Up early, packed up — beach stuff & essentials like sunscreen and glasses in my day pack, everything else in the big bag to be checked.
Missed the first (5am) airport train but did make the 5:20. Many lines at the airport, and no food options near my gate (alllll the way at the end of the concourse), but trekked back and picked up a sandwich with coconut cream. Just a little something to have with the anti-malaria medicine.
Full but uneventful & on time flight to Kota Bharu. Asked at the information desk about how to get to Kuala Besut jetty. I’d been thinking of taking a bus, but she said it would take 3 hours and involve 2 transfers. Taxi was a fixed rate (78 ringgit). Still hungry, I stopped at an airport restaurant and had some noodles and Thai style tea. Carbilicious. By the time I attempted to find folks to share a taxi with, I was too late. Out of practice!
My driver was motivated, and after a hair-raising ride, dropped me at the right spot to pick up my boat ticket.
Even though it was just 10am, and the reservation had been for an 11am boat, one was loading up, and after paying for the marine park entrance ticket, I was shepherded on. If I thought the car ride was exhilarating, the boat ride was more so. I was happy to have my dry bag with me, which I put my day pack (including iPhone) in, though we stayed remarkably dry, given the amount of air we caught, splashing across the waves. A group of young guys from KL were having great fun, taking lots of photos and videos.
When I arrived at my hotel, my room wasn’t yet ready, but there was a bathroom where I could change (and hastily apply sunscreen through the sweat). Lunch, then snorkeling!
They took us to 3 different spots, with beautiful reefs, clear water, and lots of colorful fish and giant clams. One fish I dubbed the ‘my little pony’ fish – it was light blue, purple, and pink, and had a big horsey mouth.
When we got back, the Aussie helping out at the dive shop suggested a morning trip to a different spot. Sign me up!!
It wasn’t until after my post-snorkeling shower that I realized how burnt I was. Ouch. It hurt to sit down. Or wear pants. I called the front desk and told them that I was unfortunately going to have to bow out of the morning snorkeling trip.
Liberal amounts of After Sun and Advil, and a/c in the room allowed me to sleep. That is, after I had to call the front desk to figure out how to turn off one of the bedside lamps. No, it wasn’t any of the 15 switches scattered around the room, which I had tried. Nor was there a switch hidden on the lamp itself. You just have to pull the bedside table away from the wall, like so, and then reach down and flip the switch on the plug down by the floor. Duh.