Sharks, Turtles, Barracudas and Julia :)

Sipadan Travel Blog

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Awang checks out a School of Barracuda

People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Julia (Russia), Johnny (Malaysia), Awang (Philippines)

So it was eventually time to go and dive Sipadan again, after a 4 day wait. It would be Julia's first experience there and having only just passed her open water course, she was understandably nervous. We began our day with a dive at Barracuda Point, where i had dived previously. I decided to go deep on this dive in the hope of spotting Hammerheads, but after passing into colder currents and descending to around 43m, i became a little nervous that my camera would break as its housing is only designed to go as deep as 40m. I therefore hovered around that marker, but didn't spot anything too interesting, so ascended to join up with the group again. Within minutes of been around 25m, we started encountering White and Black Tip Reef Sharks.

White Tip Reef Shark
We then came across a huge school of Giant Barracudas, although i dont think it was quite as big as the one i had previously encountered, still it was an impressive sight! We only stayed down around 40 minutes, but managed to see a Green Turtle, school of triggerfish and many White and Black Tip Reef Sharks. Julia was lucky enough to see a big octopus and found the dive amazing as it was her first time in the water with sharks.

We took an hour surface interval before heading to our second dive site of the day, Staghorn Crest. We encountered many of the same species, including at least 2 dozen sharks, which was really remarkable. It was particularly interesting to swim in amongst them and all of a sudden realise that a shark was coming at you from the blind side. There was also one Whit Tip Reef Shark that was hidden in a small cave and i managed to get within touching distance of it to take a photo.

White Tip Reef Shark
Other interesting spots included large numbers of Green Turtles, including one that we stayed and eyed up for a minute or two, 2 clown fish, harlequin sweetlips and a school of moorish idols.

Our third and final dive of the day was at the Hanging Gardens. On this dive i buddied up with Julia, as on the previous dives she had been going only to 18 metres so i had buddied up with Awang. It was a strange dive, because i felt a lot more protective and worried about what Julia was doing, rather than concentrating on my own dive. She also felt a lot more pressure having to dive with me and we agreed at the end it was probably best if we dived with seperate buddies in future. Some cool things that  we spotted on this dive included a Hawksbill Turtle, a huge Triggerfish that was been cleaned, several small caves and openings that you could swim through, a pretty large Moray Eel, a crab and some clown fish.

Hey Awang, whats up!
Oh, there was also another 15+ sharks, but they had become extremely common to spot and you almost ignored their presence after a while.... or maybe not!!

We went back to Mabul and collected our belongings before getting the boat back to the main land city of Semporna. Uncle Changs band came out to play the 'Sipadan song' for the final time and we ended up humming it all the way back on the boat. To cap off a wonderful week, we then spotted a couple of Turtles mating, which was pretty neat. Once in Semporna we settled our final bill and went to see Scuba Junkies to find out why they hadn't picked us up on the 3rd. They seemed surprised to hear our story, as the dive master had not even reported that there were less people on that day, than had signed up for the diving.

Me and a Green Turtle
To be honest, both dive operations need their heads banging together, as their rivalry ends up spoiling the divers experience. I was just thankful that we hadn't been pushed for time and missed out completely, like i'm sure must have happened to somebody in the past at some point. After a quick bite to eat, we caught the overnight bus back to Kota Kinabalu.

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.

Sipadan Island
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!?

CHORUS

3. There's Turtle Skeleton in Turtle Cave

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!

CHORUS

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!

CHORUS

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

CHORUS

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!

Deats says:
hahaha, sorry, i misread what you wrote! I wondered how it was not possible to see them :) I loved the muck diving at Mabul island, the way you desscribe it is perfect. All the big fish at Sipadan are in such contrast to the small things at Mabul. My blogs before this are from there. Cheers!
Posted on: Feb 22, 2008
zkw says:
There's some misunderstanding. "miss" in my comment means that your photos reminds me of the turtles and sharks there like long lost friends. Sorry for my not so exact expression.
I was in Sipadan in Feb. 2007. It's impossible for a diver can not see turtles and sharks in Sipadan. But some small island around Sipadan are also terrific for diving. Especially after you dive several days in Sipadan, to dive at those islands is like to have some vegetables after finish a delicious meat dish.
Posted on: Feb 21, 2008
Deats says:
Thats such a pity! When were you there?
Posted on: Feb 21, 2008
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Awang checks out a School of Barra…
Awang checks out a School of Barr…
White Tip Reef Shark
White Tip Reef Shark
White Tip Reef Shark
White Tip Reef Shark
Hey Awang, whats up!
Hey Awang, whats up!
Me and a Green Turtle
Me and a Green Turtle
Sipadan Island
Sipadan Island
Large school of trigger fish
Large school of trigger fish
White Tip Reef Shark
White Tip Reef Shark
White Tip Reef Shark
White Tip Reef Shark
Black Tip Reef Shark
Black Tip Reef Shark
Black Tip Reef Shark swims between…
Black Tip Reef Shark swims betwee…
School of Barracuda
School of Barracuda
School of Barracuda
School of Barracuda
School of Barracuda
School of Barracuda
School of Barracuda
School of Barracuda
Pufferfish
Pufferfish
White Tip Reef Shark
White Tip Reef Shark
White Tip Reef Shark
White Tip Reef Shark
White Tip Reef Shark
White Tip Reef Shark
White Tip Reef Shark
White Tip Reef Shark
White Tip Reef Shark
White Tip Reef Shark
2 White Tip Reef Sharks
2 White Tip Reef Sharks
2 White Tip Reef Sharks
2 White Tip Reef Sharks
2 White Tip Reef Sharks
2 White Tip Reef Sharks
3 White Tip Reef Sharks
3 White Tip Reef Sharks
School of Batfish
School of Batfish
Awang hanging out with a turtle
Awang hanging out with a turtle
Good afternoon Awang!
Good afternoon Awang!
Harlequin sweetlips
Harlequin sweetlips
2 Green Turtles
2 Green Turtles
Green Turtle
Green Turtle
School of Moorish Idols
School of Moorish Idols
2 Clown fish
2 Clown fish
Green Turtle
Green Turtle
School of Moorish Idols
School of Moorish Idols
Titan Triggerfish
Titan Triggerfish
Black Tip Reef Shark
Black Tip Reef Shark
Black Tip Reef Shark
Black Tip Reef Shark
2 Black Tip Reef Sharks
2 Black Tip Reef Sharks
Black Tip Reef Shark
Black Tip Reef Shark
White Tip Reef Shark
White Tip Reef Shark
White Tip Reef Shark
White Tip Reef Shark
3 White Tip Reef Sharks
3 White Tip Reef Sharks
Up close and personal with a Green…
Up close and personal with a Gree…
Green Turtle
Green Turtle
Green Turtle
Green Turtle
White Tip Reef Shark
White Tip Reef Shark
Awang checks out this Green Turtle
Awang checks out this Green Turtle
Me and Awang say hi to a Green Tur…
Me and Awang say hi to a Green Tu…
Awang and a Moorish Idol peer thro…
Awang and a Moorish Idol peer thr…
Awang squeezes through a small ope…
Awang squeezes through a small op…
Julia blowing her nose :)
Julia blowing her nose :)
Moray Eel
Moray Eel
Moray Eel
Moray Eel
Green Turtle
Green Turtle
Crab
Crab
Clown Fish
Clown Fish
Titan Triggerfish
Titan Triggerfish
Green Turtle and Hawksbill Turtle
Green Turtle and Hawksbill Turtle
Hawksbill Turtle
Hawksbill Turtle
Sipadan
photo by: Deats