Daily Escape

Borneo Diving

Photo by Budd Riker

Borneo Diving

Sipadan Island, Malaysia

If you’re looking for scuba diving that will spoil your blue palette, then indulge in diving found off Malaysian Borneo. Headlining a long list of world-class dive sites is Sipadan Island, off the east coast, where only 120 divers a day are permitted to experience the pristine reefs that are home to green sea turtles and massive shoals of barracuda. Nearby, Mabul and Kapalai islands harbor blue ribbon eels, pygmy seahorses, nudibranchs and other macro wonders. While off the west coast, on the South China Sea, is the big animal (think lots of sharks) -- the hot- spot of Layang Layang.


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Jacques Cousteau put Sipadan on map with his film Borneo: The Ghost of the Sea Turtle (1989): “I have seen other places like Sipadan, 45 years ago, but now, no more. Now, we have found again an untouched piece of art…” 960 1280

Budd Riker, lightinthesea.com  

More than 3,000 species of fish and hundreds of coral species have been classified in this ecosystem off the island of Sipadan. 960 1280

Budd Riker, lightinthesea.com  

Channeling Charlie’s Angels, Jen, Holly and Amanda get pumped for their underwater adventure. 960 1280

Budd Riker, lightinthesea.com  

“Always be respectful of the underwater world. One of the most amazing feelings is to be able to swim alongside a Barricuda or see a shark up close. But you have to remember that you are in their world now, and to not touch the fish you see, you don’t want to hurt yourself or the wildlife.” -- Holly 960 1280

Budd Riker, lightinthesea.com  

If you plan to dive off Sipadan, stay in the handful of dive resorts in Mabul. Tourists are not allowed to sleep on the protected island of Sipadan, and the government allows only 120 passes to the island a day (which you should secure prior to traveling from a dive resort). 960 1280

Budd Riker, lightinthesea.com  

The Lost Girls dove with Borneo Divers, the original operators for the region who first introduced ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau to Sipadan, which then turned the area into a world-famous diving destination. 960 1280

Budd Riker, lightinthesea.com  

When diving Sipadan, you’ll see turtles everywhere, dining on the sponges and algae, or lounging on the wall ledges. 960 1280

Budd Riker, lightinthesea.com  

The camouflaged crocodilefish found hiding in Sipadan waters is much tamer than its lookalike reptile. 960 1280

  

The best-known snorkeling and dive islands are Mabul and Sipadan, located at the southern end of the archipelago. 960 1280

Budd Riker, lightinthesea.com  

Sipadan draws divers from across the globe, with famous dive sites such as Barracuda Point where you can swim alongside a school of circling barracuda in a tornado-like formation. 960 1280

Budd Riker, lightinthesea.com  

“The second I took that giant stride from the boat into the water, descended down to about 30 feet, I looked up and saw the entire sky above me. It was this incredible, open, free feeling of floating in the water. “ -- Amanda 960 1280

Budd Riker, lightinthesea.com  

“Scuba diving for me, no matter where I go and how I dive, is always a new experience.” -- Jen 960 1280

Budd Riker, lightinthesea.com  

“I live so much of my life in automatic pilot, and I love that diving puts you in that mindful mode, like yoga, where you focus on your breathing -- you’re living totally in the moment. “ -- Holly 960 1280

Budd Riker, lightinthesea.com  

“With any sport, scuba diving takes practice. If you are interested in learning to dive, I recommend what I did a few years ago. I fully immersed myself in diving by going to an all-inclusive dive resort, which helps you to hone your skills and be more comfortable as a diver. “ – Jen 960 1280

Budd Riker, lightinthesea.com  

“No matter where you go in the world, you’ll always find other people who love scuba diving, too. It’s like a secret club that you will be a part of the second you get your scuba certification. If you go to Borneo or Mexico or anywhere in the world where there’s great scuba diving, you’ll find this incredible group of people to share the experience with.” – Amanda 960 1280

Budd Riker, lightinthesea.com  

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