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Published: December 28th 2009
After my failed Mount Kinabalu attempt, it was time for something more relaxing, so I planned to go diving at Sipadan Island (one of the best diving sites in the world) and chilling out a couple of days and celebrating x-mas at Mabul Island.
I first heard about Sipadan Island from my friends Patrick and Marije, who also got me into getting my PADI diving license. They were at Sipadan last year and came back with rave stories. Something that can't be missed, if you're a diver, and in Sabah/Borneo.
To dive at Sipadan Island, you need to book ahead. Only 120 people a day are allowed to dive around the island, and there is no accommodation. A few weeks ago, I booked a 6-day package, where I'd be staying in Semporna for 4 nights and 3 nights on Mabul Island. 4 days of diving was included!
Diving was superb. I had two days at Sipadan, and two days at two other islands. I saw huge turtles and a lot of sharks. Not the dangerous kind though! The coral and the fish are incredible here. It was a great experience! The underwater pictures are courtesy of my dive
master, who took them, but I was just as close as he was, seeing it like this!
The 3-night trip to Mabul Island was also unforgettable. I got dropped off at a lodge on stilts, run by "Scuba Jeff", a friendly, happy guy who entertains his guests with music, rum and barbecue! Had a nice stingray for dinner that evening and learned to play guitar again. I met up with three friendly Hawaiians as well, to add to the whole island feeling! Tiana and Lauren were travelling the world together, and their friend Brett was visiting. Together with a couple of Swedes, Swiss, and Malay people we celebrated X-mas on Suba Jeff's deck with beautiful sunsets!
On Mabul, I got a real taste of island life. Lots of water and beaches, beautiful sunsets, relaxed atmosphere, seafood (which I'm not that into, but you gotta try everything, right...), it was all there. The local people were very friendly and all the kids wanted to be photographed, except for one of the kids who was gambling... Yes, that's right, there was a group of 8-year old kids gambling for real money and a woman was running the game, some sort
of roulette! How about school for a change!
I also saw a cock fight, luckily, the cocks didn't have any razor blades on their feet like they do in the Philippines sometimes! Actually, I met a lot of filipino's around here, because the Philippines is just a short boat ride away.
In short, it was a great week and thanks to all the people I met at Suba Jeff's I got a great x-mas experience as well! It's off to Bangkok now, where I'll meet my buddy Erik to celebrate New Year!
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