June 3, 2012

Cuti-cuti Malaysia : Diving in Sipadan (part 2)

Continuation from here ...

We arrived from Semporna at around 8.45am and were told to quickly take our rented equipment from the shop. We would start our diving very soon.

The package we took with Scuba Junkie was a 3 days diving, which comprised of 1 day diving in Sipadan and 2 days diving in Mabul and Kapalai Island. Overall, I paid RM1140 for the package and it includes the equipment rental, snacks and lunch. You can refer here for the detail pricing.

On the first day, we only dived around Mabul Island. The first dive was at Eel Garden. For the second dive, we went to Artificial Reef. And lastly for the afternoon dive, we went to the Lobster Wall.

ready to dive!

The underwater scenes, oh my God! It was superb. Mabul is definitely one of the islands to watch, apart from its famous neighbour, Sipadan. 

Among the fish I saw were Reef Scorpion Fish, Blackspotted Puffer Fish, Trumpetfish, Cornet Fish, Star Puffer Fish, Big Eye Porcupine Fish, Short Nose Box Fish, Big Eye Trevally, Harlequin Sweetlips, Long Fin Banner Fish, Titan Trigger Fish, Stone Fish, Giant Frog Fish. I bet you've never heard most of those fish names. Neither was I.

Every dive trip is a learning experience for me. Until now, I have a hard time remembering those fish names and whenever we had to write the dive log after each dive trip, I had to ask my dive master what I saw.   

Oh.. and there were definitely lots and lots of Green Turtles and Hawksbill Turtles.

Fun Dive 1 : Eel Garden, 50 minutes, 18m max depth

Fun Dive 2 : Artificial Reef, 47 minutes, 17m max depth

Fun Dive 3 : Lobster Wall, 52 minutes, 16m max depth

The next day was the day I was waiting for! Say hello to Sipadan Island y'all!

To be honest, before the Abu Sayyaf kidnapping took place in 2000, I've never heard of Sipadan Island. Also, I was still young la that time so I didn't know much about the diving world. The incident somehow put the island on the limelight, though for the wrong reasons. Divers stayed away in the aftermath of that incident. But I guessed its beauty overshadowed all those kidnapping stories and also with the presence of the army and navy protecting the area, divers from all over the world slowly came back to enjoy this treasure island.

As part of the conservation effort in Sipadan, all the resorts and dive operators were ordered to move their operations out of the island by end of 2004. Divers are still permitted to dive in the island, though the number of divers has been limited to 120 pax daily and no night dives are allowed.

Since only 120 permits are issued by Sabah Parks daily, you are advised to book it in advance with your respective dive operator or resort. I am not sure about the permit allocations but Scuba Junkie for example, was granted 7 permits on the day I dived with them. Other divers who didn't book in advance were put on waiting lists. Just for your info, the permit application will be done by the resort you choose to stay at so no worries about filling any forms whatsoever.

All divers need to register themselves at the jetty prior to the dive. I had a quick check around the island. There are some basic facilities on the island; such as toilets and hut for divers to have their snacks and lunch. 

Take a look at the island...


Gonna show you more.. to be continued in part 3.

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