Pulau Sipadan-third best dive in the world!
Trip Start Aug 19, 2010
92Trip End Aug 31, 2011
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Hypocritically nonetheless this town is famous for a tourist attraction, it is the gateway to the Semporna Archipelago, namely Sipadan Island. The island is on a piece of land that juts down to an incredible depth, thus making the marine life incredible and a divers’ paradise.
Sipadan is the only oceanic island in Malaysia, rising 600 metres (2,000 ft) from the seabed. It is located in the Celebes Sea off the east coast of Sabah, East Malaysia (which is on the island of Borneo). It was formed by living corals growing on top of an extinct volcanic cone that took thousands of years to develop. Sipadan is located at the heart of the Indo-Pacific basin, the centre of one of the richest marine habitats in the world. More than 3,000 species of fish and hundreds of coral species have been classified in this ecosystem.
Sipadan has been rated by many dive journals as one of the top dive destinations in the worldHawksbill Turtles are frequently seen in the waters around Sipadan: green and hawksbill turtles (which mate and nest there), enormous schools of barracuda in tornado-like formations as well as large schools of big-eye trevally, and bumphead parrotfish. Pelagic species such as manta rays, eagle rays, scalloped hammerhead sharks and whale sharks also visit Sipidan. A turtle tomb lies underneath the column of the island, formed by an underwater limestone cave with a labyrinth of tunnels and chambers that contain many skeletal remains of turtles that become lost and drown before finding the surface.
This says it all, it was by far one of the most incredible mind blowing dives ever! Well worth cutting the trip short for! It also finally paid off to have done our advanced diving course in Australia because we got to go down to 35m and into the cave, I obviously completely freaked out but all the same I went in! Our dive master showed us some crazy looking sea horses down there which were camouflaged against some coral. We saw at least 20 massive turtles, swimming overhead, resting on coral. At least 30 sharks all over the place, some white tips and black tips. We swam into a school of barracuda and jack fish all shiney and silver and everywhere we turned, we saw massive enormous bowl corals that would cost a fortune if taken out off the ocean floor. All this as well as plenty more
We left elated, exhausted after a whole day diving and completely in awe of the world. The island itself was so magical too, completely break-takingly beautiful. Everyone, including the guy sat next to me on the plane over to Borneo said a must is to see Sipadan and they were not wrong. We felt lucky to have made it here and see the monkeys and Orang-utans, but to have done this dive was immense. When we started researching this dive when we were in KL, we had pretty much given up, everywhere says you have to book months in advance it is the only island that is protected by the government because of the huge diving advantages, you have to have a permit to be on it and dive there but me being me didn’t stop researching until I found two late spots and then it was inconceivable that we wouldn’t do the dives! The dive centre was a top Padi five star centre as well as being a National Geographic recommended centre which just made it all the more worth while again
Upon arrival on the island you have to sign in at the jetty surrounded by the government too, it is all very official and from hearing about the other islands this is a good thing. Apparently all the islands have tons of drifting garbage everywhere because there is no tax to pay which is really sad. On the way out to Sipadan we passed huge villages on stilts too, and we wondered if they use the ocean as dumping? How else do they function?! I hope they do introduce a tax and stop the dumping, Sipadan is worth saving and I’m sure the other islands are too.
We did not have a proper underwater camera this time, which was a shame but it also meant unlike the other two people in our advance dive group who were snapping away like maniacs, we got to relax and enjoy it all first hand. Under the ocean is a peaceful and relaxing place and observing what goes on down there has been one of my most favourite things to do. Sipadan is worth the effort of booking, and definitely worth every penny!