Tourist map at the Tg. Pengelih ICQ showing the attractions of Desaru.
Tanjong Pengelih is the landing point to Pengerang in south eastern Johor. The Malaysian coast guard is based here. There is a fast 40 mins ferry service from Changi Point with a aircon fiber boat at $13 per pax. Good reasons for us (Lim Kim Keang, Jimmy Chew, See Swee Leng and I) to recce if we can do a pelagic trip from Pengerang to the Straits of Singapore. Apart from the lower cost, it is closer to Horsburgh Lighthouse and the open straits north of Bintan where most of the seabirds were seen.
The landmark Pengerang Hill and tower. The blue roof building is the coast guard base.
But things did not turned out as we hoped for. Being a weekday, there were no one mad enough to go to Pengerang. After 2 hours wait, we negotiated a fee of $140 for the whole boat. We cruised along a long seawall which is part of reclamation of Pulau Tekong before turning to north towards Pengerang Hill in the distance. Most of the terns at the buoys were Little Terns except for a single Black-naped Tern.
Coast Guard Base and Marina at Tg. Pengelih
The ICQ at Pengerang was deserted and we had to look for the immigration officer to clear us in. Luck was with us when we were directed to a shipping company just outside the jetty. Perkhimatan Camar Samudaru Snd Bhd offers boats for rental at RM700 for the first 2 hours and RM 200 for each subsequent hour with prior bookings. They also has a ferry service to Batam and Tg Pinang, Indonesia. Well at least we know where to charter a boat.
The restaurant facing the sea and mangroves served sambal grilled fish on order. Packed during lunch.
Our plan was to find a taxi to take us to Sungei Ringgit for seafood lunch, but there were no taxis anywhere around. We wandered down to a nearby restaurant for help. A “kind” uncle agreed to call his taxi friend and asked for RM35 in advance. After pocketing the money he then tell us to make sure of getting an afternoon boat back to Singapore.
The bunkers along the road were decorated with local antiques
We went back to the shipping company and the uniform staff at the jetty were told that there were no boats going back to Singapore this afternoon. Earlier the same staff told us to come back before 4 pm if we wish to get a boat back. I think they enjoyed seeing us in distress. Luckily the boatman who took us here was around and we asked if he can take us back even though he told us earlier that he can’t. What is wrong with these people? He said that he had to leave by 1 pm and will take us back for RM 280.
The mangrove seafront on the way to the jetty.
If we do not leave with him the other option is to take a taxi to Tg Belungkor and hope there is a ferry back to Changi Ferry Terminal or drive all the way to Johor Bahru. Not much of a choice. Needless to say we did not get back our RM35 from the “kind” uncle.
The high point of today’s recce is a nice nasi padang with grilled sambal Seabass lunch by the seaside and mangroves in the company of Brahminy Kite and Collared Kingfisher. We tried to enjoy the uneventful trip back to Changi Point.
The pelagic from Pengerang can still be done with prior arrangements. An early morning trip from Changi will allow us to go for a 5 hours cruise. We can be back for lunch at Pengerang before catching the boat back to Changi. If we have 10 persons, the cost will come to about $56 each. The savings is not that much but sure is a faster way to get to the Eastern Straits.