Credit H2O for making this world a more interesting place for energetic sorts.
And those concerned about nature as well.
Water offers endless endless possibilities for recreation and Travel Courier is now going to introduce you to some.
Mohd Akbal Setia says geography ensures that Malaysia is ideally suited for watersports enthusiasts.
Akbal Setia, vice-president of Tourism Malaysia for the Americas, notes Malaysia has endless salt and fresh water options for tourists who enjoy watersports.
“With over 4,600 kilometres of coast line, 878 islands, 189 rivers, 90 lakes (both natural and man-made), and summer all year round, Malaysia makes for the perfect destination for watersports,” he says. “Malaysia’s most popular beach areas include the island of Langkawi, off of the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, the entire stretch of Peninsular Malaysia’s coast, ranging from the northeast right down to the southeast, including the many pristine islands off of the east coast, including Pulau Redang, Pulau Perhentian, Pulau Rawa, and Pulau Tioman, just to name a few, and not forgetting the islands off of Sabah Malaysian Borneo, like the islands of Sapi, Manukan, Sipadan, Mataking, and many more.
“Pretty much every watersport available around the world is available in Malaysia. Everything, from moderately adventurous sports like banana boating, kayaking, sailing, jet-skiing, surfing and wind-surfing, sea-walking and scooba-dooing, scuba-diving and paddle boarding, to more extreme, adrenaline-fuelled activities like para-sailing, fly-boarding, kite surfing and wake-boarding are available all around Malaysia.”
Meanwhile, Akbal Setia leaves no doubt as to what his preference is when it comes to watersports.
“My all-time favourite watersport is scuba-diving,” he says. “Malaysia is blessed with some of the best dive sites in the world. Strategically located within the world’s coral triangle, Malaysia’s dive sites boast the most bio-diverse reef and marine life, placing Malaysia in the top 5 ranking of best places to dive in the world.
“Of course, my absolute favourite dive spot would be Sipadan, considered the mecca of all dive sites, which is most definitely on every discerning diver’s bucket list. The most skeptical of divers are awed. Known for being home to massive schools of barracuda, hammerhead sharks, manta rays and the largest population of green and hawksbill turtles anywhere in the world, Sipadan has been hailed by many as one of the top 5 dive sites in the world. Besides Sipadan, my other go-to dive spots include Mataking Island (literally translated… “Eye of the King”), and the islands off of Terengganu and Johor, both on the east coast of the Malaysian Peninsular, like Pulau Redang, Pulau Perhentian, Pulau Rawa and Pulau Tioman.”
Taylor Spellman says Jack Frost’s arrival doesn’t mean kayakers need to shelve their paddles for the next few months.
In fact, Spellman, spokeswoman for Virginia’s Blue Ridge tourist board, notes her employer recently sent out a notice promoting kayaking as one of six adventure sports available in the region after fall ends.
“You’d be remiss to think kayaking is out of the question during winter,” the November promotion stated. “To the contrary, we’re offering a very different landscape to appreciate, as well as calm waters most of the time,”
Spellman says area winters look relatively balmy compared to some of those found in the far northern regions where kayaks originated long ago.
“The average temperature in December is 48 degrees Fahrenheit, with an average annual snowfall of only 21 inches,” she reports. “Mild weather makes winter a great time to visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Consistent and heavy snowfall accumulation is rare, as is a complete freeze-over of area lakes and rivers.
“More typical is a thin ice blanket over portions of water and freezing waterfalls.”
Spellman, herself a kayaker, acknowledges that winter kayaking is seen a sport for the daring, “especially because water temperatures are quite different if you happen to flip or become submerged.
“Kayaking could be a thrilling four-season sport in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, especially for visitors from much cooler parts of the world who participate in other winter sports. Coming to Virginia’s Blue Ridge could be a great place to peacefully enjoy winter kayaking because many people don’t frequent our rivers and lakes in the winter.”
Kayaking is popular most of the year with the outdoorsy population in the city of Roanoke, but the number of people practicing the sport drops as winter weather sets in. Many area river outfitters shut down at the end of October but Bridgewater Marina and Roanoke Mountain Adventures remain open year-round and will provide paddlers with needed gear, although they don’t lead wintertime guided trips.
Among options for those wanting to take the water in the Roanoke area in winter are Smith Mountain Lake — which has 500 miles of shoreline — and Carvins Cove Natural Reserve, at 12,700 acres the second-largest municipal park in the U.S.
The special nature of winter paddling has tourism authorities recommending that only experienced paddlers try it.
And Spellman says those who do take to the water after a significant regional snowfall will be rewarded.
“The sight of the snow-covered Blue Ridge Mountains will stay with you forever,” she promises.
Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts is delivering some good news during a year in which good news has often been elusive.
The past 20 years have seen the Ecological Foundation Bahia Principe Tulum — Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts’ non-profit organization which focuses on protecting and conserving ecosystems in Riviera Maya — successfully carry out the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles program. This year, numbers have reached record highs, with the foundation successfully protecting 2,110 nests as of September, and releasing 102,089 sea turtle hatchlings on the shores of Playa Aventuras in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, a particularly important beach for nesting loggerhead turtles. The season began back in July, when the dedicated team of volunteers and collaborators began monitoring the nests and hatchlings to ensure the “complete protection of these endangered species. There are still nests waiting to hatch, and the final count for the year will be determined in December when the season comes to an end,” Bahia Principe reports.
Guests of Bahia Principe resorts in the area, as well as the community and staff, are all invited to witness egg hatchings and turtle releases towards the end of the season. “The foundation organizes the timing of the events based on the best time to see these exciting occasions, which differ every season. This year the format will be adjusted to adhere to strict guidelines and assure everyone’s safety,” Bahia Principe reports.
The Ecological Foundation Bahia Principe Tulum was formed in 1999 “from the responsibility, awareness and concern Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts had to protect and conserve natural resources, as well as the ecosystems that surround their resorts. In addition to the Conservation of Sea Turtle and Marine Resources, other programs of the Foundation include: Rescue and Control of Fauna, Conservation of Native Flora, and the Conservation and Maintenance of Natural Areas an Environmental Education.”