When you think of an island, rarely does a rainy day come to mind. But, as you can see from this series of images, a rainy day on an island can be fun too. I’ve just returned to Mumbai from a short visit to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, one of the two Malaysian states on the incredibly lush island of Borneo.
Sapi Island, a 15-minute speedboat ride away from Kota Kinabalu, is the nearest place to get away from the city if you want to enjoy a bit of adventure. Essentially the home of the popular 250-metre island-to-island Coral Flyer Zipline, this island receives visitors by the dozen everyday. The beach is small and perfect to lounge around before or after you go zip lining, snorkelling and scuba diving. So, you can pack in a good bit of fun before you head back on a speedboat to the Jesselton Jetty on the mainland.
The waters around the islands are crystal clear and the panoramic views delight the senses. We took a bit of a walk to reach the quieter end of the beach (above).
Our guide for the day — John Prudente — and our transport coordinator — Walter John — both from Borneo Trails, were exceptionally helpful, throwing in tidbits of information and fun facts about the islands. I don’t have any pictures of my ziplining experience that was conducted by Borneo Trails, a Sabah based operator managed by a team of seasoned professionals. But I’ve returned with plenty of good memories about the exhilarating zipline experience.
So, we took a short boat ride across to Gaya Island, where we were provided with our ziplining equipment. We did a mini hike through a dense rainforest to the top of this island. Once up, the view of the azure South China sea all around us and of Sapi Island where we would be ziplining across the sea to, was beautiful, thrilling and a tad scary all at the same time. Well-harnessed and ready to speed off on the Coral Flyer Zipline across the sea, I was a bundle of mixed emotions. But nothing could stop me at this point. Soon enough I was off to take in what can only be described as one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Climbing the Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica was yet another.
I felt at peace with the deep blue sea around me. I think that’s what new experiences do to you. Sometimes you just have to take that little step for a whole new world to open up to you. Before I knew it, I was at the other end — back at Sapi Island. My zipline operator joked about letting go off my harness for a quick dip in the sea. He even sent me off with a warning about possible encounters with the island’s crocodiles. Brimming with adrenaline, I laughed it all off.
Trekking down Sapi Island Island, we once again walked through a very wet and dense forest area. And, here’s when I realised that my zipline operator was not exactly joking when he told me that I might encounter crocodiles. A huge scaly tail appeared out of nowhere just a few feet ahead of our trail. Then, an enormous and muscular reptilian body came into view. But it wasn’t a crocodile. It was none other than one of the island’s residents — the monitor lizard! If you’ve read my previous posts, you know how much I love animals and nature, and so you can imagine what a treat this was for me.
Back at Sapi Island’s beach, I was all smiles and happy that in spite of the gloomy weather, our time at the islands proved to be an unexpected treat.