Untouched piece of Penang

The western side of Pulau Kendi. – Photo courtesy of Timothy Tye

The western side of Pulau Kendi. – Photo courtesy of Timothy Tye

I ASKED about 30 true blue Penangites if they knew where Pulau Kendi is and nearly all of them gave me blank looks.

Hello! That is the trouble with many Penang lang. Batu Maung is the beginning of the world and Teluk Bahang the end. Butterworth lies over the ocean and Pulau Kendi is maybe the name of one of the ferries. It is not, lah!

If you want a piece of Penang that is truly undeveloped and uninhabited, go to Pulau Kendi.

Last year, two Dutch girls went to this island about 3.5km off the southwestern tip of Penang island.

They hired a motorcycle from Beach Street and arrived at Gertak Sanggul.

There, they met a 60-year-old fishing boat skipper who calls himself Captain Ban.

The girls saw Pulau Kendi in the horizon and got Ban to take them there for a fee. Erase any vision you may have of an idyllic isle.

Pulau Kendi is a large outcropping of jagged rocks with a thickly forested sheer-faced coastline.

The rocks around the coastline have been bashed by strong waves since time immemorial and are now smooth and rounded.

But Ban knows two narrow strips of beaches that are shielded from the sea’s brute strength and there, his passengers enjoyed a few hours swimming and sunbathing.

But Pulau Kendi is not exactly uncharted.

There are anglers who know the island like the back of their hands.

Ban told me of anglers who spend the weekends there. He ferries around 10 of them and leaves them there overnight, sometimes for two nights.

They will fan out and fish all around the island for groupers.

They identified spots where they can fish without being smacked by the waves and if you sail around the island, you will find these spots marked out with white numbers.

There it is. Granted there is rubbish left behind by some anglers, it still is a ruggedly beautiful 27ha of Penang untouched by civilisation, which two Dutch tourists know better than most Penangites.

Next, I will ask Penangites if they know where Frog Hill is.