Ok, so I am really conscious that most people reading this blog are in a very cold country, possibly with post Xmas holiday blues: look away now if you can't handle hearing about paradise!
I've been at Borneo Dive resort on Mabul island for last 4 days and it has been petty mind blowing. The diving has been absolutely incredible and the resort spot on in terms of staff, food, booze and fellow divers.
After the Intrepid tour I was a bit apprehensive about leaving the security of an organised trip and expectations were low on my journey to Mabul. This all changed when I arrived and within 2 hours I was in the water having an orientation dive trying to find Nemo. Luckily scuba diving seemed to be a bit like riding a bike and I remembered what to do (not a lot apart from breathe!)
Near Mabul there is a tiny island called Sipadan which is one of the top diving sites in the world. I managed to wangle two day trips there, 4 dives on each day. Loads of turtles, loads of sharks (White reef tip and grey something or other) hundreds of barracuda swarming in circles and generally anything else you can think of from a David Attenborough underwater documentary. Magical.
And weirdly not scary at all!! I think it's something to do with the atmosphere and confidence of the staff but I honestly felt safe as houses.
Ju - to I have answered Anna and Holly's questions about sharks:
1. Sharks are big but not bad.
2. I was protected by the bubbles from my air regulator (sharks are scared of bubbles).
3. I wasn't nervous and managed not to get eaten!
4. Another little shark fact, the reef sharks have a little fish swimming next to them at all times to clean them - very cute.
Four days here has seemed like a lot longer because so much has been packed in and some great company to boot. I have been sharing a room with Chierco from Japan who comes here twice a year. Another guest from Germany comes here 4 times a year! I can see why...it's very undeveloped and unspoilt for now.
Evenings here have been a bit more lively than the last few weeks. It was Australia day on the 26th so we celebrated with Josh from Melbourne with a barbie, tinnies and fireworks. The beach bar is rustic and charming and the local rum has gone down a treat.
Overall an amazing (sorry running out of adjectives) few days. I'll not be forgetting them in a while and I have made a pact with myself to come back here one day. Think it might even have topped the Whit Sundays in Oz for natural beauty.
Next stop Ubud in Bali where I will be booking a long overdue massage or 2 (it's a tough life)...