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Published: January 17th 2011
Well the adventure is over, in some ways its sad but in others I am ready to go home. I am looking forward to some of the small comforts of home but I know I will miss the freedom and anonimity of the road.
My last 8 days have been spent on Mabul Island in the Semporna Archipelago, Borneo. After saying a final farewell to the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City I flew to Tawau, Borneo via Kuala Lumpur, where a local man chatted to me whilst waiting for our baggage and then insisted on having a photo with me, questionable???
I spent that first night in the Skuba Junkie hostel on the mainland, I have to say the port town of Semporna does little to prepare you for what awaits you on the islands. It's dirty and rather unfriendly so I was happy to leave early next morning en route to what was to become my island paradise for the next 7 nights. The Skuba Junkie Resort on Mabul Island is quite new and although I stayed in a dorm it was fabulous! Three meals a day are provided in the open air dining room,
with more food and variety than expected. Plus the tables are all long bench style so you get to meet other divers and chat about the day's sights.
So the day I arrived I was enrolled in the Open Water Diver course and it was off the boat and straight into the classroom, my class consisted of myself and three Belgian backpackers plus our instructor Syed. Having not really used my brain for the past 4 months, let alone been in a classroom for over 8 years you can imagine how well I coped with this! Luckily all our theory was finished that first day and then it was time to hit the water.
The first time I descended and started to breathe through the regulator it did feel really strange, at first I didnt trust it to work but obviously I soon realised it did. I can't describe the feeling of being underwater, able to breathe and being able to just float there watching the fish swimming around as fish do, it was just out of this world. My first thought upon surfacing was 'why haven't I done this before???'
This first dive was the start
of three days of magnificent dives with amazing visibility and heaps of things to see, turtles, lionfish, cuttlefish, even a pigmy seahorse! However my last day of diving was at Sipidan. Sipidan is an island with all of its dive sites located within a marine park. It was a full day trip with 4 dives, but I tell you I could have done 10! It was OFF THE HOOK. On our first dive we descended and I looked over the edge of the shelf reef to the great blue yonder and thought holy moses that is a whole lot of ocean! However before I could get too scared we spotted an Eagle Ray and I was hooked. The visibility all day was about 20 metres so when we were 20 metres deep it still felt like the surface was right there. I couldn't count the number of turtles and reef sharks we saw, let alone the fish! It was a perfect day as well so the sun shone down and made the water gorgeous and blue and the coral stunning. My favourite moment was on our last dive, a spot called the Hanging Garden. The reef was essentially hanging down
for metres and metres so we just floated past it with the current. I was in front of our Dive Master at one point and turned around to face him and try to wait, at that point he signalled that there was a large turtle behind me and I turned around to see a huge Green Turtle cruising past me. He was so graceful, I just wanted to reach out and hug him, unfortunately the authorities frown upon turtle hugging so I settled for waving but it was an amazing moment.
So now its time for home and the realities of life in a western society, I have to say I'm not sure if I'm ready for it but I need get back to work and save for my next adventure - AFRICA!
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