Borneo: Indonesia + Malaysia - July 2013
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:
I'm coming back from Borneo! Highlight of the trip: the dives in Sipadan, Malaysia ... Yes, for me, Borneo has more the color of the sea than the jungle.
Oops, I haven't posted anything in a long time... 😡 The fault of non-existent, random or ultra-slow internet connections during my trip to Borneo, this July 2013.
Yet I like to tell my trips as they happen, almost live. The sensations are new, the discoveries are fresh... But here, it was really not possible. I only managed to put some pictures on the Facebook page Small Bubbles of Elsewhere.
I've been back in France for a few days, but I still have my head there, in Borneo... Underwater, mostly 😉
Borneo in blue
My own Borneo is more blue than green. I have spent more time above the coral reefs than under the jungle canopy.
As always, diving was the main theme of the trip ...
Five big steps
This trip of 2013 is my third stay in Borneo, after my previous trips to 2006 and 2009. I was gone for almost a month, with five main stages.
1. The Derawan Archipelago (Kakaban, Sangalaki, Maratua), Indonesian side.
2. Mabul and Sipadan, Malaysian side
3. Kota Kinabaluon the north coast of the state of Sabah
4. Kuchingon the northern coast of Sarawak State
5. Kuala Lumpur, the capital, Peninsular Malaysia
Three diving spots
1 - Sipadan / Mabul / Kapalai
The best! I really wanted to see Sipadan again, where I had already dived in 2006 and 2009. And Sipadan kept its promises: sharks and turtles in abundance, swirls of barracudas and jacks...
Located in the Malaysian part of Borneo, the island is a protected area, where the number of divers is limited to 120 per day. Underwater, Sipadan remained as spectacular as during my first visit in 2006.
As for the diving around the neighboring islands of Mabul and Kapalai, it has nothing to do with the great show offered by Sipadan, but it remains very interesting for the muck-dive and the small fauna.
2 - Derawan / Maratua / Kakaban / Sangalaki
The Derawan archipelago, on the Indonesian side, where I had dived in 2009, rather disappointed me: I did not manage to see that many "big" fish in Maratua (a few barracudas on lucky days).
But the most alarming thing is that the Sangalaki Mantas have disappeared, or have become very rare, whereas they were very numerous and very easy to observe 4 years ago. We were almost sure to meet them around the island...
There, we did not see anything. It seems that some other diving tourists saw one, a few weeks before my stay there, but from a distance, and from the boat. In short, the encounter with beautiful manta rays seems to have become much more random
The area of the Derawan Archipelago, of which Sangalaki is a part, is not protected, and these harmless giant rays are now very fished for their gills which end up in soup (like shark fins). Dynamite fishing is also still practiced in the area (we heard several times explosions under water). In short, in my humble opinion, the situation is not going to get any better...
I detailed my diving impressions in Sangalaki and Maratua during this new stay in July 2013 in this new article :
→ Sangalaki and Maratua: sadness and disappointment
The sites of Kakaban are the ones I finally found the nicest, the most rich in coral and fauna. And then there is always the incredible lake with jellyfish that do not sting that I discovered in 2009. Regarding my 2013 journey, I have posted these new articles on Kakaban :
→ Snorkeling in the Kakaban Jellyfish Lake
→ Multicolored dive on Kakaban reef
Finally, the island of Derawan itself remains very nice for the muck-dive. As for the turtles, they can be found everywhere in the archipelago. To read at the end of this link :
→ Derawan, the turtle archipelago
3 - Pulau Gaya / Kota Kinabalu
Finally, I did some diving around Pulau Gaya, off Kota Kinabalu, which I did not know. But a big storm had shaken the bottom a few days earlier, so that the visibility was particularly bad and did not allow me to really appreciate the sites. However, there is a lot to do with the small tropical fauna and in muck-dive.
Here I am, I am just back and I am already nostalgic for Borneo... I console myself by diving back into the blue with my pictures. There is a lot to do: more than 3 000 photos and videos stored in the hard drive.
Of course, I'll be back to tell you all about it very soon!!! You can always find all the articles for this trip by clicking on the link below: