16 December 2009
There are some sights so extraordinary they make you cry at the wonder of it – the ocean floor around Sipadan was one such marvel. I was literally swallowing back tears in my diving mask.
Giant turtles peddled past me and a whole plethora of coral gardens hung below while tornadoes of barracudas swam up a storm above my head. We were almost caught amidst a school of trevallies as they swam in a swirl. A turtle swam so close to me, curiously examining me while I lreturned the look of astonishment.
Sipadan, one of the oceanic islands off Borneo, is a Mecca for many diving enthusiasts including myself. Blessed with a prolific biodiversity, there are over 500 species of coral and 3000 species of fish around the reefs of Sipadan. From the intimidating white-tip sharks to an abundance of hawksbill turtles, Sipadan is one of the few sites in the world where you are guaranteed a visual feast of marine life.
What makes Sipadan a world-famous dive site is its majestic drop-off that seemingly cascades down to endless depths (700metres). Sipadan Island is only 14 hectares in size, encircled by vibrant coral gardens, which are cut steeply vertical into the deep sea. The drop-off is where you can find incredible diversity and density of marine life, and the most popular dive sites including the barracuda point, and white-tip avenue.
How to get there: Fly to Tawau and then take a taxi to Semporna. From there, many diver operators arrange dive trips to Sipadan island. Overnight stay is not allowed on the island.
Nellie's work has been published in Food & Travel, CNN Go, online National Geographic, Channel News Asia, and is a contributing author of V!VA's Guatemala Guidebook. She writes to travel, and travels to write. The Singaporean native has just spent several months in Latin America getting herself into more trouble and of course, loving it. She now calls Spain home. Who knows where's next?
Join her perilous journey through life at http://www.wildjunket.com/.