I had really big expectations about this place. I was waiting for that day like children for Christmas gifts. Was it worth going there and paying a lot? Here is the answer:
Sipadan was our second day of diving. In the morning we were taken by boat to this small island, journey took about an hour. First we had to go out to the molo where the checking point is. We registered and went back to the boat. We saw there a board with table, names of resorts and how many people daily they can bring. This is why I wrote that sometimes it is easier to get permit in more expensive places. For Uncle Chang it was only 12 if I remember well. Quick briefing on the boat and we were ready to start! 🙂
We dived in three locations: South Point, Barracuda Point, Hanging Garden. First we went really fast down. I felt something is wrong because I knew it can’t be 12 meters deep as my depth gauge was showing. As I realized in short time it was showing not more than 12 and not less than 3… Everyday was the same, new stuff but gauge was not working. Later dive master told us it was 26 meters, he saw big sharks and he wanted us to see them. Of course it was great to saw them but that was a bit strange situation ( I have OWD not AOWD). Divemaster was nice, but he wasn’t looking on us too much, if I had been more fresh in diving I could have felt a bit uncomfortable. But what is most important: Sipadan is awesome. Everything is huge, I felt like I am in prehistoric place. A lot of fishes, a lot of sharks, huge turtles. The Wall was also incredible, beautiful turquoise color on the top and dark blue in far far bottom. I even can’t imagine how deep it was ( Sipadan is rising 600 metres (2,000 ft) from the seabed). Unfortunately we were not able to take nice pictures with gopro, movie is also not as impressive as dives were, but this is whole what I have and can show you 🙂
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The island was in the centre of a territorial dispute between Malaysia and Indonesia, in court from the end of 2002. The International Court of Justice awarded the island along with the island of Ligitan to Malaysia. Philippines had applied to intervene in the proceedings on the basis of its claim to Northern Borneo, but its request was turned down by the Court in 2001.
Sipadan is a place for big stuff with guarantee of turtles (many of them almost 2 meters long!). You can find there a lot of fishes that are attracted by strong currents wrap around the island. Very common are grey reef sharks, rays (from eagle rays and devil rays to their larger cousin the mantas). There are thousands of reef fish like moorish idols and red-tooth triggerfish, yellowback fusiliers and all variety of sweetlips. This dives are often done deep, but also the shallows are really good. There is also something for macro lovers: porcelain crabs, anemone shrimp, bubble coral shrimp, leaf scorpion fish. Barracudas often appear in the thousands in Barracuda Point in 18 meters channel with very strong current. Reef sharks can often be found resting on the channel bottom. One can find there also garden eels and morays, scorpion fish, lion fish, octopus, crocodile fish. Large herds of enormous bumphead parrotfish are often seen in the shallows. In beautiful corals it is easy to find turtles eating sponges or sleeping in small caves. In a spot called Drop Off 5 meters from the beach wall drops over 600 meters straight down. There is well known Turtle Cave – 20 meters cavern with a lot of turtle skeletons. Those turtles became lost in cave and drowned couldn’t find way out. More than 3,000 species of fish and hundreds of coral species have been classified in this ecosystem.
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Mabul is a macro diver’s paradise – it is one of the richest single destinations for exotic small marine life anywhere in the world. One can find there a lot of flamboyant cuttlefish, mimic octopus and bobtail squids, blue-ringed octopus, numerous types of cephalopods, harlequin shrimp, mantis shrimp, frogfish, hairy squat lobsters, spider crabs, seahorses, porcelain crabs, scorpion fish, dwarf lionfish. Mabul is overflowing with macro life. Well known dive spots: Froggie’s Liar, Artificial Reef, Seaventure (An old oil rig which is a hotel now), Paradise 1 & 2, Lobster Wall. In Mabul area we dived witch Jocelyn – she was really nice and engaged in her job from the very first refresh dive.
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Kapalai is the third point of the famous Golden Triangle, it is not really island but resorts built upon a sandbar. Kapalai consists of a small reef 15m deep with blue ring octopus, mimic octopus, ghost pipefish, wasp fish, stonefish, leaf scorpion fish and frogfish. Below the shallow sloping reef is a sandy plateau, which is home to five small wrecks. There one can find giant stingray, large schools of jack fish and barracuda. There is also big artificial reef with a lot of colourful fish: harlequin ghost pipefish, frog fish, stone fish, mandarin fish, giant frog fish, and lots of moray eel and octopus. We also met there the biggest turtles which impressed me so much. Especially the one that unexpectedly appeared just next to me when I was staring at another giant (you can see him at the end of the movie).
It was definitely worth going there!
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