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Miss Scuba International 2014 Pageant

Miss Scuba International

Seafood has been an important source of protein for human. The ocean is so vast that people think it can take anything. When pollution and overfishing become a global problem now, we know we were wrong. Not only we are exhausting the limited fish stock, we are also contaminating and destroying the habitat of marine lives.

rubbish on the beach
Nowadays you can find trash even in the most remote beach in the world. Pollution is no longer a local issue only. Garbage in the sea is many times harder and costlier to remove. It is estimated that over 100 million marine animals are killed every year due to plastic debris in the sea. Thousands of turtles die each year because they swallow plastic bag that looks like their food – jellyfish. The plastic particles also enter our food chain, causing various illness such as cancer.

clownfish / anemone fish
We all laugh at the greedy man who slaughters his goose that lays golden eggs in a fable. Such foolish things happen daily in fishery. For example, blast fishing (fish bombing), cyanide poisoning and trawling are common fishing methods in our waters and these unsustainable fishing practices damage corals, the home of seafood. One day seafood will be so scarce that we need to buy sashimi and Tuna sandwich with gold bars.

past winners of Miss Scuba International 2014
Therefore, Miss Scuba International was started in 2011 to select the “Superhero” to fight for the rights of our marine animals, as other Superheroes are too busy with villains in cities and alien invasion from outer space. Miss Scuba will take care of the ocean, which covers 71% of earth’s surface, more powerful huh? Just kidding. She will involve in ocean conservation and educate the public to safeguard our fragile ocean ecology.

winners of Miss Scuba International 2014
Pic: winners of Miss Scuba International 2014

Miss Scuba International 2014 Pageant was held in Magellan Sutera Hotel in Kota Kinabalu city on 28 Nov 2014. Miss Scuba finalists from 14 countries were competing in 3 rounds (National Costumes, Bikini and Evening Gown) then top 5 were selected for final Q&A session.

Below are just my (shallow) comments and random photos on the contest. You may check out my photo album to see 124 photos.

Miss Scuba Indonesia in bikini
Pic: Rima Saradiani Demensah from Indonesia. I call her Miss Smiley because she always smiles. I bet she also smiles even if she is angry.

Best National Costume: Miss Scuba Indonesia
With such a heavy headgear, she still can smile like sunshine, so she deserves the Best National Costume subsidiary title.

Miss Scuba Malaysia in evening gown
Pic: Here is Joanne Kimberley Majalap / Kimmy from Malaysia, our Sabah mermaid, yea~

Miss Scuba Malaysia in National Costume
Her headgear reminds me of Bobohizan (high priest of Kadazan people). She looks like Huminodon (Goddess in Sabah legend) in Sumazau dance pose.

Miss Scuba Malaysia in bikini
I could sense that she was very nervous. She made it to Top 5 nevertheless. Well done Kimmy!

Miss Scuba Philippines
Pic: Amanda Arbitrario / Dada from Philippines in her flamboyant peacock costume.

Miss Scuba Philippines in bikini
Dada performed the best cat walk, making a very good presentation of herself.

talent show by Miss Scuba Philippines
Dada also sang and danced well in her talent show. I’m a bit disappointed that she didn’t enter final round.

Miss Scuba Japan
Oh, here is my favourite, Saori Tahara / Tara from Japan. With long hair, fair skin, pretty face, sweet smile and a vital statistics of 36″ 23″ 35″, she is a killer.

Miss Scuba Japan
To me, she is the sexiest finalist. No offense Tara, it’s not a sin to be beautiful and sexy. Please keep it up and thanks for the nose-bleeding (stimulating) moment..

Miss Scuba Venezuela
Pic: “Hola” to Krystel Bendahan Corrales / Kyky from Venezuela. Venezuela seems to produce a lot of beauty queens and models (and that’s the only thing I know about Venezuela), she is no exception. I think Latin girls are hot because they inherit the nice physical features of westerner and oriental.

Miss Scuba Singapore
Pic: Let’s welcome Jeraldine Phneah Jialin from Singapore. She is small but she has the biggest brain. She won the Miss Marine Conservation subsidiary title because of her good knowledge in marine.

Miss Scuba Canada
Pic: Winner of Miss Scuba Tourism, Allison Nicole Pelletier from Canada. Another goal of this pageant is to promote scuba diving in tourism. People will protect the sea after they learn to appreciate the beauty of ocean through diving.

Miss Scuba United Kingdom
Pic: Michelle Katie Paraskeva / Chelle looks like a superstar from United Kingdom (may be a Bond girl), she radiated self-confidence and everyone could feel her energy. She sang the song “Mercy” in talent show, and all judges and audiences were so impressed when they saw a contestant turned into a professional singer. Of course, she won the Best Talent award.

Miss Scuba Ireland
Pic: Amber Ryan Marie Gamble from Ireland. Does she look like Elsa in the movie Frozen?

Miss Scuba Ireland in bikini
Amber won 2nd Runner-Up and Miss Photogenic in Miss Scuba International 2014.

talent show by Miss Scuba Thailand
Pic: Next is Cattaleya Schulze / Catt from Thailand, the Land of Smiles and she did make everyone smiled. In her talent show, first she acted with many funny expression, then music changed and followed by a crazy dance (I Will Survive) of her.

Miss Scuba Thailand
She seemed to enjoy the pageant and able to show her outgoing and playful personality. In fact, she is the most popular candidate since the beginning.

Miss Scuba Thailand
She is really gorgeous (when she doesn’t try to act funny). Look at her perfect teeth. No surprise that she won First Runner-Up in this pageant.

Miss Scuba United States
Congratulations to Tabitha Eleanor Lipkin from USA for winning the titles of Miss Scuba International 2014 and Miss Congeniality. Though she is no.13 and the contest was held on Black Friday, it’s her lucky day. I like her costume with ice-cream.

Miss Scuba USA
USA is really a birthplace of Superheroes, probably she will join Avengers team to save the earth lol. Tabitha is a journalist and her speech won the heart of judges in Q&A round.

cup song by Miss Scuba USA
Pic: cup song by Miss Scuba USA

Ok, that’s all. Let me ends this article with a few more photos.

Miss Scuba Thailand and UK in bikini
Pic: Miss Scuba Thailand and UK

Miss Scuba USA and Venezuela in bikini
Pic: Miss Scuba USA and Venezuela

Miss Scuba China
Pic: Miss Scuba China, Qian Ya / Quennie

Miss Scuba France
Pic: Miss Scuba France, Melanie Marie Louise

Miss Scuba Latvia
Pic: Miss Scuba Latvia, Liene Larko

Top 5 of Miss Scuba International 2014
Pic: Top 5 of Miss Scuba International 2014. From Left: Thailand, Malaysia, USA, Ireland, UK.

winners of Miss Scuba International 2014
Pic: Winners of Miss Scuba International 2014
From Left:
2nd Runner-Up: Amber Ryan Marie Gamble, Ireland
Miss Scuba International 2014: Tabitha Eleanor Lipkin, USA
1st Runner-Up: Cattaleya Schulze / Catt, Thailand

Miss Scuba International 2014
Pic: Miss Scuba International 2014

More Photos

There are 124 more photos in my Flickr album:
photo album of Miss Scuba International 2014

More Information

Below are the official websites of Miss Scuba International if you want to find out more about this pageant.

Website: www.missscuba.com
Facebook: Miss Scuba International, Miss Scuba Malaysia

Photos taken in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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How to go to Islands nearby Kota Kinabalu city?

Kota Kinabalu ferry terminal

Kota Kinabalu City (KK) is the gateway to Sabah. Some of our islands are only 15 minutes away from KK by boat. In KK, there are three boat / ferry terminals that can take you to most Sabah islands at west coast. However, their services and charges are slightly different to one another. All of them opens from 8am to 5pm every day (boat service ends about 4:00pm).

map of ferry terminals and islands of Kota Kinabalu
Pic: map of 3 boat terminals (green) and neighboring islands of KK

1. Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal

Jesselton Point is the most popular public ferry terminal at the edge of KK city centre, and it’s packed with local and foreign tourists during weekends. If you stay in KK city centre, it is within walking distance.

entrance of Jesselton Point
Pic: entrance of Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal. The building at the right is ticketing hall.

Their boat service can start as early as 7:30am in weekends, but the boat only moves after it’s full with passengers (about 10 to 12 people). If you go in big group, you can negotiate for discount. Their fares are the cheapest so most people use their boat service to visit islands off KK.

ticket counters in Jesselton Point
Pic: the ticket counters run by over 10 operators competing with one another. This is the place where you buy return boat fare.

ticketing hall of Jesselton Point
Pic: after you buy the ticket, you can sit in the hall (toilet is at the left corner). They will inform you once the boat is full and ready to depart. The waiting time is short if there are many tourists.

Destinations

Below are a list of islands you can go from Jesselton Point:

Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park

(Manukan Island, Mamutik Island, Sapi Island and Sulug Island)

Return Boat Fare (as of Apr 2015)

  • Sapi, Manukan, Mamutik: RM23 (≈US$7) per Adult, RM18 (≈US$5.40) per Child (below 11 years old)
  • Island Hopping
    Two Islands: Adult RM33 (≈US$10), Child RM28 (≈US$8.40)
    Three Islands: Adult RM43 (≈US$13), Child RM38 (≈US$11.40)
    Four Islands: Adult RM53 (≈US$16), Child RM48 (≈US$14.35)
  • In addition, you need to pay Terminal Fee (6% GST tax included): RM7.63 (≈US$2.30) per Adult, RM3.80 (≈US$1.20) per Child.
  • The fare doesn’t include Conservation Fee imposed by Sabah Parks and to be paid on island (see fees below).
    • Malaysian: Adult: RM3, Child (below 18 years old): RM1
    • Foreigner: Adult: RM10 (≈US$3), Child: RM6 (≈US$1.80)
  • If you want to visit less popular islands such as Sulug and Gaya Base Camp and there are not enough people joining, they will ask you to pay extra or even charter a boat (over RM200)
  • You can tell them what time to pick you up for return. The last boat transfer is around 4pm.

jetty of Jesselton Point
Pic: jetty of Jesselton Point

Though their fare is the cheapest, the boatmen ride the speedboat like cowboy, making the trip very bumpy. Anyway, it’s only 15 minutes so most people can put up with this.

Jesselton Point

Gaya Island

To go to Gayana Eco Resort or Bunga Raya Resort, you can book the tour at the office of these resort operators in this terminal. However, these resorts are private zone, they only allow resort guests to enter, unless you purchase a tour such as lunch package from them.

Jesselton Point ferry terminal

Labuan & Brunei

You can go to Labuan and Brunei from Jesselton Point. They have regular ferry service as the following:

  • KK → Labuan: departs at 8:00am & 1:30pm (take 3.5 hours)
  • KK → Brunei: depart at 8:00am (transit Labuan, take 6.5 hours)

You may visit their website for more info such as fare price.

Other Islands

You also can go to the following islands in west coast. Most operators will require you to book an island tour in advance, so they would or would not accept walk-in customers. Since these islands are far away, they usually use catamaran instead of speedboat.

  1. Mantanani Island
  2. Pulau Tiga Island
  3. Mengalum Island
  4. Sepanggar Island

boats parked in Jesselton Point
Pic: boats parked at Jesselton Point

Amenities

Jesselton Point is more like an activity centre for tourists and locals. Besides island transfer, there are many things you can get or do here. You can charter a boat to go fishing or even fish at their jetty (for a fee). For islanders, they can rent snorkeling set (fin, snorkel, mask) before they depart to islands. You can park your car in the parking lot next to the terminal (for RM1 per hour).

shop in Jesselton Point

store in Jesselton Point
Pic: Jesselton Point has some shops where tourists can buy sunblock lotion, swimwear, sunglass, flip-flop, swimming float, soft drink, snacks, insect repellent, beach mat, souvenirs, etc.

Jesselton Point Hawker Centre
Pic: there are good variety of food and beverages in their hawker centre.

Contact

Below is the contact of the management of Jesselton Point:
Website: www.jesseltonpoint.com.my
Facebook: Jesselton-Point-Ferry-Terminal
E-mail: jesseltonpoint@bumiria.com.my
Phone: +60 88-240709
Address: Jalan Haji Saman, Kota Kinabalu

2. Sutera Harbour Marina Jetty

Sutera Harbour Marina Jetty is a harbour between Pacific Sutera Hotel and Magellan Sutera Resort. Going to islands is very convenient if you stay in one of these hotels (which is 3 KM away from KK City Centre). The services also open to public. Some locals also like the ample free parking space there.

boats and yachts at Sutera Harbour
Pic: Sutera Harbour is a beautiful port parked with many private yacht port and sailboats. At the background is Pacific Sutera Hotel.

Sutera Harbour
Pic: at the right are the kiosks of tour operators who offer boat transfer and island tour. The popular agents here are Sea Quest and Summer Cruise Holiday.

Destinations

Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park

(Manukan Island, Mamutik Island, Sapi Island)

Same as Jesselton Point, they also offer island transfer to Manukan, Sapi and Mamutik Island. The return fare costs RM60 (≈US$16.75) per adult and RM30 (≈US$9) per Child, which has included jetty fee. Conservation Fee (entry to island) is not included. Island hopping is available for an additional fee of RM10 (≈US$3) per island. The fare may be slightly higher than Jesselton Point, but I like them for a few reasons:

  • Their staff and boatman are more professional (less bumpy ride).
  • The boat departs on time at fixed schedule (no matter it’s full or not).
  • They have staff stations on island to guide you if required.
  • The boat looks newer or well-maintained.

jetty of Sutera Harbour

Other Islands

They also offer trip to the following islands (required booking of island tour in advance).

tourists at Sutera Harbour

Amenities

Besides boat transfer and island tour, they have watersport centre that offers diving courses / services, parasailing, jetski, flyfish, banana boat ride, sea-walking, kayak, sunset cruise, fishing, etc. The harbor also has short and long term rental berthing services for boats.

watersports centre

Contact

Website: www.suteraharbour.com
Facebook: suteraharbour
E-mail: marinaO@suteraharbour.com.my
Phone: +60 88-318888
Address: 1 Sutera Harbour Boulevard, Kota Kinabalu

Sutera Harbour and Pacific Sutera Hotel

3. STAR Marina

STAR Marina is located behind Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort (STAR) and operated by Borneo Divers, about 7KM away from KK. They offer full-fledged professional services on all island tours and watersports, not just boat transfer.

STAR Marina and jetty
Pic: STAR Marina (right) and its jetty (left)

main building of STAR Marina

Destinations

Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park

(Manukan Island, Mamutik Island, Sapi Island, Gaya Island – Base Camp)

They have fixed schedule to these islands. The fee of return boat transfer is RM65 (≈US$19.50) for Adult and RM40 (≈US$12) for Child (12 & below), which includes 10% service tax. You can purchase optional items such as picnic box for RM50 (≈US$15) and snorkel gears. You may download the brochure of Island Transfer Services for details. They are willing to provide extra service such as sending you to the best spot for snorkeling.

jetty of STAR Marina
Pic: 60-Metre-long jetty designed by Design B.U.BE from Singapore

ticketing hall of STAR Marina
Pic: air-conditioned service centre of STAR Marina

ticket counters
Pic: tour service counters of STAR Marina

snorkelling set for rent
Pic: snorkeling set for rent

lockers and washroom
Pic: they also look after your belonging during the island trip, or you may keep some of your things in the locker in STAR Marina.

Amenities

You can find the most complete motorised and non-motorised watersport activities in STAR Marina. Just to list some, diving (and PADI certitication courses), coastal and deep-sea fishing at Mengalum Island and Pulau Tiga Island, windsurfing, jet-ski, waterski, wakeboard, ocean kayak, paddle board, banana boat, Hobie Cat (a small sailing catamaran).

Scuba Diving Centre
Pic: Dive centre of STAR Marina

To learn more detail about the activities, you may download the following brochures:

souvenir shop of STAR Marina
Pic: souvenir shop

refreshment corner
Pic: refreshment corner

Contact

Website: www.shangri-la.com
E-mail: marina.tah@shangri-la.com
Phone: +60 88-327888
Address: 20 Jalan Aru, Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu

Illegal Operators

A word of cautious to those who want to get island transfer other than the three locations I mentioned above. There are some illegal and unlicensed boat operators around KK Central Market and Wisma Merdeka Shopping Mall lobbying ignorant tourists to employ their services. In one case, a group of tourists were robbed and left on an island. I would say they are lucky because it can be worse, e.g. kidnap, rape (though these haven’t happened yet).

Photos taken in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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