Above is the scene of the beach at Teluk Cempedak in Kuantan in the early hours of the morning. Images in this posting was taken while I was waiting for the sun to rise on a visit to the place some years ago. The weather was cool and the beach was almost empty of people but already heavy with activities of the little crabs digging holes all over the sandy beach. Small birds seen picking food on the shore careless of the bashing of the waves.
When I was growing up in the forties the beach was pristine with golden sand, a crystal clear river, lush jungle of greens all over making it a great place to whilst the day away and enjoy nature at its best. Then it was considered far from the town since there was no road leading to it. To get there one had to hike using a narrow path flank by dense jungle on both sides. One could see birds, small animals and creature like monkey and iguana or large lizard running loose here and there. There was no man-made structure around except a well that had been dug up by someone for the source of clean drinking water. It was an ideal place to go camping on weekend and enjoy a good swim in the crystal clear water of the sea. On most weekends we would hike there and camp for the two nights before returning home on Sunday evening.
The first time I went there to swim was I believe when I was just seven years old then. Together with my classmate we would hike there and enjoy swimming in the sea of crystal clear water. It was sort of my introduction to the sea. Henceforth the sea around Kuantan became my many playgrounds. As I grow up Teluk Cempedak soon became our regular camping ground on weekend. We would hike there along path starting at what was the Tok Sira area at that time. In those days the land around Tok Sira was flat with shrub of wild berries. As one approach the sea the land became hilly and dense with greens of various shades. We had to climb a small hill and follow a narrow path that had been carved out in between bushes by folks who try to get to the beach the other side of the small hill leading to the bay. On both sides of the path are dense green mostly inhabit by monkey and other small animal. As kids we were never afraid of animal that lurk in those bushes. We would enjoy the hike until we could see the sea up front. It was always nice to hear the wave bashing the shore as we get nearer to the sea as well get to smell the saltiness of the atmosphere. On a hot and humid day we would be sweating before we arrived at the cool place under the shade of huge trees near the beach. We would normally pitch our camp near the river or at the far end of the bay near those rocks where we could get fresh water. When the weather was good we would just sleep on the sandy beach under the glittering star up above. We would build camp-fire throughout the night to scare animal coming near to our place of sleeping. It was always fun to camp and enjoy the camp-fire in the evening where we would cook our food over open fire. One morning we woke up and found all our utensils were missing. We were indeed surprised as to how all the items were not around where we had left before we goes to sleep. We search and search and eventually found most of it dented. Obviously the high tide in the night had cause all the utensil to float and as the wave bash the shore all those items float with it were bashed and scattered all over all the night long until the tide subside. We collected what remains of our utensil and that experience taught us not to store anything too close the beach. We can never tell how high the tide would be from time to time. With that happening we learn not to take thing for granted when camping beside the sea. As we get older we learn many new things about the sea. As member of the Boy Scout moment we soon got training on first-aid and jungle survival which later became useful when we went hiking and camping in jungle, thus wiser whenever we go camping whether in the jungle or the beach. We go with enough information of the area and never would take things for granted. In one instance we saw a person drowning. We acted fast as a group and save that person's life. It was a memorable event that I could still vividly remember till these days. We learn that every flora and fauna has it purpose in the scheme of thing and must be respected as well. We only take what we want and use only and leave the rest in peace and undisturbed. We always see to it that no fire or amber is left at fireplace whenever we left a place after camping or a picnic. We would clean the beach of debris and always kept it clean before leaving it. It soon became the norm of our group to see that things are left as it were whenever we leave the place.
We learns too that never to take the sea for granted. Always make sure that one knows the depth of the sea whenever one go swimming. The sea at Teluk Cempedak been a bay have strong undercurrent and in some places very deep. One must be very careful when swimming there. We can only enjoy the sea if we respect it as a great force that could be calm or wild in just mere minutes. So understanding it is very important for us to enjoy it for our benefit. It is here at an early age that I learn to respect the sea. I kept going back to this enclave whenever I am in Kuantan. Even in my golden years I would still wander there in the early morning and wonder at the mystic of the rising sun. Except for the construction of buildings and the polluted river the beach is still the same. It golden sand and the crystal clear water is still the beach of my childhood that always brings back memories of joy of those wonderful years. The call of the sea is always close to my heart and Teluk Cempedak is mine forever.
Have a nice day.
[This article first appears in my other Blog]