Guess no one could resist stepping on a white sandy beach. Although Kota Kinabalu city is famous for its beaches and sea, there are cases where some, especially tourists, who think that the sand or beaches at Manukan, Sapi and Mamutik Island are not up to their expectation and hope there is another island they could visit but do not have sufficient time or budget to visit Mabul, Mataking, Kapalai and Sipadan Island can actually opt for a day trip to Mantanani Island.
Mantanani Island -- a grouping of 3 islands located northwest of Kota Belud. The island where we visited is Mantanani Besar where you could find tour operators at different sides of the island. If i am not mistaken, there is only 1 tour operator there who has overnight stay facilities at the island. We have the opportunity to visit the island last month and the one we went to is the operator who operates day tour and camping at Dugong beach.
We started our journey by road and took about 1 and half hour passing through villages and reach a village where the jetty is located. Took a short walk to reach the jetty and we were required to sign an indemnity form then to choose the snorkeling fins before boarding onto the boat for a 45 minutes boat ride to Mantanani Island.
It was really hard for me not to be nervous on the boat after my experience of boat capsized in Year 2007. I've cried twice that day-- during both the boat rides to and from Mantanani Island. The 1st was me being too nervous and the 2nd was when i thought i was controlling my emotion very well, the wave went so high that it splashed straight onto us... it was just crazy!
But it was worthwhile to went through all that to get to such a beautiful place where you could name it "Paradise"... white sandy beach, magnificent clear blue sea, gentle breeze and no sign of civilisation. You could easily forget all your unhappiness with just 1 glance of the island.
One of the main activities here is snorkelling, there will be snorkelling trips to 2 different snorkelling sites at the island. Although i don't go for snorkelling because i can't swim, i could easily see from the laughters from those who went that clearly shows that it must be one hell of experience to see the different variety of tropical marines life and coral reef habitats. Unfortunately, no one saw dugong i.e. sea cow that day.
The dugong was the main reason Mantanani Island get its fame from. There were times where people not only can see dugong but also can swim with it. However, it was said that chances of seeing dugong is minimal due to destruction of its natural habitat at the island. Meanwhile, those who are adventurous could explore the mystery of Mantanani Island -- 3 Japanese
World War II ship wrecks which lie within a kilometre of each other.
It was not a good day for snorkeling that afternoon. Most people was stung by jellyfish so they return early from the 2nd snorkeling session. And for myself, apart from reading, sleeping and picture taking at the beach, i left my kite on a coconut tree that day.