Travels in Malaysia and Indonesia

Matt Welsh

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Pulau Sipadan

After braving the slopes of Mt. Kinabalu, we decided it was time to retreat to more relaxing endeavours. We spent the next 6 days scuba diving off of Pulau Sipadan, a tiny island off of the east coast of Borneo, about an hour by speedboat from the mainland.

Sipadan is a world-famous diving resort, boasting one of the most spectacular coral walls and some of the best marine life anywhere. Not 20 feet from the beach, the shallow coral falls away to a 2000-foot drop off into the depths. This site (shown here) is said to be one of the best beach dives in the world. The boat diving ain't bad, either! On every dive you have close encounters with green turtles and white-tipped reef sharks. Barracuda, blue-spotted rays, hawksbill turtles, humphead wrasse, and lionfish are also quite common -- not to mention countless species of other tropical fish.

We stayed with Borneo Divers, the longest-established dive operator on the island. Diving here is not cheap here but it is absolutely worth it.

Sipadan is also the island where a group of Philippine rebels called the Abu Sayyaf took 21 hostages in April. They are only now starting to be released.

Photograph Copyright (c)2000 by Matt Welsh. All rights reserved.