One of the main reasons we decided to travel through Sabah was to dive the famed waters of Sipidan and the surrounding islands. Well actually that was my reason, Jess was merely tagging along as she hadn’t ever dived before and was petrified of sharks. And from all accounts we were guaranteed to see sharks around Sipidan – lots of them!
Nonetheless we arrived into the dirty scumhole on the end of the earth that is Semporna town. It was hot, humid, sunny and the place is a shambles. We found sanctuary at the Scuba Junkie bar with cold beers, whistling ceiling fans and glorious pizza!! Only partially convinced that she wouldn’t be eaten alive, Jessi finally submitted and booked in for her Open Water course. To fill in the time I signed up for my advanced course and get a few extra dives in for fun 🙂
Meeting her up at the bar after her first day in the water it was impossible to wipe the ear-to-ear grin off her face! She was so excited and happy that she’d been ‘forced’ into diving and couldn’t wait till morning to do it all over again. So after we’d finished our courses we had a few days to kill before our Sipidan dive (permits are limited and the waiting lists are looong – some people were told to wait for a month but we got lucky and picked up some permits about a week in advance) so we headed out to find elephants in the jungle.
On our return to dirty Semporna we still had some time to kill so we spent a few more days diving. First trip was out to Mataking and Timba Timba islands where we saw about half the living creatures the ocean has to offer (rough estimate) – green turtles, octopus, lionfish, scorpionfish, frogfish, eels, rays, razorfish, jackfish, barracuda.. the list goes on!! And that’s not to mention the limitless number of corals and nudibranchs. See below for some photos we took on the dive – bearing in mind this was my first time shooting underwater and it’s not as easy as I first thought.