A Top Dive Spot in the World – Sipadan– diving we wish would never end

This is how I rate the Scuba Diving in Sipadan and Mabul Islands in Borneo Malaysia. In case you like awesome photos – beware there are some great ones in here.
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We arrived in Borneo after a full day of flying and waiting in airports, because despite the close proximity of Borneo to Penang, the flights are not scheduled that well and once you arrive in Tawau Airport in Borneo you still have to take a bus/car ride for over an hour to the town of Semporna and then hop on a boat ride for another hour before arriving at Mabul Island.

We arrived in Semporna around 4pm and in the midst of a torrential downpour that reduced visibility to a few feet at times. We were told that the boat was ready to take us to the Scuba Junkie Island Resort and that we should get into our bathing suits because the boat was an open front boat. We laughed pretty hard and were met with the dead silence of serious hosts across the table. So we changed, in a leaking bathroom, into clothes we could get wet in, and put our work laptops, formal clothes, and other electronics into dry bags and covered everything in trash bags. Needless to say we didn’t have the most auspicious start to the trip.

We managed to get completely soaked on the ride out to the Island and then  were offered an umbrella by the very nice manager, a little too late for that unfortunately. It was ok though because we changed into dry clothes, grabbed a beer, dinner and quickly went to sleep dreaming of the underwater wonderland that awaited us the next morning.

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View from our resort

Ironically we woke up the next morning to extremely rough seas and actually quote the dive master, “This is the roughest I have seen the seas in two years.”. I figured that they wouldn’t take us out if it was unsafe and thus we had to wait an extra hour after our original time and take the boats from the beach (normally we went from the jetty). However, we did go out that day to do three dives around Mabul Island. (Note: I did break Carrie’s mask before the first dive as my tank decided to sit down on the side of her mask but luckily we borrowed one from Scuba Junkie).

Anyways, the next two days were spent doing three dives around Mabul Island. I really enjoyed the variety of macro (small) marine life, the easy currents, warm water, and diversity of dive sites within 30-45 minutes of the Scuba Junkie Resort. There is even a decommissioned oil rig called Sea Ventures that we dove under. We saw so many cool underwater things that I can’t name them all but to name a few include Seahorses, the largest moray eel I have ever seen, Frog Fish, Mandarin Fish, Turtles, Cuttlefish, Nudibranchs. See some photos below.   IMG_0395

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Broad Club Cuttlefish
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Turtle

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Juvenile Harlequin Sweetlips
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Frog Fish
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Nudibranch
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Mandarin Fish
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Nudibranch
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Thorny Sea Horse
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Frog Fish (very well hidden)
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Oil Rig (now a hotel and dive spot)

After wonderful dive days around Mabul, we woke up early and got the 6am boat to Sipadan for 4 world class dives. The diving on Sipadan was different than Mabul because of slight geographic differences, with proximity of deep water to Sipadan pulling in numerous large pelagic fish. See here for a brief recap of diving in Sipadan. We were here during the rainy season, which caused lower visibility (but it was still good) and we saw some amazing things including a hammerhead shark, huge school of bumphead parrotfish, huge schools of giant & jack trevally, immeasurable amounts of reef sharks and turtles among the things I remember easily. Carrie described it as an “aquarium in the ocean.” We really enjoyed all the sites and were lucky to dive Barracuda Point twice to see it in different tides.
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See photos below for some of the highlights.

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Hammerhead
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Lionfish
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Moray Eel
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White Tip Reef Sharks
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School of Jack Fish

After diving we spent our last day snorkeling and then all day traveling to Singapore.
I would definitely recommend – Scuba Junkie Diving & Scuba Junkie Resort on Mabul – see full review on TripAdvisor here.

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Relaxing on Mabul
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Underwater Pier Repairs

via Blogger http://thorlitzersinsingapore.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-top-dive-spot-in-world-sipadan-diving.html

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Categories: travel | 1 Comment

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One thought on “A Top Dive Spot in the World – Sipadan– diving we wish would never end

  1. In general, a top destination. Loved Sipidan!

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