Destination Sipadan, Malaysia, Part 1

September 5th, 2012  Posted at   Wellness
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Sipadan is a primitive, small island located just off the coast of the Malaysian state of Sabah, which is becoming increasingly well-known amongst recreational divers. It has a huge population of turtles, vividly colorful teeming reefs and abundant variations of marine life.

Diving in Sipadan provides a rare and exciting way to visit one of the world’s richest oceans and a chance to be “one with nature.” This off-the-beaten-path dive destination may not be for everyone, but it does offer the adventurous diver with incredible underwater sights along with rustic accommodations in a pristine setting.

With Sipadan’s increasing popularity and in an effort to appeal to a more diversified group of divers, Borneo Divers, the only operation offering dive trips to the island, has recently undergone improvements and expansion throughout its operation. Several A-frame wooden huts (referred to as “sleeping huts”) thatched with coconut palm leaves have been added that feature ceiling fans and mosquito nets, the showers, located at the edge of the island’s small forest now have hot running water, and electricity is now in continuous operation. Improvements to the “Big Hut” that houses the dining room and entertainment center include a bar area and a wooden floor, which replaced the former sand floor. Although these improvements make the accommodations and facilities more comfortable, the unmistakable primitive island appeal remains.

Diving in Sipadan provides a diving experience unlike anywhere else in the world. The water’s edge is approximately twenty five feet from your hut and just a few feet further is a three thousand foot wall. This provides divers with the opportunity to perform scenic wall dives, smothered with soft corals, crinoids of every color imaginable and a wide variety of tropical fish. Similar plunging walls surround the entire island, which even the furthest dive sites are only a five-minute boat ride from high speed, comfortable boats. Scheduled dives are twice daily and are usually conducted each morning and afternoon. Apart from the convenient wall diving right in front of the resort, the majority of the dives are drift dives, although the currents are mild and easily negotiated by a competent diver.

The visibility tends to vary depending on the time of year, but usually ranges between seventy and one hundred feet. The water temperature, on average, is approximately eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit, which makes diving in a light exposure suit, such as a skin, very comfortable.

Sipadan offers a fantastic setting for the underwater photographer and all divers alike in a hassle-free environment.

Divers will find that they are allowed a lot of freedom to do their own thing as opposed to other destinations that insist on the group staying together at all times.

The Divemaster serves as a guide to point out the vast and varied marine flora and fauna while keeping a keen eye open for any potential hazards. One of the most spectacular dives is the Turtle Cave, considered a cavern dive, requires special training in overhead environments, and should be accompanied by either an instructor or Divemaster.

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