Our trip to the Pirhenthian Islands was looking uncertain, we had checked the busses but the return tickets were all gone. We had given up and were starting to make other plans when Willie the owner of Birds Nest Guest House suggested the train! We hadn't taken a train since China, which is probably why we hadn't thought of it. The next day we went to the Sentral train station and got return tickets on the overnight Jungle Train. We checked out late from Bird's-Nest at 2pm and made our way to Sentral.
The train was much better than the bus and roughly the same price. We were both a little excited about the sleeper train, it can be fun and a good way to socialise with the locals. On this journey we got talking to a lady from Kula Lumpur called Vinnie Low. She was a licensed tour guide and told us lots of interesting facts about Malaysia. On this journey she was going to Kota Baru to pick up her husband and drive him back home, he had been in Kota Baru on business when he got a bad case of food poisoning and had been bed ridden for 3 days.
We got into Kota Baru at 9:30am and shared a taxi with Vinnie to the bus station. We said goodbye and got on our bus to Kuala Besut, from Kuala Besut we got the boat to Mira Beach on Pirhenthian. We got to Mira and were greeted by a crazy French lady called Dali. "Mr Tobacco?" Dali asked, "you make reservation?", "yes over the phone, Baker" we said, "maybe I hear name wrong, Lan the owner tell me 'Mr Tobacco coming show him his room, i guess its you".
We were shown to a bungalow up the hill overlooking the beach and gardens. It was shabby and worn out but beautiful. We got changed and headed to the restaurant for some food. Over lunch Dali told us about the missing Mira Beach mascot, his name was Amran the Otter! Lan found Amran on the mainland 2 years ago and bought him to the island where he has been a mascot and pet to the resort. Amran had been spotted at Long Beach and Dali was off to pick him up on Mohamed's taxi boat, later they turned up with him on his lead and we got to meet him in person/otter. That night we had dinner in the restaurant and got an early night.
Sunday we decided to walk through the jungle to long beach stopping of on the way at different deserted beaches and collecting shells. We found a place on Coral Beach called Angel divers and spoke to a friendly Australian called Shane. We didn't book a dive as we would wait to see what the weather was like over the next few days. We stocked up on water and pot noodles from one of the islands 2 shops, then had lunch in Maya cafe and slowly walked back just in time for the sunset. When we got back into our room we found that some left over chocolate bread we bought with us from Kota Baru had been found by squirrels, there was a rip in the 2 plastic bags it was wrapped in and teeth marks. Later on we shared Lime chicken for our dinner but didn't have chocolate bread for pud!
Monday we walked around the island the other way to Petani beach where we tried snorkelling but the tide was out and it was too shallow. A couple of coral grazed knees walked back to Mira and spent the rest of the day sunbathing. That night a crazy storm blew in whilst we enjoyed our dinner. Dinner was pretty hot! Dagin Kurma for me and Fish Sambal for Garath.
Tuesday was spent lazing about on the beach with a bit of snorkelling and there was a nice sunset in the evening. Wednesday was pretty much the same. It can be hard work doing almost nothing on a beautiful tropical island.
The days were clear and sunny, but the nights brought storms which stirred up the ocean and made visibility poor for diving. Wednesday night there was no storm and Thursday morning it was clear and calm in the ocean. We walked around to Angel divers and booked on to a 1:00pm dive with Julian. We had an enormous lunch and then got on the boat. We picked Tanjung Basi as our site to dive and went down to 24.5 meters. We saw Tiger Cowrie, Zebra Lionfish, Moon Wrasse, Long Fin Banner fish, Titan Trigger fish, Blue Ringed Angel fish, Clown fish, Long Finned Bat fish, Porcupine fish, Doris and a Blue Streak Cleaner Wrasse which tried to clean Julian's ear. We got the boat back and wrote our log books. When we got back to Mira later that afternoon Amran the otter was up at our bungalow. He was in a playful mood, rolling around over my feet as I sat and ate a pot noodle.
Friday was the end of Ramadan and everyone was in a celebratory mood! We however were heading back to Kuala Lumpur on our return night train. We said our goodbyes to Lan, Mohamed, Dali and Amran and got on the boat.