Island Paradise, with Turtles, sharks, lizards and finding Nemo.

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September 11th 2009
Published: September 14th 2009
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Our journey here wasn’t without its hassles. Our bus was over an hour late leaving and we had to wait beside 20 or 30 other buses in an underground bus park with all their engines running. It was hot, humid and the fumes were intoxicating. Add to that people staring at you the whole time and it becomes very uncomfortable. I know we’re different looking but surely we’re not as alien as some people make us out to be. You could stare back with full eye contact and this does not put them off. Eventually we got on the bus and we were on the road to Terengganu where we would get a connecting bus to Kuala Besut where we would get a boat to the island. It sounds like a long hall but it wasn’t that bad. We arrived in Terengganu at six in the morning. There were lots of people around so it was safe. One guy, a bit soft in the head, sat across from us on our table and stared at us for 20 minutes solid until we moved. He didn’t even blink. Earlier in a small shop he tried to sell me a feather he had just picked up off the ground. Our bus arrived at 7am and took us to Kuala Besut. It was a local bus and it took 2 and a half hours to do 100kms. Our bus conductor told us he didn’t like immigrants, especially people from Bangladesh and I thought in my head, thanks for telling me that. We found out later there was a guy from Bangladesh on the bus and when he was getting off the bus driver picked up an iron bar and hit a railing on the bus so as to scare him off. I don’t think he was ever going to hit him but he sure made his feelings known.

Soon we were on our boat and on our way to D’Lagoon resort on the north side of the island. The beach was maybe 40 - 50 metres long with cabins and huts hidden behind the tropical trees. Our room was as basic as you would find and although there was a roof there was no ceiling, so you could hear everything in the room next door. We were warned not to have food as we might get ‘night visitors‘. Michelle didn’t hear this so I decided it was best not to tell her. For our first day we snorkelled and ate. It was peaceful and a good rest from all the cities we had recently visited. Next day we booked a trip to go swimming with turtles. It turned out to be one of the best things we have done. The turtles are huge and we swam with about 8. You can swim with them for about 10 minutes and then they have to come up for air. They come right up beside you and you could touch them if you want. Visibility in the water was excellent so we had no problem following them as they fed below us. The following morning we got up at 7am. A few of us went to the other side of the island to swim with Reef Tip Sharks. We spent a while there and I got to see two. With the first one I made the mistake of trying to tell the others. When I put my head down again it was gone. The next time I saw one I just swam with it for 15 seconds until I couldn’t keep up. They're small and nothing to be afraid of. On my way back in I found Nemo and his family. They live in a white plant and are very protective of their area. There were three of them and any time I got close they would swim at me to try and frighten me away. They are amazing to watch and their colours of orange, black and white make them a very beautiful fish to watch.

When we returned to our beach huts, one of the guys working there had caught 5 small sharks for dinner that evening. Michelle put her name down straight away. She had a whole shark to share with 2 others. She said it was one of the nicest things she has eaten and will definitely have it again. I stuck with the tried and tested curry noodle but I did taste the shark. It has the texture of a chicken breast and white in colour. That day also when we were snorkelling at our resort we swam with some Napoleon fish. These are quite big fish weighing up to 15kilos. They were swimming away from us when we found them but then they turned around and swam around us. Michelle didn’t fancy it and swam away only to return in case something happened to me. I swam straight through them and I have to say I felt a little uneasy they were that big.

They have a monkey here as well who got a little fond of my leg if you know what I mean. Monitor lizards also roam the beach and some are up to six feet in length. Oh ya, remember the night visitors? Well, Michelle went up to our room one evening only to find a rat sitting on the end of our bed. It took a lot of reasoning with her to get her back into the room and it woke us up at 3:30 in the morning going across the rafters. Luckily we never saw him again but we did find some rather large lizard one night. I suppose if you want to stay on a tropical island you have to live with its local creatures too!

In a bit. DH

Song of the blog: Katy Perry - Hot & Cold (some kid keeps playing it here all the time and I mean all the time)

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