5 February 2014
If you ask anyone in Sabah which dive operator they would recommend in the town of Semporna, Scuba Junkie is usually the first name on the tip of their tongues. Semporna is the gateway to the underwater beauty of Borneo and its beautiful islands – among them the world-famous Sipidan island, said to be one of the world’s top diving sites!
Although there are a wide range of other dive operators in Semporna, we only had a few days here and did not want to waste precious hours looking at other options. We went straight to Scuba Junkie when we arrived in Semporna and set up our next few days of snorkelling tours.
Upon arrival, we hadn’t done much research about which islands we wanted to see, but Kay at Scuba Junkie patiently took us through the options, cost and details of the trips so that we could decide on the best course of action.
We ended up choosing to do three day trips – to Mataking, Sibuan and then Mabul. Not being divers, we obviously couldn’t get in to Sipidan itself because this is a prime diving spot (only) and generally requires special permits, applied for ahead of your trip. The other islands, however, are more than enough to provide breath-taking underwater scenes and a vibrant mix of colours in the reefs that are teeming with beautiful and odd ocean creatures.
The full day snorkelling trip cost MYR120 (as at February 2014) and included tea, lunch, transport, environmental fee, wetsuit, snorkel, fins and your dive master. Snorkellers go on the boat with the divers and snorkel in the same spots as the dive group.
After three days of AMAZING snorkelling, turtles, rays, acute sunburn, happy memories and so much more, we definitely recommend Scuba Junkie if you only have a couple of days in Semporna. Our favourite island trip was to Mataking (a ‘northern’ island) as this was the most beautiful underwater scene of the three. Mabul Island was also wonderful for seeing many large turtles, including the rare hawkbills!