May 19 – 26, 2012.

Pualu Perhentian Kecil, it’s the small island and it’s beautiful. I spend a few days on my own, sun tanning, reading, eating well and I did meet a couple of lovely women from New Zealand but I was trying to keep it low key as those boys have been tiring me out. To restate a fact I keep having to learn, 40 year old people need to pace themselves a wee bit more then 20-somethings.  The boys join me and we get great bungalows on the middle path of the island, between the 2 beaches, long beach and coral beach.

At night we hang out on the beach, sitting around low tables in the sand smoking Shisha (hookas) and drinking “Monkey Juice” and coke. It’s Darraugh’s birthday while we are here and cake is not available so we buy him a deep-fried snickers bar and stick a bunch of candles in it, he was pretty pleased/embarrassed, the entire restaurant sings happy birthday to him.

We shell out for a snorkeling trip which is freaking amazing, the most beautiful coral I have seen so far, many little Nemos (clown fish) hiding out in sea anemones, giant clams, parrot fish and countless other things that I can’t name. We see a giant turtle, she’s probably about 30 years old and it’s one of the most blissful things I’ve ever experienced in the ocean, I could have watched her for hours… gliding along the bottom and then coming up for air, her head poking up out of the water just long enough to catch a glimpse of her without the distortion of water, I loved it.

I also swam with a shark, yup me, and a shark, in the same water not 4 meters from each other, I can’t believe it either. To be fair it was a so called “vegetarian shark” (that’s a joke I think), a black tip shark, over a meter long. I knew there was a chance that we would see sharks in this certain area we went to and quite frankly I almost didn’t make it into the water at all, but those beautiful boys were angels and surrounded me all sides as “bait” while we went looking for the sharks. We didn’t find any at first and the boys were pretty disappointed, I didn’t mind so much honestly. So we started heading back towards the boat, we kind of separated a bit at that point and then Julian came racing up to me, I heard him yelling “shark” through his snorkel and I literally almost jumped on top of him with fear. But he held on to me and showed me where the shark was. I was fascinated and terrified at the same time. My eyes were huge, my heart was racing and my breath was fast, I couldn’t let go of his arm, he let me hang on tight, god bless him, and we followed the shark as it meandered along the ocean floor about 4-5 meters away from us. Julian let me set the pace as we followed, never pushing me to get closer then I felt comfortable with, he was the perfect host and I cannot thank him enough, it was most definitely an experience I will never forget.

The Perhentians were perfect, crystal clear water, white sand, etc…I could have easily stayed longer and probably would have but it was a school holiday, all the guesthouses filled up for the weekend so we got kicked out of our rooms, forced onwards, and we were splitting up, heading in all different directions.