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Sipadan, June 2012


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#1 wgreenti

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 04:21 PM

Here is a very brief highlight trailer derived from Sipadan earlier this month. Conditions were variable, with sudden influxes of cloudy green water being common, but reasonable-to-good shooting conditions also cropped up, yielding some opportunities.

[vimeohd]44196787[/vimeohd]

Edited by wgreenti, 17 June 2012 - 04:23 PM.


#2 Nick Hope

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 10:07 PM

Looks good. Still plenty of life there. Did you deliberately blur the edge of the frame?

#3 Steve Douglas

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 09:58 AM

Never been there but edited a film from there many years ago for someone. Surprised not to see turtles. I know the govt there brought on several restrictions regarding the number of divers there and wonder how the ecological rebounding has occurred.
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#4 gee13

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 04:22 AM

Great vid!..what are you using for the video its really clear..but seems rather short for all the action that Sipadan is all about.

#5 wgreenti

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 05:15 AM

Hi, Nick:

Yes, I added a 2% rounded black matte to the clips.

Looks good. Still plenty of life there. Did you deliberately blur the edge of the frame?



#6 wgreenti

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 05:29 AM

Yo, Steve:

There were a fair number of turtles, but they were more shy than I had expected. Before my arrival, I had anticipated being swarmed by turtles, but they often kept their distance. Also, when we dove, the tide tended to be high. This is when the turtles were largely basking in the very shallow water out of reach. Once the tide falls, they exit the drying shallows and head down over the edges. This, I think, would have provided better encounters.

Yes, things are pretty tightly regulated, and the site has probably benefited greatly. However, there are still disturbances. Bone-rattling explosions were heard fairly frequently, the alleged source being the Philippine Navy. Another thing that displeased me greatly (and ruined quite a few shots in the schools) was trash. Reportedly, the trash floats in from other islands (or boats) and sinks in the swirling currents. Nothing ruins a scenic video clip more than three jacks hungrily swimming in and out of potato chip bags. I frantically tried to collect the debris but was overwhelmed.

Never been there but edited a film from there many years ago for someone. Surprised not to see turtles. I know the govt there brought on several restrictions regarding the number of divers there and wonder how the ecological rebounding has occurred.
Steve



#7 wgreenti

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 05:40 AM

Thanks. The cam was a Sony HVR-Z7U mounted in a Phenom housing from Amphibico.

You're correct that this is a short presentation, really a highlight trailer of about a minute. This is based on about five minutes of longer and more plentiful clips. They are posted below in two vidz, if you are interested.





Great vid!..what are you using for the video its really clear..but seems rather short for all the action that Sipadan is all about.



#8 Nick Hope

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 10:36 PM

Another thing that displeased me greatly (and ruined quite a few shots in the schools) was trash. Reportedly, the trash floats in from other islands (or boats) and sinks in the swirling currents. Nothing ruins a scenic video clip more than three jacks hungrily swimming in and out of potato chip bags. I frantically tried to collect the debris but was overwhelmed.

I went to Sipadan in 2000, when you could still stay on the island itself, and I remember a lot of trash washed up on the beach, all around the island.

#9 SimonSpear

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 03:53 AM

Ahhhh Sipadan, definitely one of my favourite places in the world. Well at least it used to be.

When were you there? If it was relatively recently then I've been there in May before and been literally mobbed by Turtles. I remember once hanging out at the reef edge around 6m and being able to see at least 15 out in the blue with another 4 or 5 behind me on the reef. It certainly wasn't uncommon to see 30-40 Turtles on a dive. Then again I was never lucky with seeing the huge Barracuda aggregations so it just goes to show it isn't a theme park! :lol:

Would love to go back one day, but we've been frightened off by the stories of staying for a week and only diving on Sipadan itself for a couple of dives. Hopefully the measures taken are helping preserve the reef at least.

Cheers, Simon

#10 peterbkk

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 06:01 PM

Would love to go back one day, but we've been frightened off by the stories of staying for a week and only diving on Sipadan itself for a couple of dives. Hopefully the measures taken are helping preserve the reef at least.

Cheers, Simon


The measures are probably making some difference but, of course, everyone is scamming the system. Hence the stories of only diving a few times during a trip at Sipadan. I talked to someone who had only done 4 dives there in a week. The resort convinced them that this was normal. I told him that he'd been scammed.

Each resort gets an allocation of slots out of the 160 divers that are allowed there each day. The system works by logging the diver's names with the office on the island and then they are signed in when they arrive. Theoretically, once signed in, you can do as many dives as you like between 6am and 6pm.

But the resorts can't make money out of their allocated slots if they follow the "legal"' one slot, one diver model.

So they reuse their slots throughout the day, often squeezing 3 divers into 1 slot.

If you are in the early morning group, you'll be logged in as yourself. But, in the afternoon, you'll be taken somewhere else and another person will be logged in as you.

Instead of 160 divers per day, at least double that number are actually doing the diving. You could argue that the impact on the reef is no worse because the actual dives dived is only about 20 to 30% higher in the scammed model.

I'm sure that the authorities know about it but are paid not to notice...

So, if you do go to Sipadan, make sure that, before you pay anything, you have a clear agreement, in writing, how many dives at Sipadan you will get in your package. If not, you'll be put in the "every second day suckers" list.

Last time I went, I negotiated a 2 Sipadan dives per day minimum, with our choice of dawn, morning or afternoon. But, having seen the scam, I've decided not to go back until it is sorted out.

In any case, Sipadan is not the jewel it used to be. My log book and images from the 1990s show a much healthier place. Several places in Asia eclipse it. Sad but true.

Regards
Peter

#11 SimonSpear

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 03:32 AM

The measures are probably making some difference but, of course, everyone is scamming the system. Hence the stories of only diving a few times during a trip at Sipadan. I talked to someone who had only done 4 dives there in a week. The resort convinced them that this was normal. I told him that he'd been scammed.

Each resort gets an allocation of slots out of the 160 divers that are allowed there each day. The system works by logging the diver's names with the office on the island and then they are signed in when they arrive. Theoretically, once signed in, you can do as many dives as you like between 6am and 6pm.

But the resorts can't make money out of their allocated slots if they follow the "legal"' one slot, one diver model.

So they reuse their slots throughout the day, often squeezing 3 divers into 1 slot.

If you are in the early morning group, you'll be logged in as yourself. But, in the afternoon, you'll be taken somewhere else and another person will be logged in as you.

Instead of 160 divers per day, at least double that number are actually doing the diving. You could argue that the impact on the reef is no worse because the actual dives dived is only about 20 to 30% higher in the scammed model.

I'm sure that the authorities know about it but are paid not to notice...

So, if you do go to Sipadan, make sure that, before you pay anything, you have a clear agreement, in writing, how many dives at Sipadan you will get in your package. If not, you'll be put in the "every second day suckers" list.

Last time I went, I negotiated a 2 Sipadan dives per day minimum, with our choice of dawn, morning or afternoon. But, having seen the scam, I've decided not to go back until it is sorted out.

In any case, Sipadan is not the jewel it used to be. My log book and images from the 1990s show a much healthier place. Several places in Asia eclipse it. Sad but true.

Regards
Peter


When was your last visit Peter? The last time we visited was probably 2006 and the allocation system was in place then, although it was being utterly abused as you describe above. However I have heard that this has been tightened up significantly in the last year or so. Then again it could all change again next week!

#12 peterbkk

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 05:41 PM

When was your last visit Peter?


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Sadly, watched it deteriorate.

#13 seok

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 08:15 PM

Hi all. I'm working in this area and let me clarify a few things. Sipadan's daily permit is 120 divers from all resorts so each resorts only get 7-14 permits per day, depending on how big the resort is. In general, Sipadan water village, SMART, borneo divers, and Kapalai have 14 while the rest have less.

Sometimes resorts will buy permits from other resorts, but they don't "DOUBLE" the number by using same names now. In general, for a 5d/4n package you'll get 1 day diving in sipadan, but if you stay longer you'll get more days. It's correct that you have to book in advance. Yes the diving time is from 6am-6pm, but let's not forget that the general rules here is all divers must have minimum 1 hour surface interval in between dives, and most diving package is 3 boat dives per day. Some resorts will give you 4 dives in Sipadan, which I must say is more than sufficient.

Of course Sipadan is not what it used to be 20 years ago but it's still one of the best diving spots in the world with guaranteed sightings of sharks, turtles, and schooling fish. How many places in the world can you see all in one dive? There's no scam here and I truly believe that all resorts are doing their best to come up with a system that benefits their customers. It took them some time but i think the system now is the best they could do to enable divers to have a good Sipadan experience, while helping to preserve the island.

Edited by seok, 21 June 2012 - 08:22 PM.


#14 peterbkk

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 04:32 AM

There's no scam here and I truly believe that all resorts are doing their best to come up with a system that benefits their customers. It took them some time but i think the system now is the best they could do to enable divers to have a good Sipadan experience, while helping to preserve the island.


IMHO, it is a scam when people book a Sipadan dive trip, expecting to dive 4 times at day at Sipadan and end up being taken somewhere else for most of the dives.

IMHO, it is a scam when, if you don't know to demand a minimum of X dives at Sipadan, the resort tells you, aft you've arrived that you will only get 4 dives there in a week's diving.

IMHO, it is a scam when resorts squeeze 28 divers into 14 slots.

IMHO, it is a scam when one morning I dive there as Peter Walker and the next afternoon I dive as Victor Vitally.

What should have happened is, when the government decided that Sipadan could only handle 120 divers per day, a couple of the resorts should have shut down instead of trying to squeeze more than 240 divers into 120 slots....

Regards
Peter

#15 Oceanshutter

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 08:36 AM

I looked at booking a trip to sipadan not too long ago. After reading all the garbage about the slots, and only getting there once or twice in a weeks time, I decided that isn't going to happen for me. I am not going to fly half way around the world for 2 days of diving at the main attraction. It's too bad they can't figure it out. I would one day like to go there, but I don't ever see it happening. There are other places, that are closer/cheaper/and just as good of diving for me to go to Sipadan.

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#16 adventurechik

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 02:20 PM

I was there last year diving with Borneo Divers as well as running a workshop there in February. I was there in September for 2 weeks and then again in October for another week. We always did 4 dives a day at Sipidan Island and it was also possible to book a dawn dive there.

Borneo Divers also have the policy that out of a 5 day 4 night stay that one day would be guaranteed at Sipidan, but on both occasions guests were going once every two days and sometimes every day. They didn't have enough guests to fill the slots.

I don't know how it will be this year, but I know that Seaventures guarantees one day out of every 3 days diving if you stay there I think. And if you go on the Celebes Explorer, there are more opportunities to explore Sipidan.

Hope that this helps a bit, I really was blown away by how brilliantly Borneo Divers organised everything.

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#17 seok

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 04:57 PM

I looked at booking a trip to sipadan not too long ago. After reading all the garbage about the slots, and only getting there once or twice in a weeks time, I decided that isn't going to happen for me. I am not going to fly half way around the world for 2 days of diving at the main attraction. It's too bad they can't figure it out. I would one day like to go there, but I don't ever see it happening. There are other places, that are closer/cheaper/and just as good of diving for me to go to Sipadan.

Dustin


That's exactly why I'm responding to this post, because I truly believe that Sipadan is still one of the best diving spot and even if you only get 2 days diving there, it's still worth it. Plus you get the mixture of both pelagics in Sipadan and macro in Mabul, Kapalai, Si Amil, etc...

Maybe some ppl feel cheated before when the system was new. And yes, the resort had to do what they had to do to at that time to keep their customers happy. Back then, the system wasn't mature enough to provide consistent information because the government also kept changing the way they handled the permits. There were times where resort boats were chased away due to miscommunication between Sipadan officers with mainland.

All I'm saying is no resort is trying to cheat money from their customers and there's no reason to not come dive here even if it's just 1 or 2 days in Sipadan out of a week. Let's not forget that Barracuda Point in Sipadan also been recently rated as the best dive spots in the world: http://www.cnngo.com...ve-sites-895793