We left Brunei and came to the Malaysian port of Labuan which is well known for being a duty free island. A quick one night stop, check in to Malaysia, in and out of Labuan, the girls buy a bit of wine and away we go. Next stop is Tiga Island, about 35 miles up the coast. Tiga Island was “put on the map” as the site of the first Survivor episodes. All that remains of the glory are two small resorts and a large unused park.
Diving is the driver to come here, we finally see clear clean water and read the rave reviews of the dive sites. The anchorage is great, all alone and quiet at last. Amy and I do a fast dive under the boat but find only mud. The next day after a wonderful morning and breakfast we head around the reef to find some underwater treasures. Real live, colorful and full of life coral at last.
After the dive a big squall comes in with a torrential down poor, so we have a matinee. A friend gave me a bunch of movies in Phuket, some of my favorite musicals. I had not had the chance to see them so here it was. I clicked on one of my all time favorites, Oliver. The girls endured my exuberant love of musicals and got a chuckle watching me watch the flick. I do love my musicals. Oliver has some catchy tunes and we all spent the next day singing, “Consider yourself a friend” and “I’d do anything for you” ahhhh they just do not make them like they used to.
We arose and prepared for the day in the warm sun and calm water. There is a reef a mile away and it is marked by a navigation buoy. We head to the reef and find the local dive boat already tied to the buoy—ya in Malaysia you can tie your boat to a aids to navigation—they friendly skipper gives us some information and we drop in the water. This is a spectacular diving with stunning coral and abundant fish. We all pop up with big smiles.
After the dive the girls prepare a picnic lunch and we head to the white sandy beach in front of the boat. We have a scrumptious lunch of Pad Thai, pasta salad and cookies and chocolate for desert. We are all alone on a tropical beach with clear emerald water lapping at its shore and along comes a monkey out of the jungle to check us out. He is very shy and makes a brief visit.
Next we head to the center of the island, still singing Oliver songs, to find the famous volcanic mud baths. A 1.4 click walk and we arrive at the scene. Two holes filled with grey thick oozing mud that burps up bubbles from deep below. We crawl in the mud and find that we all float like bobbers. We float laying back, sitting up and even kneeling, it is amazing. The mud is warmed by the deep volcanic action and is so soothing it is just wonderful. We crawl out of the mud like primeval beings walking on two legs for the first time. There are no facilities to clean off so we take the long walk back as the mud dries on our skin. We run to the sea and begin scrapping off the mud laughing so hard it is difficult to stand.
What we learn is the daily routine another squall passes by but not with as much liquid and the day before. A quiet night and up to hit the dive site again. The sun is shining as we make our way back to the same reef. This time we explore the perimeter. We love this place so much, it is why we did the mad rush so we could have extra time here so we decide to stay another day. Another day in paradise is always nice.