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Perhentian Islands: Swimming

*A story written by Good Boy Travels*

It is hot. There is sweat on my forehead. Sweat on my elbows. Sweaty ankles and toes. Even the breeze is hot. Air so heavy it is a shame to breathe. I can’t think. Except of water. The blue waters of the Perhentians are almost unmatched in clarity. I see everything. The detail of the giant clam flesh marbled by inspired brush strokes of turquoise, white, opal and amber. No dust. Invisible plankton. Patches of light mark up the shallow sea floor and flood the clear blue water with color. It’s 31 degrees and perfect.

TGoodBoy Travels - image9he short walk to the beach from our door is within 100 steps. Broken cement pavers. Narrow gravel paths separate colorful houses. Orange, yellow and green. Blue trim windows left open to accept the welcome breeze. Any air is welcome. Air, pronounced “Ah-eer,” is confusingly translated as water. All I can think of is water. I walk the maze to the beach. Greeted by white coral sand, the walk to the water line is seemingly patient. I pretend well.

As I always knew it to be. Blue. Clear. And I hate to be cliché, but teeming with life. Sergeants. Parrots. Needlefish. Dozens of species of goby. I never know which. They dash too fast. If you’re lucky, the reluctant octopus or the schooling bumphead will make an appearance. Never to be left out, the humble false clown phenomenally named Nemo can be found dancing in and out of violet and green anemone. Contrasting colors dash left and right. I haven’t even gotten off of my feet.

Generations of hard coral have shaped themselves into rock formations. Surfaces created for other GoodBoy Travels - image10life to attach. Each outcropping creates landmarks for locals. Boys with big plans haunt these waters. They always smile when they see me. Warm faces and matching breezes. Bright white teeth encased in a sun hardened grin. Young girls in tudung or headscarves run around on the beach throwing sand at each other. I stick my face back in the water and the terrestrial world becomes alien. So calm. No cares. Just breathing. The sun perfectly shining. For the time, what me worry.