Shark in Sipadan. Borneo, Malaysia, July 2013.
Me, very busy filming a shark in Sipadan (Borneo, Malaysia, July 2013).

Sipadan: a video, a shark, a minute

  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: 

Hop, we're off to Malaysia to dive in Sipadan... As an appetizer, I made it simple: a video, a shark, one minute.

White tip shark (coral shark)

I thought that this short shot of a shark (a harmless white tip reef shark) in the middle of corals full of life, would make a nice introduction, to start my series of articles on Sipadan

It's a "rough-cut" video, with no editing - with a white balance that pulls a little too much on the orange, but never mind. It gives a good idea of the atmosphere...

Funny: while rummaging through my impressive stock of images brought back from those dives in Sipadan, I came across this picture of me, which I had completely forgotten... It was taken by Vicente, a Spaniard who was in my palanque. It corresponds exactly to the moment when I shoot the little video shot above, with my 7D !

Shark in Sipadan. Borneo, Malaysia, July 2013.
Me, very busy filming a shark in Sipadan (Borneo, Malaysia, July 2013).

Diver and shark. Sipadan, Borneo, Malaysia. July 2013.

Hello, Vicente! There you go. Another one who loves pose with sharks from Sipadan

Sipadan III: the return of the revenge of the bubbles of the girl who takes underwater photos

Sipadan was the high point of this new trip to Borneo in July 2013. I was going back for the third time ...

Sipadan, episode 3! July 2013.
Sipadan, episode 3! July 2013.

And I was not disappointed, unlike Sangalaki and Maratua. So I keep Sipadan in my little top 3 staff of the best dive sites in Asia (with Raja Ampat and Komodo) !!!

To see the articles about my previous dives in Sipadan, in 2006 and 2009, this is here :

Linda and me in Sipadan ... Turtles and sharks galore !!! (Borneo, Malaysia, July 2009)
Linda and me in Sipadan ... Turtles and sharks galore !!! (Borneo, Malaysia, July 2009.)

But note that in 2006 and 2009, I had not yet my 7D, for photos and videos. Neither the experience I have gained since, for the underwater shot. I was therefore REQUIRED to return to Sipadan for a third episode. I had to check my progress under water in the same context.

Very rewarding and very pleasant, I admit ...

School of jacks in Sipadan. (Borneo, Malaysia, July 2013)
School of jacks in Sipadan. (Borneo, Malaysia, July 2013)

But I'm really behind in my articles. We are already in mid-October and I rediscover, at the bottom of the hard drive, my images taken in July, full of sharks, turtles, barracuda swirls and jacks.

I evaluate them with a fresh eye. I sort, I dismiss, I select. It will still take time ...

However, I had already managed to put some online on the Facebook page, almost direct from the island of Mabul where I stayed (thanks to the mobile connection of an Indonesian diver, who had pity to see me row on the poor common wifi of the center). You can have a look, to wait.

More will be to be discovered (soon) in the next post !!!

Sipadan. Borneo, Malaysia, July 2009.


Travel to Indonesia and Malaysia: Borneo - July 2013

  Borneo: Indonesia + Malaysia - July 2013

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  1. Hello,
    A beautiful introduction to this video of shark, I look forward to the continuation!
    On which company did you travel? I plan to spend a week in Sipadan at the end of July next and then go 3 weeks in Bali. We usually travel on Thai so I tend to favor Star Alliance companies. By cons I did not find a direct flight Air Asia Singapore Tawau. The most direct route seems to be a Paris - KL - Tawau on Malaysian Airlines. And I fear a little low cost airlines because of baggage supplements.

    1. @Patrick: oh, for this trip, I made a trip a little complicated, because I chose to go through the archipelago of Derawan, in the Indonesian part of Borneo first:

      But usually, for Sipadan, I recommend joining Kula Lumpur, then Tawau. Malaysia Airlines is fine. The easiest way is to go to their website to see possible connections and schedules to Tawau.

      There is no particular concern with AirAsia for luggage: just buy in advance at the time of booking the number of pounds you need. In fact, what is problematic, sometimes it is to change airport: one must pass the KLIA where the international flight arrives, to board the LCCT (lowcost terminal). The two airports are not very far, but it is an additional constraint and flight schedules do not necessarily follow well.

      Finally, for my part, I like to travel to Asia with Emirates Airlines. Very often, I choose to land in Kuala Lumpur, which is very well connected then with many other destinations in Asia (whether with AirAsia or other companies).

      Good preparations!

    2. Thanks Corinne. I'm taking my housing, dome and flash in a Pelicase suitcase and camera, lenses and Macbook Air 🙂 in a backpack, which makes two carry-on bags of at least 10 kg each. How is it going on Air Asia? I don't really want to put this suitcase in the hold, it's a bit like writing on it "Steal me"!

    3. @Patrick: Oh yes, when I talked about luggage higher, I thought "luggage in the hold" ... A Pelicase, necessarily, it lacks discretion if it is put in the hold, and it is rather heavy and bulky cabin.

      Personally, I make sure that everything that is precious and / or fragile does not leave me. I box case, dome, porthole, lenses, 7D, MacBook Air, hard drive, etc. in a "small" innocuous-looking backpack, which I take with me in a cabin bag, pretending that it weighs nothing (while it is well over 10 kg I think) ... In general, I do illusion and it goes.

      On the rare occasions when the staff asks to weigh the bag, I remove the SLR and put it around my neck, put the lenses in my pockets and take my computer under my arm. This way the bag is lighter for the weighing. And it passes... 😀 (I then rush to put everything back in of course.)

      AirAsia's website should be checked for their specifications for the weight and volume of cabin baggage. But hey, the tolerance of the bags depends on the person you fall on at the check-in counter, quite often ... For the moment, I have never had to complain about AirAsia on that side, I have never been questioned either for cabin baggage or checked baggage.

      For my logistic strategy of traveler-diver-phographer sub, as for luggage, I had talked about it here:


  2. I'm glad you did a good job on Sunday. Really nice to have found the picture of Vicente while you were filming the same white tip shark!
    Who is the star on the photo? The shark, but you, of course, also ... at Vicente, he has adopted the shark fin break, a good subject to photograph.
    Bravo Corinne, I prefer to read this post compared to the previous one that depresses me, if only we could say STOP the abuse and it works!
    PS: Why is it so good to go diving in Raja Ampat, Galapagos or Cocos Islands ??? It is not those who have the most in the wallet who respect or appreciate these magical places ... at the same time it must be a selection otherwise it would be the invasion of tourists en masse and no!
    We will try to put clean money under the mattress so that our night dreams come true in 2015 ....

    1. @Lisemet: In Sipadan, we get used to sharks, we even find it normal, since they are there every dive or almost ... What would be happy is that there are more protected sites like this one. there (and like the Raja Ampat, the Galapagos, the Cocos Islands ...)

    1. @ Bloc18: These are my brand new flippers, I just got them on this trip. I love them. Nothing to do with the ones I had before, not flexible enough for me, in fact... I feel now "Speedy Gonzales" underwater, even when there is juice in the wrong direction I manage to move forward, while before, even when finning hard, I was going backwards... 😆

      This little video I liked too, when I rediscovered it on my hard drive, suddenly I wanted to put it online right now. For the closeness to the beast, as you say, when the shark turns around frightened by the team and, suddenly, back to me, right in my direction, passing close ... Funny moment.

  3. Hello,
    Really nice video of the shark who makes his diva among divers! Well, I see that under water, Sipadan still keeps its promises and it makes me want to go back! I see on the picture where you put on the pontoon that there is a structure under construction, do you know what it is?
    I have not yet had the chance to go diving in Raja Ampat, but I agree with you for Sipadan and Komodo (where I had the opportunity to go "dishevel" under the water last August). Have you ever been diving in South Sulawesi (WaKaToBi)?
    Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences,
    Sincerely, Nani.

    1. @Nani: yes, I was happy to see, returning for the third time, three years apart, that Sipadan remained at the height of my memories and my expectations ...

      The building under construction will be the new office. It will replace the current little wooden building at the end of the pontoon, where the divers sign the register and the operators take the mandatory flag to put on the boat.

      Dive sites in Sulawesi, I only know those in the north and the Togians. I have never been to the south until Wakatobi. I read mixed reviews about the place some time ago. But it could have improved, I do not know. I might go someday ...


    1. @Brice: Thanks 🙄 It's sure that once based in Asia, it's really convenient to go diving in many nice places.

      As far as I'm concerned, Rennes-Sipadan, that's a bit too many hours of driving, huh, hard to schedule that one next weekend... 😡

  4. Nice this video I must go back, except after your post on Maratua-Sangalaki I wonder where to spend the first week ❓
    You were staying in Mabul ❓
    What resort did you take ❓
    How many times have you dived on Sipadan ❓ because with all this licensing stuff we don't know which shark to go for 😆
    Too bad this time there is no 7 error game, I thought I would win again 😀

    Sipadan. Borneo, Malaysia, July 2009.

    1. @Alimata: For the game of 7 differences, here's something for you to have fun with, on the dock and underwater... 😆

      Sipadan. Borneo, Malaysia, July 2009. Sipadan. Borneo, Malaysia, July 2009. Sipadan. Borneo, Malaysia, July 2009. Sipadan. Borneo, Malaysia, July 2009. Shark in Sipadan. Borneo, Malaysia. July 2009. Sipadan. Borneo, Malaysia, July 2009.

      We note that three years ago, in 2009, the welcome sign was on the beach, not on the pontoon, that I was already wearing the inusable combi+lycra duo, and that, since then, I changed camera, fins, and that I still love posing with sharks... 😛

      For the rest (I'll come back to this in future posts):

      Yes, I was staying in Mabul and I was in the same place as three years ago: Billabong Scuba. Small topo:
      - The guesthouse has expanded and now offers "new comfortable chalets" ... the comfort is actually random, especially on stormy nights when a huge tropical shower turns the air into an impressive fleet wall (tested by me even it rains in the room, the water enters through the ceiling, through the windows, under the door).
      - Ambience of places: international and friendly, with backpackers + young couples + some solo travelers + groups of Chinese tourists.
      - Food correct but monotonous (vary by going to eat elsewhere).
      - Motivation and organization of the staff for the dive: from very good to bad, according to the head of the customer, the weather, the tide, the presence of the boss, the turn-over of the moment, etc. etc. For me, no problem, but I would not necessarily advise beginners who need to feel "framed" (I know it's not your case, but as I'm often asked the question "where to go in Sipadan I give these details here for information).

      I opted for Billabong for several reasons:

      - 1 - the ratio number of permits / number of divers (they have as many permits per day as Scuba Junkie, for example, about 6-7, but as they have less clients in total, we manage to dive more often in Sipadan). So, staying 9 days, I dived 5 days in Sipadan and 3 in Mabul/Kapalai!!! 😈

      - 2 - the price: it is not expensive to stay at home (even in "new comfortable chalet" with shower integrated ceiling), especially when traveling solo like me. No mind-boggling "single" supplement. For tight budgets and back-to-back travelers, the basic rooms of the guesthouse's initial building are not really expensive, but here we forget all privacy ...

      - 3 - the atmosphere: we meet lots of people easily (which is nice again, when we travel solo), chatting at night on the pontoon around the time of the meal, more than in the chic resorts or more upscale. Even the Scuba Junkie resort has become a huge thing, much more impersonal than before (but the piaces are much better, comfort issue).

      From all the reviews collected from right to left, it seems that the most popular resorts in Mabul question comfort / price ratio are usually:
      - Mabul Resort by Scuba Junkie
      - the Seaventures platform
      - Borneo Divers (a bit more upscale)

      If there was not the supplement "single" to pay extra, my choice would probably have been on Borneo Divers (I was ready to put a few cents for my little comfort), whose staff is really nice and which offers all the service we can want. But, again, there remains the thorny issue of the ratio of number of licenses / number of divers ... The ideal is in fact to target the low season, no doubt.

  5. Hi Corinne,

    you are not some beautiful videos of the gigantic bench of bumpheads,
    this summer they were gently grazing the coral at the beginning of barracuda point ...
    It was my best diving memory, a hundred bumpheads on
    the coral shelf and on the other side, the jackfish bench by the thousands ... between the two,
    napoleons, sharks and turtles! 😀

    1. @Bebousse: Yes, I have bits of videos of the bench hump parrots, raiding the reef ... But these videos are not "beautiful". With all the particles they lift, and as I'm not close enough, the visi is reduced and can be seen especially on my rushes a blue cloud with silhouettes a little too far from poiscaille. In short, the rendering is not great, so I do not think I will do much of these videos ... But it was for me also a great moment!

      On the other hand, I have spectacular videos of the barracudas bench. I will put them online when I have found time to immerse myself in them and to mount them ... Patience !!!

  6. Very impressive this dive with the shark, even if it does not look great. The moment he turns around to get closer to you, I had chills.
    It's hard to realize on video, what size was it?

    1. @Chris: This poor shark turned back because he was afraid when he saw other divers coming in front of him... I was happy that he came closer to me, to escape from the others, that allowed me to have better pictures and to admire him more closely... 😉

      Question size, it's always difficult to evaluate, underwater, because all the objects and animals appear a little bigger than they are in reality, but I imagine that it should be about a meter ... But not something to shiver about, if not for the emotion and the magic of the encounter, it is only a harmless shark with a white point.

  7. Hello,

    I am interested in diving in this region, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs clearly advises against going there.

    What do you think ?

    1. @Adrien: I already talked about it in this post:
      Read also the comments below, for the exchanges on this theme with other travelers.

      As I have not followed the news in the region recently, I am hard pressed to give an informed opinion. There have been attacks involving tourists, so it is normal that the ministry advises against going there. Take the time to research the local and international press articles to see when the latest potentially disturbing events are coming up. Go to the divers' forums to get the feedback of those who recently went diving in Sipadan. As far as I know, heaps of tourists continue to go diving in Mabul / Sipadan despite everything ...