Diving at Sipadan Island and turning 24


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Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Semporna
October 21st 2006
Published: October 21st 2006
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Am now in Semporna, on the east coast of Sabah (the Malaysian part of Borneo) diving at world famous Sipadan Island with my friend Mel, who has been working as a divemaster here for the last 6 weeks.

First day of diving was on my birthday (great way to spend a birthday!) and the first dive was at the top dive site of Barracuda Point - in the first 10 minutes we were surrounded by a school of about 200 huge barracudas, circling in a frenzy, and next to them were about 8 huge grey reef sharks, with a hammerhead shark in the distance. Currents were strong and it was my first proper dive for ages, ended up diving very deep, so needless to say I was slightly pooing myself and breathing up my air pretty fast!! But what a great way to spend my birthday!

Also, as a birthday treat at Sipadan Island, a few of the locals let me hold and play with these teeny tiny baby turtles which they'd just hatched and were about to send out into the sea - SO CUTE!!!

As yet another birthday treat, Mel surprised me with a big iced cake at the dive shop when we got back, as well as a surprise visit from a masseuse for a full body massage! Had a fab seafood meal in the evening and paid a visit to the only bar in Semporna in the eve! Was in bed way before midnight though (i know, lame!) as just so exhausted every day from the diving.

The dives have been absolutely unbelievable every time though. Every dive we see at least 30 huuuuge green turtles, and go up and stroke or pat them - so cute, they're my favourite. Surrounded by millions of fish, both big and small, beautiful corals and massive schools of trevally - about 500-600 - so many of them that you can hover in the middle and not be able to see anything around you except swarms of big silver fish. Incredible.

In our surface intervals in between dives, we laze on the beach on beautiful Sipadan Island (noone is allowed to stay overnight there anymore because of previous conflict with Indonesia) - weather is perfect and water is crystal clear turquoise. Life couldn'd get better!

Just completed my 2-day Advanced dive course, so have had to do a bit of studying and 'homework' - using my brain has been a bit of an effort, but most of my studying efforts have been on the boat on the way back...if I don't fall asleep, that is!

After 3 days of solid diving am a bit tired so taking today off to look around town. Semporna is a small grubby little town, not much here, as everyone just comes for the diving and doesn't really spend any time in town. But is quite bustling at the moment as it is Hari Raya, the Muslim holiday so loads of food stalls out and people everywhere.

Has been great catching up with Mel, and we're here until Tuesday, when we're leaving to travel the rest of Sabah.

Am doing Underwater Photography as part of my Advanced course, so will post any good pics I manage to take when I get them!


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Happy Birthday me!Happy Birthday me!
Happy Birthday me!

Having cake that Mel bought with people from the dive shop. On my left is my dive instructor, Chok.
Catch of the day at the local food marketCatch of the day at the local food market
Catch of the day at the local food market

For those who know about fish - check out those poor trigger fish on the left!


7th June 2007

Interesting info.
We have been looking into traveling to Semporna with our 2 children in July. We would like to know if snorkelling not diving is worth it here. We have lived in the Cayman Islands, been all over the Carribean, Hawaii, Red Sea... is it worth going here.. we love snorkelling.. now living in Florida. We are only going to be in Asia for 2 weeks, staying in Singapore. Thought we would go to Mulu, and then travel there... Thank you rhgoers@hotmail.com

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