Sunday, February 16, 2014


Hello, South China Sea! 

We have arrived at Tioman Island, after a bus ride from Kuala Lumpur to Mersing and then the very bumpy and wobbly ferry ride out.  Monsoon season is here for just a bit longer but the rain feels so nice!  Being used to cold rain, we had our rain gear on and were ready to rush out of the boat to our rooms.  Instead, when we actually got off the boat, the droplets felt so balmy we slowed down and inhaled the gorgeous rainfall and felt silly for worrying.

I have never been on such a stereotypically "tropical island."  Mykonos was dry and desolate in comparison, and Vieques flat and marshy.  Here, sparkling coasts surround hills that slope up to a central ridge and it's all covered in trees.  There are amazing fauna: monitor lizards, slow loris, and binturong!  

Josh and I have already seen the lizards, digging through trash at the northern end, but we are still on the lookout for mammals.  Life is abundant here.  First day after lunch, Josh picked up a random pretty shell off the beach and put it in his pocket, joking that he would make it into a necklace and sell it.  When we got back to the room and he emptied his pockets, the shell started moving.  A poky little crab looked out, righted itself, and started scrambling about.  It was adorable.

Yesterday we rented a kayak and snorkel gear and paddled to Monkey Bay.  Anchored in the shallow harbor was an american boat.  We pulled up alongside and asked the crew (a man and a woman) where they had come from.  They said, Seattle, in 2008!  Wenchatted for a bit about the things and people they had seen during their voyage across the pacific.  It was incredible.  Then we snorkeled in the richest reef I have ever seen.  An eel, angelfish, zebrafish, sea cucumbers and urchins, and so many others I can't name, all swirling and dancing in the tide.  Josh was very excited to see a live squid.

While we were out, a monkey came down to the beach, rooted through our bag, and stole a pack of crackers.  We are very grateful it chose not to take the tablet, so that we can now share with you these adventures!  We now trek south on the island for a place to trek in the jungle and maybe climb its highest peak.  

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