Sharks and Turtles
Sipadan Travel Blog› entry 160 of 658 › view all entries
People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Fleming (Denmark)
My first dives in Sipadan had been booked with a different dive company from my dives in Mabul, as Uncle Changs were fully booked. Therefore Scuba Junkies picked me up at 9am and we were soon making the 20 minute boat ride across to Pulau Sipadan. Just before we reached the island we had a really pleasant surprise when we spotted 5 dolphins only metres from our boat. We slowed down and watched them for a few minutes, this was surely going to be a great omen for the day ahead.
Our first dive was down to 35 metres and the depth soon paid off as we encountered a Leopard Shark swimming some 10-15 metres below.
After an hour surface interval we made our way just off the shore to the second dive site called Barracuda Point - no points for guessing what we were trying to see here! The dive started very well as we encountered a large school of batfish and then turtles, before descending down to around 30m again.
We had another hour surface interval in which time we had our lunch and had a little look around the island. It became off limits for people to stay on the island when an Islamic religious group kidknapped some tourists a few years back.
The last dive of the day was at Turtle Cave, again quite explanatory what was there! As we dropped into the water we were greeted by 2 huge schools of Humphead Parrotfish racing in our direction. One school passed a few metres above us, whilst the other one passed straight through us. It was really remarkable and quite rare as they only come up to the surface once or twice a week. After this bonus, we headed deeper down to the cave.
I had seen pictures of the cave before, which runs underneath the island and is the resting place for hundreds of turtles who have strayed in, become disorientated, been unable to navigate their way out and drowned. At the entrance there is a warning sign and once you progress more than 30m inside, it all becomes a little disorientating.
The whole trip was outstanding and i can only imagine what it would be like with 60m visibility instead of 15-20m. It was clear why Jacques Cousteau was so charmed by the diving here and why it holds a 5 star rating in the diving community. I was even more thrilled that i had booked another dive for 2 days time as there was still the possibility of spotting Hammerhead Sharks and Hawksbill Turtles.
Back on Mabul and Julia was also in a great mood, as she had passed her Open Water course and also seen loads of interesting things on her 2 dives, including Blue Spotted Rays and Cuttlefish.
UNCLE CHANG'S SIPADAN SONG
1. There's an island in the Celebes Sea,
The name's Sipadan you must go and see,
If you're a diver and you want the best
Come go along and we'll do the rest!
CHORUS: Well I'm glad to say the drop offs ok,
Barracuda points not far away,
Lobster Lair is also there
And the Hanging Gardens are very rare!
2. Diver down at the water side
Looking at the drop off with gaping eyes
Wondering whats there down below
Is it Nobby Clarke or Jacques Cousteau!?
You can go and see if you're feeling brave
Dive right in until it ends
But don't stay too long or you'll get the bends!
4. White Tip avenue and Turtle Patch
The Coral Gargen - There is no match
Soft coral, hard coral and see whips too
Tropical Fish to amaze you!
5. Jacques Cousteau and Calipso came
Oh...ze... micro paradise he did acclaim
Diver in silver up and down the reef
Cameras were clicking there was no relief
6. Well sad to say you're leaving tomorrow
Sipadan Island will be far away
I know that when you leave her shore
There'll be memories in your heart forever more!