Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Tun Sakaran and Sipadan

Big school of jacks (tuna)
One of the highlights of the Sail Malaysia Rally is the trip to the Tun Sakaran and Sipadan Marine Parks. I had been looking forward Sipidan Island for so long that, in hindsight, it would have to be pretty incredible to live up to my expectations. Sipidan is touted as one of the top dive destinations in the world and visitors are limited to 120 a day.

White tip reef shark

We ended up having a pretty rough day of it and conditions were less than ideal. We were on the dock in Tun Sakaran at 7:30 a.m. as scheduled. It was overcast and the wind was blowing like crazy in the anchorage and there were white caps all around us. A few boat loads of divers and snorkelers had already left. We eventually found out that our boat had broken down halfway from Semporna to Tun Sakaran and another one was being sent. While we waited for the backup boat, one of the snorkeling boats returned because the boat was breaking apart from bashing into big waves. Our backup boat finally arrived, but one of its engines was not working. So we waited for boat #3 and the snorkelers (the ones that were brave enough to get on another boat) waited for their boat.

The jacks cleaning themselves on the shark's skin

Eventually, at about 10:15, our boat arrived and we left for Sipadan. After bashing into the waves, getting soaked, for about an hour and a half, we finally arrived in Sipadan. We were able to get two dives in before heading back to the anchorage.

The visibility was not great but there was an abundance of big fish, lots of fearless turtles, and nudibranchs to boot. Our first dive was very good and the second one was okay. Our choice of dive sites was likely limited by the rough sea conditions.

Overall, we enjoyed the diving but were not overwhelmed by it. Raja Ampat still tops the list of best diving for us so far. If we had had better conditions and more dives, we may have enjoyed Sipadan more, but we are very fortunate to have gotten there at all.

Passing cookies to our friends on Berserker while ESSCOM security observes.


  1. Hey everyone,
    Always enjoying your travel journal. The picture, "passing cookies" nicely shows you are still utilizing the MOM-8A on the stern rail, so I am glad you made it useful. After 7 years since I had it inspected, be sure to service/inspect it if you can. Have great adventures!

  2. I came across your Blog and thought you may be interested in an item I brought on my last Cruise. :) I've been on a few cruises and it had all the items I needed. Here's the Link: Hope you like it!!


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