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Dive Review of Borneo Divers in

Borneo Divers, May, 2011,

by Bob Penhearow, ON, CA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 10 reports). Report 6097.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments 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, I’m 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 DM’s 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. I’m 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 I’ve had so far. I would rather return to Sipadan than the Red Sea – which I also enjoyed.
Websites Borneo Divers   

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

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 28-28°C / 82-82°F Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30-60 Ft/ 9-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Depth established for each dive; time enforced - 45 min.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 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 N/A Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments Wonderful large dedicated tank and room for cameras. However, no camera provision on dive boats.
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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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