It was a rough swim from for the youngsters, battling the waves as they swam from rock to rock around the headland, but it was an excellent way to celebrate their journey around this northern part of Malaysian Borneo.
And of course there was an ACT project involved. There was a huge amount of rubbish on the beach where they set off – polystyrene, shoes, and an abundance of plastic bottles. The YEPs gathered up as many as could fit into several black rubbish bags, and returned to the boat, tired and happy, as a gorgeous orange sun sank into the sea. The pile of rubbish stacked in Pangaea’s stern is growing alarmingly, as this was the third beach clean-up of the trip. After we sailed away from Lankayan and the turtles, Mike found the perfect little island in the Sulu Sea, about 100 metres long, for an evening barbeque on the beach. With white sand, large lime and sandstone rocks and plenty of greenery, it really was a tiny paradise, except for the rubbish that had been washed up.
So after a fabulous evening on the island, with meat and potatoes cooked over the open fire, the YEPs returned to the island the next morning where they filled eight large bags and collected 216 recyclable plastic bottles. They’ve now been compressed on board Pangaea into a manageable block, stacked with the others. After the last two days of fairly solid sailing, the YEPs are becoming very efficient sailors, jumping to the sheets and halyards as Mike shouts instructions from the helm, or guides a young helmsman or woman on sailing and the wind. We’ve now crossed into the South China Sea and are anchored at Mantanani Island for some diving tomorrow, before heading for Kota Kinabalu on Thursday.