Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Teluk Ketapang Story Part 08: The Morning After

As it approached 6am, I heard the sound of whistles and people shouting. I wasn't sure if it was just my imagination or the search party. I related this to my friends and some did hear it, some didn't. As the rain finally stopped, we ventured out to the beach. I saw a spot in the forest which was illuminated by light. Instinctively, we started shouting and sending signals using the flash of our cameraphones and digital SLR. There wasn't a response so we stopped. Maybe it was just some aliens and thier UFOs.

It was daybreak and bright enough for us to hike back. We decided to wait awhile longer in case they sent a boat out for us but looking at the strong waves, they would probably not be able to land on the beach safely. At 7.45am, we decided to hike back and left them a message on the beach to let them know we were there and were on our way back to Teluk Duyong.

After hiking back for a short while, we heard the sound of boats behind us. The search party must have arrived at Teluk Ketapang. We decided to move forward instead of going back in case the boat left after seeing we were no longer at the beach. We would later discover that we made the wiser choice of hiking back as one of the boats sent to Teluk Ketapang capsized due to strong waves.

After we crossed the halfway point of the trail, we started to hear voices from the front and the back of us. We just kept moving forward towards Teluk Duyong. As the voices in front of us grew louder, we responded and suddenly the search party jumped out at us from all directions near the now infamous giant tree like how commandos apprehanded Anwar Ibrahim in 1998.

Members of the Fire and Rescue Department, Civil Defence Department, Rescue 991, Malaysian Coast Guard, park rangers and villagers were part of the search party amounting to 30 persons. They offered us food and drinks but we already had breakfast before we hiked back. They checked to make sure all were accounted for and relayed the message back to the National Park Headquarters. They checked if we needed medical attention but we were just fine. They asked if we needed a break but we were just raring to go home. In fact, it was they who asked for a break before we proceeded back home. It was understandable considering they had to comb the whole forest in search of us.

With both the search parties reunited (through the help of smoke signals created by cigarrettes), we started our journey back to Teluk Duyong. We realised that they actually used a more difficult route than the one we had used. It turned out that we were more familiar with the route than them. As we reached Teluk Duyong, two boats were already waiting there to take us back to Teluk Bahang. As we cleaned ourselves up with seawater, a friend of ours who had previously joined us in our quest to find Teluk Ketapang came running at us. It wasn't a scene from Baywatch but it was close enough. ;) He was asked by the authorities to show the search party the beginning of the trail to Teluk Ketapang as they themselves didn't know where it was. We boarded the boat and were soon on our way back to Teluk Bahang.

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