B - Ah, the Perhentian islands. We ended up staying 12 nights on Perhentian Besar - the longest we've stayed anywhere - and it was really hard to leave. It really was like a tropical paradise island of the kind you only ever see in holiday brochures and don't believe actually exist in real life. The sea was turquoise green and perfectly calm for swimming in, and for snorkelling which i did lots of lots of and of course ended up getting v burnt all along my back and legs from floating looking downwards on the sea. Claire was really brave and went swimming and snorkelling too.
I also did a short half-day scuba diving course which iv'e wanted to do for ages but i didn't like it as much as snorkelling. All the apparatus seemed cumbersome and unnatural by comparison, and when there's so much you could see just snorkelling it seems a bit pointless unless you want to do deep sea diving, tho i did see a sting ray and spectacular angel fish. Just snorkelling we saw tons of tropical fish, small clown fish, angel fish, butterfly fish, parrot fish and loads more i don't know the name of - huge schools of them sometimes, so they were swimming all around you. The coral was beautiful too, esp the colourful bits and the big clams. At one point we saw a huge turtle too and also very beautiful black-tipped reef sharks - nothing to worry about as they're only about a metre long and vegetarian!
The rest of our time on the island was taken up with lying (in the shade) on the beach, admiring the view from our beach-front hut, having massages on the beach, sunset strolling, more swimming and snorkelling and eating (very well indeed). Although we did end up doing a fair bit more stuff towards the end, like boat trips to the other island and to other beaches, walks through the jungle interior of the island, and even sea kayaking. Claire hadn't been in a canoe before and i thought she'd be scared on the sea but she liked it so much we went for the whole day on our last day and paddled to the other island. We even saw the tip of a shark fin on the way back and she didn't panic too much (luckily it was just one of the vegetarian reef sharks that i'd seen before).