Monday, July 13, 2009

Redang island

9:10 AM

White sandy beaches, crystal clear blue sea, brilliant underwater world..... Redang Island is located at 45 km offshore of Terengganu. Redang archipelago comprises 9 islands, the Lima Island, Paku Besar Island, Paku Kecil Island, Kerengga Besar Island, Kerengga Kecil Island, Ekor Tebu Island, Ling Island, Pinang Island and Redang Island. This archipelago is abounds with marvelous marine fishes, turtles and coral reefs, ensuring a great snorkelling and scuba-diving experience. Redang Island which is approximately 7km in length 6km in width, is the largest of all other islands in the Marine Park.
The Redang archipelago has been designated as Pulau Redang Marine Parks Malaysia as to conserve the islands’ unique ecosystem. There are 500 species of live corals, more than a thousand species of invertebrates and almost 3000 species of fishes which includes manta rays, stingrays, sharks and whale sharks, all living in harmony in the reefs fringing the islands. It is a real heaven for divers.
Diving enthusiasts and underwater photographers will definitely be entranced by the sights of the islands, which are ranked among the best coral reef in the world. Among the attractions at the twenty over different diving spots, there are shipwrecks near Pinang Island, black coral garden as well as the mysterious submerged chamber, both located in the vicinity of Lima Island. And not Forgetting is the Mini Mount situated between Kerenggan Besar Island and Kerenggan Kecil Island. Redang waters also contains two historic shipwrecks. The H.M.S Prince of Wales and H.M.S. Repulse were sunk here during the WWII, setting the stage for the Japanese occupation of Malaya.
History of the people The early settlers of Redang Island were believed to have descended from the Bugis of Celebes, Indonesia. It was said that there were seven Bugis siblings traveled from Celebes to look for new settlement. One of the members, Batin Talib has finally decided to make Redang Island his new home. He established the first village faced towards the lagoon at Telok Kalong Besar on the east of the island. To shelter from the strong monsoon wind, he moved to a smaller island on the south which he named Pinang Island due to the betel nut palms (pinang) here. Another member, Batin Mina was said to have settled down in Perhentian Island and his sister Batin Cik Siti headed to Hulu Terengganu. The whereabouts of the rest Batins was however unknown.
Population of Redang Island Today, Redang Island is a home for a community of nearly 250 fisherman families who are believed to be the descendents of the Bugis. They build their homeland in a new village at the left bank of Sungai Redang estuary, approximately 3 kilometers inland from the previous one. It has been characterized by rapid economic growth and improvement in most social indicators in recent years, mainly contributed by tourism and fishing industry.
Legendary Redang It is always says that, the multi races Malaysian society has created an ideal environment to the country to nurture a rich cultural background with lot of legends. This is especially obvious in name of places.
Due to its strategic location, Redang Archipelago was once a traders' passage-by between Siam (Thailand today) and the Malaya Archipelago. It was a temporary anchorage for them in their miles long trading journey.
Among these passers-by, there was a trader from Terengganu, Awang Sulong Muda whose wife was Cik Hitam Pasir Panjang Muda Elok Terenganu. The Awang couples together with their lady-in-waiting, Dayang Sri Jawa and Hulubalang, Awang Selamat were used to stop and had their break in Redang Island in their trading route. They tided the fowls which they brought along at southeastern of the island which is called Pasir Macam Ayam (chicken-alike sand) today. The rock that this family tided their fowls is still standing there in the island until today, but one might wonder the size of the fowls when looking at the huge size of this rock.
Other than this fowls tided rock, there are two other rocks both embedded with each other standing on a hill in Teluk Kalong. These embedded rocks look very much like the rears of an elephant and therefore are called Batu Gajah (elephant rocks) by the local. Batu Gajah is believed to be the marine elephants or Gajah Laut which were turned into stones due to some unknown reasons.
The cultural rich condition in Malaysia has further enriched by mythos found in folk’s believes. The existence of Orang Bunian (the fairies) in legendary stories is no longer an unfamiliar topic.
In Redang Island, Orang Bunian were said to have resided at the five cluster stones, Batu Surat or Batu Bedung (letter stones) near Pasir Changar Hutang. It was very usual in those days that the villagers will come to these Orang Bunian to inform them of any kenduri (banguet) to be held. They will also inform the fairies of the number of guests expected. Then, on the day of the kenduri, a full set of crockery will appear from nowhere for the kenduri purposes.
Not far from here is another group of rocks, the Batu Tok Kong which, is a worshiping place for some devotees due to the belief that there are Orang Bunian reside here.
To the southeastern of the island is another worship rock, Tanjung Telaga Batu. The worshipping practices started due to a saying that there stayed a man called Syeikh Samarani who would grant requests. No one can tell how true is the saying but up to late 1970’s, there were still people placing their offering and requesting for favours.
The legendary of Redang Archipelago will never be completed if without the turtle like stone laying on top of a rock at Tajung Batu Pepanji, somewhere between Teluk Dalam and Pasir Changar Hutang. This turtle stone is said to be the guardian of all the turtles in Redang Waters.
Whether the fragrant reported by the villagers came from Puteri Mayang Mas who is reputed to reside at Pasir Mak Kepit or there are magic which made the water puddle in Pasir Gontang supplies inexhaustible water, it is all suggesting a room for the readers to imagine and buy-in. However this will never influence the mysterious of Redang Archipelago, instead has become part of its heritage which added to the fascination of these islands.


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