Thursday, February 23, 2017

Blue Lake of Kundang

Jet skiers and water scooter enthusiasts will remember this body of water known as the Tasik Biru Kundang
CITY folks who are into watersports such as jet-skiing, wind-surfing and even waterskiing would have known about Tasik Biru or Blue Lake in Kundang. It's 20 minutes' drive from the city centre of Kuala Lumpur via the Latar highway, which connects Gombak to Kuala Selangor. Although the lake lies in the district of Kuang, it is more well known as the Kundang lake.
  In the mid-1990s, jet skiers and windsurfers would descend upon this lake to go for a spin, raising the ire of local anglers. Frequently, there would be an exchange of words as each justified their presence. I remember also the tales being circulated about giant snakeheads said to have attacked people.
  One famous story was about a 1.5m giant snakehead which bit a chunk of flesh off a jet skier's buttocks when he fell into the lake. There had also been stories of arapaimas spotted swimming in the lake, but no one had actually captured photographic evidence of any. I often wondered if the tales had been concocted by anglers to drive away the jet skiers and windsurfers so that they could enjoy fishing in peace.
  According to local knowledge, this lake was a disused tin mine, abandoned in the late 1950s. Back then, because the depths had yet to be overgrown with vegetation, the crystal-clear waters and sandy white bottom reflected the blue skies on cloudless days. This was how the 20ha lake probably got its name.
Scenic Kundang Blue Lake
  Another source stated that a palong was used to mine tin here. In this mining method, a strong jet of water is shot at the side of the quarry to loosen the tin-rich soil into slurry which is then sucked up the top of the palong and allowed to run down troughs equipped with riffles. These riffles trap the heavier tin ore and at the end of each day, miners would shovel the ore into heavy canvas bags. The tin tailings, sand and slime were dumped at the other end of the quarry.
  The island on the southeast end of Tasik Biru, where I was painting, was believed to be the mound of this mining waste. Apparently, some years back, one could just wade through the waist-high water to get to the island. However, when I was there, I saw that the water was too deep to take that suggestion seriously. The island was apparently one of the locations where the Malay movie Merah, starring Ziana Zain, Awie and M. Nasir, was shot in the 1990s.
  It is not known how deep the lake is, but an angler who was fishing nearby estimated it to be about 30m at the deepest part. He cautioned anyone against swimming in the lake unsupervised because of the many lives that had been lost in its depths. In fact, a newspaper cutting recorded 34 deaths over the years due to accidents in the lake.
  The day I was painting at the lake, I saw local council workers sprucing up the banks on the east end. A lakeside restaurant, with a beautiful view of the lake, is a recent addition. It was as a result of the refurbishment of what used to be an underused pavilion for watersports activity built by the council. Today, the restaurant attracts locals as well as travellers passing through Kuang in the evenings, to enjoy a meal while taking in the tranquillity of nature.
Word has it that huge carnivorous fish like
 the giant snakehead roam in the depths of this lake

  Kundang is synonymous with freshwater fishing and has been an anglers' haven since the 1990s when they find their bounties of snakeheads (ikan haruan) and tilapias in several disused mining ponds in this area. There were also some commercially operated fishing ponds here that have gained a loyal following.
  One of these ponds is located just beside the Latar Highway, adjacent to the Kundang Lakes Golf Course. Known as Tow Foo Sportsfishing, this was one of the earliest commercially operated ponds with an emphasis on fish conservation with its practice of catch and release, as well as lure fishing using artificial baits like spinners and poppers.
  This fishing pond is still operating after so many years. There is also another fishing pond just beside the road not far from the Blue Lake.

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