Sipadan with Scuba Junkies
Trip Start Jun 05, 2007
82Trip End Jan 06, 2009
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Due to limited room, we had to take a VIP room. Air con, en suite and a TV controlled by the front desk. All in all pretty nice but while you are in the middle of a movie, you never know if someone is getting bored out in the lobby, if your unlucky the channel switches to a screaming Malay announcer on some incomprehensible game show just before the climax.
After dropping our bags we met up with our buddy Tero who would be diving with us on Sipadan the following day. We had heard that the town of Semporna was not all that interesting and were on the verge of settling at the bar when something in our travel guide perked my interest. Semporna had an extensive floating village that continues to grow, it includes a mosque and is connected by boardwalks.
We followed a stream of locals out of the small center of town without any real idea of where we were headed. Everyone was smiling and saying hello. We were offered some fried bananas and continued. Just as it seemed we may not find what we were searching for, I saw the top of a blue mosque. We walked towards it and found a small boardwalk going out to sea. There were many houses on stilts, all different shapes and sizes. Everyone came out to say hello and we were invited to continue with smiles and children following us.
The morning boat ride took us past the floating villages and some green islands. We continued out into the middle of the ocean. Sipadan is an island with coral shelves that descend into the deep blue. It goes from 20 meters to 600 or more almost instantly. The island looks like it is floating in dark blue. The small ring of bright aqua and strip of sand is a great contrast.
Our dives were fantastic. There were turtles and sharks swimming everywhere around us. Huge schools of every type of fish filtered past us, not to mention the wall of every type of coral imaginable. There was so much to see it was hard to focus on one thing. We also dove into the deep blue, which gave you the feeling of floating in space, unable to see a bottom or a top. The sun kept us company all day and my only regret was we had to go back to shore. I wish we could have spent a few more days exploring, it was definitely the best diving I have ever done.
Tom and I agreed that it would be great to stay and maybe find a space in one of the stilted houses, start working on our Malay and dive master. But for now we were continuing our journey.
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