As Cam got some time off work for the Chinese New Year, he decided to take us on a little surprise vacation. We had 7 days booked at Kapalai Island Resort, a man-made island 20 minutes from Sipadan Island. The whole resort is spectacular, standing above the water held up by planks of wood. Although there are warnings online not to travel to this area (due to kidnappings), we took a risk and boy was it worth it. Sometimes you have opportunities or situations like this in life and I would rather take the risk to travel to a beautiful wonder of the world than regret it years later. Yes if we did get kidnapped it would be awful and traumatising, but what if we didn’t go and could have gone diving in the best dive spot in the world, thoughts like this were going through my mind as we boarded our plane from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau. Once we arrived in Tawau airport, we had to wait for other guests to arrive before we made the car trip to the wharf. We sat in the back of a mini van bouncing up and down so viciously for an hour and a half, I have never felt so sick. I thought the roads were bumpy in Sarawak Malaysia but that was nothing compared to the roads in Sabah. But on the positive side we met some really nice people from China that we got talking to and they made the car ride worth it. Just incase the Car ride wasn’t enough we then had to catch a 30 minute speed bo at from Semporna, the Mainland, to Kapalai Island, which didn’t assist with the car sickness. But we finally made it to our destination. We soon realised after being on the Island that once again we were the only caucasians, it felt like we had never left Sibu. We had read reviews online that this resort was mainly aimed towards Chinese & Hong Kong tourists, but woow we were the only westerns in a fully booked dive resort, this was not a bad thing though as there was a lot less divers so we would usually only have a dive group of 4 as compared to the other islands that had 10-14. So our first afternoon we had our introductory dive out the front of the resort and as we were getting off all our dive gear we were informed we were diving at Sipadan the next day.
Dive Spot: Sipadan Island
Dive Spot: Mabul Island/ Kapalai
Dive spot: Sipadan Island
Dive spot: Mabul Island/ Kapalai Island
Kayaking around the resort
We had such an exceptional time at Kapalai and we feel so lucky that we had the opportunity to go to such a beautiful part of the world. I would highly recommend visiting the place. The diving was like no other, I have such clear memories of diving with fish, turtles, sharks and every time I see a photo I take myself back to the feelings of complete joy. The Malaysian Government has done a superb job at keeping the Sipadan Dive Spot pristine by only allowing 120 divers per day. If you are worried about safety and security there is no need, especially on Kapalai Island, there was military personnel monitoring the whole island 24/7 and they would travel to Sipadan for the day while we went diving. I felt extremely safe, even though I read up about all the different kidnappings at night before bed. Anything could happen, you never know what will happen, but I encourage you to take a risk and go for it!