Sunday funday trip to Kulapuan

Last Sunday we went om our Sunday Funday trip, this week we chose to go to Kulapuan. The trip was a great opportunity to visit the local village on Kulapuan, as well as explore a new dive site. (See my post about the film crew visit to learn more about the Bajau people who live on Kulapuan). We have a lot of volunteers at the moment so it took quite a lot of coordination to get everyone from Pom Pom with food and dive gear- but we made it there and back, alive and in one piece!

The first boat left at 7.30 with seven volunteers who were undertaking a survey of the intertidal zone on the island, lead by our A Level teacher, Allia. They looked at the large reef flat at Kulapuan by walking along a 100m line perpendicular to the shore with a one metre by one metre quadrant. It was an excellent learning opportunity for the volunteers in marine science methodology. The group found low biodiversity in the tidal zone, but high mass of certain species such as perrywinkle snails and brittle stars.

Hanging out in the intertidal zone after the survey

The rest of the group arrived at about 10am. We split into two groups. The first group went walking around the island and to the local village. They were able to see the Bajau people, and buy things from the shop. TRACC has a strong relationship with the village and the people. One vary noticeable thing at the village is the huge amount of trash littering the ground and floating in the sea. Most of this trash gets washed up from the mainland daily. There is no ability to dispose of the trash on the island, as the people are unable to transport it to Semporna. It is a major issue, and we hope to have more clean up days throughout the year on Kulapuan.

Customer service at the village shop 

The other group went out for their first dive of the day. We went right down from the newly built jetty. It was a lovely dive site with a lot of hard corals. There was a current we swam into to begin with, then we let it carry us back along the reef. We saw turtles, a few nudibranchs, and a white moray swimming along the coral. We came up from the dive and took our gear off. The air was very calm. Then, within about five minutes there was a shift, and the wind started howling and rain started pouring down. We made the decision to go back to Pom Pom and the next hour was spent packing up the boat in the pouring rain, and trying our best to keep warm with body heat and milo!! It was a crazy weather shift from the morning, but with patience and a good sense of humour we got everything packed up and headed back to Pom Pom, arriving just as the rain stopped..!

It was a full on and exciting day, and everyone sleeping extreamly well that night. Huge thanks to our amazing boatman, volunteers,  and staff for the day.