Up at 0500,taxi0530'to airport,for flight to TAWAU, northeast sabah.dive shuttlebus drove us past endless palm oil plantations on one hour drive to SEMPORNA,where Seaventures have their office.paid balance on dive trip,bought some mangos,and hopped on speedboat 30 min trip to oil rig.this structure is painted in bright colours,is next to mabul island,near kapalai island,20-30 min from sipidan island,and is our accommodation for next 6 nights.
We got off speedboat onto external lift,which took us up to oil rig platform.having sailed past so many oil rigs recently,we were fascinated to be on one.after the welcome drinks,briefing and lunch we were off on our first dive - under and around the oil rig- down the lift and jump in.lots of fish,with several artificial reefs- the dive highlight being the 2 biggest moray eels we have seen- they were huge..after a 75 min break back on rig- coffee-we had our 2 nd dive,a short boat trip across to MAbul island,about 1 km- luxery resorts on stilts over aqua blue water.more artificial reefs on sandy bottom.there were 2 huge turtles just flopped on artificial reef,ornate pipefish,frog fish- looking like a bit of black seaweed,snake eel .with its head coming out of sand.Mando,our dive leader was great.he is a little philippino man,shorter than me,with a big smile,a ready laugh,and a good eye.when he spots something he jangles a bell on his metal pointer.on the rig he often plays his guitar and sings.
Afternoon tea every day is 4 pm- today it was banana fritters.then hot shower and wifi.
We have a lovely room on level 3,with en suite,and view over M abul.
SIPIDAN island is the main dive site.there are no resorts on island.it has a permit system- only 120 divers a day!if we booked 4 nights,you get 1 definite days diving sipidan,but as we booked 5 nights,we are guaranteed 2 days.
And we are on the list of 11 divers going to Sipidan tomorrow!