A view of Kota Kinabalu (KK) in Malaysia, heading from Hong Kong.

Starting off on this adventure I didn’t have any expectations and certainly didn’t think I would have nearly as good a time as I have. When going on trips 9000 miles away from home there isn’t much expectation to have other than to try to have a decent time and not get food poisoning from some local food that your stomach isn’t used to receiving. Perhaps as a westerner I need to learn to live life without many expectations and to a degree let life happen. Even just letting my worries and concerns go for this trip has helped me enjoy myself and the wildlife I came here to study. We are currently on day  7, we are on Selingan Turtle Island and as I’m writing this I’m sitting on the beach over looking the sea with islands that share the waters with the Philippines and Malaysia. We are about 1/3 done with our trip and so far I have been on a seemingly impossible task of getting my open water scuba certification. This took training on land, several tests, and diving tests as well. A lot of safety precautions are involved when learning how to dive but let me tell you,  the four days it took to get certified was definitely worth it! This new skill I have can lead me around the world to exotic locations, to see amazing things and hear so many different stories and experiences. I’ve been

The Night Market in downtown KK, filled with wonderful sights sounds and some “interesting” smel

able to see marvelous creatures in a world that is only seen by few. I’ve seen Giant Puffer fish, beautifully shaped coral, both soft and hard, Butterfly Fish, Giant Moray Eels, and a view of beautifully diverse reefs. There is more to come on the few days we are diving after the our rainforest adventures.

Manukan Bay, where we spent the majority of time training and diving.

We have been facing a devastating problem with the sea life, the problem of debris and pollution in the water. As I was learning to dive I would go out on the coast and just be shocked by the amount of plastic bags, bottles and wrappers on the surface. I can vividly remember an instance where I dove down and saw what I though was a Jelly and in fact, upon closer inspection it was a clear plastic bag. If I thought it was a Jelly fish then it is almost for certain that a hungry unsuspecting sea turtle might as well. These sea turtles can fill their stomachs on plastic bags and starve themselves because their stomachs cant hold any more.

Sunset on the waterfront in KK.

As far as expectations go, traveling the world with a group of conservationist and environmentalist was beyond what I thought it would be. Going into a situations with a mind that is open and calm will only make experiences better. Being able to adapt to situations, foods, places and time rather that trying to change everything around you is much easier and honesty more enjoyable.