Saturday, December 02, 2017

Sunny Sasaran

Taoist Temple

More than a month ago, we made plans to visit Sasaran Sky Mirror, one of the latest commercialized day-trip attractions. The challenge about visiting Sasaran Sky Mirror is that you can only visit it 4 days before and after the 1st or 15th day of the lunar calendar. During the other times, it's submerged, in the middle of the sea. In oceanographic terms, I think its called a shoal. During those days when the tide is low, you can walk on the shoal, and if the weather is good, the flat terrain appears to act like a giant mirror. We made our booking through Sasaran Sky Mirror Services, one of the homegrown tour operators in Jeram. Best to communicate with them in Mandarin.

Making Rice Puff Cakes

On the eve of the trip, the tour operator told us to arrive earlier, 7:30 AM to be exact. Originally, we were slated for 8:00 AM. And so, KH picked us up at 6:30 AM. Just an hour away. Pretty close. The meeting point was actually a Taoist temple in Kampung Sungai Buloh, but it doesn't show in any map. When we arrived, quite a number of people were already there. One can tell from their colorful attire which is recommended for the most eye-catching photos. There was just a small banner at the side of the temple that gave us a clue that it was the right place. Nobody was there to greet us. We just proceeded to have breakfast at the one and only stall there. As we waited, more stalls were set up. Some selling snacks, some selling T-shirts, some selling accessories like scarves, colourful pinwheels, and rainbow umbrellas.

Ready to Go

The tour operators did not show their face until 8:30 AM. Turns out that their forecast was wrong. The tide was still high. But anyway, they ushered us on to the boat at around 8:45 AM. From the river, we traveled out to the Straits of Malacca. The boat zoomed straight for Pulau Angsa, 'blessing' many of us with sea spray. I had to use of the spare life jackets to cover my head. In the original itinerary, we weren't supposed to get to Pulau Angsa until after Sasaran Sky Mirror. We were there to kill time, to wait for the water to recede. Our boat encountered some difficulties berthing. The engines sputtered and died several times. Luckily they sorted out the problem.

Estuary

Fishing

Boat

There's a lighthouse on the island, a toilet, and some abandoned chalets. People do some fishing there, and lighthouse operators rear plenty of chickens there. Didn't get a chance to go up to the lighthouse. By the time we had finished cam-whoring at the pier, the tour operators had called for us to board. Sasaran Sky Mirror was pretty close to the island. The boats were beached on the shoal and we got down using a ladder. Conditions were not yet perfect as there was still another two inches of water. We just did our own thing while waiting for the tour operator to find a good spot, and set up their gear.

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Boat

Abandoned Chalet I

Truth be told, the whole place was pretty crowded. Hard to wander around without encroaching into someone's photo shoot. Don't expect it to be a peaceful experience. LOL. We also tried to take some photos, but it was not easy to get the desired reflective effect. Really need the tour operator's guidance as they know all the tricks of smartphonography. Different groups had different props, and different styles. Some even did trick photography. And I finally realized why the tour guides were dressed in full body suits-- they would get pretty wet trying to get the perfect shot for their customers. The photos were taken very close to the sand, and rely on puddles of water close to the camera. Some even prepared partitions to ensure that the water is still.

Arrival

Water's a bit High

Crowd II

Getting the Best Shot

Crowd I

By 11:00 AM, we had to leave because the water was fast receding (if we missed the window, we would have to wait till 3:00 PM). During our approach to the estuary, we ran into some trouble again. The boats had started churning up mud (be prepared for the heady aroma) because the water level was a bit low. A kid had to keep monitor the engine, and ensure that the air intake is not clogged with mud. He kept prodding the engine with a fishing line. Kinda like Luke Skywalker, trying to fire proton torpedoes down the Death Star's thermal exhaust port. Along the river, the egrets and monkeys had come out to play on mud. The driver pushed along and we avoided distress.

Dredging Up Mud

Pier

Back in Jeram, we ate our free pre-packed lunch at Restaurant Grandma. Just a small packet of chicken rice that came packed with something like sambal nasi lemak. Weird. Once I had settled down at the restaurant, I could finally feel the sun's rays leaking from my pores. Such an overdose of sun even with my UV hand sleeve and sunscreen lotion! If you're going, definitely bring a cap or hat with you.

Free Lunch

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