Frank’s diving experience at Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort

The next few paragraphs are written by Frank MacMurray, one of two divers from the reunion group.


I had the good fortune of diving 2 consecutive days in the waters of Sipadan, one of the world’s “must dive” locations after its discovery by Jacques Cousteau over 40 years ago.  It’s located in the Celebes Sea, a few miles off the east coast of the Malaysian state of Sabah on the island of Borneo. In recent years, the site has been overused, and the Malaysian government now strictly limits to 120 the number of divers who may visit the site, and, more significantly, the island itself is now off-limits to all persons except resource managers and the military, who maintain a small encampment on the island.  (This is the island from which some German tourists were kidnapped in 2000 by some activists from the Phillipines.  They were released unharmed after 4-5 months.)

The diving was very good:

On day 1, the visibility was clouded by the effects of rain and wind the night before, but the underwater sea life was abundant and varied.  Particularly memorable were white tip sharks, lots of turtles, barracuda and schools of huge Napoleon wrasse, a striking fish I’d never seen before.  We enjoyed 4 morning dives of about 45 minutes each at  moderate depths, and we were back at our very comfortable accomodations at the Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort by 1 pm, in time for lunch and a nap!  What a life.

On day 2, we enjoyed most of the same dive sites as day 1, but the visibility was much improved after a quiet night.  Especially interesting was the South Point site, where we searched without success for hammerhead sharks, but saw a lot of all the other usual suspects: turtles, shark, barracuda, abundant reef life.

My only regret is not having time to dive some of the other sites in the area, Mabul, for example, but that’s a reason to go back.


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