Divers' paradise

Trip Start Nov 06, 2006
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Trip End Jun 15, 2007


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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Sunday, May 13, 2007

A bus trip and short hop by plane put us back in Manila where we catch an Air Asia flight to Kota Kinabalu, Borneo for another stamp in the passport! Another quick flight to Tawau sets us up for four days of world-class diving at Sipadan Island.

A small speedboat with two enormous engines whisks us off to Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort, a luxurious divers' oasis of private wooden chalets and boardwalks built on stilts above a sandy atoll surrounded on all sides by sparkling, clear azure waters. Every glance off the boardwalk reveals more sealife. We stand mesmerized for twenty minutes as an octopus in the water ten feet below our feet glides across the sandy bottom, comes to rest on a rock, and smoothly wraps his tentacles around each little crevice, searching for tasty creatures to eat, then moves onto another spot, shifting in color from mottled brown to white to tan to match the surrounding ocean floor. Incredible. And the diving is unbelievable, the best we've ever experienced. Clusters of enormous sea turtles swimming around us and over our heads, whitetip and silvertip sharks passing us by, a school of huge bumphead parrotfish with brilliantly white buck teeth, spiky (and painfully venomous!) lionfish, crazy looking frogfish like something out of Dr. Seuss, a gigantically fat 15-foot-long moray eel, and in every direction beautiful reef fish of every color and configuration eating and chasing one another and swimming in swirls and lazy spirals. The moment we slip underwater I feel my travel-weary brain quiet and my body relax as I float weightless in this beautiful blue universe.

Above water, we meet some new friends from Europe - Germany, Switzerland, England, Scotland. And every meal is a tasty buffet, so we all make a super-human effort not to over-indulge. It's a battle we win about 50% of the time.

We'll miss the good company, relaxed pace, spectacular sea views, and scrumptious food, but there's so much more to explore in Borneo!
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