Friday, May 02, 2008

Pulau Kapas, my first snorkelling experience, and it was heaven

Pulau Kapas, my first snorkeling experience, and it was heaven

As part of my job nearly 30 years ago, I had to travel to the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, and Kuala Terengganu was one of my stops. We had an off day, so took the opportunity to visit Pulau Kapas for some snorkeling. Here is a photo of a beach in Pulau Kapas, not unlike the one we landed on during our visit then:

Photo of Kapas Island is property of Tim Parkinson

The boat that took us there was unable to land at the beach because of the shallow sea and the reefs. To get to the beach, we had to dive into the sea and swim. I did that with my snorkeling gear, the first ever time I did that. I peered at the bottom of the sea. Not only was the bottom of the sea full of "out of this world" brain corals:

brain coral
Photo of brain coral is property of Nick Mustoe

it was an extraordinary introduction to the beauty of undersea world of reefs. However, what frightened me was the sight of spiny sea urchins crawling all over the sea bottom:

Photo of sea urchin is property of Kamil PorembiƄski

I was warned about the excruciating pain that I would experience if I ever step on one of these sea urchins. That got me really frightened. What if they extend all the way to the edge of the beach? How am I ever going to be able to reach the beach without encountering one of these frightful creatures? However, as I neared the beach, the reefs and the sea urchins changed to sandy bottom and my worries cleared. I reached the beach safely and I must say I had a wonderful time.

Snorkeling in reefs is really like entering into another world, and anyone should experience it at least once in their lifetime. I am glad I had mine at Pulau Kapas, Terengganu, East Coast, Malaysia.

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