Borneo [Malaysia and Indonesia] - July 2009
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 was dreaming about it, I'm here! I had kept a dazzling memory of my dives in Sipadan, three years ago. The ones today amaze me just as much. Turtles, sharks and barracudas are still there! It's spectacular. And so beautiful!
Turtles and sharks everywhere
Ah, Sipadan! A diving spot located in Malaysia, off Borneo, really unique, extraordinary. It is quite simple: at each dive, it is the almost guaranteed meeting with sharks and turtles...
This is my second trip here. And, as during the first stayI am amazed!
I'm lucky, I still very well, binomial question, like three years ago with Sabrina.
My new buddy for these dives in Sipadan is Linda. She and I became fast friends during this short stay - before, during and after our fabulous dives in Sipadan.
Linda is an experienced diver, who has long been an instructor in the Red Sea. She also knows very well the funds of Mauritius because she has family there.
We were delighted to dive together, after having noticed that we were well "paired" under water. We could make our dives last quietly, until the end, in an autonomous way, without having to worry about the air consumption of the rest of the group.
Because on such a fabulous site, nothing is more frustrating than to have to shorten the time underwater because of more novice divers who "suck" their air too quickly. Today, for example, I came back up each time with 90-100 bars still in the tank... Frustrating, I tell you! (For those who don't know anything about diving, I had only used up half of my tank, filled at the beginning to 200 bars).
In short, I really fell in love with Linda as my partner. On this subject, read my little post for Plongeur.com Magazinepublished in 2010:
→ The diving buddy lottery
Sipadan is amazing!
Linda did not know Sipadan. She hallucinated.
Even before the launch, several turtles come to greet us on the surface. When we go down in a garland of bubbles on Barracuda Point, we do not know where to turn.
Banks of fish-drivers and butterfly fish flutter at shallow depths. A huge batfish turns me around a bit to inspect me, then moves away.
Hafiz, our guide, beckons us to lift our noses. Dozens of humpback parrots stand out in shadow over our heads.
And then we come across a first turtle, which is nestling on the reef, the nose in the coral. Another comes to graze us, light, graceful, with a gentle movement of a fin. In the blue, close, file the gray silhouette of a shark.
Linda points her finger at the beast to make sure that I have seen it correctly. It is a white tip reef shark (also called a coral shark, Triaenodon obesus of its scientific name), the most widespread species, here.
You say I saw him. I'm already filming it, my camera at arm's length.
But Linda's still reaching out to me. I turn around. Ah, there you go. Here's another one. That's good. That's good. That's very good. I've got it, my "reverse field"!
A few minutes later, we came across a school of jacks. A huge school !!! A cloud of fishes which waves around us, envelops us, then moves away...
But the best of diving in Barracuda Point is ... barracudas.
We fall midway on a large bench of large cattle. They really have an ugly face, with their pointed muzzle full of teeth. The wall of scales scrolls, no end ... Bigre.
And what do I do now for my "reverse field" in the current?
The bench goes away in the blue, leaving us dumbfounded, amazed.
Linda turns her head back, performs a small dance of joy.
Shark cleaning station
A little further, we arrive at a cleaning station. It is a plateau of debris of coral and sand mixed, which contrasts with the rich life of the reef. Small fish cleaners and other needy shrimp are at work.
The sharks come to rest there, on the bottom, to be made a beauty. If they don't feel disturbed, they stay there, quiet, without moving. The coral shark is one of the few sharks that does not need to swim constantly to breathe.
The opportunity is too beautiful. We approach gently, not to scare the critters ... And we go the camera.
Posing next to a shark, I love it!
Linda, as if in prayer, watches one of the sharks with her hands joined...
Small update : I went back to Sipadan in 2013, four years after this stay in 2009... And the sites remained exceptional, with still sharks, turtles, barracudas and jacks in a mess! But I was also better equipped for underwater photography, with my Canon Eos 7D in its boxacquired in 2010 and I brought back some otherwise more spectacular images, like the ones below... And I still managed to get my picture taken with a shark! 😆 All my articles on this new trip to Borneo from 2013 can be found here :
→ Indonesia + Malaysia 2013: Return to Borneo