HMAS Ballarat successfully completed a port visit to Langkawi, Malaysia at the start of September as part of her South East Asian Deployment. Langkawi is considered to be the Jewel of Kedah, an archipelago of 104 islands off the north west coast of Malaysia.
Ballarat took part in Exercise MASTEX in company with Royal Malaysian Navy vessel, KD Lekiu. The exercise incorporated various ceremonies, official functions and the elusive MASTEX Cup which was passionately contested between the two ships. Despite, the valiant efforts of Ballarat’s crew the MASTEX Cup was retained by KD Lekiu.
While alongside, Ballarat’s crew took the opportunity to visit the diverse range of cultural, heritage and tourist sites across Langkawi. These included the Oriental Village, Langkawi Cable Car and Sky Bridge, Crocodile Farm, Kuah Temple and Pantai Cenang district.
Of note, a small team of explorers from Ballarat embarked on a 90 minute ferry ride to the coral reefs of Pulau Payar to undertake a snorkelling adventure. Upon arrival to the small beaches of Pulau Payar, the group was issued with gear and undertook a relaxing afternoon of swimming and snorkelling. While difficult to compete with the Great Barrier Reef of home, the reefs provided the participants an opportunity to snorkel and observe a wide variety of aquatic life including clown fish, sea urchins, turtles and the near threatened Blacktip reef shark.
The visit to Langkawi was very successful and provided ships company an excellent opportunity for respite prior to commencing duties on Operation RESOLUTE in the coming months.
Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20131339.