Our first dive of the day was at South Point. This was the big day of diving as we were diving at Sipadan, one of the top dive sites in the world. I was excited. I was also nervous. Nervous, because this is my first time diving at a site where we couldn’t see the ocean floor. On my left shoulder, was the reef wall, but when my back was turned to it, all I could see was the deep blue. It is one of the most exhilarating and the also the most disorienting feeling. Nervous because I was hoping to see a shark for the first time – I was excited, but I was worried it would come out of the blue and smack into me (now I know where the phrase out of the blue comes from).
And then into the far, we saw spotted the outlines of some of these beasts. The white tip reef sharks. I was just wondering if that was it, when not long after, we saw some swimming closer to us, but down below. And as we moved through the site, many resting on the sandy beaches. And finally, we got as close as a meter to one of them!
A White tip reef shark resting on the sandy bottom (This one was actually shot at Barracuda point, but decided to include it here. Photo courtesy Hugh Diamond, a fellow diver)
While in most dive sites, you can see typically the bottom, which is at a depth of 70-80m. At Sipadan the sea-bed falls sharply down to around 600m. Sipadan is actually the top of an ancient volcano around which living corals grew. (It is the only volcanic island in Malaysia, and the volcanic activity has made the sea rich in minerals ideal for marine life, and the depth of the sea bed allows for bigger fish to nest). The island has an army base and some facilities for divers, but people aren’t allowed to live or overnight here to protect the island as a marine park.
We finished the dive by shoring up over an expanse of the most vibrant and colorful corals I had seen in a while. Most of the other islands around this parts that I had been diving at had sandy bottoms, and this mêlée of colors was an assault on the eyes.
I couldn’t stop smiling after the first dive. In fact I couldn’t stop smiling for a long long time.
What we saw- White tip reef sharks, Green turtles, Titan triggerfish, Chevron Barracuda, Great Barracuda, Trumpet Fish, Trevally, Big nose surgeon fish, Black potted puffer, Sweetlips
PS: huge thanks to my fellow diver who shared his photos with me, which makes me recall the dive memories even more vividly.