Feeling blue over grey sea


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018

Inter-monsoon changes: An aerial view showing the grey sea along the Batu Ferringhi beach compared with one showing clear waters at another stretch (inset) taken in November 2016. — ZAINUDIN AHAD and CHAN BOON KAI/The STAR

GEORGE TOWN: The sea off Batu Ferringhi has not improved since the past few days. It is still a murky grey, much to the disappointment of tourists who expected an emerald sea.

Germans Sarah Latif, 55, and daughter Tina, 19, booked a three-night beach resort retreat and were caught by surprise by the sight of the cloudy water along the tourism belt.

“We just arrived two hours ago and did not expect the water to be so dirty.

“We didn’t expect a picture-perfect beach like what is shown in photos, but this is definitely not what we imagined,” she said while strolling along the Batu Ferringhi shoreline.

Ipoh tourist Agil Zulhimey, 21, stopped three of his younger siblings from frolicking in the water as he feared it might be dangerous.

“We saw a jellyfish earlier and it might be dangerous since we will have a hard time spotting jellyfish with the water so murky.

Aerial picture of the emerald sea between Batu Ferringhi and Teluk Bahang taken on Nov 8, 2016. drone pix by CHAN BOON KAI / The Star/8 Nov 2016.
Batu Ferringhi beach compared with one showing clear waters at another stretch taken in November 2016

“We will just play on the beach even though my younger sister was looking forward to swimming in the sea,” he said.

An officer from the Malaysian Civil Defence Force on bay watch duty, who declined to be named, said the sea here would look murky for the better part of the year and especially in the middle during the inter-monsoon period.

The only time when Batu Ferringhi would get an emerald sea, he said, was at the end of the year.

“The water looks even darker when the tide comes in as the mud at the bottom is stirred up by the strong waves,” said the officer who had been stationed there for the past two years.

It was reported that local fishermen said it was caused by a combination of wind, currents and a storm in Kedah which sent brackish water from Sungai Merbok’s estuary on the mainland, 25km north, funnelling directly towards Batu Ferringhi.

State Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh, in a report earlier, attributed one of the causes of the phenomenon to the wind from the northeast colliding with the wind from the southwest.

“Combine that with high tides caused by the new moon season and you get strong waves that can agitate the lower benthic zone of the sea column and make things murkier,” said Phee.

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