[Okay, not really. But I’ve been scuba diving with Pandas, so anything is possible!!]
I’ve been making the arrangements for a year. Paying for it since last October. But, this journey has been in my head much longer.
Three years roughly. That’s when my orthodontist and occasional dive buddy mentioned (while tightening my braces – OUCH) a couple of scuba videos he’d watched. One was shot in Layang Layang, part of the Spratly Islands, north of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. The other video was from Sipidan, near Tawau in the Celebes Sea.
By the end of the appointment, they’d been added to the scuba diving bucket list. The plan, originally, was to do both in one visit to Asia in the summer of 2015. Then, life stuff happened and the trip was postponed for a year. Turns out Layang Layang wasn’t going to work. So, Sipidan became the focus. Oh, and since I’m there maybe see some orangutans.
I’ll cost it all out in a future posting – but you can imagine it’s a wee bit costly. A ‘take money out of your saving account for a trip in a lifetime costly’. But, I’ve made a commitment to spending money on life experiences rather than buying stuff. In the end, I’ll have made three payments to the dive company-adventure travel agency I’ve been working with. It’s called Dive Downbelow. Very professional, but having to fax documents between Canada and Malaysia is hellish.
I’ll fly from Vancouver to Kuala Lumpur, with a stop in Taipei. Overnight in KL then fly to Tawau, where I’ll be picked up for a bus ride to Semporna then boat ride to my accommodation and home for one week, the SMART resort on Mabul Island. Check out the maps below.
More about the trip next week.