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Dive Review of Borneo Divers in
Malaysia/Sipadan

Borneo Divers, Apr, 2013,

by Charlie Wright, OH, US (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 7453.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Short answer - amazing! My dive partner is an IDC PADI Staff Instructor who has been diving 28 years since age 12. Sipadan was her best dive site ever as it certainly was mine. Schooling barracuda, hundreds if not one dive a thousand. Who could count that many. Hundreds circling you at your safety stop, hanging with them at 40 feet in a slight current using a hook with a tether until we were short on air, many white tip sharks, a gray reef shark, turtles, schooling humphead parrotfish just slowly swimming by, many reef fish, some territorial trigger fish, bountiful colorful western pacific coral. A lot of turtle activity including feeding. One dive we were on a magnificent wall shortly after starting the dive, when I looked at my dive computer and it said 15 feet. I am thinking my computer must be wrong until I looked up to see the surface just above. My dive partner had the same experience. The area was very safe although it was a little different between dives having police behind sand bags with those WWII style machine guns. This has been in place since the incident in 2000 without any further issues.
Mabul is the 1 kilometer island where Borneo Divers is located and provides interesting macro shore and boat diving on the days you are waiting your turn for a Marine Park passes for Sipadan. Large frog fish and cuttlefish, turtles, one spotted drum as small as my dive partnerís little fingernail and another that was really big. Water clarity is not as good as you normally experience in the pacific. You can night dive on your own and sometimes with a dive master.
Tony was our dive master and did an excellent job on all of our many dives. The gear guy on shore could not have been any more helpful; he was a pleasure to be around and seemed to always be there day and night. Mabul is also quite interesting if you are interested in Asian culture with the resident sea gypsies and Filipino refugees. It makes basic living in the USA seem like life at the Ritz. Borneo Divers does 4 dives a day at Sipadan with a 5 minute return trip to the island of Sipadan between dives. This is not the easiest place to get which also makes it special. Make a point of staying long enough to enable multiple days of diving at Sipadan. Because there are a limited number of divers per day allowed at Sipadan you will not be able to dive there everyday. On the off days you can dive Mabul or just enjoy the pool and a good book or both. Your chance of getting Sipadan passes with Borneo Divers seems to be the best since they have the maximum number of daily passes and are smaller than the other resorts that also have that number of passes. The resort is shore based without over the water accommodations. If you have a security concern that maybe a plus and the Malaysian Police Station is next door.
Speaking of security it was the best I have ever been around while diving. We were there just after the sultanís boys showed up in the Sabah region which stirred things up in Semporna and before the recent kidnap for ransom issue in Pom Pom. People seem to continue visiting Chicago and NYC where killings are a daily event. Or even talk and text on their cellphones while driving. Both seem riskier than diving Sipadan from Mabul. Now is when we the recreational divers need to support this amazing area. The risk is much greater of loosing these dive operators than any personal risk from rogue Filipinos. Step up and have an amazing diving experience as we did.
Websites Borneo Divers   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Bonaire, Turks and Caicos, Roatan, Belize, BVIs, Cozumel, Florida Keys, Hawaii, Cabo, Thailand,
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 84-85°F / 29-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 50-100 Ft/ 15-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions 45 - 50 minute dives, no need to go deep the best activity was near the surface.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Some photographers were discourteous, we also observed some risk to this world class pristine area by photographers on the coral. Borneo Divers handled the situation as well as a dive operation can.
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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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