Activities,  Malaysia

Snorkeling from Coral Bay – Palau Perhentian

After trying to teach Emma water confidence in Singapore with moderate success, she made very impressive progress in Kuala Lumpur! So good in fact that she is now very comfortable in the ocean and can dive underwater comfortably. Water can be scary for some, so I am very proud Emma is learning fast.

The Perhentian islands are known mainly for what is underneath the water so we looked around for snorkeling trips. Any trip on the Long Beach side starts at 50RM per person. Over at Coral Bay there’s plenty of options starting from 30RM including gear and some even breakfast. We decided to go with Fatimah and signed up to go with Nico. Great choice, definitely recommend it.

He took only six of us out after getting the boat started. We were the only boat without life jackets but the only boat with flippers.

Coral Bay
There were a few other boats already here, and they were all treading water with their life jackets. Nico gave us each some bread to feed the fish (the other boats did not get this either). Then we jumped in. First, the water was murky. I watched Emma as she jumped in and heard Nico’s warning to “watch out for black yellow dot”. It didn’t take long until we were surrounded by hundreds of small colourful fish. We saw some large parrot fish feeding off the coral and swam with swarms of fish. Whoever was clutching the bread was followed by hundreds of fish they tried to eat it out of our hands.

Shark Point
I didn’t expect much. We might see a shark here. Nico smiled and pointed at the other boats. “Watch them follow us soon.” We plunged in, he told us to stay close and not to follow sharks. He had fished at the previous point and was now teasing the sharks by breaking up said fish! Nothing for quite a while, then suddenly he stops and signals us. There it was a black tip reef shark circling our group. Then 2, then 3 of them, the largest about 1.5 meters long.

Turtle Point
The last stop before lunch. These were huge turtles, gracefully feeding on the bottom. We saw two come up right before us to breathe. They were 3-4 meters down, so to get right up close we had to dive down. The largest I dove down next to was almost my length. These are beautiful animals.

Fisherman Village
We stopped here for lunch. Fried rice with chicken and fried rice with salty fish. Emma befriended some local kids, trying to teach them English.

Palau Rawa
This is a special place. We all paid an extra 15RM for Nico to take us here. As soon as we arrived we could see coral and fish in abundance from the boat. He showed us a blue spotted ray and heaps of soft coral. We saw swarms of feeding fish in all colours. At a second spot we saw more of the same. The water here is very shallow and crystal clear.

Visible from Coral Bay beach, there’s a white lighthouse, which is home to purple soft coral and heaps of fish including Perculas.

Romantic Beach
A white stretch of secluded beach with a shell decorated tree in the middle. I ventured a bit on my own in the water and saw two baby sharks. When they spotted me they swam out of there at incredible speed. After I joined the group where Nico was feeding a Moray and then we swam back to the boat following a turtle.

It was concerning to see plastic bags, bottles and cigarette packets floating around every now and then. We didn’t see this in Palau Rawa.

We were pretty tired after a 6-7 hour trip and wound down to a great dinner at Ombak where Rise of the Planet of the Apes was playing.

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