By now we had spent the last week in Borneo foraging in deep jungle, so it was about time to head to the coast and catch up on some downtime at the beaches.
Fortunately Borneo is not only reknown for its incredible wildlife on land- but in the sea too- with Sipadan and Mabul Islands both ranked in the top 10 lonely planet dive sites in the world!
We departed Danum- having had one of the best experiences of the trip to date and were dropped back at Lahad Datu.
From here we queued with the locals and took a bus down to Semporna- a 2 hour drive down to the South East Coast of Sabah.
It seems a common theme to berate the state of the Borneo cities and I don’t want to come across as a flashpacker or anything of the sort- but this was the worst of the lot!
Its was hard to imagine how these seas contained some of the most diverse species of fish and schools of hammerhead sharks and manta ray as waste of all sorts was careless thrown into plastic layer of floating shoreline.
The place stunk, the people were weird and there was no money in any of the cash points.
Furthermore the naval ships and large presence of armed soldiers did little to ease our concern and, upon inquiry, we found out that there was a stand off with Japan over the ownership of Semporna and the surrounding Islands.
We were obliged to stay the night however as the only boats out to Mabul were the following morning.
So, in such a place there is only one thing to do- drink- and low and behold we actually managed to have a pretty crazy night out doing our best rendition of Hotel California at a karaoke in a backstreet bar.
Following advice, we booked two nights on Mabul with Scuba Junkie when we arrived in Semporna. They were awesome and had a really great set-up!
We turned up at the office early the next morning and were re-tested for our gear and equipment.
Then it was a one hour boat trip, swapping the trash for turquoise blue waters and a small paradise island.
Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Borneo: Semporna / Mabul Dive Sites.