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kc_moses

Liveaboard at Sipadan - MV Celebes Explorer

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Hi, does anyone have experience with the MV Celebes Explorer liveaboard at Sipadan? Do you get to dive at Sipadan every day? I read that the 7 days package includes 23 dives total. Do you get that many dives? And out of those dives, how many are at Sipadan? I don't care much to dive at Mabul.

 

What are the unique dive area you visited and do you get the chance to dive at "Sangalaki" area?

 

Thanks!

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I did a trip on the MV Celebes Explorer in April 2013.

 

We did a checkout dive in Semporna area while waiting for everyone to arrive but were at Sipadan for the rest of the days. At the time, we were allowed to do 4 dives a day at Sipadan (there was some talk of being forced to cut back to 3) and then went over to the Mabul area to do a night dive and park for the night. There was a morning with extremely rough conditions and we did not make it over to Sipadan until the 2nd dive. So...we probably had 23 dives in Sipadan. The diving was spectacular (including night/mandarin dives in Mabul, which are among the best night dives I've ever done).

 

The downside is that the boat was in rough shape and the captain & dive guides were downright awful (cook/cleaners were always friendly). Luckily, we only had 7 divers for 12 spots, which meant that all of the singles could have a private room. I can't imagine sharing one of those tiny rooms with another guest for 7 nights. Very cramped with minimal air ventilation & the occasional diesel smell.

 

There were no "good morning's" or "how are you?'s" from the captain or dive guides. If you were lucky, you could get them to acknowledge that you were actually in front of them. I had a brand new mask and a nice bottle of Scotch disappear. Could the mask have fallen overboard? It's possible. I doubt it though.

 

Although priced at $300+/day, the boat is closer to what you would get in Thailand for $140/day (but at least the Thai boats hire a nice old lady who's been cooking for half a century!). Would I go back on the Celebes Explorer? Maybe. I'm actually thinking of another trip to dive Sipadan and can't decide if I should to something land based like Scuba Junkie instead. I'm terrified of having to share one of those tiny rooms on the Celebes Explorer with another person. There are no single rooms and the single supplement for a private room is somewhere around 90% of trip cost. The food was cafeteria quality and certainly lacked any creativity.

 

Almost 150 dives later, and in some pretty awesome places (Indonesia, Philippines, Maldives, Bonaire, Alaska, South Florida), I still find myself comparing dives to Sipadan. Amazing diving. Crappy, overpriced boat.

Edited by FloridaSun

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Thanks for the info! It's good to know you did many dives at Sipadan. I went to Sipadan twice, first time was with SeaVenture (the oil rig), then the second time at Borneo Diver Mabul. Each time I was in the area I only get to dive 2 days out of a 5 days trip. I wasn't overwhelmed by the diving but it could be because I was there at the wrong season or I was just not lucky since I never seen the barracuda tornado, plus I didn't have much diving experience back then.

 

Service standard in Asia could be a difficult subject. The Asian culture are just not friendly/chatty to strangers, especially if English is not their first language. I wonder who the owner is for the MV Celebes Explorer because if the owners is westerners, the service standard could be higher. Anyway, I will PM you since I have more questions.

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My trip on the Celebes Explorer was some time before 2010, I can't remember the exact year, but my experience was similar to Florida Sun's. We dove Sipadan daily (fantastic!) and the great part of being on the Celebes Explorer was that we were closer to Sipadan than traveling from, for example, Sipadan Water Village (no bouncy boat ride). That was the ONLY good part of being on the Celebes Explorer. The vessel itself was old, dirty, and infested with bugs. The "rinse buckets", if you can call it that, were 1/3 filled with dirty water which was never changed. There were things floating in it..............so needless to say, they weren't used. The dives were strictly limited to 45 minutes. After 40 minutes, the dive masters signaled start ascending, and if you didn't start your safety stop right then, they kept ringing and ringing. IMHO, I would skip the CE and stay at SWV or another resort at Mabul, which is so much more pleasant. Guides there are friendly, knowledgeable, and treat you like an adult.

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