Joey's Diving Trips | Sipadan, Mabul, & Kapalai with Seaventures

All those time and  money spent to get a diving license, but yet never to actually utilize them. I am officially an Advanced Open Water diver as of July 2014 (YES, more than a year ago!). I didn't blog about it because I was in some kind of blog hiatus then. I rely a lot on my blog to look back at what had happened in my life actually. So, it was pretty weird when I don't see any updates about that. Oh well.. 
So far, I had only been to Pulau Perhentian for my dive courses, same place and I have the same instructor (all hail Ethel Toloni). And then, no diving at all. I think the main reason was that I am basically.. broke. You know, because I was not working to sustain my lifestyle then. But finally, I am working right now, I believe it's time to venture into the ocean again. Plus, I had no better plan for my birthday. Don't really feel like doing the cliche birthday celebration thing. And it's a long weekend, so it's absolutely a brilliant idea to spent my time on a beautiful place like Sipadan island. One more place to check off on my to-go list. 

Now, for the juicy details. Here is the gist of it. 

We took a 5D4N diver package with Seaventures Dive. It was suggested by one of my friends as he was planning to go there too. I guess the price was reasonable especially when they are offering unlimited dives at the rig. Unfortunately for us, the current was too strong most of the time, so we only dived once at the rig. Best months to go to Sipadan is from April to Nov (best best best is the month of July & August). So, December wasn't really a great time to go. The visibility was note that great but it was still okay.

Duration of trip | 24th Dec ~ 28th Dec (5 days 4 nights)
Total damage per person | RM3000 ~ RM3800
Total dives possible | 10 ~ 17 dives 
*Calculated price varies as each divers has to choose whether if they want to rent the equipment, adding boat dives, etc. 
*Calculated dives possible varies based on 9 boat dives + optional boat dives with extra cost/unlimited free dive at the rig. It is possible to dive 5 times per day depending on how you spend your time, your stamina and also the weather at the rig. Consider taking morning flight on the day of arrival so that you can reach early and score extra dives at the rig. 
*Please note, prices may change every year! I am only giving a rough calculation based on my trip in Dec 2015.

Prices calculated includes:
Return flight from KLIA to Tawau (bought on 10 Nov 2015 from AirAsia) - RM540+
Seaventures Diver Package (Quad Room) - RM2024.6
- Land transfer between airport and Jetty (Two-way)
- Boat transfer between Jetty and the rig (Two-way)
- Air-conditioned accommodation
- Buffet food (4 times a day, Breakfast, Lunch, Teatime, and Dinner) 
- 3 boat dives per day (except on arrival and departure day)
- Unlimited dives at the rig (time and weather permitting)

Not included in diving package: 
Sipadan Permit (per day) - RM40
Full set equipment rental (per day) - RM100 x4 days = RM400
if you have your own equipment then it will be cheaper. For us, we have our own mask, so it was RM10 cheaper per day.
Additional boat dive trips (per trip) - RM50 

Diving computer (rate based on how many days that it is rented) - RM150++
Nitrox course (Dry course - less than 1 day) - RM500 (this is just something extra we took) 
Nitrox (per tank) - RM25 (only eligible for nitrox certified divers) 

First and last diving trip for year 2015

Despite the warnings from friends and family about the recent beheading of a fellow Malaysia who was kidnapped in Sabah.. We still went for it. Well, not because we are adrenaline junkies or anything. It's just that we didn't think we were that much of a big deal to the criminals that they will come and target us. I mean.. if they want to, they could exert their energy on kidnapping somebody who are more worthy. Like the son of some Datuk Datin ke apa.. Kan? Kan??? 
But anyway, we were relatively safe as we were staying on the Rig and not the town area. Plus, every day the police will come to the rig from dinner time till the next morning with rifles and shit. I guess that's because they have tighten the security since then. So.. as I have said plenty of times before to my fellow friends, "The safest time to go is right after the most dangerous incident has happened." Kind of make sense right?

Welcome to East Malaysia

Immediately after we arrived at Tawau airport, we met Bernie Maroney (I have to write his full name, because it rhymes so damn well) during the ride to the Jetty. There were other people in the van as well but.. Well, it's always hard to make friends with other Asians (not impossible but it's more difficult), because we just don't talk to each other by nature and also they were talking among their own groups mostly. LOL. But anyway, Bernie is a very interesting Canadian university lecturer (and he has two lovely orange cats). 

Checking out the dive rig

Divers! Assemble!

Holiday starts!

Lol, my blurry mask.
Immediately on the first day, we had something like a "check dive" to refresh our memory on our diving techniques. I was afraid that I would forget a lot of steps before jumping into the water but I think I did okay. Although I did forget some minor things, but no life threatening errors. :P

Not sure if I am getting old or what, 
I didn't felt anything special on my birthday. Not like I used to anyway. But, I think this is the first time ever spending it without family or friends (well, except for meine Liebling of course)

XM, me
Bernie, James, and Scott

Had this beautiful and Christmas themed picture taken by Jonatan (manager of Seaventures). Thank you Bernie for the Christmas hats too! It will be a very memorable souvenir. :) 

Right after dinner, I got a very special surprise. Suddenly, everyone was singing "Happy Birthday" and then Kim (Jonatan's girlfriend) came over and put this cake in front of me. I was like... "Oh my gawd, this is so embarassing" but at the same time, I felt blessed. I am just a mere stranger and they celebrated my birthday together with me. And also this cake! It was absolutely delicious. I still remember on the first night there, I was eating a lot of it for my nachspeise after dinner. Thank you guys! And here I thought my birthday would just pass quietly but you guys made it extra special. *wink*

Sipadan day
Finally, it was the day to visit Sipadan! Only 120-140 divers are permitted to dive at Sipadan island each day. Despite the numbers, we saw many divers around us eventhough the visibility wasn't that great, maybe because there are only a few "hot" dive sites there. We had some problem recognizing people too. You know, because everyone is wearing masks and it was so confusing. 

looks untouched

Breakfast and lunch at the island. Felt like we're having a picnic. :)

haaaeeeyyyyy, sexy lady

And that was the day, I lost my mask to Celebes Sea. RIP to my one year old mask. You will be remembered. 

Last night there
Nothing much but just some farewell pictures with the ones who will be away for their Sipadan day trip the next day as we were leaving the next afternoon.

lol, tried to cover my love handles. hahahaha

With Kina, one of the divemasters. Just being cheeky

Bye bye Seaventures, see you again next time!

Kim attempting the Supermodel pose. Hahaha!
We met quite a surprising number of interesting people during this trip. I guess diving brings people together. The staffs are all very friendly and helpful (and funny). Jonatan an amazing photographer/manager. Kim, the life of the party. Hahaha. Apart from Kina, Adam was also one of the divemasters that lead us during our dives. Honestly, we had the best experience with him and he is also very easy to talk to. So, if you're there, maybe you'll be lucky to team up with him! :D Not forgetting James and Scott, who works as teachers in Myanmar. Loads of interesting stories from both of them about Myanmar and Mongolia.

This is the only picture I have of the rig from afar. 
Sorry, if you are expecting some underwater pictures. Yet, I can't deliver! Well, let's just say it's a lot more satisfying to see them with your own eyes rather than pictures. Hahahaha! But I can tell you what we saw. LOADS of turtle.. and sharks (on one dive, we saw 11 sharks swimming in a group, scary but also exhilarating)! Loadssss of eels too. We saw a few large one! Even under the rig, you'll get to spot Elvis, the giant moray eel that has been around since long ago. Unfortunately we didn't spot Elvis, but we did spot a huge one. But they told us that was not Elvis, as Elvis was bigger. like wtf. Loads of fishes under the rig. We also saw a swarm of jackfish in Sipadan, and I got thrown into their "path", it was a superb experience. Stonefish, lionfish, grouper, garden eels, nudy branch.. and the list goes on and on. Maybe I'll upload a video or something if le bf decides to edit the videos he has taken.
There's hammerhead in Sipadan too but mostly they will stay below 30m. So, you would have to take the deep dive speciality before you get to sight them. That's what we planned, to take the deep dive there but.. somehow we were convinced not to. Since it was our first time to Sipadan, and there's so much more to see there other than Hammerhead. Point taken.

Signing off!


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