Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park(Pulau Sapi & Pulau Manukan)

Kota Kinabalu Travel Blog

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I woke up early today because I wanted to be at the Marine Park and begin snorkeling before the sun rises to its scorching heat temperature. I took a quick breakfast, wrapped 2 slices of white bread, stuffed it in my backpack and walked northwards from Gaya Street to the Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal. After purchasing my ticket and giving instructions on my drop off and pick up schedules, I proceeded to  rent  snorkeling gear at the booth near the entrance to the jetty. By 7:30 am I was already on the boat to the first island, Pulau Sapi. Upon reaching the wharf at the island, I was immediately impressed with the surrounding crystal blue water  and the white sand accross. It has the Bohol Beach or Bantayan Beach quality so it passed my standard.
There were a few people at the beach by the time I got to the island so I thought it was perfect to start snorkeling early before the beach gets crowded.

The water was quite shallow at about 4 feet deep and I see few fishes and no corrals. When I swam farther to search for more colorful fishes and corrals, I felt the water current becoming stronger, but still, few fishes. There were some dead corrals and most of the fishes were dark colored. In my mind I was asking Nemo to appear and bring out all the colored fishes. But Nemo never appeared.  Disappointed, I swam back to the shore and went to the jetty to look for a boat going to Pulau Manukan. The staff stationed at the jetty said I needed to wait for my scheduled pick-up time at 11:00 am and that means I had to wait for two hours before I could get to Manukan.
But fortunately there was this Japanese tourist who rented a boat to himself and was going to the same island as I was so I asked if I could hitch a ride and he graciously agreed. The staff and I thanked him profusely.

Again, I was not disappointed with the water and sand quality of Manukan Island beach. It reminded me of the fine beaches back home. I walked towards the northeastern part of the island facing the wide sea. On that side, there were shards of rocks and stones all the way to the water. Walking over those rocks, I went into the water to snorkel again. There were more colorful fishes and corrals this time. I saw Nemo! And he made me touch his head. He was playful and he thought I was a friendly whale! But he didn't stay long to play with me.
I saw him swim towards the direction of the huge, weird looking but coloful corrals . I saw some sea urchins stuck in the corrals and I wanted to loosen them free. But no, those scary little spike balls can sting! The corrals were quite far and the water is already too deep in that area so I just stayed within the safe distance. I was already thinking of swimming back to the shore when suddenly I was pushed about 5 meters closer to the corrals by huge waves created by a passing speedboat. I swam back to shore and decided to rest as I had been snorkeling for the past 3 hours. I was tired and thirsty. Then I suddenly remembered the bread slices I kept from my breakfast. I swam back into the waters, tore the wet bread into pieces and released it in the waters.
Suddenly,  all the fishes rushed into my direction ! I could feel them sliding in my hands and legs. The pieces of bread were consumed in a matter of seconds. Gosh, they were like piranhas all over me. They lingered for a few more seconds maybe wanting for more food and I thought that they were so hungry that I might be eaten next so I started to swim away from them, back to shore. I immediately felt the sizzling hot rays of the sun about to bake my skin so I searched for shelter under the shade.

I went to one of the beach cafes run by Sutera Harbour Group. I found a table and chair to relax and ordered for watermelon juice and Heineken. The beach was already almost filled with people arriving by the boat in 30 minutes interval. It was a Saturday so I guess the locals enjoy island hopping on weekends. Pulau Manukan is a nice place to chill and I would easily recommend it to people who would like water fun activities and relaxing in a white sand beach. And its just 15 minutes away from the city.  There are chalets, restaurants, shops to rent scuba diving and snorkeling gear, swimming pool, restaurants, etc. The resort is well maintained and managed by the Sutera Group and I guess they are doing a great job for the tourists' convenience.


ted332 says:
Families w/ children are a common site here. It's a fun area for kids too.
Posted on: Aug 30, 2008
YantiSoeparno says:
My children like to play at the beach, hope someday I could bring them there :D
Posted on: Aug 30, 2008
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