Saturday 1st June this year, marked the 7th Annual Reef Check and Reef day event at The Reef Dive Resort, Mataking Island; this year in collaboration with WWF Malaysia.
The management and staff of Pulau Mataking were joined by Green Semporna, Reef Check Malaysia, Wanita Pulau Omadal (WAPO), guests at the resort, students from SMK St Patrick and SMK Tawau in Tawau and SMK Tagasan, Semporna and children from nearby Kalapuan. Our friends from the PGA and Army based at Mataking also gave a hand.
The day started with a light breakfast for all, followed by an opening address by Mr. Patrick Guillaumin-Galland, Resort Manager, and Miss Rhena binti Ismail, President of Green Semporna. Awareness talks on coral reefs and sea turtles followed, given by Mr Muhammadd Adzmin bin Abd Fatta and Mr Mohd Fatnin Ihsanuddin from Green Semporna.
Participants then split into groups and carried out a beach cleaning of both Mataking Besar and its sister island Mataking Kecil, but also Kalapuan and Pandanan islands. Being so close to the coastline of both the Philippines and Malaysia, these islands are often victim to floating rubbish from these coastlines, such as plastic bottles, cans and other discarded waste. At the same time, scuba divers, both guests and staff, also cleaned the already beautiful Mataking House Reef. In just a few hours, the groups together collected just over 220 full bags of rubbish from the beach and underwater, weighing a total of 1196 kg, including 2 tires and a washing machine!
Following their marathon rubbish collection, the teams then enjoyed a buffet lunch at the resort restaurant, followed by an afternoon of quizzes and games on the resort grounds, while scuba divers were transplanting coral on dedicated coral frames. Prizes were given out for teams who collected the most rubbish on beaches and underwater, the team who found the most unusual item made from recycling, and for the winners of the afternoon games. The Kalapuan children also rewarded the assistance with a special gangnam style performance while Mataking staff performed a memorable poco-poco.
The day concluded after the traditional photo session, when students boarded their boats and returned back to Semporna, Tawau and Kalapuan, with a new found knowledge and understanding of our seas, and the satisfaction that they had played a part in making Sabah an even more beautiful place to stay.
Later that same evening, the resort’s guests were offered a special BBQ dinner followed by a fantastic live performance from Mataking staff, and everyone joined on stage for the Boogie Night that followed.
We look forward to the next Reef Day at Mataking and would like to thank all of those organizations and individuals who made 2013 such a success.