Recently, I had an opportunity of a lifetime to visit Pulau Kendi, a secluded islet, far south of Penang island.
Kendi is a Malay word that is used to denote a liquid storage vessel, and the island was named so because of its shape. Surprisingly, in my mother tongue, Malayalam, kindi (കിണ്ടി) too means the same thing – a water storage vessel.
Unlike the rest of Penang Island which is granitic, Pulau Kendi is mainly slate, a sedimentary rock with unique patterns, colours, shapes and highly spotted.
The rocks of Pulau Kendi are its unique attraction.
We started from the northern most tip of the island, led by Ruslan Annuar and marched right up the backbone of the island from north to south. There was an old trigonometric point along the trail, and the highest peak on the island was a modest 103 metres above sea level.
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As we ended down south of the island, the ridge became more exposed and revealed a breathtaking view of the entire island in its full glory.
The most interesting discovery was a seaside cave, only accessible by clambering over rocks during low tide. We entered the narrow cave, and it ended in what looked like an ancient grave. We needed torch lights as it was pitch dark, and for me this experience was spooky.
We finished the hike by dipping in the crystal clear waters on the southeast of Pulau Kendi. The waters here are so clear and beautiful.
As we were dipping in the waters, we spotted a sea cucumber (gamat), a sea urchin and schools of fish. This is indeed a marine paradise that needs to be gazetted as a marine park to ensure it remains protected.
However, with large reclamation plans being planned in the southern seas of Penang island, I cannot imagine what will happen to this paradise. What will it look like in the future? Where will the schools of fish, sea cucumber and urchins, which I saw, go in the future?
Rexy Prakash Chacko is an engineer by profession and a nature lover by passion. A keen hiker and dedicated environmentalist, he has authored (and co-authored) four books on nature-related topics and maintains a hiking column with a local magazine