastic bags and would run errands for you if you gave him or her a tip.
Life seems tough in this hectic port.
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