Now it is a private island owned by Universiti Malaysia Terengganu and is used as a field station for their coral research and breeding program. I wanted pictures of the place and finally had to break out a different camera to get some shots (Thanks Tomas for the camera!). Here's my mug testing the self-portrait mode at arm's length.
That's YOLO just off of Bidong. We picked up a mooring ball the first night, but when a squall came through with westerly winds, we moved around to the other side of the island to get away from the lee shore. Jason thought the mooring block might've started dragging. The next day we picked up a different mooring ball.
We were on that mooring ball when a squall hit at midnight and we nearly lost the boat on the reef as that mooring dragged. A backhoe that is upside down in the shallow water out there acts as an artificial reef and we came within 20' of getting smashed into it. We called Ajax to come help us winch ourselves off the line of floats and I had to get into the churning water in the middle of the rain, thunder, lightning and bouncing waves to cut us loose so we could get away from the coral and that backhoe! That was a harrowing night!
This is the backhoe that has been toppled upside down in the shallow water just off the beach at Bidong. You can see the treads with a ball of fish swimming in the center of the shot.
We don't generally trust moorings we can't inspect, but the Science Officer had assured us they were strong enough and the lines on the mooring balls were new. Unfortunately, the blocks they were attached to were too small to hold our boat. "Never trust a mooring!" is good advice. We trust our Rocna anchor and chain much more and sleep better at anchor than on a mooring ball.
The beach at Bidong. The university folks leave food, clothes, toys, etc. just laying around even when they leave for days.
Below is Karen doing another Ooh-la-la pose by the backhoe digger on the shallow reef at Bidong. This is the beast that we nearly ran aground on when the mooring we were on dragged in a squall. At low tide,part of the bucket is actually out of the water.
The small bay around the point. We'd originally thought we might anchor here, but it was way too shallow in the clear sand and the surrounding area is covered by coral. We brought the dinghies around and drift snorkeled into this bay.