Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sipadan Island

Pulau Sipadan - The jewel in the crown of diving in Malaysia and with good reason. Sipadan is a tiny oceanic island less than an hour from the mainland where nutrient-rich currents bring food which brings fish, which brings bigger fish in the marine food chain, which brings more and more fish, sharks and turtles.

The dive sites are peppered around the island and none is more than a short speedboat ride away from the nearby dive resorts. And although they are all different they all offer one thing: lots to see!

The list of attractions is quite staggering and all the more exceptional as it involves plenty of big fish encounters - at Barracuda Point you can find yourself surrounded by a spiralling vortex of barracudas, so large that the sunlight is often clouded out. At South Point there are scores of reef sharks, large schools of passing trevally and herds of massive marauding bumphead parrotfish. This is one of the big fish capitals of the world.
It is easy to understand how Jacques Cousteau got so excited about diving at Sipadan when he visited and declared it an "untouched piece of art". Tourism has made it less than untouched but it remains a fabulous experience to find yourself diving here. It is often hard to believe that you are not diving in an enclosed environment such is the array of species and overwhelming biomass of the marine creatures that choose to live here.