Sipadan: the dive sites.
Sipadan: the dive sites.

The Sipadan rush

  Malaysia: Peninsula and Borneo - July 2006

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 


Here I am finally arrival at Semporna, the gateway to Sipadan, in Borneo, with my companions Helena and Paul, a couple from Guernsey.

The dive-shops tour

After the exhausting Jeep collective ride, we settled in Dragon Inn, huge hotel complex on stilts. A shower and a nasi goreng later, we embark on the tour of dive shops.

They are all located around the Dragon Inn. And it's a rush for Sipadan dives! The access to the natural marine park, with a fee (40 RM), is limited to 120 divers per day. There are waiting lists as long as my arm...

Sipadan: the dive sites.
Sipadan: the dive sites.

I was warned about this and that's why I had planned to arrive relatively early in Semporna compared to the date of my return to France. I have ten days in front of me: I will dive on the sites of the other islands at the beginning, and in Sipadan at the end of my stay.

I register at Scuba Junkie, spotted on the internet in advance, and of which one of the instructors ofEco Divers in Tioman, a guy from South Africa of Portuguese origin, responding to the evocative name of Che, also told me good. He must also come to work soon.

The reception is actually friendly and smiling. What is not the case for all shops. And it's divers who know the sites that inform me, not employees who have never donned fins and mask, and whose job is to sign the sheet of registration and cash the ringgits.

First availability to dive in Sipadan, on Monday 24. It is full on the 25th. There is still room on Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th. I sign and pay the 40RM fee per day for access to Sipadan to reserve my place for these three days. Nine dives in all on the site. I also register to dive to Mabul, the neighboring island, the next day.

Allow more than three days ...

Helena and Paul, they have the mine that is growing. They plan to spend only three days in Semporna. They end up tapping an exit for 22, at another shop, which I will learn later that it takes more divers than he has the right on the site. And pour some bribes to the authorities so that they close their eyes. Well, that's what he says to himself.

I seem to generate a strange business, this mythical site ... Cousteau, the first to have explored it, must turn in his grave.

  Malaysia: Peninsula and Borneo - July 2006

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