Pulau Sipadan, Tawau

If you are coming to Semporna but you do not visit Pulau Sipadan, your holiday is almost worthless because Pulau Sipadan is listed as the top 10 best islands for divers in islands.com. You just cannot afford to miss this awesome island.
Sipadan is the only oceanic island in Malaysia, rising 600 metres (2,000 ft) from the seabed. It is located in the Celebes Sea off the east coast of Sabah, East Malaysia (which is on the island of Borneo). It was formed by living corals growing on top of an extinct volcanic cone that took thousands of years to develop. Sipadan is located at the heart of the Indo-Pacific basin, the centre of one of the richest marine habitats in the world. More than 3,000 species of fish and hundreds of coral species have been classified in this ecosystem. Sipadan has been rated by many dive journals as one of the top destinations for diving in the world.
This is the only public jetty to board this island.
A little history about this island. What I am surprised about how the origin of the Sipadan name was actually came from a dead man's name who is known as Si Paran who is lying on the island. So easily a wonderful island is named based on this man. Click on the picture to enlarge. 
This is a good view about the Sipadan Island and also the dive sites. In my 3 dive trips, we explored Barracuda Point, North Point and Drop Off. The most famous dive site is the Barracuda Point.
There is an army sentry to guard this island against intruders. It happened once in the year 2000.  On April 23, 2000, 21 people were kidnapped by the Filipino Islamist terrorist group Abu Sayyaf. The armed terrorists arrived by boat and forced 10 tourists and 11 resort workers at gun point to board the vessels and brought the victims to Jolo. All victims were eventually released.
Basically, you have limited boundary in this island. You cannot go around this island and you have to leave this premises after 4.00pm or you will be shot. The amazing part about this island is still the 120 limited permits per day allowed in this island. It is very hard to get these permits. During the peak season, you may need to book at least 6 months in advance. These limited permits are given to selected dive centers only and not all diver centers have the same number of permits given. Some bigger diver centers will have 12 permits and for Uncle Chang, they only got 7 permits. The permits are not inclusive 2 dive masters and 1 boatman.
You cannot imagine how amazing our mother nature has made this island. Can you see the color difference in the see? Light blue is the swallow water for snorkeling and the dark blue is the deep water where it goes sudden deep into 600 meters. Snorkeling in this island is possible but it is not worth it at all. A waste of money as you can see the limited snorkeling area. 
Each dive center is given a designated table so you just need to sit accordingly to which table you are assigned. The prices quoted by Uncle Chang is inclusive a refreshment meal and a lunch. Since you are required to leave after 4.00pm which means there are no chalets built in this island. The only people are allowed to stay in this island are the soldiers who are guarding them.
I am lucky to have a beautiful female dive master to accompany in this trip. Her name is Ker Zintz from Germany. She is a super cool girl. Alright, let's dive!
Green Turtle and Hawksbill Turtle are very common here and almost everywhere!
A turtle tomb lies underneath the column of the island, formed by an underwater limestone cave with a labyrinth of tunnels and chambers that contain many skeletal remains of turtles that become lost and drown before finding the surface.
This turtle is enjoying his nap.
Doesn't even bother me even I am closing in so near.
Another common marine life to see is this Blacktip Reef Shark. When you see sharks swimming around like this, you probably will be scared to death. Do not worry because they are quite tame.
They are often to be seen hibernating around the ground like this.
A rear look on this amazing creature.
When you get to near, they will just swim away. They are not going to attack you until they sense any danger threatening them. So just do not provoke them in any sense.
Apart of amazing turtles and sharks to be seen, you will enjoy a school of Jackfish swimming together like a big cloud underwater. The scene is astonishing and beyond words.
It is so enjoying to swim together with them. Luckily the water is quite clear on that day so you will not get lost in them. Do enjoy my YouTube video below to understand more of the awesome feeling.

At Barracuda Point, you really will be expecting a school of Great Barracuda like this.
They are big and swimming together like thousand of swords.
Other common ones will be Giant Moray Eel.
Giant Travelly...I hoping to see a school of Giant Travelly.
Nasty Scorpion Fish which as always be careful with what you are touching.
Pufferfish too...I am expecting Manta Ray, Hammerhead and Whale Shark which they are so rare to be seen. But there are possibility of some luck, you might see them.
This is the deep drop 600m after the swallow water which I have shown you earlier. You will see them is the Drop Off site.
We get a chance to swim into the heart of Sipadan Island. The inner heart.
It is like a small cave with a lot of fishes hiding themselves here.
A little tunnel to dive into where your buoyancy will be tested.
Amazing island and there is no reason for us for not smiling!
Love this place and I will definitely come back again to explore other dive sites. Never get enough of them!
The package charged by Uncle Chang for Sipadan Island as followed:
3 Dives - RM680.00
2 Dives - RM640.00
Snorkeling only - RM580.00

*Prices are inclusive boat transfer, permit, equipment and meal
**Prices has increased RM200.00 compare with 3 years ago.

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