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Dive Review of Sipidan-Kapalai Dive Resort in

August, 2014, an Instant Reader Report by Paul Barrett, NM, US (2 reports)
Report Number 7721
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Bonaire, Caymans, Cozumel, Honduras, Truk
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, currents  
Water Temp
82   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 70    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
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Small Critters
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Large Fish
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Large Pelagics
  For Subscribers Only
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
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Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
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Shore Facilities  
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[None]No fresh water tanks for cameras on the boats.  Rental camera shop at
the resort but I don't know how well they can service private cameras.
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Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
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3 stars
Service and Attitude
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Environmental Sensitivity  
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Dive Operation
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Shore Diving  
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Overall Rating

Value for $$
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3 stars   
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[None]Whenever I meet a new experienced scuba diver I ask "where is
the best place you've ever been diving?"  One friend that spent a year
traveling the world as an itinerant diver and now manages a dive resort in
the Caribbean responded "Sipidan."  Later he set up a trip to the
island my wife and I decided to join him.

In the late 1990s Islamic guerrillas kidnapped several persons from Sipidan
and held them hostage on the Philippines for years.  More recently there
have been other incidents including one in the spring of 2014 where a
Chinese tourist was killed and his wife taken hostage and on July 12, 2014
police had a shootout with guerrillas on Mabul Island and one policeman was
killed while a second taken prisoner.  These incidents caused me to take
pause but, perhaps because they were so recent, the Malaysian government
has responded by sending a substantial naval force to monitor the Sulu Sea.
 The Kapalai Resort itself has eight policemen and forty-eight military
personnel on the resort.  Sipidan Island can be visited but no longer
houses permanent dive operations.  It does however have a permanent
military base for security.  In short, after arriving and witnessing the
upgraded security I had no concern for my safety during my stay.

A quick aside about the names.  Sipidan is an island, Sipidan-Kapalai is a
resort a short distance from the island.  In this review, unless otherwise
specified, when I refer to Sipidan I am discussing the Island and environs
and when I ref ...
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Subscriber's Comments

By McGinty at Sep 02, 2014 22:41 EST  
Sipidan should be Sipadan - my bad!
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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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