One with the turtles

Trip Start Mar 10, 2007
Trip End Jan 01, 2007

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Arriving at Semporna, i spoke to the people at scuba junkies about snorkeling the islands other than sipadan, and i was reassured that going to mantabuan island i would see some amazing things, and that i could still see turtles. Oh how i was misled...
      So the next morning i overindulged in the free English breakfast they provide with the dorm room (like always, i really will never learn) then, feeling rather sick, went over the road to the dive shop (thank god its soo close, i couldn't walk much further) and we departed for mantabuan.
     Arriving at mantabuan and talking to an English guy who works for scuba junkies and the boa operator, it became clear that whilst i was  in for some good snorkeling, there was no chance of seeing turtles here, as he island is well known for its macro life.A little disappointed, i disembarked the boat at my allotted point for snorkeling
      The array of coral at this island is truly beautiful, and the wildlife it supports is fascinating, so i had a great day of snorkeling (sadly my underwater camera pics didn't come out too good) thanks to the guys a scuba junkies. Whilst they are a little more expensive for certain dive/snorkeling trips, they more than make up for it with their professionalism and friendliness. I was however a little disappointed with my wildlife sightings, as it was very similar to the perhentian islands, and frankly i was expecting a lot more. So after talking to people about their experience at Sipadan, i decided that although it is that much more expensive, it was a trip i had to make. So that was the next days itinerary, though i went with the cheaper dive outfit.
     With expectations high, we set off for Sipadan, or we thought we were going to set off, but somehow they had run out of fuel for both their boats so we had to wait 1.5hrs (you get what you pay for i guess).
     We did eventually get there, and upon getting into the water i was instantly amazed. All the previous snorkeling i had done paled in comparison to this. A vast array of corrals stretched as far as i could see and their were fish everywhere. It was like the photos from the dive books had been plastered over the front of my goggles. I could have been swimming in the discovery channel! For anyone coming to Semporna, you have to pay the extra to see Sipadan, its truly worth it. It must have been about 4 minutes before i saw my first turtle, and from then on they were everywhere. I was frequently swimming around laughing through my mouthpiece because i couldn't believe i was actually seeing what was before me.
        The reef itself is just as impressive,about 10m in from the beach, it Just ends with a sheer 600m drop into nothingness (from the eyes of a snorkeler anyway) and it must be truly breathtaking to dive there.
       My highlight of the day was swimming amongst a school of lump-head parrot fish, all of which were about the same size as me. I even got a bit of a tan. What a fantastic day 
        Since that day, my life has been shit. Truly Shit. Here's the rundown of events for the last few days.
So i wanted to leave Semporna (the place where I've been snorkeling with the turtles) for Tawau (the border town with Indonesia) on Friday, packed my bags and checked out. Then went to talk to Teno (Scuba Junkies owner) about accommodation in Tawau. He told me i wouldn't be able to get my visa and cross the border on Friday (i.e it would take too long due to hari raya), and the border was closed over the weekend (hari raya). Accommodation in Tawau was only hotels (expensive), so basically i was stuck in Semporna, doing nothing until Monday (too expensive to snorkel again, so definitely cant afford to dive), 3 whole days in Semporna where it was too expensive to do anything. SOO boring. I literally did nothing. Literally. Overeating at breakfast, then walking to the market, buy 4 guavas and pretty much eating them instantly through boredom (despite my stomach being soo full it was painful; the eating gave me an activity for a few minutes), then wandering around the hostel, using the internet for a bit, wandering somewhere to read, then using the internet for a bit again. Repeating this process for hours on end. Death would have been welcome.

 But it gets worse...

Then on Monday i finally left for Tawau, got to the Indonesian embassy, and due to the hari raya the embassy was closed for another week! Bollocks. All travel agents were shut, so i couldn't send my passport to KK to process a visa there. Bollocks. I also missed the boat to Sulawesi (where i was gonna go in Indonesia) as it left that day, and the next one wasn't for 2 weeks. Bollocks. Hence my well made pan for Indonesia with teno was well and truly fucked now. Bollocks. So after walking round tawau all day, trying to figure out a solution i got the night bus back to KK to try and get a visa there. Great bus ride, until at 12pm there was a loud bang, the bus ground to a halt, and quickly began to fill with smoke. We all left the bus sharpish and i remember thinking that knowing my current luck we had been bombed by terrorists (not unlikely in Indonesia). But fortunately not, just the clutch or something exploding i was told. So we had to wait around for the other KK bound buses to pass and take as many passengers as they could fit. Waiting so the Malaysians could go first (they have families to get to, i have no one here :( lol) only actually about an hour so in the end it wasn't too bad, and it was kinda funny how inefficiently they dealt with the fires under the bus (the fire extinguisher on board was empty (obviously, this is Asia).
     Any who, arrived in KK this morning and bought a flight to penang, so i could cross from there to Sumatra with my visa (my new Indonesia plan), then went to the Indonesian embassy here. Fuck. Shit. Fuck. Same bloody story, its shut for another week. So now i have a flight to penang (very expensive), which i don't want as i cant get across the border without a visa and i think the embassy there is gonna be closed too!
        So i think I'm gonna just skip Indonesia if i can't get there tomorrow and go to India instead.  
        What a great few days. Did just have one of the best Jack fruit I've ever had for lunch though.

By the way, I'm truly sorry for the foul use of language in this entry, not my character at all, but i have been rather annoyed.
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