Kampungkayell

Food, life, and fun in my "kampung,"(village), KL (Kuala Lumpur). Did I mention "food?"

Sipadan-a spiritual journey (Pics in the links)

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

We arrive on Mabul after losing a bag at the hands of Malaysian Airlines. Notwithstanding the fact that they have systems to retrieve it, it shouldn't have happened.

Our checkout dive on the housereef was uneventful. Or eventful, depending on how you look at it. A 5 foot garoupa swimming 3 feet away from you and catching you in it's backwash is eventful, isn't it?

Jun, Allan and I were listed as going to Sipadan the very next day.

The weather held.

Sun, blue sky, and a relatively calm sea. The salt tang of the Celebes in our faces and the warmth of father sun on our backs.

Same old rigmarole. The part I hate.

Zip up wetsuit. Bend over slightly and throw weight belt over your back and cinch it tight. Dislocate your shoulder to fit your arms through a Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) already fixed to a tank of air; your lifeline. Tubes and protrusions sticking out the end of everything. It's all you can do not to tie yourself in knots. Check first stage. Sound like Darth Vader. Good. Check second stage. Still sounding like Darth Vader. Air? 240Bar. Contort yourself into your fins and snap on your mask. Hope that said mask doesn't fog up and you've hawked up enough spit to prevent it. At this point, I'm grateful that my hair is usually shaved into the bathroom sink. Having a mask pull your hair out is the next worst thing to being waxed.

Clamber, crawl, lift yourself up with size 30 feet/flippers onto a small bench while the boat is rocking, sometimes gently, sometimes like a crazy 5 year old about to take off, and yell "CLEAR?" and wait for a response from someone looking the other direction. Then roll back, the cool, blue water envelops you and you bob up, tap your head for the "all clear" signal and wait.

Check for your buddy at this point, give the "descend" sign, pull the BCD's in/deflation tube up and release the air and you start to sink beneath the waves.

Peace. Beyond the hissing and burbling of your breathing, there is silence. As you near the bottom, you double click your BCD with a hishhish and your arrest your freefall.

You're weightless and suspended. A single quick kick is sufficient to move you along. And most of the time, that's how I move. Single slow kicks to get to the next clump of reef or coral to view the next wonder of God.

The sights you see are really the icing on the cake. That feeling of weightlessness and the spirit of exploration of a world in which we are the aliens takes you out of yourself. Puts you into a place that you're just a visitor. And it's humbling. In all of God's Universe, there is a place so near to home where you can see His wonders and know that He is There.

From the smallest crustacean to the largest Turtle we've seen, the hand of God, the unknowable and ineffable, is present. The breathtaking views of Barracuda schooling, Jacks racing past you to an unknown destination, Flamboyant cuttlefish pulsating to the lambada, the experience of diving is spiritual. You spend time listening to your own breathing and marvelling at the wonders He hath wrought.

Then you have the opportunity to surface and on the next day, do it all over again.

11 Comments

I think Nature is God's way of reminding us how damn beautiful life is, and how precious.

Glad you guys had such a smashing hol, catcharoundsoon! :)

Love the new, more cosmo makeover of your blog. Glad you had a good time, but not totally envious, because while you were there, most of us were swimming with the sharks! :p

Will we be expecting some marine inspired creations at Just Heavenly?

Hello! and welcome back!!! ;)
Glad u guys had a blast! So ya sporting a beeooooteeefooolll tan now eh?

I have always loved the nature.. be it on the mountain or in the sea.
Frankly, it was after I watched Finding Nemo that I fell in love with the ocean... lol! Hopefully next year I will be able to get my scuba license :)

LFB, yes absolutely

Marvin; hahahaha

TNG; thanks dear...glad you all better

Thule, do it man! do it!

Hey sexy. Mighty powerful kick you got there. Will be in underwater bliss 8 days from now. Compressed air, here I come ;)

Just reading your post with the full-detailed description actually made me smell the familiar plastic+rubber scent as one pulls the mask over, lol! Ahh, i miss my diving, the compressed air, the ear clearance... Hmmm... can dislocate shoulders meh while putting on the BCD?!

Huh? Uneventful? Sounds, reads, looks totally awesome.
Ok. Going back to my rock now.

Unka; hey babe, no la not powerful! SPLIT FINS! ;-)

pureglutton; feels like dislocating when I have to put my arms through the bloody BCD ;-)

TUMMY! COME DIVING! ;-)

nice new look cuz! love the post.

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