Oooh Barracuda!

The jetti at Kota Kinabalu

I am back from my holiday! Yes, I went on holiday to Malaysia while I was on holiday in Hong Kong… A holiday within a holiday, but I think We need to go deeper”… ok, enough with the crap. Here’s my latest adventure.

I love scuba diving and I got to do loads this holiday in the beautiful waters of Pulau Gaya – a small island just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu. On our first two days we stayed at Gayana eco resort, a resort revolved around the preservation and restoration of precious ocean life with its own marine ecology research center.Click here to find out more about the amazing work they do.
The villas are built over water so you only have to run and jump off your balcony to get into the water where you will immediately be aware of the rich sea life the area has to offer. They also have a few of their own biorock structures, to help accelerate growth on our struggling coral reefs and it’s all accessible by snorkel! I spent 3 hours in water looking at the diversity the eco centre had to offer. I was particularly impressed by the amount of Giant clams I was able to see, the fruit of their giant clam propagation project. Not only is this resort an excellent example on how tourism can help instead of hinder our environment i
t’s also a great place for families. All non motorized sports equipment is free for hire and the marine ecology centre has great programs for kids to learn more about helping the environment in a fun way. This includes adopting a coral, where you help collect broken coral off the sea bed and then replant it in cement. Once you adopt the coral the marine centre will keep you updated with your corals progress even after they’ve returned it to the ocean. Their dive centre has short taster courses set up for non-divers. Something my father did and enjoyed so much he went on to get his full dive certification.

After 2 days we moved to the sister resort Bunga Raya which is situated more deeply into the surrounding jungle but some still with ocean views. This one was more expensive but definitely worth the money, they truly knew how to make you feel special. The service was exceptional and the staff wonderfully friendly. We were still able to keep on diving, in fact the snorkel sight was richer in fish population and the dive sites were closer from this resort. So no complaints here!

Now to the really fun stuff… Diving.

The water in Malaysia is unbelievably clear and teaming with life, just while I was diving with my father and brother near the boardwalk a school of barracuda started circling us, I was completely amazed at the steady, and seemingly pre-calculated, way they would circle us. Occasionally they’d just stop and look at you, having a school of barracuda stare you down is a strong reminder of whose neighbourhood this really is. Having said that, the barracuda did not seem to mind our present and were at most, a little curious.

Barracuda in Malaysia

For anyone considering a dive holiday in Malaysia I give it 8/10! The water is clear blue and beautiful, there’s plenty of tropical fish to see as well as some gorgeous coral outcrops. The downside is the jellyfish, these waters have box jellyfish. I had a close call with one of these buggers  while I was there, I was swimming to shore after a snorkel session and saw it right in front of my face. How I didn’t get stung I’m not entirely sure. I was out of that water as fast as my legs could carry, literally shaking with fear. One of the resort workers was already on the scene, net in hand. The catch any boxy jellyfish found close to the shore to keep the beaches safe.

All in all, I’d go to Malaysia again in the blink of an eye, although I will always be terrified of the box jellyfish. – It’s not really saying much as I’m petrified of most jellyfish.
I hope you’ve found this post useful and I hope you have the opportunity to visit these waters yourself.

Note: This post was meant to be posted months ago… in July 2011… I apologise for not getting it to you sooner.

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