Sipadan: A Christmas Diving Trip

Not a very Christmas-sy Christmas – Palex, Xinning, and I spent it in the tropical waters of Sipadan, off the coast of Borneo, but oh what fun! For four glorious days, we alternated between basking in the sun, stuffing our faces with food, and floating in the waters of Sipadan, Mabul, and Kapalai which teemed with gorgeous marine and macro life.

It was my fourth diving trip since I picked up diving this year, and what a blast! I saw more things than I’ve seen in the past three dives combined! As soon as we concluded our last dive of the trip, I was already raring to go on another dive trip – alas, the next one will likely be only in July. 😦

Thanks guys, for your excellent company and the great dives. And for the photo taking of course (pictures courtesy of them, since my mum brought the G10 to her trip to Antarctica).

From Sipadan Diving

Our rustic budget accommodation at Uncle Chang’s – very basic (we bathed from a pail of water and brushed our teeth along the edges of our wooden walkways, spitting into the clear green waters below), serves bland food, but clean, cheap, and has a seemingly permanent delightful breeze

From Sipadan Diving

One is guaranteed a turtle sighting in Sipadan (this one swimming with blue banded fusiliers). After 17 dives in Dayang, Tioman, and Redang, I had yet to spot a single turtle (though others had, and had pictures to prove it), but I counted six on my very first dive in Sipadan

From Sipadan Diving

The gorgeous Sipadan reef

From Sipadan Diving

We saw schools of jack fish – they were thrilling to watch, masses that banded together protectively in big clusters. But even more exciting, I saw a pair mating (the male turns black when he is amorously pursuing a female).

From Sipadan Diving

School of angel fish at Barracuda Point, Sipadan – my favorite dive site. We dived here twice. On the first day, we saw a school of jack fish, and over a dozen sharks (stopped counting after 12). On the second day, the visibility was a gorgeous 20m (my best yet!), and this school of angel fish seemed to be suspended in the water, much like one of those 3-D magical eye pictures

From Sipadan Diving

Sharks are also guaranteed sightings in Sipadan – we saw plenty of white tip sharks, though this wasn’t the month for the leopard sharks and hammerheads

From Sipadan Diving

Sipadan is famed for its swirling schools of barracudas. We finally spied one such school during our second dive at Barracuda Point

From Sipadan Diving

Swimming with turtles

From Sipadan Diving

The ship wreck (man-made) at the Kapalai House Reef – the picture doesn’t do it justice, but the ship was literally engulfed with thousands upon thousands of the tiny little fish, such that it resembled a living Impressionist painting. Quite took my breath away; that, and the enormous resident grouper I was chasing down for a shot

From Sipadan Diving

Nudibranches in Mabul, which is famed for its macro life. Indeed, we rarely saw any turtles and no sharks in Kapalai and Mabul, but plenty of nudibranches, crocodile fish, puffer fish, mandarin fish, moray eels, shrimps, clown triggerfish etc.

From Sipadan Diving

We saw plenty of lionfish

From Sipadan Diving

There were moray eels aplenty

From Sipadan Diving

A puffer fish

From Sipadan Diving

Trumpet fish

From Sipadan Diving

Yet another friendly turtle

From Sipadan Diving

Crocodile fish

From Sipadan Diving

This sweet lips was dancing in the current, very cute

From Sipadan Diving

Snake eel; we stroked its chin hehe

From Sipadan Diving

Frog fish

From Sipadan Diving

Sunset over Uncle Chang’s

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