Diving Sipadan

Trip Start Jan 21, 2007
Trip End ??? ??, 2008

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Friday, October 12, 2007

Final stop in Borneo is the town of Semporna.  Semporna itself has nothing to offer (although I found out after leaving that I had a KFC which I never spotted - very remiss of me!), the reason people come here is for diving at Pulau Sipadan, supposedly the best, or one of the top 10 dive sites in the world. 

First dive shop we tried said we couldn't get to Sipadan for 8 days. Problem.  They only give out something like 120 permits per day for people to visit the island, no one can stay there and people book ages in advance, something I never think of doing!  Luckily the second place said no problem, we could go tomorrow!

Had 3 dives there, it was excellent, saw loads and loads of sharks and turtles, to the point where it got kind of boring!  Spent that night in a lodge in a stilt village on a nearby island called Mabul.  Basic accomodation, and all meals (included) were pretty similar but a good group of people and some guitars made for a good night.  Day after we spent sunbathing on the pier and the beach, all good.  The sad thing about this place, with Sipadan so well protected, is that the water is full of trash, clothes, underpants, all sorts of things went floating past us.  Not nice.  I don't think the local people think their island is as beautiful as we do.

I was only supposed to be doing the one day of diving, but with 4 days left til my flight and no ideas of where to go next, I ended up staying around and doing my Advanced open water course.  2 days, 5 dives (plus one extra for fun) and an unplanned revisit to Sipadan!  (Think they cancelled someone to get me there - but I'm not complaining!).  3 were on the island of Sibuan which was amazingly beautiful, but the actual diving I didn't think was as good, only fish.  Very nice fish but I think I'm spoilt by sharks and turtles!

Leaving Semporna meant a 10 hour bus journey back to Kota Kinabalu in time for my flight the next day.  Buses would usually stop for meals but as it's Ramadan this one wasn't so I ate 3 meals of junk food.  Lovely. Incidentally Pringles are cheaper here than at home, although I can't get my hand inside the tube which makes me think it's specially made for little Asian hands.  One night in KK in a nice hostel and it was back on the plane.
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