Destination Sipadan, Malaysia, Part 2

September 5th, 2012  Posted at   Wellness
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The entrance to the Turtle Cave is a large opening that lies at a depth of sixty-five feet, leading into an extensive cave system. This cave system has been mapped out by Ron Holland, one of the owners of Borneo Divers who has found the remains of over thirty turtles inside. When Jacques Cousteau once visited the island, he speculated that this cave could be where the turtles went to die. However, others believe that the turtles simply get lost inside the maze and drown.

Another magnificent dive site is Barracuda Point. It offers the exceptional opportunity to observe hundreds of large schooling barracuda up close. Observing the barracuda, they seem to move as one with the current.

Contrary to the myth that barracuda are very dangerous and will attack even when unprovoked, the barracuda merely watch their surroundings, including admiring divers, with a vigilant eye. As with most marine life, any attack on humans is usually triggered as a defensive reaction on the part of the creature, or resulting from provocation. Barracuda have been known to be attracted to silver jewelry or other sparkling items worn by divers underwater. Divers should refrain from wearing jewelry while diving as barracuda tend to mistake jewelry for baitfish, which could account for some attacks on humans in the past. The Hanging Gardens at Barracuda Point are abundant with vivid soft corals that fill the many crevices and grooves of the wall, providing a brilliant backdrop for photographs.

Expect to see plenty of sharks on almost every dive including white & black tip reef sharks as well as hammerheads, all within a reasonable camera range. Nevertheless, more than any other species, with Sipadan’s heavy turtle population, divers are sure to witness more turtles in a single dive than they will ever see over a lifetime. Although turtles can be seen in other diving destinations around the world, the turtles found in Sipadan appear to be quite friendly and surprisingly unafraid of divers, due to their limited exposure to man – the hunter. As with many uninhabited areas such as the Galapagos Islands for example, the marine life and wildlife found here are very curious and unafraid of man, which is what makes scuba diving in these places such as Sipadan, unique experiences. Apart from being friendly, the turtles seem to give off a majestic air. It is an incredible experience to find yourself swimming quietly around these large, magnificent creatures as if one of them. Their eyes are small, yet warm, soft and incredibly wise. Throughout the year, it is not uncommon to occasionally find turtles mating underwater. During the months of August, September and October, several turtles can be found on the beach at night laying their eggs in the soft sand. Although this is a year-round occurrence, the above three months represent peak-season.

Sipadan is a long way from the United States, but is easily reachable via Malaysian Airline Systems (MAS) or other major airlines flying into Kuala Lumpur. After arriving in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, you will then need to connect to Kota Kinabalu, where Sipadan is located. From Kota Kinabalu you will need to fly to Tawau and from there proceed to the coastal town of Semporna, where an overnight at the Dragon Inn is an experience that shouldn’t be missed. The next morning, a one-hour boat ride will take you to the Island.
Sipadan is quite a distance to travel, however. If the vast distance is a drawback, it is also an adventure, taking you to a virtually uninhabited domain and fascinating out of the ordinary destination where the quality of diving far outweighs the luxury of a five star hotel.

There is something to be said for the feeling of excitement when one travels and explores new environments and cultures, such as Sipadan.

Active travel, such as dive travel, helps to restore a sense of physical well being as a result of proper exercise, rest and diet in preparation for performing a series of dives, as well as mental balance that is experienced in the quiet, serene and peaceful setting of the underwater world. Scuba diving and dive travel promote a healthier lifestyle for those that become passionate for this tranquil pastime.

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