9.16.2006

600 Meters Under The Sea: Palau Sipidan

After leaving the Kinabatangan, we boarded the bus, went back down the bumpy road, and headed to Semporna, which is the gateway to Palau Sipidan (Sipidan Island) where we would be doing most of our diving. I thought Semporna would be a biggish city, with all the amenities of home, but S and I walked from one end to the other in about 20 minutes, then looked at eachother and said "what now?"

We found hawker stalls - our favorite. This is my idea of Malaysian fast food. You go into an area that resembles the food area at your local county fair. There are tons of different things to choose from, all being made on the spot, right in front of your eyes. You point at what appears to not have chicken in it (and cross your fingers) and 2 minutes later you are sitting down having a wonderful meal. I have gotten lucky; nothing has had hidden meat (similar to hidden charges?) in it; somehow with all of my grunting and pointing I got my point across.

We spent the next three days diving in Palau Sipidan...this is a wall dive, which means that the coral reef at the shallowest is about 5 Meters down, but then falls off into a wall formation down into the deep sea. At the deepest, this wall goes down to 600 Meters!! That is about 1800 feet! You wouldn't want to accidently get stuck going down there! We saw so many cool things: sharks, tons of turtles, lots of HUGE fish (that's a huge fish!), schools of hundreds of fish, many different types of corals, anenomes, sea cucumbers, starfish, shrimps, eels, rays, triggerfish galore (watch out, they bite!) and even some weird animals I could not identify (I saw one fish(?) that looked like a lump of mud. It hopped along the ground and the mouth was on the top! what kind of animal was it...I don't know!) We stayed on an old oil rig which had been coverted to a dive rig. You could go diving any time you wanted...you just took a lift down, then jumped off the rig and took off. We also just jumped off the rig anyway for fun (it is about 25-30 feet off the water).

We left Sipidan and headed to Tawau, where we would catch a plane to go back to Kota Kinabalu...

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