Spending Time in an Aquarium on Redang Island

We’ve been given a day for relaxing at the Berjaya Redang Beach Resort off the coast near Terengganu, Malaysia. This slice of white sand beach is an oasis on a very rugged and undeveloped island in the South China Sea. The first thing you see when you debark the small ferry is a burned out boat on the beach, and lots of junk piled up nearby. But the resort is beautiful, here on the far end of the small island.

Today we made our way out to a boat where we visited snorkeling sites and plunged into the warm waters in masks to see the fish. It was like being inside of an aquarium, looking down at the coral and watching the trigger fish with needle noses at the top of the water and below, irredescent colored fish poking in and out of the coral. The captain was a young man about 18 with a ballcap backwards and leathery tan dark skin. The ‘lifeguard’ of about 17 looked like someone from the village, with a scarred face, barely able to speak English, who didn’t pay much attention to his charges.

It was actually a refreshing contrast to our litigious U.S. where so many rules and regulations make a fuss over everything you do, and you must wear caution like a helmet. These guys just cast off casually and when we hooked up to a mooring we jumped in. No buddy, no worry, no caution and just do what you want. The water was clean and clear, that was a relief, and the sun blazing. Experience snorkelers said this wasn’t exactly world class diving, since there was not a wide variety of fish, but for me the thrill of just floating and watching made it memorable.

This resort employs most of the island of Redang, and the women in headscarves are always polite and demure, everyone says ‘good morning sir,’ when you pass by. The cyber cafe has five computers, but only one keyboard, making it tough to squeeze in time. We head to one last town near the Thai border, Kuala Boru, then back to KL for the long flight home on Thursday.