Images by Shah Said ; @ all rights reserved ; April 2021

Covid -19 has really messed up big time any travel plans that any of us might have had. It was not a year ago that a movement control order (or MCO) was first issued to curb the spread of the pandemic. A year on, we are still under the said restricted movement orders, in one form or another.

The restricted movement orders may not be as hard and difficult as when it was first introduced, but being under such orders for slightly more than a year and with no end in sight (yet!), does tend to bring you down and if not addressed, may lead to depression, in one form or another.

Although interstate travel is still not permissible (as of yet), the current movement control orders do allow us to travel within the state. That being the case, we took the opportunity to venture a trip to Batu Layar, on the east coast of the state of Johor, nearby the town of Bandar Penawar and the coastal resort of Desaru.

Images by Shah Said ; @ all rights reserved ; April 2021

A trip to get rid of the cobwebs, as they say, and since the weather forecast for the day was bright and sunny (they have been quite accurate as of late), get some sun, sea and sand in the process. Not that we were not tanned enough.

Since Batu Layar is about one and a half hours drive from the state capital of Johor Bahru, we decided to get an early start to get there before the sun gets a bit too hot.

To get there, we decided on an easy and relaxed drive and take in the sights, by taking the Kota Tinggi route instead of the more direct Senai Desaru Expressway (SDE).

Images by Shah Said ; @ all rights reserved ; April 2021

In getting there, we passed by signboards highlighting detours to Teluk Sengat and Johor Lama, both names significant in the history of the state of Johor. We decided against making any detours, for we have been to both Teluk Sengat and Johor Lama previously.

However, a repeat visit in the near future is worth considering. Maybe.

Upon reaching the town of Bandar Penawar, we knew that Batu Layar would not be far off and soon enough, the sight of the blue sea and the beach that is so un-mistakingly Batu Layar came to view.

Images by Shah Said ; @ all rights reserved ; April 2021

As we have been here before, we headed to the part of the beach that we were before, quickly found a nice shady spot to park the car and proceeded to take in the sight of blue waters, the sounds of waves crashing slowly onshore and the smell of sea air.

Looking around, lo and behold, it seems that we were the only two people on the beach. A first this, for very rarely do we get the beach all to ourselves.

Since our trip this time around coincided with the fasting month of Ramadhan, it was a no-dip-in-the-sea trip despite the ever-so-inviting look of the blue waters.

Images by Shah Said ; @ all rights reserved ; April 2021

Nevertheless, that did not stop us from enjoying ourselves. A stroll along the water’s edge, wading in ankle deep with the waves slowly caressing our tired limbs can do wonders to lift one’s spirits.

As a matter of common interest, the beach at Batu Layar is recognizable for the rock formations that could be found on the beach. It does make me wonder how these rock formations came about.

Could they be what’s left of lava spewed sometime in the very, very distant past, despite there being no evidence of a volcano or volcanoes, active or otherwise, in the vicinity.

Since I am no geologist, I would probably have to keep on wondering or do a bit of research and reading.

Images by Shah Said ; @ all rights reserved ; April 2021

The thing about these rock formations, there are crevices which offers shelter to the many sea creatures that call it home. Snails, sea cucumber, crabs, and even abalones. Sheltered, some have grown to a size good enough to offer more than just a nibble IF culinary prepared.

The sight of what’s on offer is tempting enough so much so that it was not long before the both of us, plastic bag in hand, started doing a crevice-by-crevice search for these bounties of the sea. It was fun, giving much wanted relief from the rut that we had found ourselves in.

Time flies when you are having fun. So engrossed were we with what we were trying to accomplished that we did not notice nor realized of the change in the tides.

Images by Shah Said ; @ all rights reserved ; April 2021

With that, we decided to make our back to our car under the shades. N but before making our way, I had to attend to the more important task of locating my slippers.

Apparently, in all that fun, my slippers had gone AWOL and were nowhere to be found and as much as I was wont to accept, I was resigned to the fact that I may have lost them to the tides.

Having accept the possibility that that was the last I’d see of them, we made our way back to the car. Crossing a stretch of fine white sand, it appeared that the sands had been made hot by the hot sun and the soles of our feet was suddenly getting an instant heat treatment.

Images by Shah Said ; @ all rights reserved ; April 2021

Normally, we would just slip on our slippers and walk over the sand. They say walking on warm sand is therapeutic, but walking on hot sand is definitely a challenge.

Sitting under the shade of the tree, we rested and enjoyed the breeze. The smell and taste of salt was strong in the air and whatever cobwebs that may be left was soon blown away along with the sea breeze.

We were glad to have made the trip. But we know well enough that reality awaits us and soon. It must be said, the constant vigilance of trying to be safe and stay safe, not only of yourself but that of your loved ones as well, can take a lot out of you. But for a while then, we threw caution to the winds, and recharged our batteries.

A look between us, nodded our agreement, got into the car and make our way back to reality. Recharged of course, thanks to the sun, the sea, and the sand.

And not forgetting, the rock formations of Batu Layar, of course.