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Summer 2007 - Malaysia III

Another early flight to start dive day 1


View Summer Vacation 2007 on agc_cwm's travel map.

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So up again at the butt-crack of dawn to catch yet another plane. This time we were headed to Tawau in eastern Sabah, on the island of Borneo (how very National Geographic of us). Air Asia, despite not refunding our previous, hastily purchased tickets, is an awesome airline. They have a few things going for them:

  • a) rush seating - sit where you want, provided you get on the plane soon enough. This website comes in handy with regard to this, because you can check out the seat arrangement on the aircraft you'll be flying on and determine which rows give you a little extra leg room, and which rows lack reclining seats.
  • b) express boarding for those who want to avoid the rush seating. We opted for this and sat at the front of the plane. Nice indeed.
  • c) rule enforcement, which is something I have found extremely lacking on most flights in Asia. For example, people tend to get up out of their seats as soon as the wheels hit the ground after landing. On Air Asia, they make you sit back down again. I like it.
  • d) really really cheap flights.

All in all the flight was great. I think I may have actually gotten some sleep between kicks to the back from the kid behind me.

I was so happy to be out of the city; looking down on the island was incredible - rivers, trees, coastline, mountains. Vacation has begun. Got off the plane quickly, service with a smile at immigration, and we gathered our bags and got on teh bus to go to Semporna. There was already a British family on the bus when we boarded, and we were followed by two Danish girls. The roads, we quickly learned, are much better than those in Vietnam. This is likely a result of all the palm plantations that were planted after they clearcut most of the rainforest. But I digress. So sad. Boo clearcutting! Boo plantations!

It took about an hour and twenty minutes to get to Semporna, where the mainland office of the Seaventures dive resort is located. We waited there for a little while as supplies were loaded onto a boat and then we boarded and were on our way to the rig.

The sea was a little miffed at us, I think. I think it wanted to eat Andrew, but I wasn't about to tell him that. It took about another hour to get to the rig. A rough, wet hour, which is less fun than it sounds. So the rig is a little difficult to describe, so I think I will just say that it is a retired oil rig that's been converted into a dive centre and hotel. There's a lift that takes you us to the main deck from the water. When we arrived, there were tropical drinks waiting for us. Yummo. And lunch. Also good.

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After eating and drinking, we filled out the requisite "we're off the hook if you die" forms and did an introductory dive under the platform on the house reef. It was pretty good. My mask kept fogging, but I could see a few things (pipefish, some nudibranchs, and a lionfish). Andrew was going through air pretty quickly, so we surfaced early. When we were waiting at the surface for everyone else to finish, we felty as though we were being stung by something. We asked about this later, and were told "Oh, yes. Tiny jellyfish. Don't worry." I wasn't worried, but I have a feeling if I had been told this beforehand I wouldn't have been so OK with it.

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After the dive it was snack time. Freshly made doughnuts. Mmmm doughnuts. Still warm too. If I had been hooked up with some strawberry jam, I would have seriously considered making this my permanent home. After chowing down on copious numbers of these little darlings, we went up to our room, showered and napped. After the nap we ate dinner, and after dinner we relaxed before calling it an early night.

Posted by agc_cwm 06:06 Archived in Malaysia

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