HMAS Parramatta recently conducted a maintenance period alongside the Malaysian port of Sepanggar in Kota Kinabalu, as part of her Indo-Pacific Endeavour deployment.
The visit was a chance for the crew to conduct maintenance on systems and equipment whilst engaging in some cultural and sporting activities with their Royal Malaysian Navy counterparts.
Commanding Officer, Commander Simon Howard, also made an official call on the Commander of the Eastern Fleet, Vice Admiral Dato Pahlawan Syed Zahiruddin Putra.
Parramatta’s sporting teams participated in both volleyball and soccer in the hot and humid conditions.
The Royal Malaysian Navy teams, having the advantage of playing together regularly and being more accustomed to the trying weather, took the sporting honours on the day.
Marine Engineering Officer, Lieutenant Commander Shanker Singh, participated in the volleyball game which was played in a sociable atmosphere.
“Although they were a level above us in skills, it was a fun experience for all of us involved, and we got to meet some very nice and interesting people,” he said.
“We even managed to win a set, after we evened-out the sides of course.”
The game of soccer was a more hotly contested match, with Parramatta’s team playing together for the first time, with the Malaysian counterparts proving eventual winners.
Other members of Parramatta’s crew were fortunate to participate in a number of cultural activities including a tour of Mari Mari Village and the Kota Kinabalu Wetland Centre.
Mari Mari Village allowed the crew to experience the culture and lifestyle of the indigenous ethnic groups of Borneo, before the introduction of electricity.
They sampled traditional food, dressed in traditional clothing and danced, as well as participating in a blow-dart competition with participants from five different tribes, including the famous head-hunters from the Murut tribe.
Able Seaman Communication and Information Systems Emma Radford took some time out to experience the experiences on offer.
“The tour was very informative and diverse, particular in that the Malaysians are very proud of their history and presented it all in a very open and relaxed manner,” Able Seaman Radford said.
“The tour was one of the most interesting cultural experiences I have had during my career in the Royal Australian Navy.”
Indo-Pacific Endeavour is an Australian Defence Force Joint Task Group deployment focused on security cooperation and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief exercises throughout the region.