Thursday, March 27

Mabul Island, Semporna : Diving, and Walking Around (Day 2)


Good morning!!! Haha, sorry for my delay in continuing my experience at Mabul Island, Sabah.  Check out my previous blog post here:

Did I mention that the sun rises at 5.30am in Mabul Island?  Yup, you read it correctly, 5.30am and the sunlight bursts into the sky. I woke up at 6am and the sky is as bright as this =)


The morning was chilly, so I made a cup of tea and sat overlooking the sea. The bonus of waking up early is that, when less motorboats around, you can see turtles swimming up to the surface to grab food and air. The turtles here are happily roaming freely, and of course I pray that they will remain happy in the future.



In front of Spheredivers Lodge, fishes, sea urchins, starfish and eels can be seen. During my stay there, my dive instructor managed to spot a blue ring octopus. The blue ring octopus seems to be quite rare, and it emits a blue luminescent ring when being threatened by predators. It is quite poisonous as well. A beginner like me, don't even recognize sea creatures so, I enjoy watching the Anemonefish (aka Nemo) roaming around the anemone in the crystal clear waters.


I can sit and stare at the sea for a long time. Breakfast is served at 7.30am, and approximately an hour after that, a voice bellowed across the lodge "Students, GEAR UP!". Immediately we sprung up from our seats and rushed in all directions. Some went to change to their swimming costumes, while some went to grab their GoPros. We are all students and as students, we have to assemble our gears all by ourself. Leisure divers do not need to worry much because all the gears will be set up.

My Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Open Water Course with "sifu" Benjamin Choong costs about RM1,600 for 5 days and 4 nights. We did some lessons in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, before heading over to Mabul Island.  There were 5 students altogether.

Leisure divers are priced at approx. RM1,600 for 5 days 4 nights as well (depending on the number of dives and the number of days you stay).

(Disclaimer: Price stated are as of March 2014. Msxeroz.com is not liable for any price differences as indicated above)



Basic Scuba diving gears consist of : 
a) BCD    b)Compressed Air Tank    c)Fins    d)Masks     e)Regulator.

The gas tank is quite heavy and I can barely lift it up during assembly. But fret not, their local assistant, named Alex, and boatman Anton, are always there to monitor and help. Truth is, the people around the lodge are so friendly and helpful. They are wacky but experienced. Other dive experts like Azhar, Aqeeb, Stanley, Raja will also keep a hawk-eye on us (to make sure we are properly taught and follow the rules).


Once the gears are set, off we go!
(p/s Sorry no photos of diving because we are students! Cameras are not allowed in class OK!)

The boatman brought us to Paradise 1. Benjamin briefed us before we hop into the water. So all we need to do is suit up and roll backwards into the sea. Fuh...easy said than done. I will never forget my first time. EVER.

So I put on my fins, inflate my BCD, mask on, and prepare to roll backwards. Then I suddenly blurt out "EH, MY TANK NEVER OPEN". I clearly remembered that I close the tank before going on the boat. Thankfully I remembered so I get good air dosages and off I go. XeRoZ, being confident, didn't turn on his gas tank. So he kinda suffocated LOL but it's ok he managed to float and get the boatman to turn it on. It was a frightening experience, not being able to breathe, he says. But well, this teaches us a lesson to always buddy check, double check (hello, don't 100% trust your buddy with your life). 

So my instructor gave us the sign to descend. I was pretty much comfortable on the surface, then I deflate my BCD. Being a newbie, I deflated my BCD too fast that I sank faster than I can equalize. Thankfully my instructor chose a not-so-deep sandy place, that I wasn't injured by the pressure. I panicked, seriously, I panicked the moment I sank eye-level in the water. Then i sank, and sank and I saw a school of fishes as big as my head on my left. I have to emphasize that I am a newbie (I can imagine many of you cursing me stupid or "sampat" due to my lack of experience), I was so shock by the presence of fish nearby. The current also kept pushing me nearer to the fish..WALAO then i tried to turn and I see TianChad's fins (he was still up) and I found Joseph (a new friend we met there). I grabbed to Joseph's tank and I frightened him. Sorry Joseph. I was frightened and I wanted to stay as close to humans as possible!! When Tianchad squatted beside me, I felt safe again. Then I looked up and saw my sister, having problems descending, and XeROz is still up on the surface. >.<!!!

XeRoZ's then told me (when we went up) that he can't go down due to anxiety attack! HAHA...and I thought I was the weakest, ended up I braced my fear for the deep blue! *feeling proud*

We did some basic lessons, and then our instructor brought us to see some sea denizens. That experience was indescribable! No words can be used to describe what I see. School of fishes, Angel Fish, Yellow Tang (I think it's a tang, because its so much bigger than what I saw in salt water aquariums), Anemonefish inside bubble-tip anemones. Big fish, small fish, lion fish, pipe fish...It was so freaking awesome!!! Then we went to a sunken motorboat and 3 freaking huge turtles were lazing on it. AWESOME!!!!

Everything was awesome beyond words. Please remember to visit my blog sometime again because I'll share with you some videos. Meanwhile, let's continue exploring Mabul Island....

Mabul Island is a quaint island, surrounded by beautiful beaches and clear waters. It is inhabited by local Bajau laut and Suluks. This island has a Police Force, School, Mosque and a lot of mini markets. There are also massage parlours, tailors, and laundry. Other than that, are diving schools and holiday resorts.




After a tiring day of diving, we were brought by Aqeeb for an island tour. Aqeeb was one of our co-instructor and he was knighted as an instructor in February this year. According to Wern, Aqeeb was really good as well. Despite his serious looks, Aqeeb is kind and tentative to students. 



The beach are almost similar to other beaches in Malaysia. There's a bar located by the beach. I was told that sometimes, there's live band performances too!


2014, is indeed a happy year for me and XeROz. We managed to keep on travelling for every 3 months. hahaha..Oh boy~ there goes our savings! 

Learning to dive is one of XeROZ's dreams. He so desperately wanted to share his dreams with me. That's why I was here.


The signature building of Mabul Island, is the oil rig platform called SeaVentures (the World's one and only diving rig). It's a resort, if I'm not mistaken, and I am intrigued to dive there one day. Wooo~ 


Openly placed amongst the resorts and bars are rickety houses of the locals. You can see how drastic the difference between the conditions of the people in Mabul and of those in Peninsular Malaysia. I felt culture shock too!


There were so many kids roaming around. Some were even fully naked. Houses were build on used planks, and some don't even have windows. I felt really troubled with what I see. The people here are mostly uneducated, hence explain the lack of proper civilization. They do not have proper garbage disposal, and everything is disposed to the sea. I'm not exaggerating this. I've seen boatmen throwing pampers and plastic bags into the sea. I've seen pampers floating around, I have seen shit floating around the sea as well.


Right at the edge of the local settlement, lies a beautiful holiday haven - The Mabul-Sipadan Water Village.


Water bungalows being build on top of the beautiful sea. I wished one day I get a review offer to stay here wakaka *keep dreaming, MsXeROz*


Initially we wanted to stay here for our honeymoon. But then I won a honeymoon package to Bali (which I have yet to blog about), so we have postponed our decision to stay here. =( 


The bungalows made of wood and the colour was beautifully enhanced by the colour of the blue skies and blue waters.


Beautiful places must be surrounded by beautiful people as well *cough cough*


 I was there, right in time for sunset. The golden hue was so captivating! You have to go there to truly enjoy such a glorious sunset!



And just as the sun sets, you can see the moon already!


Here are some of my favourite sunset photos which I took (using my humble iPhone 5)


 If only I have a DSLR... (damn you robber! I still cannot forgive the robber who stole XeRoZ's DSLR)



 I love this sunset photo the most. Which do you prefer?


By the time sun sets, my stomach was growling of hunger. It was worth it! We then bade goodbye to the sun...


The most heart-breaking moment was to realize, that...

I didn't have any photos of myself in this place T_T 


This must be the most lengthiest blog post I've ever written since 2010! I'm so tired..I shall stop here until I get some nice videos from Tianchad ya!


Muacks,

MsXeROz

1 comment:

The Journey said...

Nice one !! shall dive there sometime in future.. after saving money..kekekekek