Thursday, 12 May 2011

Borneo - diving at Sipadan

Sipadan, an island off the eastern coast of Sabah near the intersection with Indonesia and the Philippines is well known in the diving community as one of the world's best dive sites. 

What makes Sipadan special is the fact that it is composed of a limestone pinnacle that rises up 600m from the sea bed. Since 2005 it's been prohibited to stay overnight, so most divers stay at the nearby island of Mabul (our case), with some opting for Kapalai island, or the town of Semporna, about 1 hour away. Some choose the following accommodation, which can be found just next to Mabul island :

a different type of dive resort !

Mabul is well known for its muck diving. We saw lots of turtles, fish and nudibranches.


Access to Sipadan is limited to only 120 divers per day (from all resorts), and this is the all important board at our resort where we saw whether we'd be diving at Sipadan the next day. The reason it's written SMART is that it's the abbreviation of the resort's name. I didn't realise when I booked it that my surname would be plastered everywhere !

On Sipadan
Turtle, Sipadan

During a surface interval on Sipadan between dives we saw a monitor lizard:

On our last day we couldn't dive as we were taking a flight from Tawau, so we walked around the local part of Mabul Island, and saw some more non-marine wildlife ;-)

local village mosque

On the way back to Semporna from Mabul

Suggested reading :
A Diver's Guide to Reef Life
Diving Malaysia (Periplus Action Guides)

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