Friday, June 28, 2019

First Swim around Pulau Perhentian Kecil


Regular Perhentian participant, Claire Parsons and I swam together (escorted by a boat) around Pulau Perhentian Kecil on 25 June 2019. The start and finish was the Barat Jetty on Perhentian Besar.
 
We took 5 hours 32 minutes. 
 
Were we the first persons to swim around Perhentian Kecil?
Quite possibly.
To my knowledge, we are the first persons to swim around Perhentian Kecil. Open Water Swimming in Malaysia really picked up in 2016 and so far all swimming has been around Perhentian Besar. No swimmer to my knowledge has swam around Perhentian Kecil.
 
 
Who is Claire Parsons?
Claire Parsons is the first woman to swim around Perhentian Besar in 2017 and now she is the first person (male or female) to swim around Perhentian Kecil.
 
She won her wetsuit category at the 19.7 km Rottnest Hotel Port to Pub swim on 19 March 2019. 
 
Congratulations Claire, you totally deserve it.
 
What is the distance around Kecil?
Unfortunately, our three Garmin watches didn't record the distance correctly.
 
On Google Maps, the distance around the island is about 14 km (measuring perfectly straight lines corner to corner). Actual swimming distance was probably 15 km.
 
 
"Jackpot" Swim Conditions
It couldn't have been a better day.
 
Blue sunny skies, clear water, not much wind / waves or currents, incredible underwater scenery for much of the way, free flowing iced water to drink throughout the swim (that my wife had prepared), an excellent boatman and a compatible swim buddy. No jelly fish.
 
It really was a gorgeous swim. Jackpot!
 
 
Comparing Perhentian Besar vs Kecil
Perhentian Kecil is less than one km shorter than Perhentian Besar if we start / finish at the Barat Jetty. So it is still quite a decent long distance swim.
 
Perhentian Besar is a much more difficult swim as the eastern side of the island (from 4 km to 12 km) facing the South China Sea is exposed and always very choppy. Perhentian Kecil is "protected" by the mainland on its western side and Perhentian Besar on its eastern side.
 
When the water is clear, Perhentian Besar has probably better underwater scenery due to the larger schools of fishes, boulders and corals etc. But one is able to swim very close the shore for very long periods with Perhentian Kecil and enjoy the view of the sea bed for much longer periods. Also there are more beaches and hotels to look at.
 
Either way, both islands give incredible views.
 
 
Selecting the day for the swim
I always check the Tidal Coefficient. Choose the day with the lowest Tidal Coefficient for the month. This means that currents and tidal changes would be at its lowest. Absolutely avoid full / new  moon that happens twice a month.
 
Choose a dry month too for great underwater scenery.
 
The biggest variable is the wind and this actually can't be predicted. Its only when you get on site the day before, can you get a good estimation.
 
Mother Nature of course is all powerful, but we can look at historical data when planning months ahead and if you are lucky, you can get a calm day.
 
Choose a weekday as there is much less water traffic and easier to get a boat.
 
 
The Boatmen
In general, the boatmen are OK.
They are very simple village folk but they have been dealing with tourists for many years. Right from Besut Jetty you notice that they can communicate in good basic English.
Pok Mat, often the boat skipper from Besut Jetty. I gave him the "T shirt of my back".

At the islands, they don't even blink when you tell them you want to swim around the island. Round island swimmers have been coming here for a few years now and they know what we are about.
 
Their weakness is they are not punctual in the mornings.
 
I was surprised that only one boatman turned up instead of two but he turned out to be really good, helpful and kind, focusing on our safety throughout. Definitely I will choose him again.
 
Our most excellent support boatman for the swim
The boatmen community appreciates it when we wear safety buoys for casual swims as we become more visible to them.
 
I always give them generous tips as our lives depends on them. 
 
 
The actual swim
All ready to start
We started at 7.38 a.m. from the Barat Jetty. At that time there is no boat traffic, so it was not a problem swimming across to Perhentian Kecil. From then on it was just swimming corner to corner in a straight line.
 
I noticed that Claire was swimming more strongly than me. She stayed strong throughout the swim. When I could, I stayed on her feet, otherwise she would disappear over the horizon and we would regroup during feeding.  Claire has improved by leaps and bounds.
 
The swim was actually no problem. It was very pleasant. The sea was clear, sunny temperature just right, no jelly fish. It wasn't a problem at all.
 
The only difficult bit was swimming around the northern tip through some rocks. The gulley created a strong current against us and looking at the rocks below, I was not moving forward. So just increase the effort and in a short while we cleared the gulley.
 
From here on the island was basically straight. I stayed close to the shore and had great underwater scenery until the end of the swim, so nice.
Near the village, heavy traffic
Our last feeding was in front of the swank Alunan Hotel. This was where I stopped on 29 March 2019.  But this time, I didn't feel tired at all.
 
The local village was just around the corner. We decided to swim together through the village as advised by the good boatman.
 
Claire cleverly suggested that we swim underneath the jetties rather than going around them as boat traffic was quite heavy by this time. At the huge mosque we crossed over to Barat Jetty.
 
The last bit took 1.5 hours. No problem, full speed ahead as I drafted Claire.
 
Tip had been tracking our progress and was waiting at the Barat Jetty. We finished on the beach.
 
A good swim, no problem.
 


JOB DONE
 
Swim related Tips
  • Buy a foam box from a hardware type shop along the way and some strong garbage bags.
  • Buy ice in the morning from Barat Restaurant.
  • Place the ice in the garbage bag and into the foam box. Your drinks will stay ice cold for the whole day. A wonderful luxury whilst swimming.
  • I love bananas whilst swimming. One piece can last me one hour. I bring my favourite bananas from home, of course you could alternatively buy them along the road.
  • Take a couple of anti sea sick pills that you are familiar with before the start.
  • Have spare medicines, vinegar in the boat.
  • Optional to bring spare goggles, Vaseline, goggle spray, slippers in the boat.
  • I have my handphone in the boat so my wife can track me.
  • I place cash for the boatmen in my safety buoy dry compartment.
  • Attach a spare GPS to your buoy. But I'm fed up now, they all don't seem to work anywhere you put them.
 
 
CONCLUSION
This is my fifth long swim at Perhentian Islands.
I have found my calling. Definitely I will come back here again and again and draft Claire.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Labuan Cross Channel Swimming Challenge (5.4 km) on 27 April 2019

Buy Colgate toothpaste
Now the top swim event in Malaysia.
Started in 1997 (23 years ago), the Labuan Channel Swim  has always been a good big budget event. It is always held on the last Saturday of April every year, as part of a larger Labuan water festival (in 2020, it will be held in June because of Raya).

But up to 2017, information on the internet was quite lacking. Then in 2018, Persatuan Akuatik Labuan (PAL) took over the swim organization and started a social media presence.
 
But for 2019's event, PAL upped the ante and was very active on their Facebook page. Regularly updating swimmers on their preparations, sharing their meetings with uniformed bodies, politicians, staff and promptly replying to ALL queries made by swimmers. All these things gives confidence to swimmers that they will participate in a safe and well organized swim event.

Part of the huge support team
 
PAL and uniformed bodies smiling. Very reassuring
PAL even announced there was in increase in prize money compared to what was previously announced. For the cheap RM 80 entry fee, participants received a swim safety buoy, T shirt, finisher's medal, cert and the chance to win trophies and the richest prize money for a swim event in South East Asia. 
It's not just swimming
Huge financial backing came from Perbadanan Labuan (Labuan Tourism). Private companies also came forward and the uniformed government bodies gave full support. With PAL organising and in particular well educated Bernice Chin (OC) working tirelessly, it was thus no surprise that the 2019's edition made into the Malaysia Book of Records for the most swimmers (189) ever swimming island to island and for the longest kayak race (51.7 km) in Malaysia.
 
I noticed that even with 2019's astounding success, PAL have not rested on its laurels. They appreciate constructive criticisms from swimmers and are still updating swimmers on their Facebook page. For example, they will institute electronic timing for 2020.
 
Watch out folks, once PAL figure out (and they will) how to contact international swimmers directly on social media, the 2020 event (slated to be in June this time) will definitely hit the roof of Open Water Swimming in Malaysia.
 
Thank you PAL, Bernice (OC), Labuan Tourism, the local government and the numerous agencies and volunteers behind the scenes. THANK YOU.
 
 
Attractions
  • Well organized and safe event.
  • Highest prize money in South East Asia (the Kayak Race pays an even higher RM 3,500 I think).
  • Very responsive organiser.
  • My hotel was just 1 km from the airport and cheap, couldn't believe it. We just love the roof top restaurant.
  • Race location (Labuan International Sea Sports Complex), town all within 5 minutes.
  • Duty free island. Peaceful environment.
  • Cheap car rental at airport (below RM 100 per day).
  • WW II Memorial and "Surrender Point" are worth visiting for me.
  • Proper toilets, restaurants, facilities at race location .
  • Its basically all very convenient.


Swim Categories
  • Kids (below 12 years) start on Papan Island and swim 2.7 km to Labuan Island.
  • Male Seniors (40 years and above, my category).
  • Male Adult (21 - 39 years)
  • Male Teenage (13 - 20 years)
  • Male Junior (7 - 12 years)
Prize money went ten deep for all categories (I didn't win any).
 
A reunion
Races are when we meet our long lost friends. We all love this reunion of friends.

Rupert and Jose
From Brunei, Hj Abu Bakar whom I last met in 2002 and Ahmad Fathi Junaidi whom I first met at IMWA in 2008

Yoong Lee Sang, we always finish close together

Yang from Korea

Estino Bin  Taniyu (Royal Malaysian Navy) swam the English Channel solo in 2012 (13+ hours)

Ahmadu Tahir from Sabah my Triathlon buddy from 1992 to 2015


The actual swim
  • Kids (below 12 years) start on Papan Island and swim 2.7 km to Labuan Island.
  • All adults start in one wave and  swim from the beach in front of the Labuan Marine Museum to a small boat at the Jetty on Papan Island, get a wrist band, drink some water and swim back.
  • Conditions were slightly windy and sunny, no jelly fish. A beautiful day for swimming actually.

My personal swim
I missed the race briefing the day before and another one on race morning. Totally my fault.
 
Some buoys seemed out of place so I sighted for the island. One large boat seemed to be moving about blocking the view of the jetty. There was a race banner (for the kids race) on the beach, so I thought we were supposed to swim for the beach like previous years. But I was mistaken, the turnaround was the jetty.
 
So the first half was not the best for me.
 
Coming back was super easy. We could easily sight the Sea Sports Complex and two minarets just behind it. Swimming back was a breeze.

For the swim back, just head for the twin minarets, super easy
I finished twelfth in my category (40+) in 1:53 which was also the strongest category in terms of depth.
 

Overall Results
For full results, please go to Persatuan Akuatik Labuan's  Facebook page.

Overall Male:
  1. Ngu Jiung Wei (Sarawak)          1:14:05
  2. Rupert Tan       (KL)                  1:14:21
  3. Gasten Gan      (Sabah)              1:15:32
Overall Female
  1. Lai Qian Ying  (Sabah)              1:25:27
  2. Siti Izzah          (Sabah)              1:25:41
  3. Yong Zi Yi       (Sabah)             1:26:28
    Not sure if I will ever join them hee hee
For improvement
This event is going places. There are even rumours that Labuan will host the Asian Open Water Swimming Championships, and why not. They will definitely improve because of the government's support, PAL and Bernice as the Organising Chairperson..
 
So;
  • Electronic timing.
  • Have many practice races to increase race sharpness of all staff involved. For example, feeding for swimmers has to be very fast.
  • Kayakers should be trained to guide swimmers correctly. For example, shout "head for jetty" or "head for mosque tower". Don't say "go straight" which is meaningless for swimmers.
  • Minimise boat movement.
  • Anchor marker buoys.
  • Remove the banner from Papan Island beach as it confuses adult swimmers.
  • Contact international swimming groups on social media. For example "Singapore All Stars", "Swimsmooth Singapore", "Swimsmooth Malaysia", "Penang Open Water Swimmers", "Swimon (Malaysia)", "Yang" from Korea, Thailand swim groups, Hong Kong, Australia etc. Surf Facebook, you will find them. 
Thank you. 2019 was a great success.
Well done

Sofian
4 May 2019




Sunday, April 28, 2019

5km Swim, MOWS No. 2 at Putrajaya Lake on 21 Apr 2019 and 1st Msian Open Water Swimming Championship

Heat was scorching at mid-day

Overall
It was a great day in the short history of Open Water Swimming for Malaysia.
 
Apart from it being Swimon's 2nd Leg of the Malaysian Open Water Series 2019, ASUM (Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia, responsible for governing Open Water Swimming in Malaysia) joined in to organize the First Open Water Swimming Championship of Malaysia.
 
It is good for the future of the Sport that ASUM and leading event organizer (Swimon) have so far been working very well together. The sport and the public will benefit from their close collaboration.
 
Open Water Swimming is  inherently risky to organize. There is the real risk of swimmers drowning, mother nature not cooperating on Race Day etc. There are no full rehearsals, everything has to work like clockwork on Race Day. The support team (event location, Marine Police, Medical, Lifeguards etc) behind the scenes is huge and everyone has to be dedicated, experienced and basically work for a token or no money.
 
It was heart warming to see many swimmers sacrificing their own Race and looking very smart in their red T shirts, volunteering (body marking, course referee, SUP, photography, registration, medical).  
 
Swimon is also developing a good name in the swimming world and many swimmers specifically travelled from Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Koh Samui, East Malaysia, Thailand etc to participate.
 
Long may the good progress of OWS in Malaysia continue.
 
 
Event location (Kompleks Sukan Air to Kelab Tasik Putrajaya)
Personally I  like swimming at Putrajaya Lake even though at first glance its blackness looks terrifying. The feel of the freshwater on the body I find to be quite o.k. unlike swimming in the sea where it feels quite sticky.

Beautiful morning at Putrajaya
Beautiful landmarks everywhere
Putrajaya is a beautiful modern location for swimmers, within easy reach from the homes of most participants. There are  many beautiful bridges and buildings all along the swim course. The comforts of the city are at the start / finish location, plus we get to sleep at home the night before.


Great work behind the scenes
The organizing crew are getting better and better as practice makes perfect.
Well done Anir, Sumai, Loges, Cherish, Julia, Azizul, Sham, Esmee, Ross Kass, Chew.
Part of the Organising Crew. Well done guys
Aquaputra Putrajaya and medical support were great.
Well done Aquaputrajaya

VIP treatment at the medical tent for old folks !!!

The VIPs from Putrajaya were also cheerful and supportive inspite of the scorching heat.
 
 
Many swimmers turned up to volunteer, thank you
I have never seen so may volunteers turn up to help with a swim event. They look very smart is their red T shirt. Open water swimming is still like a baby in Malaysia and the swimmers are the aunts and uncles, very happy to volunteer help for the baby's growth.
 
Amongst the many swimmers I saw volunteering were:
  • Doctor Fauzi Othman, Philip, Ridzwan, all are 16km Perhentian finishers.
  • Stephen Jestico, Advance Tan, Yoshi,
  • From Penang, KL Tan and Chris Wee

Thank you all volunteers.


The actual swim

The Nationals
The "National Swimmers", Males then Females started off first. This was the first ever National (Malaysians only) OWS Championships. It was talent spotting time for the SEA Games (Men only) to be held at Subic Bay towards the end of 2019.

First wave - National Males
The focus was on youngsters with age groups divided into 14 - 15, 16 - 17, 18 - 19. The rest were "Open".

First person to thump the finish board. We all got to thump it
It should be noted, any swimmer behind by more than 15 mins from the winner in their respective category, would be categorized as "Over Time Limit". It was strictly implemented.

Unfortunately, three young Singaporean swimmers that took part in the MOWS, were faster than all Malaysian National swimmers. So a lot of work to put in for the SEA Games.

MOWS 5 km
After a briefing all the normal 5km swimmers (Males and Females) started in one wave.


My personal swim
I decided to do my own race and didn't follow the crowd. I did a quick recce of the route beforehand and decided to head for the middle of the first bridge. The other swimmers all swam towards the right of the course.
Good action pics by Fiz Said (thank you Sir)
Swimming in a pack makes one goes faster. So maybe I made a mistake here by swimming on my own.

The Lake conditions were the best I have encountered at Putrajaya. No sun, no wind, perfect conditions. I didn't stop for any drinks.

But I had no idea how I was doing and also I was trying a modification in my swim style.

Anyway I caught Adrianna right at the end but not a teenage boy who was just in front.

First time finished a swim by slapping the finish board, very exciting.
Finish medal


Lots of pebbles

Thank you Sir
 
 
Looking at the Results
Full results.

National (Malaysians only) OWS Championship.
Fastest Male was SEA Games 2017 Gold Medalist, Kevin Yeap in 1:06. Second fastest male was Rupert Tan (18 - 19 years) in 1:11. It has been reported in The Star, that Kevin Yeap was only participating to help promote the sport, he will not participate in the next SEA Games.

Kevin Yeap - thank you for your services to the Nation and OWS
Fastest female was Chelsea Ning Lee (14 - 15 years) in 1:18. Second fastest was Sea Games Bronze Medalist (Triathlon), Irene Chong in 1:20.
 
 
MOWS Sea Lion 5 km.
The two fastest Males in the MOWS finished in 1:04 and the fastest female in 1:05. All young swimmers from Singapore. All faster than retired Kevin Yeap.

The fastest Male and Female were from Singapore. Here with their Team Official, very cheerful VIPs and Meet Director
Female 40+. Well done Adriana, Lini


Very fast 40+ Male (from Hong Kong)
Female 50+. First and third from THAILAND
 
Personally
Personally, I feel I didn't do well compared to MOWS No. 1. I'm trying to understand the mistakes I made during MOWS No. 2. Longer distances I thought was my forte.
 
2nd 60+Age Group (1:41:51). Please be gentle with us, we both have health issues hee hee

Hee hee, I did even worse 6 days later at Labuan. Oh well. I swim to stay healthy.

Well done to all swimmers, organizing crew and volunteers.
Majulah sukan Open Water Swimming untuk Negara

Sofian
28 April 2019
 
 
 

Friday, April 05, 2019

Partial swim around Pulau Perhentian Besar and Kecil on 29 Mar 2019

Before the start with Mior (my housemate from forty years back), Amir  (was in the escort boat the whole way) and my wife
Background
The original plan was to try and swim around both Pulau Perhentian Besar and Kecil (25 km) in late March 2019. After all I have swam around Pulau Perhentian Besar (15.4 km) three times  (2016, 2017 and 2018), 25km around Pulau Redang  on 7 May 2018 and Koh Tao (21km) on 4 April 2018.
 
The drawback was I suffered during each of my swims around Pulau Perhentian Besar. The island is a tough swim. It's so hot and always very choppy on the side facing the South China Sea. So I knew doing both islands would be a tough ask, but what the heck.
 
My one swim around Pulau Redang went quite well. We selected a day with a low Tidal Coefficient and there was no wind that day. The water actually glistened almost the whole way. Over more than 100 open water swims I've done, Pulau Redang is the only place that has clearer waters than Perhentian.
 
I booked a very busy Amir from way back and we agreed on 29 March, a day with a low Tidal Coefficient. Amir loves going to Perhentian, he is able to check out new swim routes, do his preparatory work for the next Perhentian Race on 5 October 2019 and return to his kampong nearby.
 
I believe, I am the only person to have swam around Pulau Perhentian Besar three times, the only person to swim around Pulau Redang and only the second person to swim around Koh Tao.
 
 
The day before (28 March 2019) the actual swim
The boat ride from Besut Jetty to Perhentian was the roughest I have encountered so far. I realized I had not selected a good day for the swim and wondered whether it had to be called off.
 
We met with the boat boss on Perhentian Kecil. Its RM 5 per person for the boat ride from Perhentian Besar to Kecil. Perhentian Kecil actually has a mini town with a Police Station, Clinic, Mosque, Restaurants, Shops, Accommodation etc.
 
The boat boss advised the weather the past few days had been unstable. Rain and strong winds at various times. Someone had drowned at Long Beach and boats were actually not able to access  Long Beach.

All of this were very serious and I was quite down heartened.

Instead of our planned start at Barat Jetty, the Boat Boss was very receptive to the idea of starting at Bubbles Resort which is about 5.5 km after PIR. His perception was that this was the most choppy part and there should be less chop early in the morning. The Boat Boss also wanted the crew to work in two shifts due to the distance.

So we agreed to board the boat at Barat Jetty and start the swim from Bubbles Resort to get the most difficult bit over as quickly as possible. This would be roughly a 19km swim, in total.

 
The actual swim (29 Mar 2019)
"Its windy at the Jetty", Amir messaged me early in the morning. The dreaded words.

We boarded the escort boat from Barat Jetty at 7.45 a.m. On the way to Bubbles, I could see that the waves were absolutely crazy. The "4km corner" was especially rough. Two seas seems to be colliding. No way anyone could swim that, I thought.

Anyway we got to Bubbles Resort and started the swim at 8 a.m. Bubbles Resort is quite a cool place. It has its own beach, turtle sanctuary and is popular with divers and snorkelers.
The start at Bubbles Resort, lets do this

The first 2.5 hours
This was more choppy than my previous three swims around Perhentian Besar. Perhaps the most choppy I have encountered was the Hong Kong Clean Half Extreme Marathon Swim (15 km) on 7 Oct 2017. Hong Kong was a day with high Tidal Coefficient (Full Moon) and very windy. I was inexperienced and used a lot of energy to fight the strong surface waves that day and collapsed at the end.

Its actually quite scary swimming close to large rocks and seeing the waves crash against them
So I told myself, don't fight the waves, conserve energy. When one is swimming, the waves appear like mountains. When the waves go crashing against the rocks, its scary. I am always very mindful of the tragedy at the Port Dickson Triathlon in 2018 when two very experienced athletes lost their lives. It was full moon and very windy that day. The very strong surface waves threw me way off course at P.D. So I am very weary of strong surface waves.

I didn't want to be thrown against the rocks at Perhentian today. Amir kept a very close watch on the sea conditions around me. Thanks buddy.

Unfortunately even the tough looking skipper vomited very early on. The skipper and the support crew were replaced sometime during my swim, I wasn't even aware.

Finally after 2.5 hours of swimming through very choppy and dangerous waters, we reached Tanjung Basi, the northern most tip of Perhentian Besar. Normally for the 16km Round Island Race, we would turn left into sheltered waters  and head for the mosque on Perhentian Kecil.
Tanjung Basi after 2.5 hours
2.5 to 5 hours
I had to stay in the open South China Sea and head for the northern most tip of Perhentian Kecil. I could clearly sight the tip, but it was another 2.5 hours of swimming in choppy waters to reach that tip.

I seriously told Amir that I was going to stop at 4 hours. But 4 hours came and I told Amir "another 30 mins". Many "another 30 mins" came and went.

We reached the northern tip of Perhentian Kecil after 5 hours of swimming. Suddenly the water became completely flat and we came across a group of snorkelers. They were happy to see us and we were happy to see them, a happy moment for all of us during the swim.

5 to 7.5 hours
The western side of Perhentian Kecil is actually a nice place to swim
We proceeded to go along the western side of Perhentian Kecil. We have never swam this side before. The water is completely flat and nice. Its a very nice place to swim. Its very possible that Amir would organize some swims here. But I was very tired, disoriented and was just hanging in.

The end
Finally after 7.5 hours, feeling exhausted, disoriented, shoulders aching, I told Amir I was stopping.

We were in front of Alunan Resort (which seems to be a very nice place to stay). I didn't realise that the Perhentian Kecil Village and the Barat Jetty was just around the corner. In my confused state, I thought I had to now swim around Perhentian Besar again and just didn't want to do it.

Amir did his best to convince me to keep on swimming. He was very enthusiastic. "Sleep first, then start again. There is still time". But I was just so tired. Sorry buddy and that was it. Two minutes later, the boat went around the corner and I could see Barat Jetty, our targeted finish.

That's all I could do. 7.5 hours. Sorry
No regrets, I was very tired.

The Garmin stopped for very long periods. Checking against a back up watch on the boat, the actual distance swam might even be 17km. No worries
 
My Personal Tips for Long Distance Open Water Swimming in the tropics
  1. Take a couple of sea sick pills before the swim. The pills work very well for many people I know, but I understand not for everyone.
  2. Have a GPS watch on your wrist and another back up attached to the float or on the boat. Both watches should have their "keys locked".
  3. Bring ice and a container, Perhentian is very hot.
  4. Carbo Pro and bananas work very well, say every thirty minutes. The banana should be peeled by the crew.
  5. Stay calm the whole way.
  6. Taper. This was my mistake. Its no use having sore shoulders even before the swim starts.
  7. Avoid windy days but its not possible to predict this.
 
Some Inside Info for the next Perhentian Race on 5 Oct 2019
 
Full race info is here. A few other things;
  • Everything will be at Perhentian Island Resort (start, finish, briefing, awards, boat loading etc). PIR and Amir have established a very good working relationship which is very good for us swimmers.
  • There will probably be a proper room for the race briefing. We will do the briefing better this year.
  • Meeting the Crew and boat loading will be at the PIR Beach this year (not at Barat Jetty as in 2018). This will reduce a lot of stress if we can pull this off.
  • I suspect the escort boats will not be punctual on race morning even though they only need to travel a short distance from Perhentian Kecil. We have to be patient with the local fishermen. At least swimmers don't have to find their own boats and crew like at some other events.
  • We are trying for the escort boats to come pre loaded with ice, but they couldn't do it for me on 29 March, so I wouldn't count on them doing it for all participants on 5 Oct. The Barat Restaurant will have limited quantities of ice available at 7 a.m.
  • The 2019 race is almost sold out. There are many good international swimmers coming. Amir is doing a good job.
 
Getting to Perhentian and places to stay
 
  • There are many daily flights to KB from KLIA, KLIA2, Subang on MAS, Malindo, Air Asia etc
  • If from Singapore, there is a direct flight on 4 Oct to Kota Baru on Flyscoot arriving KB at 1425 hours. Otherwise go through KL but go early.
  • One can take Grab Car from KB airport to Besut Jetty. Fare is about RM69 and the journey is about 1 hour 15 to 30 mins.
  • At Besut Jetty use the recommended boat company (Save / Safe Park) as they already have your name and there is a discount.
  • Boat crossing is about 30 mins. Take anti sea sick pills if you want, they can be purchased at the Jetty.
  • Malaysians need to pay RM3 Park fee. For other Nationals its RM 30.
  • All activities are at Perhentian Island Resort. So its probably best to stay here. I often read that it has the best beach. It has a resident turtle. Teluk Pauh is a very nice bay.
  • Up to now, I have always stayed at Barat Perhentian. The rooms are basic but the restaurant has a nice vibe.

Thank you
  • Amir. For me, the most important person in Malaysia, for the many OWS events that he organizes. He was excellent as my support person.
  • My wife.
  • Mior Ramdzan, my friend from 40 years back who came all the way from Ipoh to support.
  • All swimmers for your "likes" and encouragement on Swimon's and my Facebook page during the attempt.
To all swimmers, please try to come for the next Perhentian swim event on 5 October 2019. We are lucky to have this. The date is confirmed. Registration for the 16 km (almost full) is here. Registration for the 4km will be available later.
See you hopefully at Telok Pauh on 5 October 2019

My previous Reports : 2016, 2017 and 2018.

In the meantime, see you at Putrajaya on 21 Apr 2019 (5km) which will be MOWS No. 2 and ASUM's Malaysia Open Water Swimming Championships.

Sofian
5 April 2019