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Sipadan - potápěčské lokality
Jetty Dropp Off
Sipadan South Point Steep wall, ledge and then drop-off. My dive buddies from Switzerland liked this site a lot, because two of them had seen a group of hammerhead sharks there at about 55m depth. I went down as well, but actually you have to swim out first to the ledge and then go down, otherwise you don't have enough bottom time. Anyway, I didn't see any hammerheads!
Sipadan Barracuda point: Wall, then flat valley on about 20m. This is the dive site everybody wants to go. A large school of barracuda nearly always hovers there. And by large I mean easily several hundred animals and large fish, not the juvenile barracudas! I did my 500th dive here and enjoyed it a lot. Did you know, that you can eat "Gummi Bärli" (German for a gelatin sweet) under water? I found a package of them behind a coral block (my dive buddies the Wabis put it there) and everybody had to try them. They were a bit salty! At one point there was a large group of barracudas just swimming around in a circle with me inside! The dive site has suffered some though, and there are a lot of broken corals. Divers and specially photographers, that don't know how to do buoyancy control should not be allowed in the water!
Crocodile Avenue: Flat sandy area from 5m to 20m. Remains of some palmtrees. Some divers hate this dive site, I love it. It is a sandy area, so there are empty stretches of sand with oases of life. Our diveguide found some seahorses there every time. The absolute record were 8 seahorses found by Ben. Then there are sand eels, double-ended pipefish, crocodilefish, special tube anemones, ghostpipefish (Harlekin- and Seagrass-), cowfish etc. I even saw some turtles, humpback parrotfish, barracudas, mackerels and a small eagleray there. Night dives are also very good here. We found lots of sepias, cuttlefish and special nudibranchs (for example the Spanish Dancer, Asteronotus c.) and lots of crabs. One of the highlights was a small boxer crab, that Alex found on some rubble.
Seaventure Plattform: Flat sandy area on about 17m. Some coral blocks, pillars of concrete, piles of metall rods. This is a old oil platform that has been converted into a hotel owned by Seaventures Dive Resort. It stands on huge pillars. You dive underneath in 17m of water (Deco after more than 60min dive!). An amazing dive site! There are several piles of metal rods, look close, and there are always several frogfish (yellow to red, black and gray) sitting on them. Inside the largest pile there is a huge moray eel. His head must have a diameter of about 15cm! I couldn't make out the tail, but it must be several meters long. Then we also found: ghostpipefish (Harlekin and seegrass), waspfish, nudibranchs (Halgerda, Cromodoris etc.), stonefish, flying gunard and close to the pillars always lots of batfish and flutefish.
Lobster Wall: Wall, some small caverns. Lot's of hydroids. The place is not that nice to look at, but it is again a place for many nudibranchs, anemones, shrimps and in a small cave I even found a babycowfish. Great nightdives.
10. Mandarin Valley: Slope to about 20m. Hard corals, then sand. Small underwater mound. This dive site has its name from a dragonet that can be found there and that has a beautiful color like the clothes of the Chinese mandarins. It lives during the day under the spines of sea urchins. Also very interesting were the that I found there. Go out to the small underwater mound - there were several leaffish there last time. Leaffish can shed their skin and in such a way adjust to the surrounding reef. I saw one, where some yellow ascidians were growing on his skin right over the eye. There is also a mushroom coral (Heliofungia a.) on the sand with some white anemone pipefish (Siokunichthys n.) living inside. Check it out.
13. Ray Channel: This is a sandy channel with the reef on one side. The special fish, you find here and nowhere else in Mabul is the dragonfish (Pegasus). This small animal lives in pairs on sand and feeds on invertebrates. Actually, I have spent half an hour at just one coral block here. There are some leaffish here, a spiny devilfish lives close by, and there is a small baby-anglerfish here. I observed, how it changed from gray to red in only 4 days.
Diving and environment
Before you start to divet, you sign a paper that you will be careful about not damaging the coral reef (no gloves, bouancy control, no supporting on the corals while photographing, careful with the fins, no touching of animals, follow the divemaster).
I wholeheartedly support this policy but wish, that the divemasters would be more assertive about the guests following it.
We heard, that in Layang Layang (West coast of Borneo) they won't let you dive for a day, if you touch the animals etc. I would like this to happen in Mabul and Sipadan, also. I find the reef is not in such good shape anymore, by far too many divers!! In some places damage is obvious.
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