Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sabah | Mantanani Island (Dugong/seacow island)

Two activities that excite me most in my recent Sabah trip :
1. Island to Island Zipline (longest in the world)
2. Snorkeling at Mantanani Island

Seeing the name on the life jacket excites me. Ahaks.

I, amazingly, packed my cabin size luggage to the maximum for a 4 days 3 nights trip to Sabah. A trip to Mantanani alone took almost half the space, despite I pride myself being a light traveler, I failed myself in flying colours with this trip. How did I successfully failed? Well, I have to bring a flip flop for beach and sea activities (aside from the sneakers I have to bring for hiking), goggles, my set of dry clothes, rash guard, sunblock, toiletries, camera, my new dry bag (note my perasan-ess here), towel, snacks etc. I might as well bring my cabin size bag to the island right!?! Hehhehehhehee....

Our excursion was managed by Touch Borneo, everyone is required to fill up indemnity form and soon after briefing was given when we got on the boat, another briefing was given before we start our snorkeling activity. Safety is their key priority, ensuring that there are dive masters and first aider with us. (I think there is a changgih-er name for this, but I ter-forgot pulak)

Touch Borneo offer 2 types of day trip packages (min 2 pax) :

1. Tour + Snorkeling (Adult) - RM280 / (Child 4-11) - RM224
2. Tour+Diving (Adult) - RM450

* Package includes:

- Return land and sea transfer from Kota Kinabalu / Kota Belud Jetty / Mantanani Island
- BBQ lunch and mineral water
- Diving equipment (weights, weight belt, BCD, regulator, mask, fins, snorkel & wetsuit)

The journey to Mantanani Island starts from Kampung Kuala Abai Jetty which takes approximately 1 hour drive from Kota Kinabalu town. While the ride from Kampung Kuala Abai Jetty to Mantanani Island takes another 1 hour.

#TravelTips 1 : The sea can be really choppy hence I suggest for those prone to seasick to take seasick pill half an hour before the boat ride. But for those who enjoy roller coaster ride, the journey is super fun!

#TravelTips 2 : Despite the weather can be cloudy at times, please bring and apply your sunblock. You can easily get sunburn at the open sea. Bring Aloe Vera too, just in case *wink*.

As the boat takes us out of Kampung Kuala Abai Jetty.

Altogether there are 7 operators on this island and Touch Borneo being the biggest todate is in the midst of building the only 4 stars resort which will be ready sometime early or mid next year. This will provide the villagers additional source of income aside from their traditional livelihood. 

Background (Wikipedia)
The Mantanani Islands form a small group of three islands off the north-west coast of the state of Sabah, Malaysia, opposite the town of Kota Belud, in northern Borneo. The largest island is Mantanani Besar; the other two are Mantanani Kecil and Lungisan. It is a popular site for recreational diving as there are three nearby dive wrecks dating from the Second World War, as well as being known for its dugongs

I asked the locals, here's the story.

Apparently 5 years back the dugongs were friendly and will swim close to human, in fact they say you can even touch and hug them. But due to bom ikan or fish bombing, most of the dugongs have disappeared. The locals also added that there are dugongs that were killed for their meat. Now, you can spot one or two wild dugongs swimming but they won't go anywhere near you nor will the locals suggest you go near them for obvious reason. Sad huh.

It was raining when we arrive.

Despite of the rain, the view was still serene and somehow it seems like the pale white sandy beach is calling our name as we approach the jetty. With only 1000 villagers on this uncommercialized island, one practically feels like he owns the island. Ini pulau aku punya!!!

Briefing session before snorkeling trip.

Camera woman filming and I call her proboscis monkey *wink* hehhehehhehehee... Comel giler.

Excited much. 

Off we go!

Can you see the crystal clear water! 

And of we go, swimming to Mantanani Kecil Island. Nah.... we didn't swim that far, just a few spots near the boat where the beautiful corals are.

#TravelTips 3 : The current is pretty strong here, if you are an inexperience swimmer or you can't swim well (at all), please make sure the dive master or instructor is near you or move in group.

One of the first aider. 

I think the red frame Polaroid sunglass looks good on me, what do you think?

And what's best is that its polarizing light filter eliminates glare and blocks all harmful UVA, UVB and UVC light rays which is perfect for outdoor lovers especially if you enjoy sea activities such as snorkeling, diving, parasailing, fishing etc. Not only that, it is also shatter-resistant and scratchproof thus ensuring strength and shock-absorbency for a life-long performance. It caters for both male and female so that you can now be fashionable and ourdoorish at the same time *smile*.

Polaroid selfie.

One thing I need to brag about my Polaroid sunglass is that they use vacuum-forming technology to curve their lenses hence warping the wearer’s perception of size, shape and distance without realizing. Cool heh!

We took a stroll at the island tip after our lunch and the scenery... awesome.

My favourite picture. Thanks Lyn for being my model. 

A Sabah Tourism Media Fam Trip in collaboration with Air Asia.

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