Hey once again,
Have arrived in the southern hemisphere in the wonderful land of Oz but will update about my time diving in Malaysia first. So after spotting a male orangutan on the river last minute, we were soon back ashore and back to reality, well Borneo reality and a long minibus journey to the south of the island. We crammed 12 of us with backpacks into a 10 seater minivan for a 6 hour journey which wasn't the most pleasant experience, especially with 3 hungover canadians yakking out the window! We finally arrived in the town of Semporna which has nothing special to offer what so ever. It's a dirty and grimy town with a few shops and a fish market and a limited number of places to stay. But the reason so many visit here is for the world class diving off the shore. Was nice to have a real bed, albeit a bunk, but the pizza was mouth-watering after 3 days of jungle grub!
The following morning I was up early and on the rough seas with rain in our faces on the way to the paradise island of Sipidan where the dive site is rated as one of the best in the world. Fortunately by the time we arrived the weather was perfect and the island really did seem like paradise. It only takes 15mins to walk around the white sands of the island and the water was crystal clear. We had 3 dives to do and so set off for our first at a dive site called barracuda point. All of the dives were along the coral wall which plunges 600m deep from the surface! We kitted up and dived in and although I was a bit nervous as it was my first dive after doing my qualification, it felt good to be in control. The diving there was unreal, as soon as we went under the surface we saw tens of turtles, bigger than me! It was amazing to see the creatures in the wild as they glided along effortlessly and we swam behind trying to keep up. Reef sharks would swim past every few minutes and we managed to catch one sleeping on the sea bed and get real close up to him. The coral was amazing, as were the hundreds of fish lit up by the sunrays in the azur blue water. Turning a corner, we bumped into a wall of barracudas, atleast 800 according to our guide, that circled above and around us! We also caught a glimpse of a hige moray eel that I got a little too close to and apparently he was ready to bite my arm off! It's still intact though luckily. All of the dives were like this and it was amazing to look down and see the coral plunge into the darkness. The second dive saw us swimming through a small cave where we found a huge school of jack fish swirling in a massive circle as well as all the little orange and white clown fish (nemo's!) swimming in the coral. Everything was so big down there and I couldn't take it all in. On our last dive a Grouper fish twice the size of me swam past with huge eyes peering out at us. I started to look for the smaller things which were just as amazing, the whole experience was out of this world. The blog really doesn't do it justice, was 10 times better than my diving at Koh Tao and that was amazing as well! So glad I got to do it and was a bonus being able to have lunch under the palm trees of the beach!
At the end of our last dive I really didn't want to come up and head back to grim Semporna, so I decided that when I got back I would get straight on an overnight bus back to Kota Kinabalu as I didn't want to spend another night. Will update with a few more underwater photos soon and about my time in Singapore.