Lankayan a dive resort, Sepilok nature resort and Kapalai a dive resort

Lankayan Island, a dive resort in the Sulu Sea.

There were only a few hours of rest time after the Mount Kinabalu climb. At 7 am the next morning we flew across the state to the town of Sandakan, boarded a speedboat for the ninety-minute trip to the island of Lankayan. The seas were rough and it took two hours of rocking and rolling to get there. The island was just how I remembered it but with a few changes. A new restaurant is being built on stilts over water and my wife’s favourite chalet (#1) has been torn down to make room for the walkway to it.

After settling in to my wonderful and spacious chalet, I explored the island. It takes approximately twenty minutes to walk around it. I observed faded turtle tracks headed away from the sea to an area near the tree line where they dug holes for their eggs. These turtles come on shore at night to lay their eggs where the resident biologist, Archie, would gather the eggs, incubated them and released the hatchlings to the sea. The guests were notified of these events, usually in the middle of the night.

Paradise was slightly dampened by the continuation of the rainy season, which was supposed to have ended a month ago in February. However, the skies managed to clear that first evening allowing for a beautiful sunset. I took advantage by using Tom, and other guests as models, giving the images a human touch. The colours were amazing, the golden rays turned red and magenta, giving me hope that the next day will be sunny, as in the phrase “….red skies at night, sailors delight”. It was not to be, the skies were grey throughout the next two days. Torrential rain fell most of the two days and my thoughts of getting bronze colouring on my skin faded with the rain.

Our trip back to the mainland was uneventful, the seas were smooth and in ninety minutes time, we were on a bus headed to Sepilok Nature Resort, situated next to the Orang Utan rehabilitation center.

Sepilok Nature Resort.

Now I know why it is call the Equatorial RAIN-forest. The vegetation is green and lush. Plants of all kind can grow anywhere and everywhere. Trees grow tall and straight up, fighting for the life giving sunlight. Different species of flowers, from orchids, bougainvilleas to ginger plants dotted the landscape.

We checked into our chalet and it will be the first time that we needed air conditioning. On a positive note regarding the weather: not having the sun shining, the temperature and humidity were not as intense as it usually would be.

It was a short walk to the Orang Utan rehabilitation center to catch the feeding time at 3pm. Not only were the Orang Utans there for the feast of bananas, there were dozens of Macaques, a medium sized monkey. The outnumbered Orang Utans were constantly swatting at the Macaques as they tried to steal the bananas making the situation very amusing for all the humans.
The following day we were transported to the airport for our last leg of the resorts: Kapalai, a dive resort in the Celebes Sea.

Kapalai, a dive resort in the Celebes Sea.

We arrived at the Tawau airport from Sandakan in 40 minutes, and transported again by bus to the coastal town of Semporna. We arrived at the jetty and the tide was extremely low and had to crawl from the platform into the speedboat. The trip would have taken 30 minutes but it took 40 minutes due to the low tide. The boat had to go around coral reefs instead of over it at high tide. Tom and I searched Google for explanation of tides and found out that the Spring tide (nothing to do with the season) is in effect. “When the moon is full or new, the gravitational pull of the moon and sun are combined. At these times, the high tides are very high and low tides are very low. Spring tide occurs when the Earth, the Sun, and the Moon are in a line. The gravitational forces of the Moon and Sun both contribute to the tides. Spring tides occur during the full moon and new moon.”.

Unfortunately for us the sun did not make a strong presence. However we made the most of it by exploring this resort on stilts. A “green house” lined a walkway for about 200 meters, a “beach”, and a new sitting area for watching the sunset were some of the spots we explored. During low tide we walked down to the sandy reef and found a turtle near the water’s edge. We wondered why it stayed up on the sand bar, and were told to leave it alone and it will get back to the water. At high tide, the waves were splashing through the boards around the dining room, making cool patterns coming up through the slots.

I had an unfortunate accident but not a serious one. I was going to photograph a dive master in her suit, goggles, fins and tank. We met around the pier (it was low tide), she headed down towards the water, slipped and fell. I went to help her up and end up slipping on the slimy boards. At that instant I imagined myself and my cameras sliding off of the pier into the ocean, my right hand broke the fall and slide. The pain was quite intense, I thought I had dislocated my shoulder.

The staff was very helpful and told me that they are readying a boat to take me to the mainland for x-rays. There was not much different between going to the ER here as in the US: there is a long wait, and then the doctor comes in for 5 minutes, writes a prescription and you are done (she told me that my shoulder did not dislocate, just sprained). The only difference is what I paid for that visit as opposed to the US. I paid 10RM, approximately US$3.33. I got back to the resort just before sundown and got in a couple of late evening shots and dinner.

The food here and also at the previous resorts and Mt. Kinabalu were just fabulous. It was “too good” to not eat more than usual. It was justifiable to have two or more helpings during the climb; I burned a total of 7,000 calories in one and a half days. However, at these resorts, it was simple gluttony!!! I will have to get back to my routine and work off all the excess food.
Tomorrow we are departing Kapalai resort. The general manager of these three resorts will meet us at Tawau to show us around town and then DINNER before we fly off to Kota Kinabalu. Great, more food!!!

Even though the sun was not the most cooperative, we had a terrific time for the past two and half weeks. I captured many excellent shots and the memories will last forever. I hope that I had “taken” you on our journey and maybe you will consider visiting Malaysia in the future. Thank you.

Images of these three resorts are at this link: Click on the albums of Lankayan, Sepilok and Kapalai.


One Response to “Lankayan a dive resort, Sepilok nature resort and Kapalai a dive resort”

  1. Great shots of the resorts. We just had rain, sleet and then 4-6″ of snow in the last 24 hrs. So nice to see the water, sand, palms and flowers!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: