OK, so truth be told, our weekend on Redang wasn’t all fun and games, relaxation and rest, as I may have lead you to believe in the previous post. In fact, we had some interesting adventures. Mostly revolving around jellyfish and sharks.
It seems that this past weekend was the jellyfish convention on Redang. There were literally jellyfish everywhere. Not just in the water, either. I guess jellyfish are too stupid to avoid being washed up to shore, so we saw quite a few “beached” jellies on the sand. I submit exhibit A:
Shortly into the trip we found out that the jellyfish were not dangerous. “No poison,” as one of the helpful hotel staff informed me, reaching in and grabbing a great big purple slimy mass of jellyfish. “Touch it!” And so I did. They are slimy, but not as slimy as you’d think. And they’re harder than they look. I thought the it would by kind of soft like a slimy pillow, but it was kind of firm. I regret to say that I didn’t actually hold one myself, but I was tempted. Anyway, it’s all fine and good to touch a jellyfish when the locals are holding one out to you like a tasty snack, but snorkeling and swimming among them? Well, that’s a different story. I mean, would you like to swim in this?
‘Cause that’s pretty much what it was like. Only most of the jellyfish were purple. And there were 3 different kinds.
The first day we strolled into the water, planning to go snorkeling. Once we get in up to about our mid-calves, we noticed little purple balls floating all around us in the sea. Hmmm… we wondered… What is this?
Jellyfish? Maybe they float over at around 11 am and then float away or something. Or maybe it’s the haze. They’ll be gone tomorrow. Today we’ll just go paddle boating (or “peddle” boating if you’re Neil) and other non-immersian activities. It’ll all be fine by the time we go on our special, “free” (and by “free” I mean something we’ve already paid for as part of the package, but the hotel tries to pretend like it’s some sort of special present they’re giving us out of the kindness of their hearts) snorkeling trip, right?
No. No. No. We arrive at the marine park on Day 2 only to see some rather large jellyfish cavorting with the lovely, colorful reef-fish we’ve come to inspect. I made it about 30 seconds swimming with the jellies before the first (of many) panic attacks. I can’t help it! I was raised with a healthy fear of jellyfish. Poison or no poison. As my friend Maria commented today: I was born on land. I know there are certain types of jellyfish that can kill a person in 3 minutes. There are no hospitals on Redang. The flight to KL takes 1 hour and leaves once a day. Stung by deadly jellyfish, Kim? Might as well give up now cause there’s no chance you’ll make it through this one. So, as Alex snorkels happily away amongst the purple blobs, I run out of the sea, do a little self-motivating “you’re much bigger than them” type of talk, and eventually run back in. This happens about 15 times. Over the course of 3 hours.
But, despite all the running in and out, I managed to see lots of cool things.
1. The jellyfish. Yes, yes, I know. I’m SCARED of the jellyfish. But that doesn’t mean they’re not cool looking:
2. A shark! I saw a little baby shark like this one a few times:
3. Angel fish:
4. These pretty blue fish:
And, if I had one of those nifty underwater camera housings, I would have my own pictures for all these colorful fish. Alas, I’ve spent ages trawling the web looking for the just right pictures and I have to give up now. You’ll have to use your imagination. Imagine us, snorkeling, with lots of fish, jellyfish and the occasional baby shark.
But, honestly, my favorite part of the snorkeling trip was when Alex and I finally found an area of coral without many jellyfish. Finally, some sweet relief from my constant terror of brushing up against a jellyfish with the top of my head. Ew. I get the shivers just thinking of it right now in my nice (dry) house. Anyway, together we saw lots of colorful fish swimming around and pecking at the coral and then the best thing happened: Alex freaked out. He claims he could hear the crunching sound of the big fish eating the coral and he was imagining the fish taking a big, crunchy bit out of his leg. And this was before he got scared of the little teeny yellow and black fish “chasing” him around the sea on Sunday. And after he spent 3 hours swimming around with hundreds of jellyfish. That Alex, he’ll always remain an enigma to me…
Jellyfish image from: http://echeng.com/journal/images/misc/echeng-jellyfish-lake-palau.jpg
Shark image from: http://www.reefseekers.com/PIXPAGES/Gray_reef_shark_2.jpg
Anglefish image from: http://www.theshroyers.com/bonaire/snorkeling/donkey_beach/angelfish.jpg
Blue fish image from: http://www.myfishforum.com/images/fish002.jpg