When people ask me how my trip to Mataking and Sipadan was, I say, “It was really nice.” And they kind of nod and go, “Ohhh… so nice la?” probably expecting more, having heard of the island that is famous for its marine life. But I don’t say much more beyond the fact that I saw a staggering number of turtles, white-tip sharks (although, unfortunately, no whale sharks) and barracudas, and the water pressure from the showers in the resort was abysmal.
I have been sitting at the computer intermittently for the past 24 hours, wondering how to write about my experience in Sipadan and Mataking over the last five days. And every single time, words fail me because all I can think of are the beautiful, exquisite things I saw as far as 36m below sea level, and also probably because I still feel that swaying in my head that always stays with me after I’ve been on a boat for so many hours a day.
The truth is, there are no words. No words to describe how completely, unbelievably beautiful the island, the ocean, and the life that exists quietly beneath it are. No words to explain why being there for five days has managed to make me think that I could drop everything in my life right now and just be a divemaster for maybe a year or so. No words to express how every time I stood on the shore and looked out at the endless sea and listened to the waves that were sometimes gentle and sometimes pounding, I was so profoundly moved by it that I could have stood there forever.
The thing about Sipadan is that it’s just one of those places that one really must see for themselves to believe and understand its allure. I suppose the easiest way to put it is that for most divers, this really is their Mecca. On this side of the world, anyway.