Like a newly hatched turtle clumsily crawling through the sand to reach the first dip in the ocean, not knowing what the future will behold, but is drawn towards the ocean, a calling to be amongst the unknown. This is pretty much how I felt when I first started diving, clumsy but eventually got the hold of it. I’m still very much fresh off the boat, not nearly a professional, but can now proudly say I have 26 dives under my belt. Diving wasn’t a goal of mine when I started this one year trip, but after watching Chasing Corals on Netflix one night in Vietnam, I felt this urge to go down there myself. I was terrified on my first dip, I’d had this fear for the ocean for as long as I can remember. A very unrealistic fear of sharks trying to eat me as soon as I would dip my feet in the ocean. But I went on and I threw myself, literally, out into the blue. Now that fear of sharks has vanished completely. I now welcome them like a child waiting for Santa Clause. In fact I finally had the chance to swim with sharks here in Malaysia! Smaller reef sharks and white tips, but none the less, sharks! What magnificent creatures. They move so elegant, almost gliding through the waters. But my absolute favourite marine animal is turtles. Ever since I was a little girl I wanted one. I remember having one of those bead stuffed turtles you could by when going on vacation, I loved them. Seeing huge turtles the same size, no, bigger than me is indescribable. These huge beautiful creatures are so big, but yet so gentle, and chill. They just float through the water, and don’t give a damn about us. Probably wondering why we get so excited by the fact that they just exist. “Ok human, I get it, I’m adorable. Can you let me eat in peace? Great, thanks”.
(Look at this cutie!!)
When, where, what, how to dive in Malaysia? Have no fear, I will tell you how I did and who I went with, and who you shouldn’t go with.
First things first, you need to book flight tickets to Tawau airport. Tawau is your port to Semporna, the mainland before reaching Mabul where most people stay. You can always stay at Semporna, but if you can afford it deff go to Mabul. If you don’t mind spending an extra 2 hours on a boat back and forth everyday, then Semporna is just fine. I stayed at Mabul, and went with Scuba Junkies. When you don’t do the Sipadan package, there isn’t any fixed price for accommodation and diving. The prices for non-Sipadan diving is just a guideline, when you add everything up it’s the same price as shown online. I payed 1750 RM for 5 days accommodation, in dorm, 12 dives, non-Sipadan, food and beverage included. If you want to dive in Sipadan, then please do book in advance, because they only have 120 permits per day which is divided by 12 different dive companies. These are really hard to come by, but it is definitely worth it. They were out of permits because I booked too late, but I managed to score one through Billabong.. Jeez I wish I knew what I knew now. It was a complete disaster, and I will tell you about that later and explain why I don’t recommend going with this company.
Back to Mabul and Scuba junkies, it’s a great company. They are very professional, hands on at all times and you feel well taken care of. The staff is amazing, everyone is really friendly and they will make you laugh from start till’ end. In fact a couple of us watched the game of thrones finale together with all the instructors and DM’s. What a finale right?! And the food is really good, they do cater to vegetarians (yay for me). Food is included as I stated above, with every meal there is a vegetarian option. Fresh fruits, water, coffee, tea and cakes in between dives. I met so many amazing people here from all over the world. It’s funny how you meet so many different people you wouldn’t normally befriend, but here you have the same passion and love for diving, and just like that you get along like you’ve known each other for years. You can also do your open water and advanced, or any other course. If you don’t have a certification, I recommend you get one so you aren’t as confined when diving. You wouldn’t want to miss out on all the great stuff because you have to stay above 12 meters, right? Either way you will love it, even snorkelling is great. And for the actual diving in Mabul, what can you see, well I think the video I made will explain that a little better. Check it out in my next post 🙂
(There is a lot of mosquitoes here, as you can see in the picture I got bit right in the middle of my forehead, so lather up in anti-repellent)