The Great Southern Route : 2013 - 2014
CAPTAIN'S LOG BORNEO 222 | GSR which entitles them to 50% off food and beverage purchased in selected outlets within the marina club and use of the club facilities. The marina is within easy reach of both airports and the city center, and has a helipad for air transfers. Directly off the coast KK lies the 49 square kilometer Tunku Abdul Rahman National Marine Park. This protected area is made up of five islands, the largest of which is Pulau Gaya. Pulau Gaya has good anchorages on the northern and southern sides and offers protection in almost all conditions; however care must be taken to anchor only in sand and not on the coral reef. What strikes you most when you first venture out to the islands, and even before you leave Sutera Harbour Marina, is the clarity of the water and the abundance of marine life. The marina has to be one of the cleanest in Asia Pacific and is described by most as a big aquarium. Gayana Eco Resort on Gaya Island is home to the Marine Ecology Research Center (MERC). This privately funded, not for profit center is actively involved in the re-establishment of the coral reefs that have been badly damaged over time by boat anchors and fish bombing. Sabah is home to seven of the eight known species of Giant Clam on the planet. Unfortunately these species are under serious threat of extinction from over fishing. MERC are also working toward the propagation of this species through the growing and nurturing of the Clam in a 'Marine Nursery' and then placement onto the surrounding coral reefs. Pulau Mangalum located 30 nautical miles Northwest of KK is home to astonishing white sandy beaches, sea grass fields and a small but growing Dugong population. According to local lore, the great explorer Magellan and his fleet stopped at this island (hence the island's name) on their way to Brunei to pay homage to the Sultan. The island is surrounded by shoals and coral reefs, extending all the way to Mantinani Island some 40 miles north. Scuba diving in this mainly unexplored remote area offers good visibility and plenty of reef fish. There is a nice fringing reef just off the island ranging from 3 to 14 meters deep and there are several patch reefs ranging from 8 to 29 meters deep which give shelter to a number of marine species such as anemones, numerous pink-eyed gobies, nudibranchs, seastars, and reef fish such as Angel- Parrot- Damsel- & Butterfly fish. This is a nice "muck" dive site with every now and then a school of Snappers or Sweetlips passing by. Whip rays and Eagle rays are occasionally sighted. 130 nautical miles further is Layang Layang, an atoll of 14 sq km in diameter, jutting 2,000 meters from the depths of the South China Sea. In 1985, the Malaysian Federal Government began reclamation works and created a 50-acre island on one part of the reef. Thus, what is ardently known to East Malaysians as "Terumbu Layang-Layang" or "Swallow's Reef" has now become Layang-Layang Island. Within the atoll is a calm lagoon which teems with wildlife. As many as 13 coral reefs have formed here, creating spectacular underwater scenery with crystal clear visibility averaging 50-60 meters. It is among the famous Spratlys, which is a collection of about 600 islands, reefs, and atolls strategically located in the South China Sea. The island has been nicknamed "Big Fish" or the "Wall Diving Mecca of Southeast Asia".
2010 - 2011