On the boat to Kapalai
Woke up at 4 minutes to 5am, we had never moved so fast out of bed! Our Taxi was arriving at 5am to take us to the airport. I could already hear Malcolm and Julie stirring given the walls didn't go all the way up to the ceiling! The two taxis which we had booked were ready waiting for us and we had another hair raising ride to the airport, good job the roads were empty! I was very relieved to get out the other end. Our flight was at 7:20am to Tawau in Sabah, we had plenty of time to spare so after checking in we had some breakfast at McDonald's. Our flight to Tawau was around 2.
5 hrs and was quite pleasant. Tawau airport was quite modern and we were tested for Swine Flu on our way through, taking our temperature by shining some sort of device into our eyes. At the exit we were met by the Kapalai resort driver and piled into the minivan. The drive to Semporna was about an hour and the scenery was less than interesting! Palm trees of the same type dominated the landscape, palm oil plantations, rows and rows with hardly another species of tree to be seen. Malcolm made us laugh when he said eye spy with my little eye something beginning with PT! We guessed straight away it would be Palm Tree! Semporna town was not particularly pretty to look at and even though they have a couple of good dive operations I'm glad we were staying out on the resort.
The dockland area was nice, wooden chalet style buildings similar I guess to where we were going. We had some paperwork in the travel office to take care of first before taking the boat to Kapalai. All our bags were taken care of as we headed to the small motor boat, the ride to the resort took a while, nearly an hour.
Malcolm and Julie on the boat to Sipadan
Our first impressions of Kapalai were WOW, paradise on stilts out in the middle of nowhere. We were led into the enormous dining room for lunch which was a scrumptious buffet. We met the dive master/instructor where we had to fill out more paper work and show our dive licenses. Resort meal times etc was explained to us as was the rules like no wet gear inside the public areas. We were then given our keys for our rooms.
I couldn't wait to see our room and explore the rest of this gorgeous resort! We had a couple of hours to ourselves before we had to meet our dive guide at the dive centre. Both ours and Malcolm and Julie's rooms were quite a walk from the main hub along a very long jetty almost at the end. On entering our Chalet our jaw dropped, it was huge with both a king and single bed, large double doors opened out onto a private balcony which overlooked the lagoon, a huge bathroom with shower big enough for two and the bath which had open shutters above it which again looked out over the lagoon! We were in paradise and we had to take a small movie of our palace! We went to Malcolm and Julie's chalet which was just across from ours and was a slightly different design. At 2pm we wandered down to the dive shop area which very well laid out and met our dive guide Alvin.
Alvin took us through all the procedures of the whole operation which was excellent. Vaughan and I then sorted out hiring some gear as we had only brought some of it with us and needed a wet suit, BCD and fins. It was then time for a check dive where Alvin took us just off the jetty. The water was very warm 29C! The current was pretty strong and there wasn't much to see around the jetty area but it was purely a check dive to make sure gear was in order and Alvin was confident with our diving. In the evening we would have to check the board to find out where we were diving the following day, we all secretly hoped it would be Mabul for the first day so we could sleep in as we were all pretty buggered from lack of sleep and a trip to Sipadan would mean an early rise.
Our room at Kapalai Resort
Our room at Kapalai Resort
Following our check dive we went back to our rooms and I was looking forward to some peace and relaxation on the deck. It was all pleasant until noisy squealing voices were coming from outside that didn't stop. At first I thought it was the cleaners having a laugh but much to our disappointment discovered it was our neighbours! A group of young Asians thinking they were on a 18-30 Contiki resort. After half an hour I couldn't stand it any more so I went next door and politely told them to keep the noise down. Well that lasted all of 5 minutes before they started up again so this time we yelled at them to no avail so Vaughan went down to reception (our phone didn't work) and complained. Five minutes later it was dead silent! It also helped when an older Asian bloke in the chalet opposite knocked on their door and gave them a serve. In the evening we met Malcolm and Julie down at the bar area for a drink and had dinner. We later found that we had to get our butts out of bed at 5:30am as we we were going to Sipadan! So an early night, it didn't take long to nod off when you have the sound of water lapping underneath your chalet.
Sipadan Hotels & Accommodations review
Best Dive Resort in Sipadan
If your looking for an affordable diving package holiday in paradise then try Kapalai Dive Resort. Its a beautiful stilted over water bungalow resort… read entire review