Saturday, 15 October 2011

DIVING in SIPADAN - toooo amazing Part 1

Day #55, 56, 57 and 58 - The Ultimate Diving Experience
(Oct 7, 8, 9 and 10)

If there was one thing I could change on my trip, i would have spent more time here diving. My time here was so much fun, so surreal.

After my arrival at Tawau airport, i had a transfer to Semphorna where many people to go diving. In order to be able to dive at Sipadan Island, i had to stay at Mabul island, but it was amazing anyway. I stayed at the dive shop accomodations that turned out to be really nice with two beds, ac and a very new washroom

When i arrived at Mabul island that morning, i didnt realize but i was to immediately do my first dive.

Unfortunately for me, it was reeeaaaaaly rough waters that day and i got horribly sea sick. Because of this, i was only able to do two dives instead of four that day, but still awesome nonetheless.

Saw my first turtle underwater!!! My God, it was beautiful. Visibility was not great, but we saw some amazing stuff.

Mabul is known for is macro diving, ie. Looking at really little little fish. See that tiny yellow fishy? Its smaller than the size of my thumb. Sooooo cool. Colours dont turn out as well on the camera...they look so much more vivid and beautiful in person, but for you to see that guess you have to go diving :)

This is my new friend Anil. We arrived to Semphorna on the same day and had the same dive schedule for three days. His passion for travel and life makes mine look like nothing.

This was my dive group on the first day...super fun people who i hope to see again in another body of water one day :)

After being sick for the first day, i was recharged and ready to go to Sipadan Island. For those who don't know, Sipadan was once a resort island, until the government declared it a marine park and all resorts were kicked off.

Only 120 divers are allowed each day and you have to pay for a permit to dive.

The island has a lot of sea life because of where it is situated. The island sits right on the equator and sits on top of an old underwater mountain. One side of the island drops down 600m and on the other side it goes down to 2000m.

Another thing about this island is that it is known for its abundance of turtles around. Many turtles head to the island to lay their eggs. There is a turtle hatchery there, but it is closed off from the public.

What brings so much sealife here is the cold current which brings in a lot of nutrients.

When nutrients are brought in, lots of small fish come around. Lots of small fish means lots of mid-sized fish...which then means tons of large fish.

This was my favourite fish i saw - the clown trigger fish. Reminds me of a penguin :)

But of course the coolest thing i saw were the turtles. No matter how many i saw, i still get sooo excited when i see one :)

This one in particular came around when we were surfacing. If i hadn't turned around, i think it would have swam right next to my head!

They are such gentle and beautiful creratures.

One of my favourite experiences diving was swimming with these jackfish. THOUSANDS OF THEM swimming in a school...if you swim in the middle of them, they just surround you.

Pictures dont do it justice though. I cant even describe how incredible this experience was.

Freaking awesome.

At Baracuda point, its famous for seeing the school of jackfish i mentioned above and a school of baracuda. You cant swim in the middle of them though, they have sharp teeth. :S

I only managed to take one pic of them because i was taken away by the current. Sooo beautiful.

This area is also very well known for the sharks - this one in paticular is callec the white tip reef shark. They stay very still at the bottom - no they do not eat humans. They are quite shy actually and if you get too close, they run away.

Over the course of two days, I probably saw 70 sharks. There are tonnnnns here.

Little shrimps in this pic, so cute

This one here is called the bump head parrotfish - they are absolutely massive. I wish i could show the relative size here, but this one was probably about a metre long. It was sooo huge.

Also saw a lot of anemonies.....(cant spell...) which were home to many clown fish. These aree SUPER WEIRD fish though,

There are a max of seven fish in each anomenie, and they are regualted by size. Ie. No two can be the same size. If one grows bigger, adn there is no space for them to move up in the hierarchy, they are kicked out. If one dies or gets eaten the next smaller one grows to the appropriate size and moves up the chain. The largest one is the female and the rest are male who mate with her. If the female dies, the one directly below it in sizes grkws arger and changes sex to female! Insane! I havent confirmed this on wiki, but ill believe what the dive master told me, he seemed very knowledgeable with tens of years of diving experience.

At this dive shop, they provide quality equipment and short sleeved wet suits. You'd be surprised how cold it got there because of the thermocline. One minute you are in 28 degree water, the next it drops 10 degrees with cold current.

This turtle is a hawksbill turtle - note the shape of its head compared to my previous pics.

The turtles with the rounder heads here are green turtles

This set up was really funny. Behind the turlte is a batfish and they follow turtles around because they eat their poo!


Crap, i forgot what this fish was called. It was massive though. Maybe around 75cm? When the sun shined on them, it was florescent.

They were awesome.

This funny dude here is called a unicorn fish. The name is pretty self explanatory

I cant remember, but i think these fish below were a type of angel fish.

This was pretty close to the surface...colours are much brighter and vivid up here

Sooooooo many fish!

I was told this is a great baracuda - they like to swim on their own as opposed to in a school like the other baracuda i saw earlier in the day.

More turtle!

The coral was gorgeous. I am so sad that my photos really dont do them justice. No matter how i changed the settings on the camera, i could not make it show the colours i saw.

This was the island on the first day i was at Sipadan - super cloudy.

But beautiful nonetheless. Diving was spectacular...

Location:Mabul Island/ Sipadan Island, Malaysia


  1. Hi there! Another travel blog. By the way, are you accountant? If you are, then we have 3 similarities. I am accountant too, and this year, I am 25 years old and I also has travelled 17 countries at this moment. :)

    Resigned from my previous work not because travelling but for professional accounting papers, ACCA. Anyhow, I admire you in that sense you are so brave and dare to breakaway and see the world. I still don't have the guts.

    Feel free to visit my travel & living blog :D

  2. Nice post about Sipadan, Teresa!
    I still have not been able to catch up with my blog, but I will...sometime!
    Hope your fine!
    Best regards,