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Published: October 24th 2009
We are pumped and ready to see sharks and turtles!
Caitlin and I easily would have stayed longer in Kalimantan if we could have, but our 60 day visa had run out on us. So we opted for the next best thing and hopped on over to the Malaysian side of Borneo. "Hopped" is probably a poor word choice. Inter-Borneo travel, particularly on the Indonesian side, is difficult. The quickest route in the end was to take three separate flights, from Kalimantan to Jakarta, then on to Singapore and finally back to Tawau in Malaysian Borneo. Sort of a circuitous route, but the only reasonable option.
Two months ago way back in Bali, our scuba instructor had laid out a map of the best dive sites in and around southeast Asia. At the top of the list was a place called Sipadan, which Lonely Planet also lists as "the world's best dive site". Though Lonely Planet has to be taken with grain of salt since I've seen that phrase written about at least four other locations in the Southeast Asia guide. Regardless, we spent three days doing 6 incredible dives. Loads of turtles, sharks, spotted rays, an eagle ray and heaps of other weird little creatures, including a badass octopus.
The town that supports the overgrown scuba industry in the area, Semporna, isn't anything spectacular. It is, however, a popular base for roving bands of sea gypsies. Some have put up stilted houses in the shallow waters while others just dock periodically along a string of islands. SEA GYPSIES! On a related note, back in 2004 or 2005, one of the popular resort islands in the area was taken over by pirates. Now the island is populated by military who spend most of the day sleeping on cots.
Our next course of action was to do a bit of spelunking and jungle hiking in one of the National Parks. These caves are some of the world's largest and are extensively covered on Planet Earth. One of my favorite parts was the mountains of poop. Huge mountains of bat poop. 2-3 million little bats live in one of these caves and over the years, the poop tends to accumulate. This wasn't Caitlin's favorite part.
Tot: 1.561s; Tpl: 0.048s; cc: 12; qc: 50; dbt: 0.0256s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 4;
; mem: 1.4mb