Trip Start Oct 19, 2006
55Trip End Apr 05, 2007
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Where I stayed
Having heard that the best snorkeling in the world is in the Sulu Sea off the east coast of Sabah, we headed to Semporna to squeeze in one more swim with the underwater galaxies.
The bus ride from Sandakan was memorable only for the videos. We watched the same hour of Troy twice because the disc got stuck. That was not so bad. But then came the music videos. We saw a concert video of the wildly popular (in most of the world except the US) 1970s band Boney M (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boney_M for more). And then came the Malaysia karaoke love songs. We saw the same ones over and over again so many times we started singing along quietly to ourselves.
We stumbled off the bus into the arms of a staff person from our hostel and soon gratefully crashed in our "Clown Fish" room at Scuba Junkie
The best island for snorkeling and diving is Sipidan, but the permits were all sold out for several days so we settled for Sibuan. After getting our snorkels and masks, we ate pizza at Scuba Junkie's cafe, surrounded by more Americans than we had seen in weeks. We decided the sudden influx was a result of the Chinese New Year holiday.
Wednesday morning we rode the boat 45 min. with several other divers and snorkelers (including Sara and her friends) out to Pulua Sibuan. Sibuan is hardly more than a lucky bit of rock nudging enough above the coral to collect dirt and grow some palm trees. We arrived at high tide and waded out to the end of the sandbar tip of Sibaun where the picture looks like the end of the world. We picked a spot in the shade and lathered up in sunscreen.
50m from the shore beyond the shallow coral, we swam with angel fish and saw huge fields of black spikey sea urchins. There were more clown fish and parrot fish and lots of other fish whose names we don't know. Before lunch as the tide was going out, we waded and swam/crawled carefully over the coral which became more and more exposed each minute
Going back to the jetty we began to realize the missed spots in our sunblocking and knew we were in for some days of recovery. We managed dinner at a nearby seafood place and crawled into bed with the aloe lotion soaking in.