Mabul Island - Day 17 - 19 - Diving & Snorkeling off of Mabul Island
Dec 22, 2011
|Dec. 20th: we did a dive in the afternoon around 1pm. House Reef, located just off shore. Visibility was extremely poor, 3 days prior there was a storm that hit and caused the current conditions we are experiencing.
Dec. 21st: we did two dives, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. It was a beautiful day today with no rain just pure sunshine and calm ocean waters. First dive was at ‘Lobster Wall’, we dove down to a depth of 18 meters. We saw a moray eel, lots of jack fish, trigger fish, star fish, Moorish idol, sea snake, nemo's, parrot fish and a lot of smaller fish.
The second dive was at ‘The Jetty or House Reef’ located just off of Kapalai Island. Visibility was not as good as it was this morning. This reef is a "man made" reef consisting of an entire village, a few houses, a boat and some triangular metal frames. Lots of fish congregate here. We saw many large lion fish, a frog fish, a black and white stripped poisonous sea snake, massive potato grouper (brown in color), jack fish, small nudi branches, angle fish, sea turtles, a HUGE moray eel, the largest we have ever seen. It was green in color and was sticking out of a hole in some rocks. It kept opening and closing its mouth, you could see its teeth. It was as big and round as a large man. (that is the only comparison I can come up with) Nemo's, we were right up close to them staring at one another, they are so fun to watch. Swimming in and out of their anemone home - love them. We saw a 'cleaning station' where the larger fish come to get cleaned by the smaller fish. They open their mouths and gills, the small fish go inside and swim in and out of their gills cleaning everything as they go along. Very cool to just hover over head and watch. This dive produce amazing sea life.
Once back at Big John's we decided to go for a walk through the village to the other side of the island and take in the sites of the local villagers. We stop in to watch a basketballs game again and continued on our way around the island. We stopped in a local village shop which had plenty of sea shells and necklaces for sale. Got lost in a compound and found our way out via a soccer field where a few local village boys where playing. They invited Jason, Nick and Ian to join in on their soccer match but they all declined and we went on our way. We got back to our floating home just in time, a a thunder storm came rolling through and the rain came hard and fast. It didn't last long and we were able to catch the end of the sunset over the ocean.
The last day was spent snorkeling and at one point Jason has a used tampon on his head that was floating in the water, there was a used diaper as well floating around the premises. The further you take a boat out into the ocean the better, this gets you away from all the garbage that surrounds the Island and the gas/oil slicks on top of the water from all the boats used by the resorts, dive companies and locals. It makes us extremely sad to know that we - the people of earth are polluting our oceans and killing the sea life at an alarming rate. There is a diving location called 'Ray Point' which used to be inhabited by thousands of small sting rays. Now you are lucky to see one while diving. The local fishermen spear the sting rays at low tide, throw them up on top of their fishing boat roofs and let them fry dry in the sun to take to Semporna to sell. You pass by these boats and you can immediately smell and see all the fish they have caught and are drying on the roof. Makes me want to cry. We saw a huge turtle on the bottom of the ocean floor (dead we think) that had a large cut running down its shell and it was missing one of its upper legs. Probably hit by a fishing boat passing overhead. We come away from this experience with the knowledge that we had a wonderful time seeing the sea life but knowing that we must do something to save our beautiful planet and all the inhabitants on it. One person can make a difference, even the smallest of gestures like recycling makes a huge impact.
We took a boat ride back into Semporna around 5pm and wow was that rough and wet. Seas were high and choppy and we were in a very tiny wooden boat. At times I wondered how it didn't fall apart and sink with us to the bottom of the ocean. By the time we made it to shore our butts hurt like crazy and I was soaked from head to toe. Jason was sitting in the middle and managed not to get that wet, Ian however was on the other side of Jason and was just as wet as I was. Nick and Delphine had the best spots on the boat, right behind us with a bench that had a back on it so we protected them from the spray of water and they didn't bounce around like we did at all.
On our journey we say a lot of water villages or rather fishing villages set right in the middle of the ocean. Miles of fishing nets lined us on either side of the boat as we made our way through a straight passage past them. You wonder how there are any fish left at all in the ocean with this amount of fishing going on, very sad. We also passed many gypsy boats and one large fishing vessel that had many men aboard. It stunk so bad of rotting fish that we thought we were going to smother from the fumes. Obviously they catch and kill a lot and I don't think it's small fish that they are capturing. They all looked mad really, I would hate to meet up with them in the night.
Once back in Semporna the boat guides dropped us off with all our gear on the docks. 'Big Mike', the owners brother of Big John Scuba happened to drive spotting us and offered to give us a ride to the dorm room where we will spend our last night here.
Big Mike broke a rib four days ago in a car accident. Delphine and I wrapped him up with some compression bandages. He is a big dude and he does not like Doctors or medicine they supply him with, he is of Chinese decent and believes only in the Chinese herbal medicines. When he first arrived to the hospital they took x-ray's and wanted him to stay overnight with his broken rib. He refused and got up and left. Big Mike had accompanied us on our first boat ride to the Island of Mabul the day after, he was lifting up 20kg bags of ice and food, taking our big bags from us and this entire time we had no idea what had happened to him or that he was in pain.
Big Mike actually gave both Jason and I a vial of herbal Chinese medicine to take for our stomachs as Jason was still trying to get over his food poisoning and my stomach has been giving me grief for days now. It seemed to work, it tasted like 'weed' when we took it but it did calm our tummies down and NO we didn't get high from it..LOL
Once back to the dorm room we all went for a bite to eat, went to the super market and grabbed some cold water and called it a night.