Sipadan Scuba (Dive Operator) Semporna Reviews
Wonderful experience led by a great divemaster Feb 01, 2013
I booked three days of diving with North Borneo Dive and Sea Sports (better known as www.sipadanscuba.com or www.sipadanonline.com ).
I had used them some four years ago and wasn’t overly impressed by the dive masters. I had mixed feelings about using them again. They were the only ones with good online booking and guaranteed availability for Sipadan once booked and paid. As so many people have horror stories about missing out on Sipadan, it made sense to secure the trip by using this company again.
I booked a three day dive package (Sipadan, Mataking and Sibuan) with four nights compulsory accommodation at Holiday Dive Inn. The packaging with accommodation is a fairly new thing.
I managed to upgrade my Mataking and Sibuan dives to Sipadan the night before due to cancellations. All it required was for me to ask and pay the MYR50 permit fee.
Needless to say, Sipadan was amazing. A bad dive at Sipadan is probably better than a good dive anywhere else!
My experience with the company is far more positive this time and I have no hesitation of using them again. We had a great divemaster called Shannon from Maine, USA.
I now realise that divemasters (and not so much the dive company) make or break one’s dive experience and the company’s reputation.
I was also lucky enough to do three days (rather than just one) at Sipadan. Due to no-shows, I was allowed to do two more days at Sipadan for the extra cost of the permit. Big smile and big thanks!
- Ability to view Sipadan availability online and secure it with full payment.
- The particular divemaster we had was excellent. And some of the other ones that the other customers had were also highly rated . But they will come and go.
- Full payment (non-changeable, non-cancellable, non-refundable); terrible if you get cold the week before.
- Packaged with compulsory accommodation; the hotel was OK but some people may have other preferences.
- Equipment were a bit tired looking but all functional. They have new dive gear on site for when they move to their new premises soon.
Part of the 2012/13 Myanmar, Malaysia & Philippines travel blog
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Great dives, led by casual divemasters. May 13, 2009
We went diving at Sipadan a year after our PADI Open Water course ... so it was our first dive trip ever.
They took us to a good mix of sites ... some were amazing but there was one I didn't like (but other people liked it).
On the second day, they took us to the famous barracuda point ... I've been told by some that it's not a place for newbies, but I had the most amazing dive with the hundreds and thousands of barracudas.
The remaining dives were pale in comparison, as a result of having done the best!
The good points ... everything went smoothly with an online booking. I've heard that people miss out on Sipadan because their dive operators stuff up the paper work or quota. Their is a quota system in force by the government to limit numbers.
The not-so-good ... I didn't know what to expect from divemasters ... but this review is written some months later after having had more experience with dive operators ... I reckon they could have done a bit more briefing and guided newbies a bit more.
Not-sure-if-it's-good-or-bad ... they set up all your dive gear for you. Great convenience ... but not good for newbies who should be getting familiar with the gear.
Read my actual travel blog for more info and pictures of the 3 days of diving.
Part of the 2009 Scuba with Barracuda travel blog