Dodgy diving but finally a lionfish

Trip Start Aug 15, 2006
Trip End May 27, 2008

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Thursday, December 27, 2007

After a pretty grotty breakfast, and finding out that the company I'm diving with take you deeper than they should, i got my gear together (which had certainly seen better days!) and we set off in the boat to Sipidan Island. Typically i'd picked one of the roughest days they'd seen for a while and we all got soaked and cold on the journey there.  I set up my gear to find I had a leak and my tank wasn't even full (only 170 bar) but the instructor said it wasn't a problem and we got in the water to explore the site Middle reef.  It was Ok but visibility was pretty poor and I didn't see anything particularly special apart from more sharks and turtles which was nice.  We had lunch on the island and headed off out to the second site, Barracuda point; now this was a good choice!  We saw a huge school of barracuda swirling around us which is the scene typically used to promote the diving area and we also saw a lionfish, coral trouts, sweetlips, tuna, a moray eel, more reef sharks and turtles, plus things i don't know about including some white snake like fish poking their heads out of the sandbed

The third site (Hanging Gardens) was OK but not as good as the previous, although the other divers who'd been there the last few days said the visibility was very bad that day and they'd seen much better things previously so it was just bad timing for me.  Anyway i still enjoyed it, but wouldn't recomend the company since i always had a leak in my tank, BCD and regulator, went down to over 25m and instructor wasn't bothered even when i told him i only had 30 bar left.  To be fair we were only about 5m underwater by this point but you are always taught to be on the surface at no less than 50 bar.  I have heard that this is typical practice for dive companies in Asia although I have later been told that Dive Sipidan is a good company with new equipment.

At the end of the day i headed off back to the mainland and was waved off by the locals at uncle Changs who also sang some kind of song which was nice.  I booked into the accommodation on Semporna's waterfront, the Dragon Inn and was looking forward to a hot shower since i was still in my bikini covered in seawater.  Unfortunately i'd forgotten i'm not in Australia and 15 ringits a night (2 quid) doesn't get you much and the only form of washing was a bucket and pan and a tap of cold water.  Oh well, better than nothing I guess but you don't really feel that clean with cold water

Went out for dinner tonight which was really bad and i am missing decent food -  I may have to blow the budget soon and splash out on a good feed!  I was about to head to bed when my other roommates arrived - 2 guys who were going diving the following day with uncle Chang.  I warned them what to expect and they were pretty shocked but i told them that i'd survived, had a good dive and if the company was that bad they wouldn't still operate.  They invited me out for a coffee so i got out of my PJs and headed out although i wish i hadn't......   Soon the conversation turned to why had i been away from home so long.  I got 50 questions and they spoke as if they knew all about me and how i live my life and what they said was total rubbish about me basically.  Turns out they are both psychologists and they really annoyed me with their assumptions and crap advice but I held my tongue and nodded politely before making the excuse to head to bed.  Tomorrow I get an early bus to Sandakan to kill a day before heading to Kinabalu national park-quite excited and hope the weather is good for the summit!
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