SeaVentures Dive Rig -  Sipadan, Borneo, Malaysia - October 2010
6 days of diving at Sipadan and Mabul Islands in Borneo
Scroll down page to see my review of SeaVentures Resort, Sipadan diving and video. To see slideshow, click on right arrow below.

 

 

We had been to Grand Cayman back in April of 2008 and when I was looking for a place to go diving this winter, Grand Cayman quickly rose to the short-list.

In 2008 there was a direct flight from Boston to GC, but no such luck this time. However, a trip time of 6 1/2 hours felt like nothing compared to our 37 hour return trip from Borneo last October.

Back in 2008 we stayed for a week at Cobalt Coast. We enjoyed it but were disappointed that we were only able to shore dive 2 of the days we were there due to waves at Cobalt Coast. We checked out Sunset House back then for dinner one evening at their popular bar called "My Bar". While sitting there we scoped out the dive operation and noticed that the seas were calm, while over at Cobalt Coast, shore diving (even with a pier) was not recommended that day. I decided then that our next trip to CG would be to Sunset House.

It turned out to be a good decision.

Sunset House is located about a 10 to 15 minute walk west of downtown Georgetown and a stroll downtown for dinner was convenient. However, do note that there are no sidewalks for most of that walk and you need to be careful. I would recommend bringing a dive light for the walk if in the dark.

Read below for some details of the diving.

The diving at Sunset House and Grand Cayman in general is some of better diving in the Caribbean for certain things. The Cayman Islands are right next to the deepest trenches in the Caribbean and that seems to contribute to a general higher visibility than some other islands. GC is a pretty good place to see turtles, Southern Stingrays and Eagle Rays. If you want a guarantee of seeing stingrays then go to Sting Ray City, where you will get your fill of them. We went there in 2008, so skipped it this time. Some of the folks that did go this year brought back stories of Manta Rays being seen there. I can't verify that.

GC has lots of dive sites that have great swim-throughs. The aquascape near the drop-off can be breathtaking with the good viz and there are plenty of sandy areas where you can find garden eels, rays and plenty of free roaming conch.

Not all Caribbean islands have good shore diving options. GC is one of the lucky ones. Good shore diving can be found around the island, but as I mentioned before only those on the sheltered west side can be counted on for access. The two shore sites we dove this trip were Sunset House (of course) and Turtle Reef.

Accommodations:
We got the regular courtyard room a the dive package. There were reports that the rooms were dated, etc and this was true, but they met our needs just fine with one exception. There was no table or chair in the room and for someone who needs to charge batteries, change lenses, and look at pictures this was a problem. I rended up improvising with the bureau and using the laptop while sitting on the bed, but it is a sghortcomingh of the rooms.

ports I do however

The food on the rig was OK, not great. Just be prepared for noodles and hot dogs for breakfast. and a menu that is heavily weighted towards Chinese and Malaysian cuisine. If you need a hamburger option at every meal, forgetaboutit.
The dive setup (equipment, etc) was really efficient, although it took me a while to get the hang of where to get a clean towel.
Although the description on the web implies a complete computer/photo room setup, I had a hard time finding an available 2 prong outlet to use, even though it was far from full of divers, so make sure you bring enough of the UK style 3 prong adapters.

The diving was a lot of fun and I am really happy to have had a chance to go there. If I were to go back to Sipadan, even though I believe the value at Seaventures was great, personally I would probably stay on Mabul so that I could take advantage of the shallower shore diving. I am sure I would have been underwater a lot longer.

 

Some of the highlights of diving at Sipadan and Mabul we

Many different types of wonderful Anemone fish

 

 

 

 

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All in all I recommend Seaventures and Sipadan as a destination. The rig I would recommend if you want to maximize your trips to Sipadan.

 

Video of trip

 

(all pictures and videos on this trip taken with Olympus E-PL1 camera with 9-19mm and 14-42mm lenses, Zen dome, INON s2000 strobes)

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