Borneo: Indonesia + Malaysia - July 2013
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Sipadan. Three mythical syllables for divers in Asia! Sharks, turtles, swirls of barracudas and jacks...
July 2013. This is my 3rd trip to Sipadan. To be pronounced "if no donkey"... 😁
This small island located off Borneo, in East Malaysia, is one of the most famous diving spots in Southeast Asia. Cousteau was the first to explore it in his time. Today, it is a protected site, which attracts divers from all over the world. I place it in my personal top 3 of the best dive sites in the Indo-Pacific area, with Raja Ampat and Komodo.
As for the neighboring islands of Mabul and Kapalai, the dives have nothing to do with the big show offered by Sipadan, but they remain very interesting for the muck-dive and the small fauna. What mix photo macro and wide angle with happiness ...
I already talked a little about this new trip and my impressions underwater in the previous posts :
→ A video, a shark, a minute
→ Diving in the blue of Borneo
New compared to my previous dives there in 2006 and 2009: this time I have my Canon Eos 7D with me. A beautiful toy acquired in 2010, with the waterproof case that goes well to take it underwater ...
I knew I was going to have fun with it... 😉
I had a lot of fun, as far as pictures are concerned, with this impressive swirl of trevally. The school is easy to observe, as it usually stays in the same place, in a shallow area, near the reef.
It's a sight I never tire of. Seeing this mass of silver scales split in two, regroup, stretch, reform, curl up into a ball and start again is absolutely fascinating. I was able to photograph and film this large school of jacks on each of my trips to Sipadan in this month of July 2013. And it gave me the impression of being even bigger than the previous years... 😲
Barracudas of Sipadan
We also regularly meet a school of barracudas, which plays hide-and-seek in the blue or near the reef. The encounter is more random, however. Sometimes, we do not find them at the site they are supposed to be, Barracuda Point... But sometimes they appear unexpectedly, during another dive. A small preview in the video below:
I had the chance to meet it three times, during my dives this summer. But there, the school seemed to me less spectacular, less big and less dense than the past years...
Would it have diminished, or is it just part of the bench, or was I more impressionable back then? It's hard to say.
An exceptional dive spot
Anyway, in Sipadan, the dives are always exceptional. Really. We take a lot of eyes. It is impossible to get into the water without seeing dozens of sharks and turtles!
It's so huge, it's become a joke, and some divers pretend to be jaded at the end of the day. 😂 "Yeah, well, more sharks, it's completely overrated. We've already seen that yesterday, right? And the day before yesterday too. And all these turtles, there are really everywhere... It's a bit boring, we don't even pay attention to them anymore..."
I am amazed, endlessly, with my heart beating at each new immersion. Such an abundance of turtles and sharks, concentrated in the same place, it's magic!
Thanks to one of my diving companions, Vicente Garcia, for the picture above, where I can be seen in action, filming a white tip reef shark (or coral shark)! (And the video that goes with it is here.)
This third trip to Sipadan has delighted me. I would be ready to go back a fourth time... (And it will surely happen.) I am very pleasantly surprised to see that despite its popularity, the site has not deteriorated over the years. I really feel that the bottoms are as spectacular as when I first went in 2006.
See also → All my articles on Sipadan
This incredible underwater wealth is due to the particular geological situation of the island, as well as to the measures taken to preserve the site, by limiting the number of divers and visitors to 120 per day... A quota which seems to bear its fruits.
I tell you this in the next post, read here → Divers under supervision in Sipadan