It is said that the islands do not 'open' until at least after Chinese New Year, maybe later, depending on the monsoon. But one resort on Kapas Island is always open if at all possible. Mme Rose, at 'Qimi' resort, will try to accommodate anyone at any time.
So when our youngest daughter, Bea, and her friend were coming to visit for a few days and asked if it would be possible to go out to the island we called on Rose, and she was keen to make it happen.
Bea and Janae live and work on the ship MV Logos Hope, travelling around the world helping people and selling books. Right now they are docked in Singapore, so Bea and Janae flew up to visit us in Kuala Terengganu.
So sailing out to Kapas Island should have been no big deal, right? We were unsure if the monsoon has really passed ... the weather people tell us that the exceptionally cool weather we have been having is caused by the monsoon winds bringing cold air down from China (where it has been snowing). Looking out at the ocean in the morning it was silky and reflective - a bit like before the monsoon starts during the 'doldrums'.
The jetty is usually crowded and busy - this morning it was quiet and empty, and the ticket counters were closed. Rose had promised that she had contacted one of the operators who would bring us across, so we just had to wait a little while. We visited the local market and bought some of their interesting snacky things, and then waited for a boat.
When we eventually got out through the heads from the river into the ocean ... there was a large swell - big shiny lumps rolling through. So the ride across was quite bumpy and exciting, with all four of us hanging on tight to the rails of the little speed boat and laughing a lot.
'Qimi Private Bay' resort has a few chalets at ground level, but most of them are up the hill, hidden in the trees.
Jackie who builds all of the chalets and other amenities has a real artistic flair, and loves to add driftwood, coral and shells, and bush timber.
Since our last visit we noticed quite a few improvements to the restaurant, and the men were still working on several projects to get ready for the opening of the island.
The young ladies stayed overnight - we had to return to the mainland the same day and go to work in the morning. They were given a room high up on the hill with a large four-poster bed covered with a neat mosquito net.
It's rather hard to photograph the chalets up on the hill among the trees!
But there is a delightful large swing under the tropical almond trees.
A great place to relax.
And then there is the swimming. We were worried that the water might be all stirred up because of the monsoon and no good for snorkelling.
But it wasn't too cloudy to enjoy the reef. The water was a little cooler than sometimes, but after a few minutes we were very comfortable.
Snorkelling was a new experience for Janae - but it only took her a few minutes to catch on.
It was just magic being the only people enjoying this spectacular place on such a beautiful day.
And, of course, Nemo was waiting down there to say 'hello'.
And then there was the whole island to explore, with no one else around.
The bays are linked by stone steps and walkways, so we don't have to scramble across sharp rocks and through the jungle.
We walked past all the other resorts, all closed up and looking a little unkempt after the monsoon season.
There was some evidence, though, of other island residents ...
And then it was time for the two of us to go back to the mainland ...
while the two young ladies enjoyed the experience of sleeping and waking up on Kapas Island.
Yeahhhh. Lovely to be back on our island.