This morning we were up at 7 to get ready for breakfast and make sure our bags were sorted for our boat ride today.
We were supposed to have yum Cha for breakfast but the other girls weren't there as far as Lauren and I could see, so we wandered across to the cafe across the road that Jeffry had recommended.
We ordered roti bread (Lauren's plain, mine with kaya) fresh off the hot plate and a coffee (which comes strong and black with sugar).
Really great! Then we headed back to the hotel and finished packing our bags and headed downstairs.
We left our big bags at the hotel and took our little day packs out to the island.
We walked down to the jetty and after a bit of a wait, we were split up onto a few different boats.
It was about an hour's 'drive' out to the island, and on the way we passed a floating village that ran along the shoreline around the coast from Sandakan.
Jeffry spoke to us a little bit about life in the village, and then we headed off the coast to the island.
After a fairly long and empty ride across the water, we pulled up at an absolutely gorgeous beach.
The 'turtle islands marine park' includes three islands, and we are staying on the biggest, Pulau Selingan.
It's still quite a little island, with just the turtle hatchery, a big lodge for reception and meals, a few 'chalets' with rooms to accommodation, and then a military base at the end of the island.
The military police have a presence here because it's so close to the border with the Phillipines, and pirates are apparently quite common.
After check-in and an outline of our day from Jeffry, we unloaded our stuff in the rooms.
Our room was verrry hot so we were pretty keen for a swim, so we rented some snorkel gear and headed down the beach.
We found it a bit weird that as well as the life guard, there's a little military 'hut' to the left of the roped snorkelling area, with a few fully armed military policemen with guns and a telescope pointed towards the Phillipines.
At least we know we're safe from pirates while snorkelling!
After laying our 'beach mats' and towels out in the shade, I hopped in the water, which was really warm.
A downside of the warm water though (I assume) is that the coral was quite badly bleached.
There were some bright and interesting-looking fish, and lots of sea cucumbers, but the coral wasn't very appealing.
I had a swim for quite a while, and then lay on the beach for a bit before we headed back to the main building for lunch.
Labels: Sandakan, Selingan Turtle Island, Turtle island park