Trip Report 7-12 August 2013

I am re-writing this report after spending several hours writing the first version only to loose it somehow on my iPad.  I also managed to leave my iPad on the flight back to Singapore. Glad to say that AirAsia were very helpful and returned it within 24 hours.


During the August long weekend we headed to Sipadan for 5 nights.  Joining me were Phil and Georgie, Francios and Eliode, Sean and Rory, Sarah, Robert, Regina and Sophie.


Phil was trying to set a new record and dived as much as he could. The dive rig offered unlimited diving below, so whenever we had time Phil was in the water.


On the first two days, we dived Mabul and Kapalai, which were just fantastic. There was so much to see. I did not know which way to look; up, down, left or right. We lost count of how many turtles we saw. During the two days diving we saw, frogfish, pipefish, a seahorse, various crabs, cuttlefish, nudi’s of every type, puffer fish, clown fish, mantis shrimp, cleaner shrimp, scorpion fish, crocodile fish, juvenile sweetlips, yellow box fish and mandarin fish. There was so much I can’t remember everything.

We were staying on the dive rig, a converted oil rig.  It was a bit rusty and could use some love and care, but I liked staying there. The dive area and dinning area were huge and no one got in each others way. The lift that takes you from the platform to the boat was broken, so we had to use the back stairs to get on and off the boat. This made it a little difficult. The rig actually reminded me of the Mata Ikan, steel and rust everywhere. I commented to Phil the rig is like the Mata Ikan on stilts.


Sarah fractured her finger the weekend before on The Ark. She got it stuck between the platform and the dive deck ladder.  This trip she back rolled into the water and rolled all the way around and ascended under the boat and knocked her head. Then getting into the boat from the steps, she did the same.  I think Sarah was on some sort of injury plan.


We finally got to dive Sipadan on day three and we planned five day dives.  The first three were nitrox dives and the last two remaining dives were air.  We would have done all the dives on nitrox, but there were not enough tanks and the logistics were a bit tough.


The first dive was a bit disappointing. I was wondering what we were doing at this dive site. There was just a couple of sharks and no schooling fish. The dive guides from the oil rig did not want to dive Barracuda Point because there were four boats there already.


We ended up diving Barracuda Point about three times and it was just incredible. We saw schooling big eye trevally, giant trevally, huge wrasse, schooling barracuda and schooling bump heads.  Sharks? So many that I lost count.  During one dive we must have seen twenty turtles, well Phil claims that many.


We also did a long dive in Turtle Cave. On this dive we went all the way to the very back of the cave and spent a good 15 minutes looking around.  This was very exciting and it made me think for a moment to do some cave diving.  Only for a moment.  After the cave we headed towards Barracuda Point.  I looked beyond the big palageics, the sharks and the turtles and noticed that the coral and the small fish life was amazing too. But nobody really took much notice, they were too busy looking at the big stuff.


During one dive, Sarah and I were inside a school of trevally and we could not see the rest of the group. There were so many fish, the viz was down to one metre.  Sarah moved her hand up and down in front of her eyes, explaining she couldn’t see past all the fish.  There must have been one thousand or more trevally. The barracuda schools must have numbered up to several hundred fish and we saw several groups.

On this trip, I received a lot of comments about my aging speedos (budgie smugglers, banana hammocks, cossies, swimsuit or bathers, depending on which country you are from) and the fact I actually wore them. I must admit they were a bit worn out.  After the last dive of the trip I dropped them on the floor near the shower area.  I went back to find them and they were gone.  I think someone stole them for themselves.


Glenda’s tip – Keep an eye on your speedos.


I hope you enjoy my videos and the following is for some fun!

Cheers, Gary.