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Sipadan Permit System...revisited!

Discussion in 'Malaysia & Singapore' started by Scuba Susie, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. nigeltlee

    nigeltlee Registered

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Hong Kong
    My wife and I are sitting on the deck of the sipadan-kapalai resort right now. I thought I would post some feedback from our experience since the 19th of December.

    When we arrived the resort only had 40 divers, divers on the resort could dive almost every day, definitely every second at Sipadan. It soon boomed to 120 divers and the dive board was maxed out.

    The dive crew here and the man in charge "George" really does do his best to ensure that everyone gets at least one dive. By today the ratio of diving is one trip to Sipadan every 4 days on the resort.

    From the trend we see on the board this resort has about 16 licenses per day but we got the scoop that they buy licenses from other resorts if available. for example one day they had the usual 16 license plus one boat of 10 from North Borneo divers and 12 from AB(which is SWV).

    These guys really do their best to accomodate most guests. After so many days on the resort I almost feel sorry for the staff who have to deal with angry or upset divers often begging for an extra day's dive at Sipadan.

    One thing is for sure, the permit system for Sipadan has made the experience of going that much more 'special'

    If your primary purpose of coming here is diving at Sipadan and not Macro hunting - then I would suggest coming during the off season.

    Let's not forget that this entire area is a piece of heaven, diving around the other islands like kapalai, mabul and samali is not Sipadan but it's also pretty good.

    Oh I will also take this opportunity to tell you that when we did dive Sipdan on the 22nd we saw a baby WHALE SHARK at south point!
  2. Rickg

    Rickg Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: San Diego, CA
    Just saw this at Underwatertimes.com. While this might allow more divers to visit Sipadan each day, my gut feeling is that this might not be the best thing for preserving Sipadan.


    By Julie Chan

    KOTA KINABALU: Winds of change are blowing over Pulau Sipadan with the imminent handover of the island to the state government.
    The National Security Council in the Prime Minister's Department is now in the final process of handing over the administration of the world-famous diving spot.

    "This has always been the plan. The island was handed over to the Federal Government in 2002 by the International Court of Justice in a territorial dispute with Indonesia.

    "Now that things are settled, the island will be returned to the Sabah government," said state Tourism, Environment and Culture Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

    The state government will form a small panel headed by an assistant minister to tackle the various issues brought up by tourists and dive operators, and Sabah Parks will handle the day-to-day running of the island.
    "There will be less red tape and we will be able to manage it more efficiently," said Masidi.

    One of the first issues to be tackled is the limit of 120 divers per day on the island. It was put into place several years ago to protect Sipadan's delicate ecosystem.

    But as the island's fame spread, more dive operators set up shop, and the complex distribution of the diving permits often leaves tourists, who have travelled thousands of kilometres to get there, disappointed.

    A proposal is being looked into to modify the limitation and allow 120 divers in the morning, and another 120 in the afternoon each day.

    "This will allow more divers to experience the underwater splendours of Sipadan without overburdening the island."

    Environmental studies are being conducted to assess the island's sustainability, and whether increasing the number of divers will damage the ecosystem.

    "What's important is that we leave the island as pristine as possible."

    The island, off the east coast of Sabah, has hit the headlines several times, but not always for its reputation as a premier dive spot.

    In 2000, gun-toting Abu Sayyaf terrorists stormed the island and kidnapped 21 divers and resort workers, and held them hostage. All were eventually released.

    In 2004, all dive operators on Sipadan were told to move their structures from the island to conserve its ecosystem and corals. The move created much scepticism and controversy.

    In 2006, a barge carrying tonnes of building material beached on the island, damaging a significant portion of reef.

    The materials were said to be for a million ringgit tourist facility with a rest house, toilets and scuba shop. The idea was scrapped due to widespread objections and a more modest project was proposed.
  3. Scared Silly

    Scared Silly ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: on the path to perdition
    There are several issues going on. From the sounds of it the OP was promised one thing but was prevented from doing so because of the permit system. It is a real bummer when you spent lots of money, plan, and look forward to a trip only to have it not come out like you hoped. I would complain as well.

    Next, from the sounds of it the permit system has some problems and is not managed very well. Not surprised given it is third world country. Things just never quite to seem to work the way most westerns would think they should. Again I would probably be complaining.

    Finally, there is the reason for the permit system. So far I have not heard the OP say the permit system should be abolished. So I am not sure the assessment that they do not appreciate the ocean is fair. What they did say was visit other places that do not need a permit so that you are not disappointed when you can not dive.

    BTW if you think the dive permits suck - try getting a permit for some backcountry areas in the USA. I can not count the number of times I have gotten up at 4-5am and waited in line two to three hours only to not get a permit for where I want to visit.
  4. victor

    victor Solo Diver

    The permit system has problems, the main one is that it was not policed properly from the start. There is 120 permits for 120 named divers. Now if this had been enforced then 450 beds would never have been built. Up until recently Divers were changing names, nationalities, sometimes even sex, to get a dive on Sipadan.

    The officials are looking into doubling the number of permits, 120 morning and 120 in the afternoon.

    A major change may occur when the responcibility for the island reverts to the local government from Kuala Lumpur. We will have to wait and see what happens, it could be for the good or bad.

    Malaysia is not a third world country, it is clasified as an emerging economy, what ever that might mean, and has been offered first world status, which it refused as it could see no advantage and lots of disadvantages.

    Having made a number of visits their I would strongly recommend it as a holiday location.

  5. Iain-le-roi

    Iain-le-roi Registered

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Manchester
    Sounds as if it may be all change soon then. I going to Borneo in April and was hoping to Dive Sipadan and stay at one of the resorts. Has anyone got any reccomendations on who to stay\dive with as I wouldn't like to go all that way and spend all that money only to be disapointed. I 'm not interested in spending a whole week there and taking someone elses passes but would like to be able to guarentee 2 or 3 days diving there.

    I have heard Bornoe divers mentioned in other posts, would anyone reccomend them and do they do accomadation and diving and seem to present the best chance of doing a reasonable amount of diving, I'm happy to spend the other days exploring the other local sites although have to admit that I am more into diving with the larger life (especially sharks) than macro.
  6. Orange Roughy

    Orange Roughy Registered

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Iain - are you trying to ask questions? If so, then question marks would help.

    Or starting a new topic would probably get more responses, as your question could then be in the title rather than buried in the discussion text.
  7. geddy

    geddy Guest

    someone knows if the situation remains the same about the permits ?

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