Tuesday, January 18, 2011

26 Dec 2010 - Early Sipadan dives and a lazy afternoon

Ohaiyo Gozaimasu! Boxing day 2010 and it was the Sipadan dives for our group. This is what everyone is here for and surely is the highlight for our trip. With just 120 permits for divers per day at Sipadan and being around the peak Christmas holiday, we couldn't get more dives at Sipadan even if we wanted. The day started early so as to squeeze in 4 dives at Sipadan in the morning. I'm not sure why we need such tight schedule but I suspect its all due to some business decision to maximize their profitability.

All of us sleepy heads gathered at the dive centre around 05:30 in the morning, eagerly looking forward to our Sipadan dives. Our gear are already loaded into the boat by the time we reached the dive centre. But the videographer that we've booked to capture our Sipadan dives is nowhere to be found! I believe they tried to call him but couldn't get a response. Was told then he join up on the later boat to get our video for the subsequent dives. With that, we moved off and it didn't take long before we arrived at Sipadan island where we got onto the island for registration. The mozzies are out in full strength while we're waiting to get registered for our permit. Guess it's a good idea to find a "decoy" by standing next to someone in a shortie. But if you're the one wearing a shortie, tough! Give the mozzies some love, they must have been hungry with just 120 visitors a day. Slurp!

Finally, feeding time is over for the mozzies and we got into water at about a quarter pass 6. A minor "incident" for me starting the dive but that didn't borther me the least once I got on my way. Great diving at Sipadan with walls that extends all the way down 600 metres. We returned to Sipadan island after our first dive. By now, the mozzies are gone and it's our turn for breakfast. Thereafter it's three more dives around Sipadan and we're done diving for the day. Previously you can still continue with the unlimited housereef dives after the morning at Sipadan. However they have since banned additional housereef dive after doing the morning Sipadan dives due to numerous DCS cases ending up in the chamber. The only major hiccup for the 4 dives today was the no show of the videographer. He could still join up later as there's a couple of boats bringing food but he didn't. And neither was there any explaination given for the no show, which absolutely was unprofessional. Especially after we've confirmed the booking and have reminded him about the shoot. It sure made a lot of us very  disappointed about it, especially when we subsequently saw the video of another group taken on the following day.

Anyway, we have lunch back on Kapalai and it's a free & easy afternoon after that. I've initially planned to do some snokelling and also to try some over-under shots of the resort from the water. But due to the little sleep I got the couple of nights before and the early morning, I ended up in dozing off and sleeped the afternoon away. Hardly felt I had a wink before the alarm sounds for us to do some sunset shooting around the resort. I thought it was rather cool to see some folks enjoying soccer on a mini sand bank surrounded by water. Really is so glad to be out here for the beautiful sunset from the sandbank platform. The feeling was just so serene and peaceful. What more can I asked for? Hm.. K, perhaps a couple of gorgeous babes in "strawskirt" fanning me with giant palm leaves and peeling me some grapes will be nice? Oooops. Stop dreaming already dude! :p

Kayaking and soccer on a sandbank at Sipadan-Kapalai Resort - Sabah, Malaysia

Sunset at Sipadan-Kapalai Resort - Sabah, Malaysia

Very soon, the sun sets. While time and tide waits for no man, neither does the food on the buffet table. Dinner as usual is served around 19:30 so I quickly rushed back for a quick shower before joining the battle. A hungry man is an angry man! Well, but the food is worth the rush. Yummy!

Dining hall at Sipadan-Kapalai Resort - Sabah, Malaysia

Dusk on the sandbank  at Sipadan-Kapalai Resort - Sabah, Malaysia

Despite the afternoon nap, I'm still feeling quite tired and sleepy. Time to visit the Zzzz monster I guess. Again, did a quick setup for another star trails, this time pointing up just off the roof of my  balcony. This time round, I did remember to switch the sound off the intervalometer. Unfortunately the moon came into the frame halfway through the shooting and hence I could only stacked together a much smaller number of shots for a shorter trail. The moving moon (overexposed) can be seen in the time lapsed video though.

Startrails from my balcony at Sipadan-Kapalai Resort - Sabah, Malaysia

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