Besides community service, clean-ups on beaches & conservation talks this year's Mabul Marine Week saw group of divers from different resorts around Mabul with one phenomenal effort to carry out underwater clean-up and coral transplantation.
Clean-up was carried out on Mabul dive sites and yield assorted types of trash one can imagine. Of the most worrying trash being spotted are fishing lines, small fishing nets & plastic bottles which are not biodegradable.
Volunteer scuba divers, boat captains and even local villages who knows diving joined in on the next day for coral transplantation which was also jointly organized by most of the dive operators here in collaboration with WWF. These "Reef Samaritans" - the way I see it, was brief on the types of coral being transplanted, new site for transplantation, handling of the underwater bond which is used as a foundation for a new coral to be transplanted to a new site after being identified. In no time, these Samaritans set out in groups with hope to provide the damage reef a brand new start, a brand new life.
(Now, fixing the coral to it's new home & hope for the best)
Pulau Weh - a languid,mountainous isle with sleepy fishing villages,beckoning spectacular diving with canyons,walls and marine life aplenty.
(Across the Iboih Beach lies the tiny,densely forested Pulau Rubiah,surrounded by coral reefs known as Rubiah Sea Garden)
Iboih Beach attracts backpackers to pretty bungalows set on the sand and forested slopes above turquoise waters.
( Pictured here Iboih Inn- our little wooden bungalow overlooking the sea and Pulau Rubiah across.)
On Sunday morning,26 Dec 2004,an underwater earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami that killed more than 60000 in Aceh.
Reconstruction and recovery takes time with the aid from NGOs from all over the world.
Weh offers truly world class diving with clear waters and spectacular underwater landscapes. The deep water and the currents bring in abundance of marine life ranging from pelagics to macros.
(My personal favourite would be The Canyon;Batee Tokong proves an extremely challenging site with strong currents which my regulator was ripped off during the dive!)
Most Mabul kids originated from the Bajau Laut (sea-gypsy) decendant who settled down on this island, you may still find a few who used to walk around in pure-naked condition.
(A brief aerobic exercises being carried out by some volunteers from the WWF n Sipadan Water Village staffs before the start of the clean-up)
(Great turn-up for the first day and great enthusiasm indeed)
(Villages were given bins, plastic containers, bags, knifes, racks to aide them for the clean-up of the compound and around the island)
(A panorama view of the beach clean-up activities done in front of Scuba-junkie and Borneo Divers resort at around 10am - 12 noon)
(A brigade specially brought in from the Semporna mainland to help in the clean-up)
(Local TV station-1 crew filming the clean-up event)
(Even the tourists felt a need to join in for some conservation activities besides coming for sun-bathing, snorkeling or diving)
It was almost a year since I last visited Mabul. If I can recalled, I have recently make more visits to the other islands around Semporna more often compare to Mabul; which of course the price of the accommodation in Mabul did played a huge role afterall.
(A simple authentic cafe in Mabul island which served me tasty "Nasi Kuning" - yellow rice and noodle soup for most of my breakfast & lunch)
I had no hesitation when I was offered the opportunity to visit Mabul to do some voluntary & community service work during this year's Mabul Marine Week which was held from the 18-25 July. A week where dedication comes from all including the Mabul villages, dive resort operators, divers, travelers etc to come together and work hand in hand to clean up the environment, restore damage coral reefs, awareness campaigns and talks, foster friendships etc.
(The only 5 star rated resort in Mabul and was our operational room in the morning & bedroom after the sun sets)
As the was no electricity supply here, villages depends on kerosene oil lamp or petrol powered generators during the night which included our beach hut unit as well. Most of the houses around us had their lights out by 8.30pm. It could be pitch black & left us with the bright stars above us if not for some light source coming from the nearby staff quarters of Sipadan water village.
(A local conservationist can be seen
working hard throughout day & night to coordinate the daily events, logistic issues, etc just to make sure everything is in order and running smoothly)
As mentioned earlier on, the absence of constant electricity supply not only prevented us from having the most priceless asset on a dark night. We had problems obtaining internet access as well. Only way was to sit at one of this beach hut in front of the room. If this keep you wondering still ?? Well Water Village resort is just directly opposite of the hut