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In early May I am off to Sabah - to sample the delights of Mabul and Sipadan et al.

 

I have only been to Sipadan, briefly in 1999, and can't remember what temperature the water is? How thick a wetsuit do I need?

 

Also is anyone else in that part of the world during the first half of May? I am staying at three different resorts - so let me know! It would be good to meet up with some other underwater photographers.

 

Finally anyone have any tips? Or if anyone has been there recently and has an online gallery of their shots - I would love to see them.

 

Thanks

 

Alex

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I did 5 dives/day there Sept 2003 in a shorty. Make sure to do the Bumphead dive - must be in the water before dawn.

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Alex,

 

The water is warm, somewhere around 78-82. I used a basic warm water wetsuit. The viz was sucky when I was there...30 feet on ther average and green. That was during July. I hear the viz is worse earlier in the year.

 

Joe

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i was in sipidan and mabul about 8 years ago. In general mabul is macro, while sipidan is wide angle. Mabul was the big macro meca then, before sulawesi became found. I remember the japanese photographers had film camera setups with teleconverters, and diopters. they took amazing shots of fish eyeballs ,gobie fins and such. Sipidan had several specialtys. first there were more turtles then i had ever seen. they were everywhere on every dive. second reef sharks in piles on the bottom everwhere. then there was the famous school at baracuda point. this has been featured in many famous shots. Lastly there were schools of bumphead parrotfish usually there. Granted this was a while ago, and ive heard there has been alot of reef damage, from the old land based facilitys there which have since been closed. there also was a chamber there, but i dint know if its still there. Hope that helps enjoy, and i cant wit to see your wonderful shots. I for got to add the trip there is long and dificult, but worth it

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Hi Alex, You will love the place stayed there for 2 days in March 05. I stayed at Sipadan Water Village on Mabul and loved it. They do dives at all 3 locations, Mabul, Sipadan & Kapalai each day. Pictures can be found here http://www.marinedomaindiving.com/picpages/sipadan.htm

 

Not as good as I had hoped, strobe failed on first day, so was experimenting with natural light.

 

Regards

Gary

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Thank you for all the stats! Very helpful. Also it looks like I will be able to just take a shortie wetsuit - which will be nice.

 

Any more insights will be gratefully received. And thanks for sharing your photos Gary - they really help give an idea of what to look out for. I am really excited about the possibilities now.

 

Alex

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alex,

a while back there was a nice trip report over on ddnet by albatross with some good info.

hth

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and then you can head over to meet me in PI Alex.... i am going to send you an email of the models lined up for PG...

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Thank you for the email, Mike. Looks like you are going to have a hard time out there. :lol:

I really want to go to the Philippines at some point. Never been.

 

And thanks Paul for the link. The travel reports on DDN are a very useful resource.

 

Alex

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I just come back from sipadan.

Lot of turtles , small sharks , on manta ray , one whale shark as been spotted on Mabul (!!!), many fishes , beautiful corals , and huge parrot fish ( but you must be awaken very early to see them !!!)

We have not seen the great scholl of barracudas ...

Macro on mabul and kapalai but not so much like Sulawesy.

Very nice dives .

Have a pleasant trip !!!

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Hello all,

 

any first-hand informations about the current number of dive resorts on Mabul? I have heard that all operators who had to leave Sipadan have opened resorts on Mabul, so the island might be quite crowded.

 

Regards,

Joerg

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i dont know if your into side trips, but there are interesting things to see in kalamantan. we stopped at the orangatang sanctuary, and it was the highlight of the trip

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Not sure what resort you're at but if it is SWV then try and get a room close to the dive shop, a lot less walking, if you can't get close they have a few photo rooms you can rent for the week.

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I'll be at Kapalai in July. Would a 1/2 or 1 mm full suit be okay? I like the protection. Or should I bring a 3 mm as has been suggested to me by the people who set up the trip.

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I've been there twice. The water there is always 27-30c and I think a 3mm jumpsuit or a shorty will be fine.

 

The visiblity is not very good, mostly 15-30m but may get to 50m sometime. By the time I visited there, the water is all greenish and lot of suspending particles....

 

The dawn dive there is a "must" as you can see a big big big school of bumphead parratfish that line up just next to you and head for the abyss(gotta have a nice wideangle shot). I "managed" to see school of baracudas but don't expect too much. School of jacks and turtles are everywhere!! Along with plenty of white tip reef shark that either petrolling the reef or simply lazing on the sand and taking a nap. I've also seen hammerhead shark in the baracuda point right below 40m, but also don't expect too much. Overall, the fish there are quite tamed and got used to the present of divers, so you can get close to them easily.

 

The drop off just in front of the jetty of the grand-old-time-resort of Borneo Diver also worth a visit. There is a cave down there at around 20m where the resort had put up a sign and advice diver not to attempt to enter the cave. Some diver had seen bones of turtle there. This drop off used to be the site for nite dives back when the resort on the island was still serving...

 

I'll recommend Kapalai Resort. It's jetty dive are good for macro stuffs. The rooms are good but gotta note that there is no air-con there. There is NO mosquito(!!) as the resort is built on a sand bar in the middle of the ocean. They usually arrange 3 boat dives and unlimited(!!) jetty dives a day which can keep you busy and drain all your energy.

 

Hope u find this helpful.

 

Ringo

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