Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Dive Pics: Layang Layang 1

Back in April, us three musketeers (Christopher, Terry and yours truly) went on another scuba diving holiday, this time to the South China Sea atoll of Layang Layang. It is approximately 300km north west off the coast of Sabah and is part of the Spratlys archipelago. This group of atolls are currently claimed by as many as five countries including Malaysia, Indonesia and China , either in part or whole. As such, the resort on Layang Layang shares the island with a Malaysian military base.

Anyway, we had to fly from KL to Kota Kinabalu, and then early the next morning, take another flight from KK to the island. The plane for the second leg of the journey was a rather suspicious looking Fokker Friendship - yes one of those small little flying vans with a propeller onm each wing.

Surprisingly, it was quite a comfortable flight and as it was still quite early, some of us on board the flying bone rattler managed to catch forty winks.... while others decided to catch (on film) those who were catching the said winks. Yanni commented that it's not good to take a picture of someone while he's asleep. Something to do with capturing his spirit. Well, since Terry's a Mat Salleh, these Asian superstitions don't apply to him. hehehe

The view outside was amazing and it's not everyday that one gets to see the sun rise over the horizon from 2000ft (or something like that) up in the air. Absolutely breathtaking.

Two hours later, we caught sight of the island lying serenly in the middle of the sea, beckoning us to taste of its rich and diverse offerings. From the air, it looked like an aeroplane landing pad and not much else. I guess looks can be deceiving.

As the plane descended, submerged parts of the atoll became visible and one could almost imagine the azure corals basking in the morning sun as the white foamy waves lapped over them like clouds in the sky.

Pretty soon, I could see the runway just in front of the plane and it dawned upon me that the runway extends right out towards the open sea and was quite short. I prayed a silent prayer for the pilot to land this ancient relic safely. I love diving, but I didn't want to dive into the water right there and then.

Oklah, so I was a bit over-dramatic. We landed safely of course and as we made our way into the hotel lobby, the receptionist was there to welcome us with a much needed glass of orange juice. Freshly squeezed, some more! Hehehe

While Yanni was sorting out the accomodation, I decided to take a walk around the resort grounds. As I made my way towards the eastern end of the island, I was warned by one of the workers not to take pictures of the military base beyond the resort. Unless of course I have a death wish. So this is as far as I could go before I would be noticed "innocently" taking pictures of the island.

See that giant windmill thing? Can anybody tell me what it's for? Electricity generation? Wind speed gauge? Mega expensive landscaping ornament?

1 comment:

Asther said...

Hahaha... the windmill stopped operating about 3 yrs back. It was supposed to be under the care of the military base but they can no longer afford the budget nor the "intelligence" to keep it going.

An insider source told me that they offered the care-taking (and maybe ownership) to Layang-Layang Resort but the resort was not keen due to the location of the windmill. It's situated on the army base ground, so the resort do not want the risks & problems of putting their staffs on military ground. (Make sense, huh?)