Island Hopping with Nick Saxon

This morning we are up bright and early to go island hopping.  Our taxi driver hits a black monkey which has unexpectedly swung down from a tree across the road.   I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come!

Waiting at the jetty for our boat to leave, a group of young men come striding down the jetty with photography equipment in hand, and one carrying a guitar.  They stand in front of us.  Wonder if its someone well known, I wonder to myself.

Looking at his curly shoulder length hair, I’m about to think not, until he turns his face to the side slightly.   Aha!  I do know who that is!  Nick Saxon from Nat Geo’s World Traveller (Foxtel) who’s also a singer/songwriter.  For the uninitiated, here’s a plug from Nat Geo:

I try to take a sneaky snap but the angle is no good.  Suddenly it is time to board the boat.  As I pass by him, he talks to me, which stuns me cause there are heaps of others around.  “Beautiful day for it, isn’t it?”, he says.  Shocked, I reply, “sure is”.  “Guess I’ll see you out there then!”, “Yeah, see you there!”

The boats race off towards our first island, the wind against our faces and the water spraying against the sides of the boat.  The waters are crystalline and the view stunning.  It feels good to feel the wind in my face.

The prow of our boat up ahead as we slice through the water
The prow of our boat up ahead as we slice through the water
Stunning
Stunning

Tasik Dayang Bunting Lake of the Pregnant Maiden) was said to be the favourite bathing pool of a celestial princess of Mambang Sari.  A prince fell in love with her and tricked her into marrying him.  Their child died from a mysterious illness at seven days old.  The grieving Mambang Sari left the child’s body in the lake and returned to her heavenly abode.  Popular law would have you believe that barren women who bathe in this lake will fall pregnant.

Alighting from the boats, tourists stream knowingly towards the forest, where a set of stairs awaits.  I don’t know where its going.  All our boat driver told us was that we had an hour here.  But there are steps and people are climbing them, so we follow.  After about 10 minutes, another 100 steps or so, we come across a segmented swimming area, and everyone’s diving in the water.  After the climb in the heat, the water is refreshingly divine.

Welcome to Dayang Bunting
Welcome to Dayang Bunting
The boats standing by
The boats standing by
The swimming hole
The swimming hole

Returning from the watering hole, crowds of monkeys gather around the tourists, screeching as they fight each other for the scraps the tourists are throwing them.  I know I’m over cautious, I’ve heard lots of stories about monkeys stealing stuff and attacking people and I’ve seen them in action stealing clothes from people’s rooms on Sentosa Island, and leaping off the stairways at the Batu Caves in KL, anywhere there’s monkeys battling for food amongst tourists and I reckon you’d be best to keep your distance.  There’s one monkey with half his nose missing – I ain’t touching that!  But there’s groups of tourists with their faces inches away from these screeching monkeys, stirring them up, feeding them – to me – asking for trouble.  A riot breaks out amongst the monkeys and everyone flees – luckily no-one was hurt and hopefully no-one ends up with some face-eating disease from an infected monkey!

All the boats now start to come into the dock to pick up their passengers, its amazing that none of the boats have numbers and we aren’t given driver names, so I have no idea how they know who belongs on their boat, but as soon as they can see that their group is assembled, in they come to the dock, and on board we go.

Next is a brief stop at Singa Besar Island where we sit and watch eagles circling the sky and then swooping into the waters below before soaring again.  In Malay, Langkawi colloquially means “Island of the Reddish-Brown Eagle”.   These eagles are all over the island, we can see them soaring the skies above our resort.  There’s even a 12m large statue of an eagle, in Eagle Square,  greeting tourists.

Fly like an eagle
Fly like an eagle

Last stop on our island hopping express is Beras Besah Island, where we have time to stop and play in the beach waters.  There are all sorts of water sports to undertake here, but unfortunately when you book the tour, they don’t really tell you that.  So I have no idea how much any of it cost, but there are loads of young people enjoying banana boat rides and a couple of para-sailers.   I was thinking it was a good thing I had worn my bathers, but to be honest it didn’t matter.  A lot of people taking the ride are Muslim and all just plunge into the waters fully dressed – seems like a good idea to me, so that’s exactly what I do too.  The water is beautifully warm and salty.  Its divine to float around in the warmth and the sun.

Heavenly
Heavenly

Unfortunately I don’t get to speak to Nick again, but I did manage to catch a snap of him playing his guitar whilst I was sitting on the beach.  Cool little brush with fame!  Certainly made my day, which coincidentally is my birthday.

Nick playing his guitar
Nick playing his guitar

And whilst I wouldn’t mention that normally, preferring to pretend the day is a normal day like any other, without any attention, I was made to feel extremely special by the staff of Rebak Island also.  A slab of cake was delivered to my room when we returned from the island hopping.  And for dinner, a special plate of complimentary desserts and a glass of champagne…

Mini dessert buffet...
Mini dessert buffet…

and then, when I returned to my room…

Birthday balloons
Birthday balloons

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