The four of us have spent the last 5 days in and around the islands of Mabul and Sipadan, in Malaysian Borneo. Known throughout diving circles as one of the best dive sites in the world, Sipadan held up pretty well to the hype.
Making me a little jealous are Greg and Jenny, who decided to get SCUBA certified while we were staying on Mabul island. It’s hard to imagine a much nicer place to get trained for SCUBA diving, and I definitely understand why we met so many people there who had come to get Divemaster certified. Phil and I spent two days doing fun dives (places with names like Artificial Reef, Eel Garden, and Lobster Wall) and snorkeling, as well as exploring the island.
Finally, with all of us certified, we went out for three more dives (Kapalai House Reef, Ribbon Valley, and Stingray Alley).
All of the dives were full of sea turtles, eels, crazy tropical fish, a huge seasnake that swam right past me, lionfish, and (most importantly) a flamboyant cuttlefish.
Our divemaster, Packi, told us during the briefing that a group the day before had seen one but that they were incredibly rare. He had never seen one until sometime in the neighborhood of his 1100th dive. After doing the pre-dive checks and descending to depth, we started frantically pointing at an odd-colored blob on the floor.
The flamboyant cuttlefish’s most exciting feature is that it can change it’s skin color at will to attract or repel other animals. As we watched, its back rippled back and forth from purple to gold and back. With a bit of prompting from Packi, the startled cuttlefish slipped through the spectrum of colors before settling back into camouflage on the ocean floor.
The pictures were just taken with Jenny’s digital camera while Phil and I were snorkeling on their last day of class. None of them turned out particularly well, and the pictures from Greg’s camera didn’t develop because the film was too old. So, this is all the SCUBA I’ve got to share for now.