Praise the Lord for Suba Diving and Sipadan Island!
Praise the lord for Scuba Diving and Sipadan Island indeed. Well I made it from Sandakan to Semporna without any drama's. The 6 hour bus journey however you could describe as cramped, there's only one bus that does this particular route down south and as the bus got to capacity instead of turning people away they proceeded to put garden furniture down the centre aisle, H&S my arse, Haze you would have gone mad!
Diving Sipadan really did save the Borneo trip and make it worthwhile going, firstly the resort, and I use the word resort in the loosest sense, if you can call a wooden shack on stilts over the sea a resort. But nonetheless it had other travellers to talk too and it held the key to diving one of the most amazing dive sites in the world. I was in fact the only Brit at the dive resort which makes a change when travelling, I shared a room with a French Canadian, made good pals with a Danish couple, and also befriended a group of Swedish Students while stopping at Uncle Changs. The resort itself was on the island of Mabul as Sipadan is classed as a conservation area to protect the reef. Mabul in actual fact didn't have a lot going for it, upon arrival and I went to explore in the hope of finding a nice beach to chill and top up the tan before coming home. It took around 30mins to circle the perimeter of the island, it had a beach but it wasn't that great (though I could well be a beach snob now....), I came across a monitor lizard, and more villages made out of shacks before returning to the dive resort.
The second day was dive day, oh yes it all came down to this day being amazing. Out of the three days on Mabul I was lucky enough to be diving on by far the best day, the sun was glorious and though it doesn't matter that much when diving it does help the old visibility. To start I thought it'd be worth explaining why Sipadan is such a special dive site. Beside it's location which is 5degrees north of the equator and being surrounded by the warm currents of the Celebs sea, Sipadan is one of a few Oceanic islands in the world. What this means is that the actual island itself isn't directly connected to the Earths mantel, the island was formed by coral that grew ontop of an extinct Volcano which in total rises 600m from the seabed. It's because of the shear amount of coral that the island is surrounded by the marine life it has. Anyway geography lesson over, in total we did three dives, first was at a dive site called South Point. Now on previous dives I've been excited to see one or two Turtles, on this dive we were greeted by a couple of Turtles upon entry and in total on this dive we must have seen at least 20 of them. As on all the dives the coral garden was beautiful but on the first dive particularly. The second dive was by far my favourite and took place at Barracuda point. We had to contend with really strong currents at this site which was fun, when we first descended we were greeted by a school of Jack fish at least 500 strong all together forming a huge moving silver wall. Following the Jack fish experience we floated further along the dive site to meet again a huge school of giant barracuda. This was awesome we clung onto some rock as not to be swept away by the current while around 300 Barracuda proceeded to pass over our heads. The final dive took us to the Hanging Gardens and as with all the dives we came face to face with Mr Shark. We saw grey tip, white tip, and black tip sharks and on our final dive we must have seen about ten of them. As if all this wasn't enough about half way though the dive I spotted a beautiful Eagle Ray gliding effortlessly through the water. Huge creatures this was about 2m x 2.5m grey with white dotted spots a very rare siteing. Back on Mabul we were entertained by the local band, they were funny the kit alone must have been worth more than all the village houses put together and not one of them could hold a tune but the more they drank the more entertaining they became.
The final day it pissed it down and with my new Swedish friend I learnt the art of Uno. That night I travelled with two of them in the worlds most unofficial dodgy taxi to Tawau in order to catch my flight back to the capital KK.
Yesterday I got to Singapore during the night, found myself a hostel and today have explored the city trying not to spend any money. So 4hr30mins time and my trip is officially over, flight being on time of course, so England here I come. I've heard there has been more snow recently so the tan will last about a week. Sigh....back to reality, It's been a ball!