25 August 2008

Sipadan Dive Trip 08 - 5 Jan Day 4

Day 4 - 5 Jan

Dive 9 - Barracuda Point, Sipadan
For our 4th day, our group decided to take it fairly easy and decided not to do the dawn dive but do our first dive at around 9+. Re-visited Barracuda Point, we couldn't get enough of the Barracuda vortex the day before so back to try our luck again.
We descended by the wall to a depth of about 23m. Visibility was quite good at 30m! With good sunlight, we admired the beauty of the wall, with lots of corals, sea fans and naturally dozens of turtles either resting, swimming by or feeding on the corals. Really admire the turtles for their laid-back attitudes and lifestyle.

This turtle seemed a little unhappy with the intrusion :p

As we entered the valley where we could expect the white-tips and barracuda, a school of Longfin Bannerfish awaited us. Such a pretty sight.

And there were also many other interesting marine life whether big or small.

The valley seemed like a resting place for the white-tips reef sharks. I got bolder and moved up closer to one of the sharks. It didn't stir until I got too close for its comfort and it swam away :p

The barracudas appeared soon after but a little disappointing as the school was much smaller as compared to the previous day.

After the morning dive, we rested at Pulau Sipadan once again.

The island had a nice beach but too bad it is now restricted access (except some soldiers guarding the island). Otherwise, divers could do as many wall dives at the Drop-off as they want. Oh, but the beach is now full of sandflies, perhaps due to the island being unhabited and rundown for sometime.

Dive 10 - South Point, Sipadan

After rest, we went for another wall dive, this time at South Point. We descended to around 24m with even better visibility of 35m. Beautiful coral structures and even more green turtles than we could count.

It was difficult to capture this tiny 2cm anemone crab on camera as it kept crawling all over the anemone. In fact, it was not easy to take underwater photos as the fishes/creatures never ever still stay and more often than not, there would be some current. Good buoyancy control is necessary; a metal pointer helps too for us to anchor especially when met with strong current.

At shallower depth of 13 - 15m, we were greeted with beautiful coral gardens with lots of colourful reef fishes playing around. During our 3 min safety stop, we met an aggressive triggerfish and it tried attacking one of us. Luckily it decided to give up after dashing to and fro several times.

Dive 11 - Mantis Ground, Kapalai

After lunch and rest, we went for our 3rd boat dive to Mantis Ground. Depth 19m, visibility was so-so at 8-10min. Good thing there was barely a current. Another haven for muck diving. Did we have a field trip uncovering lots of rare critters! We were kept busy throughout the 56min dive as our dive guides sounded their dive tanks to alert us of findings every few minutes. So we finned from one point to another, snap snap snap, then moved on to another spot.The tiny nudibranch just a few cm big is fondly nicknamed 'Pikachu' by divers. So cute right? I thought it looked a lot like a rubber toy and felt so much like squeezing it.
This anemone crab must be quite annoyed as our DM kept pushing it to the centre of the anemone with his pointer while it was trying to get out. LOL.

Everyone was peering into these deep holes and I wondered what was it as I was behind. Turned out to be the Giant Mantis Shrimp. Too bad we couldn't see the tiny Mantis Shrimp.

Was so excited to see this little Clown Frogfish, looked much more adorable than the Giant Frogfish living at Mandarin Valley.

Another exciting find! This little one was only around 5-6cm with gorgeous vibrant colours but heard that it is poisonous.
Another colourful yet poisonous marine creature. Seems that all pretty, vibrant and colourful creatures are somewhat poisonous to ward itself against predators.
Looked so much like a leaf if didn't look close enough. The muck residents are really great masters of disguise.

Too bad our dive came to an end, otherwise we could have seen more.

Dive 12 - Mandarin Valley, Kapalai (sunset dive)

I decided to skip the sunset dive as I was quite tired out and experiencing some cramps. Entrusted the last chance of photographing the Mandarinfish to hubby.

The water was completely still, a good sign and yes, hubby finally managed to spot the shy Mandarin fish! Ok. just my luck but I must recover for my last 2 wall dives the next day.
Hubby also spotted this rare Spot Fae Moray Eel. Personally didn't like eels too much.
Lots of tiny tiny reef crabs around.
Lovely sunset, our last at Kapalai... for now.

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