Travel: Back from Miri – An Eventful Trip l Miri l Sarawak l Malaysia

Wedding: Alex & Grace – A Wedding to Remember
5 September 2006
Travel: Wonderful Time at Mabul – Kapalai
30 September 2006

PHEW! Back in ONE PIECE after 3 1/2 long days in Miri, Sarawak. We were supposed to be on a diving trip to this part of Borneo Island during the weekend. However, we had more than a diving trip than what we planned from months ago.

Early Thursday morning, both darling & I arrived at LCC terminal for our AirAsia direct flight to Miri. Then, our first “disaster” happened. One of our friend arrived 10 mins late & we were not allowed to check-in our huge diving bags as AirAsia’s luggage counter for our flight has been closed. We tried our best to negotiate & begged for help but to no avail. Our conclusion is… CHEAP AIRLINE, LOW LEVEL OF CUSTOMER SERVICE.

Thus, we have to do something as we’ve the whole weekend ahead of us planned only in Miri! Immediately I decided to try our luck with Malaysian Airlines. We managed to get a direct flight to Miri that very afternoon so after some calculation & much ponderings, we decided to go ahead with the trip.

We arrived at the little “city” late afternoon, too late for any diving, hence we decided to spend some time in the swimpool at the hotel. Late evening, we went to a nice seafood restaurant & ate wonderful dishes of all kinds. It was so cheap too & we were happy despite an awful beginning earlier that day.

The next day, we had to wake up early for 3 boat dives off Miri coast. Once again, God gave us a very TRYING day. The wind started to pick up from the very beginning of our 45 mins journey to our first dive site. First dive was fantastic with clear visibility & lots to see.

However, the day slowly started to go wrong. One of our friend fell terribly ill from all the rough rocking on the boat as we had to spend our surface interval on board in the middle of open sea! Underwater current was picking up too which made us pretty tired & underwater visibility poorer & poorer.

Last dive was a nightmare to me when darling Francis & 2 divers went missing from our dive group. We abandoned our dive & went searching for them with the boat. As sea was rough, it was hard for us to find their bubbles so I decided to get the boat captain to rave the boat engine in hope than darling will hear it & put out his surface buoy. Phew! And HE DID! I was nearly at the verge of loosing my mind, with bad old memories coming back to haunt me that very moment. I THANK GOD with my whole heart for keeping darling safe & sound. When he surfaced, I managed to keep myself calm without shouting at him or the rest of the divers. They were clearly unaware of how anxious we were on the boat while searching for them.

Upon reaching back to the marina, our seasick friend livened up within seconds on dry land. We returned back to the hotel, exhausted & looking forward for a nice long shower. Darling Francis took a nap from 6pm & didn’t wake up till the next morning! I went for another pleasant dinner nearby our hotel with Ghee Seng & return to hotel, slumped into bed by midnite.

The next day, we decided to not dive seeing the wind was still blowing strong. We could see the rough sea from our room balcony. Instead, we decided to rent a car & go trekking to Niah Caves. We went to have a local brunch of Kolo Mee at a nearby stall before we start on our journey.

Once again, God decided to give us another eventful moment during our 1 1/2 hrs drive to the site. We had a puncture on one of the tyre. Darling Francis had to change the tyre & then we went looking for a tyre shop to repair the punctured one. We finally arrived the park entrance at 2pm. After paying the park fee, we took a short boat trip to cross a river, then went on foot for 3km to the cave.

As we were not prepared for such a journey, I didn’t have a proper footwear for the walk. After nearly 2.5km, I started to have blisters on both my feet. Lucky I brought along our medi-kit & I managed to “plaster” both my feet so I can continue the journey.

It was breathtaking to enjoy the rainforest & wonderful smell of nature all around us. I had a great time taking pics during our walk. Upon arrival at the opening of the cave, I decided to surrender to my aching feet. We didn’t walk the whole way into the cave, but the scenery at the cave opening was grand enough for us already.

After resting for half hour, we decided to head back. We stopped at a small hut with local Iban ladies selling souveniors of beads, hand-made textiles & soft drinks. We contributed some for these wonderful ladies & bought a drink each while I bought their wonderful bead bracelets.

The walk back was just as nice although I was beginning to wish I brought my mosquito repellent with me. Finally, we got into our car & reached back to the hotel without much unwanted incident.

We met up with Mike (another diver friend who’s working in Brunei) & had another sumptuos seafood dinner. As the day was an adventurous one for us, we decided to head back to the hotel for an early night instead of accepting Mike’s offer to bring us for some drinking at their local bars.

Finally this morning, we woke up early & left for the airport in time for check-in & breakfast. Once again, the cheap AirAsia airline failed us. Ouf flight was delayed for 50 mins, hence we had to hang around without having much to do, wishing we had more time in bed this morning.

Thankfully, our trip back to Kuala Lumpur was a pleasant one, with slight turbulence due to bad weather.

Despite with all these events, we decided to return again to Miri next year during their best time for diving (around April to June) & hope to dive at more of their wonderful dive sites. We were happy with the outcome of this trip as we managed to have a memorable trip although not as planned. At least we’ve been to Niah Cave,
one of the great wonders of Malaysia!

Now, I’m looking forward for more wonderful time in Mabul starting tomorrow. I pray God will protect myself & Vivian during the 5-days trip.

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