Dive 182: Midreef, Pulau Sipadan (Malaysia)

Dive time:  00:49:00
Max depth:  17.7 metres
Temperature:  29 C
Visibility:  15 metres
Buddy:  Dhon
Surface interval:  01:19:00

I was excited to be heading back to Midreef after a stunning dive yesterday and today’s dive was no disappointment despite the poorer visibility.

This site is just stunning with all its beautiful hard and soft corals, and huge gorgonian fans – it’s like swimming around a rich person’s exotic sea garden!

Along with the usual reef fish that we’ve been seeing here at Sipadan (and the first giant clam of the trip!), this dive was just completely memorable for the “oh WOW”-moments.  Only 4 minutes into the dive at around 5 metres, we saw a school of around 15 bumpheaded parrot fish that cruised by us with their big ugly teeth bared – up until now we’d only seen the lone one cruising by so this was just so cool.

We descended deeper and swam along the wall, and at around 14m I rolled over to look back up to the top of the wall and the surface and just saw an ENORMOUS school of barracuda circling right above us up at around 5m!  Dhon had just turned around to point out yet another turtle right ahead when I pointed up to the barracuda.  He was clearly impressed as he banged his tank and got everyone to swim back up towards the top of the wall.  The school of barracuda probably numbered around 400 fish (although my poor estimating skills mean that I’m probably out by quite a few hundred fish!), and they were circling so tightly that they pretty much blocked out the sun!  Amazing!

Then back at around 9m or so, I was cruising by checking out the wall when I noticed a girl in the group gesturing right past me to her buddy.  I turned around and there was a turtle cruising right next to me, only around 2m away!

Stunning dive.  This site has to be my favourite at Sipadan so far – just 2 out of 2 awesome dives here.

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