Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pulau Pemanggil


Taken when we were just leaving the jetty into the open sea. Spill lights from the town still visible at the sky in the background.

- 30secs, f2.8, ISO 200 -

In the middle of last June, I had the chance to go on a fishing trip with some of my friends at Pulau Pemanggil. The island is located on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, about 60km from the fishing town of Mersing. The island is one of the last three islands within the archipelago of Johor's and Pahang's island before it opens to the open water of South China Sea.

The built-up towards the day of the trip generated a lot of excitements since we got to do this with a bunch of long-time friends and we anticipated to have some good times at sea while fishing. Me, being an enthusiast in photography took it as a good opportunity to capture some worthy shots and being that, it has become a habit for me to always check the weather forecast for the place where I'm going. Our local weather forecast service allows us to check on the weather for the upcoming seven days and bearing that in mind, just exactly a week before the trip, I was already browsing through the website of Malaysia's meteorogical department. The forecast was good with sunny days and clear sky at nights, initially. A day prior to the trip, a revisit to the website resulted in a grim forecast - for the three days and two nights that we're going, it was going to be days and nights of heavy rain and occasional thunderstorm. I wonder though to this day, how could it changed from good to worse (or worst as I don't know what possibly could be more worse than a thunderstorm?) in such a short time?

I mentioned this to my friends I'm traveling with from the city but it only resulted a temporary worry because a mere cancellation would just rip us away the opportunity of a probably good and never had before outing for the some of us.

We arrived at Mersing on the evening of Friday the 17th of June after a 5-hour ride from Kuala Lumpur. We took the Ayer Hitam exit from PLUS highway and continue the journey on federal road towards the east through the town of Kluang and few Felda settlements. As we were reaching Mersing, I could see from my driver's seat that the sky over the direction we were heading was dark. To ease the worry, I kept saying to myself that probably it was just a normal shower.

The boat was scheduled to leave Mersing at 10pm the latest, to suit the tide of the river. We arrived early after being reminded constantly few days before by the trip's organizer. We visited a fishing accessories shop and later we decided to look for a place for dinner. However, it was really frustrating not being able to locate a decent seafood stall in this town, a fishing town. What frustrated us more was that we ended up settling down in a city-like bistro next to the main jetty. What a way to get away from the city life.

The other members of the trip came from the south - Johor Bahru. About an hour before the scheduled departure, we already met up, ironically except the reminder himself. In the end, we sailed to the sea an hour late, just in time before the tide receded. Here where the journey began - a ride on a typical fisherman's boat with 10 hopefuls on board to Pulau Pemanggil, hoping to experience the excitement of fishing at the open sea.

However, it wasn't a normal day to go out to the sea.

To be continued...