Sunday, 2 June 2013

Sipadan-A World Before Mankind

Morning Chatter -Sempoerna, 6/5/2013

From the onset, it seemed our Borneo trip was plagued with obstacles one after the other. 7 weeks before we were due to leave, there was an attempted invasion of Sabah by the Sultan of Sulu right at the gateway to Sipadan, Sempoerna. It felt as unreal as it sounded, so much so that the attacks had been described as surreal. Truth be told,  we were so set on going that we didn't allow a war to stop us, not to mention the election or a bomb scare. 

Morning from the window- Sempoerna, 6/5/2013

This was the picture of calm and charm that greeted us on our 1st morning at Sempoerna, the sleepy village through which all travellers to Sipadan must pass. It belied the weird and exciting world that has been on my bucket list for eons. 

Sipadan Water Village, Mabul Island- 6/5/2013

The minute we stepped onto the wooden floorboards of our resort, we knew our perseverance had more than paid off. 

Picture taken by MarG, Sipadan Water Village, Mabul Island

I remember thinking this must be what heaven is like for good people. 

Starfishes at Kapilai-6/5/2013

This picture was one of the first I took with the brand new Panasonic Lumix camera I bought on the morning before I left for Kota Kinabalu. I wanted a camera for underwater pictures so that I could record my historic trip to the diving spot of my dream.

Blue Starfishes- Mabul, 6/5/2013

Corals, Mabul, 6/5/2013

Foraging, Mabul, 6/5/2013

The camera did not work very well underwater but thanks to some heavy photo edit, I managed to salvage some images capturing a few of those precious moments I spent in this amazing world. 

That's me posing with a friendly sea creature from paradise pool. I assure you, no animals or starfishes were harmed in the making of this picture.

My camera conked out after one day in the water but the lack of pictures did not make me forget.

Picture courtesy of Green Sea Turtle, Sipadan

Those few days snorkeling in Mabul and Kapilai was truly like swimming in Nature's aquarium. I saw some really weird  fishes and corals, most memorable being the encounter of the 3 giant sea turtles. The backs of these turtle were so big, swimming atop  one was like sprawling over a dining table for 4. Yet, those giant creatures were more graceful than the sveltest of ballerinas.

Picture courtesy of, shoals of barracudas, Sipadan Island

Nothing however prepared me for the spectacular that is Sipadan. We were blessedly lucky to be amongst the 120 daily divers permitted in this protected enclave. And when the sight you behold the moment you dipped your head into the water is a swirling shoal of fishes circling you, you know why this is one of the last few precious spot on earth that must be left unspoilt. 

Sunset at Sipadan Water Village, 6/5/2013

I witnessed my best sunset in this trip

and saw the sun rise to meet the moon from the window of my room.

Borneo 2013 has to be my trip of the year like how Europe 2012 was for last year.

Pure Magic! 


Margriet said...

This is so beautiful!!! I love the picture of the 2 boats on the water!!! I can feel the magic of this're very lucky to have experienced this wonderful trip! Thank you for taking us with you :-)

Emanuela Valenza said...

Sono proprio contenta di aver scoperto il tuo blog, lasci sempre immagini incantevoli come queste con il suo meraviglioso mondo marino. Grazie e un saluto, Manu

Ilona said...

WOOOOOW Sans! What a beautiful pictures of this magical atmospherical places on earth. Thank you for guiding us to those beautiful places on earth, it felt like I was with you ;)! I have never had the opportunity to snorkle, but I can imagine what a beauty there is underwater.
I am in love with the sunset and sunrise and the pictures of the beautiful sky :D, thanks for sharing, dearie!
Hugs, Ilona

rosanna said...

More comments later: Dad , Anna and Great granmum are watching your pics with me and we are all sighing....ahhhhh
Hugs, Ro
Many greetings from Anna and Papà :o))))

CWPoppets said...

Invasion by the Sultan of ... ??? I'm a bit overworked right now and thought I've gone delirious. So I read it a second time. I'm still not sure if you make fun of us ... lol. Well, I guess not.
But your vacation looks soooo ... wow.
Greetings from a cold and wet Germany.

The Old Maid said...

Beautiful pictures! It's easy to see you had a great time there dear Sam! And I just love the water village! Thank you for sharing this trip with us! :)
Hugs and kisses

malu2 said...

Fantastico!preciosas fotos y espectaculares, un gran recuerdo!!
Besos de las Malu´s.

Sans! said...

I am just thrilled you "came" along, Margriet :). My camera had gone kaput by then so the picture of the 2 boats with the children were taken by my housemate, Margaret (your English namesake :)).

Those children were from a nearby village in Mabul Island. I am afraid they were foraging too, hoping that the resort guests would throw them some food/clothes/money.

Although we try not to encourage begging in this part of the world, it was hard not to want to give them something.

Fabiola said...

This is a magical place!
Greetings, Faby

Sans! said...

Manu, E sono similmente entusiasta di aver trovato voi. E'stata davvero una piacevole sorpresa di andare oltre al tuo blog solo ora e leggere il tuo ultimo post su Rapollo ed i lacci antichi. Parte del mio Europe 2012 tour è stato di trascorrere dei giorni meravigliosi a Genova, Liguria e Potofino con Rosanna :). Ci torneremo e se Dio vuole, sarò con voi e ammirare il vostro lacci :).

Emanuela Valenza said...

Grazie a te Sans di essere venuta a trovarmi. Il tuo blog mi ripeto è pieno di meraviglie della natura e tu sei un'ottima fotografa! Mi associo con Rosanna a sospirare guardando questi paradisi... Spero di conoscerti personalmente nel tuo prossimo viaggio in Italia. Un abbraccio, Manu

Sans! said...

Ilona, of the 5 in the group who went snorkeling, 1 can't swim at all and 1 is a little afraid of water.

Snorkeling is really easy if you wear a vest. I can swim ok but I wear a vest too just to make sure that the water is ok. After 1 day, I can go without it.

The water in this part of the world is as warm as a blanket so we can stay in the water for a long time even if you are just wearing bikinis. The bites of the sea bugs can be a bit irritating though. Otherwise, no need for a wet suit even. :)

And beauty doesn't begin to describe Sipadan. It's like being in a primordial world, a world before mankind :).

Sans! said...

Kisses to your papa and Anna, Ro. *Wave to granmum as well! You must all be feasting! Ooooooh, what I will give for your pesto pasta. Ro ! Yumms yumms!

As you can see I am hungry :). heh heh.

When are you coming againnnnnnn?!

Sans! said...

Christine, you read it right and I wish I could invent those names myself but I didn't. It sounded like a bad Eddie Murphy movie, doesn't it? You watched "Coming To America"?

The stories are truly bizarre but nonetheless true. If you feel like some "light" reading, try this link :

I have read on many of your blogs that Germany is quite wet this Spring. Pity that Spring is almost gone now. Over here, it is also surprisingly thunderous and stormy in May. We like it wet here though or it will be crazy hot.

Sans! said...

And you too Ewalina , when will you visit eh? :):). Every time I go on holiday, I think about whether you all will love it here and I always conclude that you will. :)

Norma Soulet (AZArtist) said...

Hi Sans,
WOW, what gorgeous photos! Too bad your new camera got ruined. Those Blue Starfish really are amazing. I travel a lot but you really go to far away places. :)
Hugs and so happy you are home safe and sound.

Maria Ireland said...

Wow Your pictures are amazing. Thank you for sharing this magical place with us. I love the blue starfish.
Hugs Maria

Sans! said...

Malu :) Cuando Pol es mayor, tal vez usted puede todos vienen a Asia de nuevo :)


Sans! said...

Yes it is Faby :).

Sans! said...

Manu, finalmente! Qualcuno mi può scrivere a in italiano! haha! Il mio italiano migliorerà presto! Evviva!

teehee Evviva! Evviva! What a great word!

Sans! said...

Norma :), I haven't been to Florida yet but I can see it in my crystal ball that I will soon :).

I am really lucky to live in what many may regard as an exotic part of the world. Actually, I think so too :).

I still can't believe sometimes how it is that somewhere as beautiful as Sipadan is just in a neighbouring country. :) And yet it has taken me so long to see it.

Sans! said...

Maria Ireland, I think I have like dozens of pictures of those blue starfishes. They are also called Linckia laevigata. Doesn't that sound like something out of Harry Potter? :) *wave a wand :).

Yes, I absolutely love those blue starfishes too :)

Plushpussycat said...

What a wonderful, magical trip! You are so fortunate to have been able to see what you saw. Savor the memories, my friend. xo Jennifer

BiWuBär said...

You already said it - magic. No need to say more... except: Thank you for taking us in a way with you. And whatsmore in my case - thank you for reminding me that water can be beautiful... ;O) We had incredible amounts of rain here this spring, sometimes the rain didn't stop for days and nights. But no complaining, we only had bad weather - but my friend Melli is one of the people in southern Germany that suffer from high flood. Yesterday their local river stood about 1 m high in her house's base floor... I guess it's true, everything has two sides, water is the elixier of life and can be magical and beautiful - and sometimes it may be a curse...


Lucille said...

What beautiful pictures. That sunset and the sun meeting the moon. It looks like a dream vacation!

Eliana said...

Such amazing pics!

carmen said...

bellísimas imágenes

Kikka said...

O' the colors, love the themes, love the photos..
The color of the sea(Sipadan Water Village, Mabul Island- 6/5/2013) is something very special - it went into my heart. And on the other photo (Picture taken by MarG, Sipadan Water Village, Mabul Island) the volor of the water is so heavenly...
The Blue Starfishes are like from a fairytale
I am stunned with the view : The sunset! Pure Magic!

Ascension said...

Hola Susan
Me ha encantado verte bajo el agua jejeje
Un fantastico viaje, lleno de emociones.
Muchas gracias por compartir esas preciosas imagenes con nocostras, enhorabuena por ser tan magnifica fotografa.
besitos ascension

Elizabeth S said...

Hello Sans! You must have felt like the Little Mermaid while underwater with all that INCREDIBLE sea life! I am just so blown away by the beauty and the life in such saturated colors! What an experience!


Sans! said...

Ya Jen, it was a pretty incredible trip. There's so much out there. All we have to do is to want it badly enough :):).

Sans! said...

Oh Birgit, as I am sitting here reading your comment at work, I am dismay at the darkening skies over here as I had planned to run this evening. It is going to rain :(.

Yes, always both side to a coin.

It was funny how I had thought snorkelling is so easy only to come back and read that people do die while snorkelling. Guess it's the lack of precaution and of course, one must always remember to try and not panic while in the water. Water can be a wicked and merciless force.

O boy, it has started to rain and I can hear the distant rumblings of thunder.

Daydreamer said...

It is places like this that remind me of how Vast and Varied this Planet is.... on your part there are coral reefs with incredibly clear water.... and fishes that will swim with you....
While on my part there are hills and woods and Rocky shores... and the ocean is freezing cold and dark and deep .... but Whales can be seen far out to sea.... and Seals come in to the shore....
I always enjoy your posts Sans!.... you go to so many places I will probably never see.... and you give us a glimpse through your eyes!

Sans! said...

Dear Lucille, it's good to "see" you again :).Yes, Borneo 2013 definitely rank among my top 10 dream vacations. :)

Sans! said...

Thank you Eliana :)!

Sans! said...

Gracias, Carmen :) , era un hermoso lugar que he visitado :)

Sans! said...

OOOOOOH Kikka!! I was just thinking of you today :). MacDonald's here is having this promotion where they are selling these Hello Kitty plushies (personally, not Hello Kitty fans but these are cute even by my standard). One of them is a Frog Princess that will be sold in like a week and of course I thought of you :). But these dolls are so popular that they get sold out on the 1st day and customers get into a fist fight over them. hahaha even over here! Its CRAZY!

You can read about it here if you want :

And you know what Kikka, about the pictures of the water..what you see on the surface is already pretty because the water is so clear but when you dipped your head down into the water WOWWWWWW! The colours will blow your mind! :). I think you will definitely want to visit a place like this. :)

Sans! said...

Hardly the little mermaid, Elizabeth :) but definitely Nemo :) There were loads of clown fishes, Sweetlips (who can give Angelina Jolie a run for her money where lips are concerned) and loads others I have no names for:).

Have I mentioned that the water is so warm in this part of the world, you can stay in it for ages??! It's a fascinating world down there. :)

Sans! said...

Ascensión hola, acabo de visitar su blog y vi esas teteras increíbles que hizo! Usted va a ser un éxito en la feria de Barcelona! Traer más ayudantes!

Sans! said...

Betsy, the wondrous of the world is just out there , isn't it? In this day and age of supersonic travel time, Sipadan is like me just stepping out to my backyard. Travelling there is so cheap too but it has taken me so long to discover.

But be able to see whales in the distance and seals come to shore, that too is pure unadulterated joy. I may not be able to experience them all but what I can, I swear to never take for granted :):).

Like that incredible sunset. We didn't see it again the next day. So I say my thank you to the clouds that day, to the fact that we all have to get out of the water by 6pm and for having to walk the long boardwalk to our rooms because it is only in that unique set of circumstances that we got to experience that amazing moment. :)

Ana Anselmo said...

wow!!!!!!!!!!!!! this is just a dream! no words...(what for)
hugs from Lisbon

Natalia's Fine Needlework said...

What beautiful, gorgeous place! and such clear water - just a dream. I love hiking, never thought about diving! Any mermaids?

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