|A school of fish in the South China Sea. Pulau Perhentian.|
I don't know why I never had the desire to come to Pulau Perhentian earlier in my life. What on earth was I thinking?!
|Swimming amongst underwater life.|
Last year, Perhentian opened my eyes and opened my soul. I felt revived there. It was a reaction from the very depths of me, like something that I've searched for eternally and far and wide only to find it so close to home.
|Green acropora coral. So soothing to the eyes.|
To make a cruel observation on my previous companion - having my brother share my passion for the open water took the cake. We bonded. We now share the same enthusiasm and passion for going to the Pulau. It was a shared understanding of the pleasure we got out of it. We saw the same things, we snorkelled in the warm tropical waters, swam amongst fish and over other sea creatures and feasted our eyes on the underwater world. It was strangely in this realm that I felt safe, where danger lurked. I felt like I was in another dimension of awareness.
A clown fish at home in the anemone.
The anemone keeps it safe because it's a bit stingy to other fish.
|The guide offering some bread to fish at the Marine Park|
When we were at Shark Point, a dead fish was used as bait for sharks. Last year, I spotted an adolescent from afar. This year I was up close and personal with a baby black-tip shark. It moved so elegantly in the water, swaying from side to side, circling us playfully for more of the bait the guide held in his hands. I am sure that without the bait, the baby shark would not have bothered to come at all.
When you watch documentaries like BBC's Life or Planet Earth, know that some scenarios are entirely set up for filming. For example, a palm frond was used as a lure to film flying fish mating. Ordinarily, that palm frond would not be there. But I digress. I'm not going to go on a rant about the "politics" of nature.
|Pink acropora or table coral. Beautiful!|
|Blooming flower-like beauties. Not sure of their real name.|
I can't quite explain why this is so mindblowingly exciting. No experience in my life beats the simplicity of just being underwater at Perhentian. But it wasn't only the underwater world that sucked me in.
I was taken in by the simple life that the people who made their livelihood in Perhentian led. Most of them worked there because they wanted to. It wasn't because they were forced into it. They made a conscious choice to be at the mercy of the island, with limited luxuries and few opportunities to go back to the mainland. They seemed to share the same fondness for the island life.
|My brother floating effortlessly in the South China Sea.|
I got to know some of them in a very short time. In truth there are many island stories to be told. That's for another time though.
Even as I am writing this, I know that tonight when I'm in the arms of Morpheus, in my dreams I will be in the embrace of Perhentian, my island paradise.