There is an island off the North Eastern coast of Borneo known as Sipadan. Sipadan island is supposed to be one of the top ten dive sites in the world. I am not sure who designates that kind of title or if it is something that can be self proclaimed but it seems to be pretty standard these days for anywhere you go diving. Even though almost everywhere I have been has claimed to be one of the top ten diving sites in the world, I had heard so many good things about this place that I decided a day of diving there would be a great way to begin my trip in Borneo.
After an hour long boat ride zipping past all of the fishing villages around Semporna followed by houses that have been built on stilts in the middle of the shallow bay we began to get into the clear waters surrounding the nearby islands. Cruising through the shallow spots it was easy to see all of the colorful coral everywhere you looked. Turtles were constantly coming up for air while the colorful parrot fish munched on the algae that covered the coral garden down below. So far the area around Sipadan was living up to it's reputation and I hadn't even gotten off the boat yet!
The diving turned out to be incredible! I can't say that many places in the world can even compare to the variety of sea life living there. During the first dive I was surrounded by thousands of giant barracuda swimming in a school all around me. On another there were so many different reef sharks I almost swam right into several of them without even realizing it! The most amazing thing I think I noticed about diving Sipadan was not just the overwhelming number of turtles but how tame they were. Many would be lying on the bottom or resting within the coral and would let you come inches from their face without even moving. Others while swimming would come right up to you allowing you to pet them on the head and rub on their shells. Along with all of the big stuff, the coral and tiny things were so overwhelming that it was difficult to concentrate on what I was seeing. At one point I had my nose about six inches from the mouth of a moray eel before I realized he was there! Sipadan truly has lived up to it's name as a top diving destination and I would recommend to anyone who is a scuba diver to make the journey to Borneo and dive Sipadan.