Story by Effendi Wong Bin Abdullah
Photo by Khor Hui Min
I found out about the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) through the local newspaper. So I went to the MNS website to explore further and found that they actually organise trips to local places of interest. I decided on the “Explore Tioman by Sea & Land” trip organised by the MNS Marine SIG and Nature Guides, and started to write to the organizer, Hui Min. Eventually, I signed up for the trip.
We reached Mersing around 5.30am on Friday, 1 July 2011. We took the boat at 6.30am to Juara Mutiara Resort, reaching the resort around 9am. After checking in and freshening up, we headed for an early lunch. After that, we got our snorkelling gear from the resort to practise at the beach before snorkeling from the boat at sea the next day. We were very lucky to have Adeline, an experienced instructor, to guide us on how to snorkel and the do’s and don’ts. It was an eye-opening experience for most of us.
In the evening, we went for a night trek. Armed with torchlights, we went into the jungle with some local guides, hoping to spot some mousedeer and other animals. At one point, the guide asked all of us to switch off our torchlights. He showed us the reflection of a mousedeer’s eyes from his torchlight. We were all very excited. The trek was about 2 hours long and we were all quite thrilled.
The next morning, we woke up in anticipation for a fun day snorkelling out at sea. Our first stop was the Marine Park jetty, followed by Coral Island. The island took our breath away! The corals and fishes were very colourful and beautiful. We developed an extremely good appetite, and everyone enjoyed the BBQ dinner.
The next day, we went to Kg. Asah waterfall by boat. The cool water was very refreshing. With some time remaining, we headed to the jetty for some snorkelling. Unexpectedly, we saw many jellyfish in the water and our instructor Adeline asked us all to come out to avoid getting stung.
Then, around 3pm, we set off to look for the famed Rafflesia of Tioman. The guide, Pak Lan, is very experienced and explained to us about the various plants in the jungle. We were worried that we would not see a bloom, because these flowers only last for a few days. However, we did see an amazing Rafflesia flower. No words can describe the beauty of the popular flower. Satisfied, we went back to our resort and did a beach clean-up at the relatively clean Juara beach before dinner. When we finished, we were shocked that we had accumulated 7 large bags of trash which mainly consists of plastic, cigarette butts, tin cans, ropes and Styrofoam boxes.
On 4 July morning, we went to Tekek for some duty free shopping and boarded the ferry back to Mersing. It was indeed one of the most enjoyable experiences for me and I will definitely be back!