Borneo Reef World: Preserve rather than destroy

Experiencing the water activities being offered at the largest pontoon in Asia at Borneo Reef World is the highlight of our tour in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. We were all very excited to try their Sea Walking as it turned out that no one of us has ever tried it yet. Sea walking is commonly known as Helmet Diving, a popular activity in Boracay that I’ve missed when we went there last 2010.

Like every offered service which involves marine life or nature, a short and entertaining briefing about the do’sand don’ts were discussed by a guide. According to him, they all have the options for different types of sea adventurers. If you want to totally get wet and see the marine creatures below (free diving). After the briefing, we signed a waiver which you thoroughly understand that you’ll be exposed to risks and hazard with water activities.

The first activity we tried was the Underwater Observatory. The platform seemed to look the same with Manila Ocean Park’s Oceanarium, only that the platform of Borneo Reef World was situated in the real ocean. Fish also need a moment for itself.

The Snorkeling Safari was supposed to be guided by an experienced Marine Biologist to tell us more about the magnificent life of marine and its ecosystem. However, during our time, there’s only one available and he was already guiding the group of Korean visitors. But the show must go on! We snorkeled by ourselves which I actually prefer.

I love paddling, swimming, looking for interesting sea creatures, and I feel like a mermaid. Perhaps this made snorkeling as the water activity I enjoy doing the most. The coral reefs are comparable to the ones we have in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. On the shallow part, some coral bleaching can be noticed, but as you go deeper, a beautiful marine life can be seen but exploring the most of it is strictly prohibited. I realized that it is more important for people of Kota Kinabalu to preserve the marine life rather than alluring the visitors.

One fascinating attraction in Kota Kinabalu is that school of fish (or shoaling) is everywhere. I have never seen this phenomenon in places I’ve been to when there’s snorkeling involved. In Kota Kinabalu, big or small, they are everywhere in every body of water. I even dared to swim with them but I was bitten twice, I got scared and just decided to stay away from them. I guess these fish thought I was a predator.

All of a sudden, I remembered that there’s barracuda in this ocean which was seen by some bloggers when we were in the Underwater Observatory. Oh-uh. So after being bitten, I frantically swam away from them with the thought of being attacked by a barracuda!

The last part of the water activity was the Helmet Diving. There was also a short briefing where we were taught hand signals like okay, go up, and something’s not right. They also taught us how to get rid of the pressure or ear pain once being submerged.

In the beginning, I was pretty excited. But as my helmet gets submerged, I got too damn scared, but soon got the hang of it. I expected too much in helmet diving hoping I would see a beautiful marine environment; but as I got submerged, I noticed that it was only a walking platform leading us to a small garden of corals with an enchanting playful school of fish around. Nevertheless, it was beautiful.

Like I said, they are more concerned about preserving biodiversity than pleasing tourists or visitors who are the main cause of habitat destruction. Were you enjoying our experience much? Perhaps you’ll drool more with our appetizing buffet lunch after exhausting ourselves with water activities! They mainly served seafood, chicken, vegetables, and fruits for desserts. I really loved their salted fish which became my instant favorite!

After lunch, we were transported back to the mainland using Borneo Reef World’s fast craft vessel. It was a sort of a private transfer experience as the boat was mainly occupied by us and the people from the Pontoon. The only thing that lacked was cocktail drinks! OH YEA.

We also had the chance to tour around the boat and even get introduced to the captain!
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  • Jyoti Mishra
    Jyoti Mishra October 23, 2011 at 11:04 PM

    Nice read...
    tigers r back !!

  • Desiree
    Desiree October 24, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    Of course, cricket season is back in full swing! My father-in-law watches every single game, so from now on we'll be treated to a running commentary :)

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