Sunday, July 17, 2016

Tusan Beach — an awesome getaway

A CHEERFUL close-knit family were enjoying themselves under an oil palm a little distance from the Tusan Cliff Edge.

The parents laid out the picnic mat while the kids sipped drinks from a cooler box.

There was also a small foldable chair for grandma under a big special umbrella — a truly happy family picnic in the park.

Apart from this small family group, the Cliff Edge teemed with people moving from one end to the other end to secure a good spot on the benches provided.

Motorists arrived at regular intervals, looking for places to park as near to the Cliff Edge as possible. There were easily more than 100 cars and even more motorbikes.

The Cliff Edge plunges 200 feet below. Only a flimsy ribbon marks the edge and the sudden drop to the bottom.

“The tide is high at the moment,” noted the friendly picnicking father as our group alighted from our car.

We managed to squeeze into a little space near the family’s picnic space. That was why we were sitting under the oil palm late that afternoon, dashing all hopes of seeing the famous Horse Drinking Water image.

It was my first visit to Tusan Beach on a public holiday. Everyone was in very cheerful holiday mood.

Many people actually come to Tusan Beach to see a rock formation called Horse Drinking Water. The promontory of the rock-bound cliff looks like a horse head with its mouth in the water (the sea). A much photographed object in Miri, it is now well-known throughout the state.

Tusan Beach

The Tusan Beach in Sibuti, just 30 minutes’ drive from Miri along the coastal road, is an extremely lovely beach area with scenic cliffs and great long stretches of sandy beaches.

Its cool evening breeze, often blowing quite strong, is an added attraction. Before becoming a popular picnic spot, the area had already been much studied by local geologists and students from Curtin University Sarawak.

The rock formations, fossils and beach area have been written about in journals since the 1990s. Some people also claim much has been written about it even in the 1950s by colonial geologists.

There are two prominent cliffs in the northern part of Sarawak — one at Tanjong Lobang and the other at Tusan.

The cliff top, from which the Tusan Beach can be accessed, has oil palms (grown by a private land owner) to provide shade on hot afternoons.

Ancient fossils are also known to be found in the area. Rock layers and interesting formations make the cliff surfaces very attractive to visitors and photographers alike.

However, erosion is rather rapid and some coastal vegetation can even be seen to loosen and fall onto the beach.

Pollution is still not a major problem yet but a couldn’t care less attitude will change things for the worse in the long run — with tins, plastic bags and bottles being littered all around.

Also called a fossil beach, Tusan Beach has been marked for future development into a tourist spot, according to some local newspaper reports. The villagers are looking forward to the transformation. And the general public is quite happy about it as well.

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