Edit Blog Post
Published: July 15th 2014
Some of you did guess properly, our next stop is indeed Sipadan, or should I rather say Mabul Island. We stay for a night in Tawau in a rather nice place for the city, and by 7.30am we were on our way to Mabul Island.
I first came to Sipadan four years ago. If you are a diver, Sipadan is a mecca in Asia...or is it really? This time, I wanted to share the experience with Leslie and Tiffany. Tiffany has now over 20 dives, and she is ready for her next step, her Advanced Junior Open Water...but only next month as she is not yet 12 years old. For Leslie, well, he should be very very close to is 100th dives by the end of this year...so yes, he is diving...
I starting the booking process back in January. Last time, it was Kapalai and I loved it. But in January, they told me Kapalai was fully booked...for the all month of July! I know, sound crazy...it may have changed in March with the crash of MH370 and the fact that on more time, Filipinos terrorists kidnapped a Chinese tourists and a local worker....and
only released them weeks later. But I am not going to let my chance to last minute booking....so I went for a fun choice, may be slightly less luxurious, but ended up way more fun for the kids, I name the rig adventure. This is an old oil rig, for your info, it still smells of oil pretty often, but it has been used now for many years as a diver resort...and trust me, it's a fun experience!
Back to the Filipinos terrorists, well, they strike the second night of our stay at the Water Village Mabul resort, 300 meters from the rig...they were 8, they killed a policeman, and kidnapped another one, but took no tourists this time. So you may think twice before you come here...it is a reality...And the rig was somewhere a "castle" more difficult to take than nay other resort. Till, every night, we had three "policemen", in full fighting equipment guarding the rig.
This entry may sound a little like comparing Kapalai...and the rig. Well, it is also comparing diving here today to 4 years ago, at exactly the same time. This time thought, it's full moon, meaning
huge drift, and also slightly average visibility.
Accomodation first...Kapalai is clearly more luxurious with their overwater bungalows, but there is more "games" to entertain the kids in the game room of the rig...Rig 1- Kapalai 0, the food also was better on the rig than on Kapalai, and I know that can sound weird. Basically, the rig team does a great job with the place they have.
Diving team wise, I have to admit, I'm not convinced by the dive team of the rig. DM who have basically learnt to dive here...and who could do with thinking first of their guests, and not of themselves so highly, when they organization skills are seriously...low....Kapalai won highly hat contest.
Diving in Sipadan means you need to have a permit. They have 120 of those per day for Sipadan, and the rig has 11 of them. So if you dive here three days, you are guarantee one day (3 dives) in Sipadan. Be warned...a German guy was on the rig for 7 nights...and went only once to Sipadan, when they told him the last day that they only guaranteed him one day I Sipadan,
when truly he should have gone twice. Well, that sound pretty disgusting, dishonest to me in regard to the money he put in his stay. The Rig may be more basic, it is not cheap! So if you come, book 3 nights, and no more.
We dived two days between Mabul and Kapalai. Bad news, only Kapalai is going to the Siamese island who are great for macro. I didn't make a mess as the good diving at Siamese is actually between 20 meters and 30 meters, way out of reach for Tiffany as of today.
The diving in Mabul/Kapalai four years ago was average. Today it is technically the same average, with a serious minus. The place has become an open trash/bin/dump...and it is disgusting to see so many rubbish all around...truly....disgusting!
Sipadan....we went on our second day. And lucky us, due to a big group of Thai people staying on the Rig, they had to "trade" permits with another resort, and we ended up spending our day to Sipadan with the diing team of Smart, a resort on Mabul. These guys love diving and know what they are doing.
So I can consider ourselves lucky for this...thanks for the great diving team of SMART resort.
It's full moon, so average visibility and huge drift...making it some seriously fun diving on Sipadan, but sadly, not the best pictures. But who cares, I can tell you, Leslie and Tiffany enjoyed! And no, they didn't dive the turtle cave, but I did it four years ago.
Tiffany saw her first shark...first time....or should I just say, she saw her first many sharks...and she loved it. We had the turtles, many of them...and obviously the barracudas and few other huge schools of fishes. As always, Sipadan is pretty amazing...so happy to have done it with the kids...now I'm not sure I'm coming back tomorrow in regard of the dump that Mabul has become.
The day we left for Sipadan, the rain was pouring on Mabul, but by the time we reached Sipadan, sun was there...staying with us for the full day...what a day of diving...specially sharing it with my kids!
It was soon time to go back to Tawau, taking our direct flight to Kuala Lumpur followed by our flight home.
This is the end of the first third of our summer holidays. Got back at home at midnight...spent the all morning running around...and lunch back at the airport. As I'm writing this, Leslie and tiffany are on the plane to Vietnam...having just been upgraded to business class on the best European airlines...ad I'm awaiting my flight for the south...far far away...for my own little time over the next few weeks...
Next entry coming only in a few days time...
Tot: 1.128s; Tpl: 0.086s; cc: 14; qc: 32; dbt: 0.0245s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb