SNORKELLING AROUND PALAU MAMUTIK
Keen to see a bit more of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine National Park, we took a boat across to Palau Mamutik today. Mamutik is the smallest of these 5 islands and is within easy reach of Manukan Island where we’re staying – it took us just 5 minutes by speed boat to reach the island. When we arrived we virtually had the place to ourselves (just 300m across this tiny islet is often overlooked by day trippers in favour of the other bigger islands with more touristy facilities); and we had the perfect day for enjoying the beach today – hot and sunny, with calm seas all around. Just perfect!
Before we had even hopped off the boat we could see fish swarming around. The water was so clean and clear that we could easily see the coral gardens and tropical fish from the jetty.
Keen to explore further we rented some snorkelling gear from the dive shop and spent most of our morning in the shallow water spotting parrot fish, sergeant major fish, and sea urchins. Unfortunately much of the coral close to the shore was well and truly dead. Much of it, no doubt, trampled to death by stupid tourists who don’t understand the gravity of their actions or the destruction they wreak when they stand up on the coral.
The water itself was warm and inviting, and easy to explore. As the tide turned and started going out, however, it soon got very shallow and we retreated to the sandy shade of the beach to relax and soak in the views.
There are some basic facilities on the island, including the dive shop where we hired our snorkelling gear, bathrooms, and a restaurant where we grabbed lunch (which we shared with about 200 Korean tourists who arrived on the island just in time for their midday repast as part of a 3 stop “island hopping” day trip – sort of spoilt the serenity a bit, but they weren’t there for long so that was ok). Aside from those few simple amenities, however, the island is just jungle, sand, and surf. Awesome!
The order of the afternoon was more beach time, swimming, and relaxing. A short boat ride back and our day trip ended, leaving us a little sunburned but content. There is certainly no greater pleasure than a day spent happily at the beach… Even better if that beach is a tropical island paradise in Borneo!