Monday, November 05, 2012

Exploring Tun Sakaran Marine Park

Tun Sakaran Marine Park, also known as Semporna Islands Park, is a marine park located off the east coast of the state of Sabah in Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. It consists of the islands of Boheydulang, Bodgaya, Sebangkat, and Selakan, the sand cays of Maiga, Sibuan, and Mantabuan, and the patch reefs of Church and Kapikan.

In 2004, the park became the seventh gazetted area under Sabah Parks with a total area of 35,000 hectares. The crater (the remains of volcanic eruption two and a half million years ago) within the park, forms a perfect plate of deep blue sea out-skirted by coral reefs.

Sixteen members of the Sabah Society-Sandakan and the Borneo Bird Club, as well as a few enthusiastic friends explored the natural wonders of the Tun Sakaran Marine Park from 26th to 28th October, 2012. We gathered at Semporna, the town with its feet in the sea, which is our transit point before proceeding offshore to the islands the next day. Upon checking-in at Seafest Hotel, we took a leisure walk to the market. In the evening, we had steamboat at the rustic Dragon Inn Restaurant on stilts by the sea.

The richness of the sea, fishes of all kinds, sea cucumbers, shells, pearls and in recent years, seaweed farming have attracted many tourists and fisher-folks to Semporna and its islands. The major islands of the park are visible in a distance from Semporna, forming a unique shape of a pregnant lady lying down at her back.

Early the next morning, we travelled in two speedboats headed for the Boheydulang Island, where the Sabah Parks station is located. The boat ride was about 45 minutes on calm turquoise waters with serene panoramic seascape views. After registration at the office, we hiked up to one of the peaks of the Boheydulang Island, guided by the Sabah Parks staff.

It was a moderately easy hike through the forest of about 300 metres which took us almost 45 minutes. Anyway, it was a bit challenging for those who are not used to trekking in the forest on fairly steep slopes. The view of the islands from the top was spectacular and mesmerizing on a bright sunny day! So, we took lots of photos and stayed on the peak for quite a while, enjoying the natural beauty of God’s wonderful creation.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Exploring Tun Sakaran Marine Park