Lest We Forget

DOWN MEMORY LANE WITH BORNEO BULLETIN ARCHIVES

Compiled by Dk Diana

Pelumpong Island, the perfect getaway

Mohammad Abdullah

June 11, 2011 – The ever popular Pelumpong Island is actually a spit where it is situated in the easternmost point in the Brunei-Muara District. Its actual name is Tanjong Pelumpong, or Pelumpong Spit.

However, despite its name, it is now an island due to the artificially constructed 50m-wide, 10m-deep Muara Cut, which separated the spit from the mainland to provide access to Muara Port. This channel is protected at each side by breakwaters which extend seawards towards the northeast.

The northern coast of Tanjong Pelumpong consists of the white sandy beach similar to that of Muara Beach. This is because it was a continuation of the latter until the Muara Cut divided it into two.

There is however, a series of beach protection structures constructed here to prevent soil erosion. The island is forested with pine trees. The island is inhabited and is only accessible by boat.

The first time ever on Pelumpong Island, I was very much surprised by the serenity of the island. The white sandy beaches, the tall pine trees and the clean surroundings around the island are surprisingly well-kept by visitors on the island.

Evidence that the island is always frequented by visitors are the numerous makeshift shelter and furniture, all of which are made out of the driftwood from the surrounding area.

Pelumpong Island. PHOTOS: MOHAMMAD ABDULLAH
Makeshift shelter on the island

What made the island even more appealing is the BBQ pits and what seems to be a campsite are evident that the island is not only used by anglers and fishermen but also schools and groups on camping trips where some actually stayed overnight.

The compound around the campsite is relatively small, but accommodating. There is a clear view of Labuan Island from the
island itself.

Curious about a little research of my own asking those who frequent the island.

Apparently it was once a smuggling den due to its remoteness. However, that has been flushed out since the marine police frequent the patrols around the area.

The island is a favourite amongst anglers and fishermen, where the bounty around the island is plentiful.

In 2003, there was even a Mink whale beached on the fishermen, where related to the history of Brooketon and Muara. The whole area, including Tanjong Pelumpong, was leased to Charles Brooke, the White Rajah of Sarawak by 1889.

Politically too, even though he only had economic rights, Brooke became the de facto ruler of the area. It was not until 1921 that Muara was “returned” to Brunei.

The Japanese occupied Brunei during Second World War, and Tanjong Pelumpong was one of the landing locations of the Australian forces during the Second World War which liberated Brunei from Japanese rule.

The Muara Cut was initiated in the 1960s to provide access to Muara Port.

This was done by excavating and then dredging a 10m channel at the narrowest point of Tanjong Pelumpong which converted Tanjong Pelumpong from a spit to an island.

Although the island is isolated and is only accessible by boat, it remains to be a popular picnicking and camping sites for families, adventurers and the odd whale.

The waters around the island remains blue and ideal for water sport activities, away from any major shipping routes and a fishing vessel ideal for those who wish to get away and spend the day relaxing in the cool sea breeze with familiesand friends.