Dec 17, 2013
Jan 07, 2014
Where I stayed
Mataking Island Dive Resort
The island is a private one, with room for around 50 or so guests only, and was just idyllic. From an earlier post I may have mentioned the nightly rate, but in full justification mode, it did include all food, 3 dives a day, and gold plated dive tanks (maybe!). It was an awesome spot though, as was the diving and snorkelling around the island itself.
Bad got chatting to an Australian women whose husband had had to cancel at the last minute, and he happened to have a permit for Sipidan the next day.........it was only going to go to waste, would I like to be 'Rob' for the day and use the permit. Well considering some people have to books 3+ months ahead to get a day permit for the dive site of all dive sites, I could be persuaded to be anyone they liked for the day.
Enduring thanks to Sally from Melbourne for giving me the permit - I have never seen so many enormous turtles, schools of Jacfish, walls of the most beautiful coral, tons of reef sharks and barracuda. It was, well, awesome, and topped off the most beautiful island escape at Mataking.
6 hour bus journey to Semporna, a dusty, rubbish strewn s**thole in the south east - and by far the worst town we'd seen. But hey, we weren't here for the delights of the mounds of rotting rubbish on the streets, we were here for the diving on the islands off the coast. In another sign our luck was changing, Sticky Rice Travel had contacted us to say there was space at the super luxurious Mataking Island Resort Karen had persuaded me was e best place to spend our last few days - and let's face it, the potential for diving at Sipidan, one of the world's top 10 dive sites, was a pretty powerful draw card in itself. We stayed overnight in a budget hotel in Semporna, slept, ate seafood (ain't a lot goin' on in this town!) and got up early for our boat pick up to Mataking, about an hour off the coast by speedboat.