20 Jan Borneo Part 2 – Sabah, Pulau Mabul
After having spent a few days in the jungle in the region of Sandakan, my friend and I decided to spend 5 days by the sea and stay in Pulau Mabul.
Our initial plan was to stay on Pulau Sipadan which is now a nature reserve and Jean- Jacque Cousteau´s preferred diving spot, however in the beginning of 2000, a group of divers staying on the island´s hotel were taken hostage by a Philippino islamist group and stayed for weeks in the Philippino jungle, so since that incident, Pulau Sipadan was closed to the public, made a natural reserve and is now guarded by the Malaysian military.
That´s for the background, so we took a plane from Sandakan to Tawau. We arrived there and it was raining, not really the weather we were hoping for, but we thought that once on the island the sun would great us and it did ! After an hour drive to the port we took a boat and headed to the island of Pulau Mabul which is the closest to Sipadan.
We arrived at the Sipadan Water Village after a bit more than an hour boat drive and we thought we had landed in paradise ! The bungalows were built above the water and the staff was really nice. The next five days were spent snorkeling and diving !
Now there is one little thing I should say before we start. I am afraid of fish ! Quite funny isn´t it if you are going to spend your holiday snorkeling and diving ! Well, I found a way to get rid of my fear which was to take pictures. Indeed, by having the camera in front of me and seeing the fishes and sea from the camera angle I felt more relaxed and was less afraid.
So we started getting acquainted with our friendly fishes by the jetty and after two days went to Pulau Sipadan ! No need to say that the first thing after entering the water and looking down was the sight of a white tip shark ! I am going to spare you the screams ! But our guide said: “Don´t worry lah, shark very good, not hungry so will not eat you!” How reassuring thank you ! So we made our way away from the shark and saw a beautiful flora and fauna which you can discover in the pictures enclosed 🙂
After that wonderful day snorkeling I decided I was ready for my discovery dive which we made the next day and the rest of the time we were in Mabul. Our aim was to find Nemo (or anemone fish) and we did after hours of searching whilst diving and snorkeling ! What an amazing feeling it is to be underwater, it is so peaceful, calm and relaxing. To be honest it was the only thing that really calmed me down and relaxed me !
After our five days, we wanted to stay longer but work was calling and we had to head back to Singapore ! I have to say that was the best holiday I had ever had ! surrounded by peace and quiet, lovely dive instructor, lovely staff who took great care of us , great food especially fresh seafood and a surrounding which is unforgettable!