Monday, 26 June 2017


Towering high over the coastal plain of Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu) is indeed an awesome experience; the scarred greenery (unfortunately), the city, the South China Sea can be seen as we glide higher and higher. The mid-year flights are the best because of the ideal wind speed blowing from the west which created a dynamic that pushed the wing upward. Most of the time it rains around this time and the sunny shine next day would heat up the ground creating thermal bubbles that also helps paragliders to gain more heights and thus extend their distance and time.

 North Borneo (Sabah) has many things to offer and one of them is paragliding at KOKOL HILL. The hill is about 45 minutes drive from the city center. Besides paragliding, this hill offers other scenery for travelers. Paragliding is a recreational adventure sport. It is lightweight, foot-launched free flying with no rigid structure. The pilot (and the passenger) sits on the harness suspended below a fabric wing.

I always say "flying would set you free" because you are gliding so high without the constrains of an airplane. Sometimes I feel like I am dreaming; just seating on the harness thousands of feet above the ground. It is scary at first, but later you will feel wonderful. Missing this experience when visiting Borneo is a big mistake. Anyway, I really thanks my cousin Chris Lammert for encouraging me to "fly" above Jesselton.

For me information about paragliding

The first English romance-thriller from Borneo

Monday, 5 June 2017

LABUAN: Hope for the Ocean?

Tugboats idling in Labuan 
On June 5, the world celebrated the World Environment Day. Such a day was created just to remind us that the world is living in a precarious situation; destruction of the forest, many species of plants and animals became extinct and of course ecological danger to the ocean because of over-fishing, fish bombing, oil spill, plastic pollution and global warming.

Victoria, the island capital
The island of Labuan too face these problems. To her west, is the vastness of the South China Sea. Not only her ecology is threatened, but her front door too. China had claimed almost half of all the sea based on a so called demarcation line called the Nine Dash Line. Arrogantly, they bulldozed their way by building bases on artificial reefs ignoring the sovereignty of other nations which also claimed the sea.

At first I was horrified by the attitude of the Chinese. Then, my point of view about them changed when the Chinese introduced Fishing Moratorium banning on fishing in all their national water including Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea and also South China Sea. Total ban was imposed except for conventional angling. The ban started from May and lasted until September. Many of my friends told me that buying fish from the market produced a new surprise; eggs found in fish! For decades this was a rare phenomena in Borneo. Maybe it got to do with the moratorium. It seems the Chinese were more decisive then the other Southeast Asian governments having access to this sea.

Recently, a new discovery was made not far from Labuan; the Vernon Bank. Labuan could well be the next underwater paradise for scuba divers from all over the world with more unique dive sites being discovered, including Vernon Bank according to Bernama reporter, Jailani Hassan.

The new dive sites has its own uniqueness compared with other internationally renowned dive sites. Vernon Bank was stated in the old British Admiralty Charts and Publication. The site have a number of rare marine species such as porcelain crabs and Bubble Goby. It is akin to a huge underwater atoll split into different levels.

The discovery was indeed timely. For a time being, the Chinese moratorium will be protecting the marine life in this sea. If this is China's attitude, why not let China runs the whole Pacific Ocean? I am serious; provided they are willing to impose ban on fishing for certain periods. Why not? Only then, they will be hope for our marine life. 

The first English romance-thriller from Borneo
Search also THE EURASIANS by Don Peter ebook 

Thursday, 1 June 2017

LABUAN: The Diving Site

Sea surrounding Labuan during sunset
"William brought Andy out to the sea, where a professional diver guided them to see two sunken ships. The watery tomb was now home to various species of marine life, especially century-old grouper fish which flocked together. After all Labuan was located in the South China Sea, which was home to endemic tropical marine life not seen anywhere else. On the boat, the diver told William and Andy that what they were seeing might not last another fifty years, so this is the best time to see it. He explained that overfishing and fish bombing would destroy the ecological balance unless the government put a stop to these activities. William looked at Andy. Andy looked away."

From THE EURASIANS page 250

I was talking about the two sunken ships, SS De Klerk (Australian wreck in 1942) and USS Salute (American wreck in 1943). It used to be an interesting diving site and indeed full of grouper fish. It was near the three beautiful islands; Kuraman, Rusukan Kecil and Rusukan Besar. These islands were gazetted as the Labuan Marine Park. Surrounding these islands are coral reefs stretching miles out in all directions.

Sadly, covering most of the island beaches are dead corals that look like bones. These beaches looks white and coarse because of the grinded dead corals littering the sea. Most probably this is due to human activities such as fish bombing which is still ongoing or due to the effect of oil spills. After all, Labuan is considered one of the biggest hub for the oil and gas industry. These islands are about 14 kilometer from Labuan capital, Victoria

Victoria Harbor in Labuan
  There used to be abundant of fish in Labuan. My late maternal grandfather used to tell me just half and hour in the sea, he could fill one keranjang (big basket) full of fish. Because of rare interaction with people, lobsters and grouper fish were friendly and playful when they encountered humans; and they were plentiful. Nowadays, they are few and difficult to find because of unrestricted fishing and trawling activities. Seafood restaurants could be considered one of the factors that fueled the demand for these depleting marine life. So... yes in 50 years time, told by the diver to William and Andy, all these will be gone!    

The first English romance-thriller from Borneo
Search also THE EURASIANS by Don Peter ebook