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Dive Review of Borneo Divers in

May, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Bob Penhearow, ON, CA
Sr. Reviewer   (10 reports)
Report Number 6097
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Florida, St. Lucia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Red Sea, Madagascar,
Mauritius, Philippines
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
28   to 28    Celsius  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 60    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Depth established for each dive; time enforced - 45 min.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
5 stars  
Wonderful large dedicated tank and room for cameras. However, no camera
provision on dive boats.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
4 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars    
5 stars   
5 stars    
Here is a brief report of Borneo Divers/Sipadan.

The Journey
I came from Canada via India on a teaching trip, rested at Hyderabad
Airport (excellent lounge) then on to KL and Tawau. Stayed at Heritage
Hotel in Tawau (30 min from airport) - book a superior room that way you
actually get windows! Borneo divers picked me up at 7:00AM from the hotel
and transported me to Semporna harbor. A 45-minute boat ride followed
before arriving at Mabul Island, Borneo Divers Resort. After a warm welcome
and orientation tour you have 2-local check out dives the same day
(buoyancy etc).

The Resort  Borneo Divers (Mabul island)
Excellent, helpful staff in both the resort and the DMs. Food was fine,
very healthy  breakfast, lunch & dinner, snacks somewhat limited. The
resort is fine and will return. The criticism regarding housekeeping
(missed cleaning room twice) and condition of bathrooms is unfortunately
valid and downgrades the resort. However, management are aware of this 
improvements, Im informed, are on the way.

The Dives
The dive boats hold around 16 divers but never had more than 10 divers at
any time, usually less. Set up is done for you, as was the storage back at
the resort. Nitrox is a strain for them as the mix varied from 30%-36% on
any given tank, also some tanks had only around 2,900 psi. However, the
DMs have a great attitude, especially enjoyed Emily & Eric in
particular. For an older guy (back issues), found the entry back roll
quite easy except for the configuration of one dive boat. Exit from the
water was fine as BCD was removed prior to boarding the boat. All staff
very helpful.

Sipadan Island (45 Min):  I had 16 dives in total at Sipadan, 4 dives each
day. There are only 120 divers/day permitted at Sipadan. Each dive centre
has a quota. Borneo divers are permitted 14 divers/day. Lunch, snacks and
washroom facilities are available on Sipadan Island between each dive. Best
dive sites: Barracuda Point and Turtle lair. Here are some of the
highlights: schools of Giant Bumpheads 30+ just floating near the surface
and very approachable; the famous swirling Barracudas never disappoint, and
schools of Jacks were amazing. I delighted myself when I finned alongside
an Eagle Ray eye ball to eye ball for about 3-minuites. Every dive saw
plenty of sharks - Grey Reef and especially Whitetip  saw 12 sharks just
circling on one occasion. Turtles on every dive, plenty of Bat fish, Puffer
fish and Sweet Lips etc. Sipidan certainly lives up to its reputation and
then some!

Mabul Island:  Muck diving - Sea Adventures Point - easy diving, quite
shallow. Morey eel, Clown fish, Giant Frog Fish etc. Im not so interested
in Nudibranch stuff but enjoyed fumbling around with my camera.

Kapalai Island (10 Min): Muck diving at Mandarin Alley, interesting
configurations. I enjoyed the Clown fish, Mantis Shrimp, Ghost Pipe, Morey
Eel etc. Here again the focus is primarily on the  Nudibranch.  

General: The DM led the way, both depth and time (45 min) were established
on each dive. The deeper dive first then progressively shallower.
Additional diving on the House Reef with a buddy is at your own discretion.
Night dives available upon request at extra cost. Apart from one storm day,
the water was exceptionally calm. However, the current can be strong at
times, especially at Barracuda Point. 

Summary: Sipadan is the best diving experience Ive had so far. I would
rather return to Sipadan than the Red Sea  which I also enjoyed. 
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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