Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sepang beach teeming with life

SO much for those who have described Sepang beach as quiet but then, being only 45 minutes’ drive away from Kuala Lumpur, it could hardly have retained its sleepy reputation for long.

To describe the beach, Sepang is no Redang.

Shellfish: Lokan on sale at a stall in the area

At low tide, it is a vast mudflat which stretches as far as the horizon.

But rather than dismiss the beach as a vast muddy field at low tide, get down on all fours and get a good feel of the muddy slush.

Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled too for you are now in the intertidal zone!

Up close: The intertidal zone is a microsystem by itself and is a good place to observe marine life at its candid best.

Teeming with life, this is the area that is exposed to the air at low tide and submerged at high tide.

It is a micro-climate with the capacity to support the different habitats of organisms that are capable of adapting to an environment of harsh extremes.

On a typically hot afternoon, entire armies of small orange crabs can be seen moving across the sandbanks, rolling little balls of mud in their wisp-like claws to feed on the nutrients.

Try walking towards this little army and the orange brigade will disperse, each member scurrying into self-dug holes in the soft sand to hide. Stay stock still and you’ll see their eyes popping up furtively before the recommencement of their sand ball rolling business.

This is also a good time to observe marine life at their candid best and if you’re lucky you may even catch sight of hairy crabs mating in the shallow waters, little fish darting about and sea anemones waving their ferny arms in time to the gentle waves.

Low tide is also a time for a bit of treasure hunting and in this case it involves digging for clams in the soft mud.

There is nothing like the taste of fresh clams!

High tide: This is the perfect time for some fishing and to take in the sunset

For this purpose, it is advisable that one prepares some rice wine, ginger and boiling water in the event of a bountiful catch.

Otherwise, don a pair of thick soled shoes, be ready with a screwdriver and hammer and head for the rocky part of the shore to try your luck with oyster hunting.

Do take care as the shells are very sharp and they can gash one seriously enough to require stitches.

So, make sure to wear adequate protection.

For more pointers, you can seek out Rabee, a 50-year-old Mah Meri native from Kampung Bukit Bangkung. an oyster flesh extractor.

Of course, there will be a time when the sea has to come in and this is where one can reward a sweaty body with a cool dip.

Take note that the tide can come in rather quickly in the intertidal zone, so beware of getting caught in the coming currents.

Evenings and mornings are when the Sepang beach is at its watery best.

And do watch out for the sand flies.

If you do get bitten, try to refrain from scratching as it will cause the bitten area to swell and turn into pus-filled blisters.

One way to keep itch-free is to wear long pants and long sleeves.

For food, there is a row of food stalls situated near the Sepang Goldcoast development.

Choices range from soto to noodle soup.

To go with rice, there is plump deep fried ikan keli in thick chili gravy and spicy tamarind sting ray which sort of fulfils the seafood craving but on a more economical scale.

On the way home, look out for a banana and yam fritters stall which sells lokan, a type of shell fish.

Though the shells are huge, the flesh is just about the size of a regular lala.

Other shopping outlets include a kerepek shop and roadside concern selling pillows filled 100% with cotton stuffing.

To get to the Sepang beach, head towards the F1 circuit.

Look out for a big ENSTECK sign on the hill and turn right towards Sepang town.

Drive for about 10km until you reach the Shell station, then turn right which will take you through the Sungai Pelek town by following the the Sepang Gold Coast signs.

For accommodation, contact PNK Sepang Resort at 03-3141 3182, Seri Malaysia 03-3141 2918 or Camar Laut 03-3141 1912

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