Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Great Adventures in Sabah

Finally! Another dive trip after a year on land :D

And this time, I got to dive at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah; the place where I've always wanted to dive because of the many great dive sites I've heard about.

The one thing that bothered me about this trip was that this time, I can't bring my camera along with me while I go Scuba Diving. A long time ago, my camera got stolen but it was later found and returned back to us. Unfortunately, that idiot wanted to take out the memory card but it didn't know how to open the camera.

So it forced the poor camera open and after that, I can never take the camera underwater again because the water can now get into its' system.

This is my favorite underwater picture that I took when I was in Pulau Tioman.

I swear, next time I come back to Sabah, I'll bring an underwater camera with me. Or at least a housing for my current camera.

And I might like to take up an underwater photography dive lisence. Probably.

It was a pretty good dive actually. There wasn't as many divers that went for the trip as I usually see. Whenever I'm on a dive trip, I always go along with at least 10 other divers including the dive master.

This time however, only 5 other divers were with us; two chinese guys, the diver master and his friend, and the owner of the dive shop, who went out diving by himself while taking pictures underwater. How I envy that...

Ever since I first got my Open Water dive lisence, the only dive buddy I ever had was my brother, Daniel. Every single time, I'm always stuck with him. And its not like I have any choice; I have no sister or a friend with a dive lisence so its always been with Daniel.

But after the second dive, Daniel got sick so he didn't go for the last dive. And so, I've finally got a different buddy; the Dive Master :P

I saw a few things I rarely see underwater during that dive. Like, I spotted quite a few Lionfishes; one of the most poisonous fishes in the world.

I even spotted a prawn which usually shows up at night. But the coolest thing I got to experience during that dive was having my 'manicure' done at the cleaning station by these little critters;

At first, the dive master took us to this sandy area and over there, we saw this structure made out of tyres.

When we took a look at the structure, there were schools of fish which were crowded in that tunnel of tyres. Then, the dive master signaled me to place my hand on the tyre, which I did.

And out of nowhere, these little Hingebeak Shrimps appeared and started going all over my hands and nails, 'cleaning' me.

How awesome is that?? It felt a little ticklish at first, but then I got used to it and it felt really nice after that.

*sigh* if only I had some dive log refills so that I can record that fantastic dive... and a camera...

Anyway, I haven't shown you the hotel I stayed at. The hotel we crashed in for 4 days 3 nights was at Sutera Harbour. Check it out:

Isn't the garden so pretty??

*gasp* OMG!!

That guy is walking on water!! O.O

And take a look at the view we have from our room!

In the evening, the sunset is so beautiful. The only thing I regretted was that I totally forgot to take a picture of it :/

And this is where we have our breakfast every morning:

Check out Aunty Margaret's face after taking a bite out of her pineapple...



Just look at the pained expression on her face when she was aware of the camera XD

The next day after our dive, we decided to go White Water Rafting!

In the beginning, we thought it was gonna be a piece of cake when we first laid eyes on the river. Looks pretty calm right?

On board the raft was me, Daniel, Mom, Aunty Margaret, a japanese couple and the guy behind there is our captain, er... I never got to know his real name, but he calls himself Captain Jack Sparrow. Wtf...

This is our neighbouring group of rafters. Everytime we see them, we always have to paddle faster because they will always keep splashing us with water and I didn not plan to be wet by the end of the ride.

That was until this happened...

If you havent guessed yet, our raft got caught by a tree branch and we began to sink as more water rushed in. And it wasn't really much help when another group floated down the rushing waters right into us!

I think that made the tree branch puncture our raft and we couldn't free it. So at the moment, we were stuck right at the side where the waters were really rough. Slowly, the raft began to go lopsided and we were really soaking wet.

Finally, we had to abandon ship.

I was really thankful that we had our lifejackets on. Usually, I'd find it a nuisance to wear one until the day came when my life actually depended on it. Now I know the meaning of 'lifejackets'.

At first, I had to climb to the side of the boat and later on the edge of the boat. It was freakin scary. So I took a deep breath and take the plunge!

When I jumped, I didn't surface for quite sometime and I swallowed quite a few gulps of river water while some went into my nose. Yuck!

Do you realize what could I have possibly swallowed in there!? Let me show you some of the things I saw before we got stuck, shall I?

Exhibit A:

Do you know what those are? They're buffalos taking a bath in the river. And do you know what else they could've done in the river? Ugh... please don't remind me....

Exhibit B:

A village. The river is probably essential to their lives where they use it to wash their clothes, plates, pots, etc.. etc...

And do you know what else they do in the river?? I leave it up to your imagination.

Along the way, I saw soap, some garbage and this large pile of yellow foam I saw resting on a rock. Lord knows what could that be XP

Get the picture now? What I swallowed in the river could've been poisonous...

So anyway, as I was saying, when I was underwater for a minute or so, I was probably swallowing something disgusting. Finally, I managed to start kicking and get to the surface. After struggling a bit, I began to float on the water by lying horizontally so that I can float better.

The next problem I faced was to get to the river bank. When the water currents are strong and you are not wearing any specialized footwear such as fins to manuver yourself to the side, but instead you are trying to hold on to your favorite flip flops, swimming toward land might be a little tricky.

I tried as best as I could to fight the currents and swim towards the shore, but it was quite impossible. Luckily, one of the staff who was waiting at the shore managed to get to me and pull me to the side. *whew*

That... was... AMAZING!! What a rush! I never felt so alive after that experience!! I wanna do it again!! Minus the swallowing the river water part... which, come to think of it, tastes like plain ol' water...

And waay at the side there is our raft which is still stuck there. Finally, they managed to get it out by cutting a hole...

See the rectangular hole?

In the end, our group had to split so that we can squeeze into the other groups' rafts. I went on this family's raft and they asked me if I was Korean or Japanese since I couldn't answer them in Mandarin. And like the honest idiot that I am, I told them that I was Chinese and they were really surprised.

So they asked me where I'm from, and once again, I told them the truth that I was from KL and they really look taken aback.

I swear, the next time I meet some random chinese stranger, I would be ready to tell them that I'm a Korean who comes from Australia. And they wouldn't blink an eye. End of story, end of the embarassment.

That way, they won't keep assuming that I speak mandarin and have a one-sided conversation with me in mandarin while I have no idea what the heck are they talking about and I'm to shy to say so. Problem solved!

That is... unless they know Korean and start speaking to me in Korean. Oh God...

But besides the adventures I got to experience in Sabah, what I love about this place is the seafood!

Big, fresh, seafood... YUMMY!!!

My mouth is already watering...

Except for that one. Ugh... Rock fishes are hideous! And poisonous too. Why would people wanna eat that!?

Look what I got from one of those abalone dishes! Aren't these shells so pretty? And the holes are naturally like that too. So I took it home as a souvenir.

Btw, Melissa Foo, if you're reading this, I'm sorry I didn't buy you a souvenir. But if you like, I could give you one these shells, kay?

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