MALAYSIA: Mabul Island and Sipadan Diving

Posted by on Mar 17, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

I hopped on a boat for Mabul at 8:30 am and an hour later disembarked onto Scuba Junkie’s pier. I wandered the island to kill some time until my room was ready for me. Having visited here five years ago, I stopped by the tiny dive resort I stayed at previously. Suffering through the intense heat at Spheredivers in 2014, I opted for an air-conditioned more luxurious situation on this visit.

SEAVENTURES DIVE RIG – This converted oil rig is now a dive resort. I am glad that I skipped staying there. It’s better to be on the island rather than being stuck on that rig. It can easily be seen from the Dive Junkie jetty on our approach.

SCUBA JUNKIE DIVE BOAT – Frankly these dive boats are rubbish. Small and cramped, these annoying crafts force a backward roll entry which can cause you to get water deep in your ears. Getting back on the boat is an ordeal since the ladder turns the experience into something tantamount to an obstacle on a Marine Corps obstacle course. The bottom rung is almost even with the water line and the rest of them are so narrow that they hurt your feet. After a day of diving, I already want to return to Labuan Bajo and my beloved Paradise Divers Komodo. Twice the comfort at half the price!

A guy from the resort picks up my bag that was left behind on the dock.

LOCAL VILLAGE NEXT TO THE RESORT

 

The houses overhanging the water on stilts are occupied by sea gypsies, a phenomenon that I was just enlightened about.

LONG JETTY TO THE RESORT

A SEA GYPSY CHILD ARRIVES AT HER OVERWATER HOME

 

TOURISTS CHILLAXING ON THE BEACH

BOAT BUILDERS JUST DOWN THE BEACH

POLICE COMPOUND – There had been tourists who had been kidnapped for ransom in the past so they maintain a permanent police presence on the island. They patrol the perimeter of the island 24/7.

 

RAMSHACKLE JETTY LEADING TO SPHEREDIVERS RESORT

This is what most of the wooden pathway looks like. It sways from side to side as you make your way to your destination wondering whether your next step will be the one that sends you over the side or worse.

SPHEREDIVERS – The decking is firm and sturdy here, but getting here is preceded by that rickety nightmare. I stayed here back in 2014.

SOME OF THE RAMSHACKLE CONSTRUCTION SEEMS TO FORM SOME INVOLUNTARY, COMPETENT ABSTRACT ART

THE SIGN POINTING THE WAY TO MY FAVORITE PLACE TO OBTAIN FRESH FISH AND LOBSTER

 

THE KIDS PRETTY MUCH RUN WILD ON THE ISLAND

LUXURY FLAT – It features quality landscaping, a vast mixture of building materials, and a satellite dish.

ABSTRACT ART INTEGRATED INTO THE EXTERIOR OF THE DWELLING

SCUBA JUNKIE RESORT ENTRANCE

VIEW FROM MY TERRACE – I got the end room closest to the beach. Sometimes it’s worth an extra $25 a day.

 

NONE TOO SHABBY

A GREAT PLACE TO READ A BOOK AND LOOK AT THE OCEAN

I made the mistake of sitting in this chair before my afternoon dive and fell asleep. Fortunately, someone rousted me and I made it to the boat.

HOME SWEET HOME – My bathroom separates me from the next room so I can make all the noise I want.

SENTRY FOR DIVE JUNKIE RESORT

PIER AT NIGHT

 

 

                                             DIVING DAY #1

The first dive was called Lobster Wall and was truly rubbish, featuring dead and dying coral and really shitty visibility. If I’d have wanted more diving like this, I would have gone back to Fiji. Just kidding, I’ll never go back there. This is the second dive that started with some sad wrecks, but I did manage to take some decent photos.

 

TRUMPETFISH

A SCORPIONFISH BLENDS IN

A WRECK BEREFT OF CORAL GROWTH

HOW I YEARN FOR THE USS LIBERTY IN BALI

 

 

TITANIC – Seeing the prow of this vessel makes me think of one of my most hated films. I thought Dicaprio looked too young for the part, and I despised Kate Winslet as that selfish bitch, Rose. There was enough room for Jack on that piece of wood at the end! Nevertheless, I was overjoyed when popsicle boy sank into the abyss.

The only thing that could have redeemed the film would been for Rose to have jumped overboard after tossing the priceless gemstone into the drink. Better yet just hand over the necklace to the salvage guy, and then jump into the ocean. But no, she was a narcissistic slag to the very end.

 

A NICE SIZED GROUPER

RIDING AN UNDERWATER MOTORCYCLE WITH CART

BUTTERFLYFISH

MOORISH IDOL IN SOFT CORAL

One of the rubbish local dive boats finds an appropriate resting place. It should make a better reef than dive boat.

LONG BEAKED CORALFISH

THIS THING IS SHOWING SOME GROWTH

PAIR OF LONG BEAKED CORALFISH

FALSE CLOWN ANEMONEFISH

 

 

GIANT CLAM

RAZORFISH

RAZORFISH

RAZORFISH

 

ONE LAST LONG BEAKED CORALFISH

TOPSIDE BETWEEN DIVES

BARREL SPONGE

 

 

 

BUBBLE CORAL – AT BOTTOM

SPONGE

 

SEAFAN

Don’t let the pictures deceive you. The diving was dreadful in that most of the marinescape was dead or dying. Hopefully, tomorrows dive sites will prove more impressive. Today’s dive sites were all within five minutes of our dock. Tomorrow’s are in another area entirely.

 

 

                                   DIVE DAY #2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MY PICTURES TEND TO PAINT A DIFFERENT PICTURE THAN THE PREDOMINANTLY DAMAGED REEF THAT COMPRISES THE DIVE SITES AROUND MABUL ISLAND

 

ANOTHER SHOT OF SOME OF THE DISAPPOINTING UNDERWATER LANDSCAPE

SEA CUCUMBER

PURPLE PLEASURE

SWEETLIPS

 

BIG GROUPER, PILOTFISH, AND REMORA – QUITE AN ENTOURAGE

DIVEBOAT WITH MABUL ISLAND IN THE BACKGROUND

 

BUBBLE CORAL

 

 

TUBE SPONGE

SOFT CORAL

CLOWNFISH

STARFISH

 

 

BLUE SEA STAR

PINK TUBE SPONGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AQUATIC ABSTRACT

AQUATIC ABSTRACT – RECLINING FIGURE

 

 

SHY PORCUPINEFISH

 

 

 

FISH BLIZZARD

 

TURTLE NESTLED IN CORAL

SPECKLED MORAY EEL

DIVEMASTER REMAINS AT SAFETY STOP BEFORE SURFACING

 

 

 

NUDIBRANCH

 

LARGE SOFT CORAL

CORAL WITHIN A CORAL – TOP RIGHT

HEALTHY REEF

 

 

SEA CUCUMBER FEEDING

 

 

 

ARTIFICIAL REEFS – Although I do appreciate their utility, I much prefer natural reef systems.

BUBBLE CORAL

 

 

 

COWFISH

DERELICT DIVE BOAT

TRUMPETFISH

SCHOOLING GRUNTS

A WELL CAMOUFLAGED FLOUNDER

 

 

                                GIANT TURTLE EMPORIUM

When I was on Mabul Island five years ago, I visited this same structure and was shocked to see so many large turtles. Thankfully, today was no different.

 

 

THIS ONE IS PLAYING HOST TO A REMORA THAT IS ADHERED TO HIS BACK

 

 

 

THESE TURTLES AVERAGE 300-400 LBS.

THIS ONE’S A LITTLE SMALLER, BUT HE’S GOT PERSONALITY

HE’S GOT A FEW NICE BARNACLES ON HIS BACK AND HAS A GOOD YAWN BEFORE HIS AFTERNOON NAP

PUFFERFISH

CROCODILEFISH

CLOWNFISH

 

 

 

                        SIPADAN ISLAND

 

 

 

BLACK TIPPED REEF SHARK

 

GEORGIA O’KEEFE BARREL SPONGE

WHITE-TIPPED REEF SHARK – He’s got a small remora on his back.

I had another 80 Sipadan photos which my GoPro erased without permission including rare footage of a whale shark as well as numerous videos of reef sharks and turtles. I hope to be able to reclaim the photos with software designed for such a purpose.

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