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Sipadan vs East Kalimantan

Discussion in 'General Asia' started by FilmDork, Jan 13, 2020.

  1. Centrals

    Centrals Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives:
    Location: Hong Kong
    Sipadan is good but as a whole just can't compete with the diversity of East Kalimantan even without the permit issue.
    But getting to East Kalimantan is really pain in your BACK SIDE.

    There is indeed whaleshark feeding show in Derawan but NOT daily.
  2. CarcharodonCarcharias

    CarcharodonCarcharias Manta Ray

    You are welcome!

    My Sipadan experience was ok but nothing to write home about. I stayed at Seaventures (the oil rig) and the house reef underneath was actually the next best diving spot after Sipadan. The diving sites around Mabul and Kapalai are boring and quite lackluster. Not to mention that there were three police personnels that stationed at the oil rig at night with full-automatic rifle to defend against the kidnappers.

    The local government and the park office can't seem to work out the permit issue hence instead of diving in Sipadan during most of the trip, you are being forced and bundled to do other lousy dives in the nearby area and the dive operators can only guarantee one day of Sipadan diving. But for the record, after the second dive during the day that we were in Sipadan, I was over it. I think once an individual has dived enough of the hot spots in Indonesia, he/she won't miss much if he/she chooses not to dive in Sipadan.
  3. FilmDork

    FilmDork Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Los Angeles
    Wow, this is really fantastic information, especially RE: the current in The Channel! I've gone diving in some seriously current heavy spots (Komodo x2, Raja, Nusa Penida), but that sounds absolutely nuts. Can I ask how the guides you were diving with handled that situation, and (if you've been there before), how the places I mentioned?
  4. CarcharodonCarcharias

    CarcharodonCarcharias Manta Ray

    I just got back from Komodo and I was in Bali last year as well. R4 was few years back. The currents at Derawan that I've experienced were worse. But the again, my Komodo dives were during the 1/2 moon period so the currents were not as strong as it could've been during full moon or new moon.

    The gecko dive I mentioned, the guide was not experience enough and he got scared hence we were all told to cling to the wall. I thought of swim out to the open and then ascend but I did not want to leave the group.

    The channel dive was a bit tricky because it was a drift dive to start off. The channel ran perpendicular to the wall so depends on how fast is the current, you might have to hook yourself up and wait for people behind you to catch up. It is a 90 degree turn into the channel and you cannot miss the turn. The tricky part of that dive was to make sure that you get anchored at the entrance and then fin for your life to get into the channel.
    FilmDork likes this.
  5. MomZo

    MomZo Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Vietnam
    Tempting... :confused:
  6. CarcharodonCarcharias

    CarcharodonCarcharias Manta Ray

    Don't blame you. :) The channel is a great, exhilarating dive with lots of pelgaics but you really need to know what you are doing - and you've got to be comfortable with currents, especially when it can get up to 6 knots or more.
  7. drk5036

    drk5036 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Sapporo, Japan
    I love these kinds of threads. And I’m happy for you, because either option you’re going to absolutely love, I guess. I haven’t been to Sangalaki yet, so I can’t accurately compare the two the way others so eloquently have. I CAN say I think seaventures/Sipadan has a slightly worse average rating on scubaboard than is warranted. I was there this past August, after having gone to Komodo with scuba junkie in May. I enjoyed Sipadan more, actually! I was completely blown away by it. I mean, just look at these bumpheads! And there were multiple sharks on every one of the 6 dives we did at Sipadan. You’re only guaranteed 1 days of permit to Sipadan, but unless it’s absolutely packed to the gills, you’ll get at least two days of you stay four at the rig, I’m guessing. One women who was there when we were stayed 6 days, and got 5 permits. So YMMV.

    Attached Files:

    FilmDork likes this.
  8. jjmochi

    jjmochi Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Hong Kong
    You can do both if you have time. I've looked into Scuba Junkie's Sipadan-Sagalaki combo when I booked my Sipadan trip last year. There is a Monday direct flight from Tawau to Tarakan and they do transfers directly from Tarakan to Derawan. You save 15% on Sagalaki package. I ultimately only did Sipadan because I couldn't make my vacation days stretch enough to do the combo and Sipadan was more famous/mentioned as a top site in like every article. It is still the best place I've been to so far in terms of reefs/biodiversity but Mabul/Kapalai which you're also forced to dive is not that great. We had 2 days of guaranteed permits for a 4 night stay. The permit system is quite inconvenient and Semporna which you're forced to transit through (and likely overnight in) is a dump. I did want to return to the area and recently decided to do Sagalaki/Maratua/Kakaban in 2021 on White Manta instead of going back to Sipadan and wasting at least half my days on Mabul/Kapalai. I think getting 5 out of 6 days at Sipadan is quite rare, most places you're only guaranteed 1 for a 4 night stay. The place we went to (Billabong Scuba) guaranteed 2 but was very basic and not the most comfortable.
    FilmDork likes this.
  9. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    Have you considered staying over in KK on your way instead of doing such a long day of travel and then having to stay overnight in Semporna?
  10. Luko

    Luko Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Paris, France
    Or a stay in Tawau, at least they have decent places where to eat.
    chillyinCanada likes this.

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