Mabul Island - Day 1 PADI Open Water Dive Course

Trip Start May 10, 2011
Trip End Apr 15, 2012

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Flag of Malaysia  , Sabah,
Friday, September 30, 2011

We we dumped at this bus stop in the middle of nowhere to get picked up for our bus to Sandakan,bus was late but at least it arrived. The humidity here is ridiculous you sweat doing nothing at all check out the picture of Marc's shoulder haha - its pure jungle sweat.

On the way it was nothing but banana trees and palm trees and god knows what other kind of trees for as far as the eye can see it was lovely – Borneo is all jungle and any towns you do come across just seem to pop up out of the middle of nowhere but are pretty small towns – this applies to Semporna where we stayed in Scuba Junkie Backpackers so that we could get the one boat a day at 8am out to Scuba Junkie resort on Mabul Island where we would be doing our PADI course.

The nicer Scuba Junkie resort we were staying at is on Mabul Island, it actually burnt down a few months back due to someone having candles in their room so its all been rebuilt with better fire safety stuff and everything is brand new – our room is lovely and the bathroom is huge hehe we have a lovely wee porch with a hammock and a 2 second walk to the beach.   The cost of this includes our 3 meals a day and unlimited tea and coffee and water so we can stuff our faces – let's hope the food is yummy.

The boat only took about 45 mins and to say that I was nervous was an understatement I felt sick to the stomach, for anyone who doesn’t know I am not a huge fan of water & before I put in 5 weeks of hard graft to get up to being able to do 16 lengths before we left in May, I could only swim a length of the pool, don’t like getting water in my face, never swim under the water and panic in deep water cause I am such a shit swimmer because I had a bad experience when I was young at my swimming lessons in which I went under at the deep end and practically pulled some other kid with me – so you get the picture !!!  However I decided that as part of our trip I should do something challenging and as much as I love snorkelling and looking at fish (normally with a lifejacket on haha !!) the idea of learning to dive seemed great sitting at my desk in my office many months ago so I selected Borneo as its one of the top dive sites in the world and you defo get to see turtles.  Now today was here all I wanted to do was run back to the comfort of my office!!! 

Pre-requisite Swim

The prerequisite for the course is a 200m swim in the sea and then to tread water for 10 mins, this was meant to take place on day 2 but seeing as I was so rubbish at it over the last week I just wanted it out of the way incase I failed.   When we arrived off the boat we met our guy Rowan who was doing our theory course. I explained my swimming problem with him and he said no prob lets jump in now and do it EEEEEEEEEEEEK.   As we were getting into the sea off the jetty there people staring down as there was an octopus swimming around under the jetty – you could see it sooo clear in the water it was so cool.   Motivated by this and what else I would get to see, Marc and I went for the swim with Rowan– it turned out no prob at all, it seems when I am distracted with chat I can swim ok – no panic at all swam back and treaded water for 10 mins fine – DELIGHTED I was over the moon I couldn’t wait to get started learning. Marc of course was fine he is more than happy in the water.

The rest of today was spent doing the Day 1 theory – it was a long n tiring day watching videos, reading books & doing questions but we finally got finished at 6pm and we had an exam to do which we passed no problem.  We learned all about dive times, safety, equipment, what not to do, importance of having a buddy the list was endless – but we got there eventually.

That night we went for our dinner – baked tatties, chilli, noodles there was plenty of tasty food to choose from it was delicious, lunch had been great too – thankfully for us they don’t serve seafood (due to the bay way they fish around the island…dynamite etc they don’t want to support this) so nothing fishy going on for feeding times was great as we both don’t like fish.

It was a big feed then early to bed we were exhausted.  There is a bar upstairs but we were too tired and making the most of our time off the beer – we will have a blow out on our last night.

Cost of 3 day PADI course - 180 each
Cost per night (Scuba junkie) for fan room no wifi or tv but did include 3 meals a day - 21.05 each per day
Bus from Sandakan - Semporna - 27 each
Boat transfer from Sandakan to Mabul - 10 each
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