The island was ‘discovered’ by Jacques Cousteau on his way back from the Great Barrier Reef, when SY Calypso turned a quick two day stop 50 years ago into a six week dive fest.
This week, we head back towards the pirates (hitting submerged logs, dodging debris, running aground and navigating shallow water on the way). But first we have one more night in the Kinabatangan River.
Our chances of seeing them were deemed to be low by local experts who told us that they had headed hundreds of miles away. No guided tours were on offer. Undaunted and with the fatalism of all seafarers, we headed off to look for them in the small tributaries of the river.
When a second squall followed behind the first, all six rally boats turned 180 degrees and were pushed towards the reef. Boats began dragging in the soft sand and one of our number motored deeper to escape the danger.
So far, Malaysia has been kind to us in allowing sailboats and crew to stay here without visas. The latest RMCO (Recovery Movement Control Order) finishes 31st December and we are hoping the government will extend the same courtesy until it finishes.
Will we see pygmy elephants? Orangutans? Nesting turtles? Hammerhead sharks? And are the pirates watching us…