I wanted to go swimming somewhere beautiful because we are in Sabah which is renowned for somewheres beautiful to swim. I did some research and decided Usukan Cove was the place to go. On the map it looked like a relatively easy place to find and get to. When will I learn that maps are deceiving and that nothing in Malaysia is easy to find or get to? Probably not any time soon – I am such an optimist.
First step, how to get there? Taxi – way to expensive. Bus – umm, no. Hitchhike – forget it. We hired a motorbike/scooter – 125cc. These may be able to take an entire asian family but they were not designed for 2 kiwis the size of Big J and myself. Did this stop us? Of course not. Second step, fill up with petrol – this should have been easy but actually took us about 20 minutes before we could get on the right road to get into the petrol station – upside – cost about $2.50 to fill up. Third step, get out of KK, this also should have been easy – suffice to say we saw a fair bit more of KK than we meant to, perfected the art of the U turn, went round several roundabouts several times (considered going back to the petrol station to fill up again before trying to leave again) before we were finally on our way. Apparently the speed limit is 70k – I say apparently although it was anything but apparent what the speed limit is – but for us, on our little bike, this wasn’t actually a choice. Travelling through the countryside was awesome, Big J had GPS set up to get us to destination so this should have been easy right? Wrong. After several wrong turns – U turns, no sweat, we managed to head in the right(ish) direction. The map shows 1 road, never trust maps. We came to a fork in the road so immediately took the wrong one – there are no signs – decided to stop and ask – U turn and took the other fork in the road – the one with free range cows on it. All good, on our merry way (could not feel butt at this stage but still reasonably happy). Came to fork in the road, took the correct one, decided it was wrong, U turn, took other one, realised it was wrong, U turn, went back to correct one. Another fork in the road – see previous sentence except this wrong one was a dead end – so was definitely wrong. And so it goes on, visited small fishing village (by mistake, another wrong turn) where all the children & locals laughed at us until we came to another dead end & once again asked the way. Finally got there, praise be. because my bottom by this time was numb, itchy & sore all at the same time. Journey was meant to take 1 1/2 hours, it took us nearly 3. Hadn’t found the beach we were after but didn’t care it was a beach and beautiful albeit at an accommodation lodge. That was fine, we paid 5 Ringgit each to use the beach, and another 5 Ringgit each for towels, and they gave us snorkelling gear to use as well. The water was awesome, clean & clear & warmish. Unfortunately nearly all the coral was dead – we’ve been told that the fisherman use dynamite to fish which is killing all the corals. Swam for a couple of hours, stunning surroundings. clear beautiful day, did not use sunscreen. To everyone thinking “what an idiot, you are going to pay for that”, I am an idiot & I am paying for it. We decided to give ourselves plenty of time to get back although we were pretty sure we knew the way back. This was mostly true. Until we got to the outskirts of KK and found ourselves on the bypass road (that should be lost ourselves on the bypass road). After congratulating ourselves on getting back so fast we overshot KK central and were lost. Only 1 U turn later we made it back to bike hire place – in 2 1/2 hours – so quite good time really! I mentioned free range cows, other road hazards include: free range dogs, free range chickens, free range children, free range horses, no signage, no indication, lanes that just end nowhere, traffic pulling out in front of you, laughing Malaysians flying past you on the same size bikes, roady bumps (these were well beyond bumpy roads), very small hard to see road bumps until your in mid flight going Oops, cow pooh, & of course, myself & Big J. By the time we got back I was tired, hungry, unable to walk properly, and the backs of my legs were on fire – so all in all, another successful day. James’ riding was fantastic – I know this because I am alive. We’re hiring the bike again tomorrow but will not be going far! Just tikky tour around museums and stuff without have to walk miles in the hot sun. I am fully confident we won’t get lost more than 4 or 5 times, but we will see. Onwards intrepid travellers (that’s us).