I booked a 7 day trip on MV Celebes Explorer and had a great experience. The information provided beforehand by Vic at Dive the world allowed me to plan my schedule my trip to include visits to Sandakan (Sepilok) and Kota Kinabalu. Sipadan limits the number of divers per day, so staying on at a resort on Mabul or Kapalai may enable you to dive one day for every 3 days that you stay at the resort. The diving at these resorts cannot be compared to the diving at Sipadan. As passengers on the liveaboard we dived 6 days (all but the first day which is a morning pick up at Semporna that doesn't allow travel to Sipadan the same day). The boat travellled from Mabul to Sipadan every day and enabled 4 dives at Sipadan and a night dive at Mabul (which after 2 nights got to be very repetitive). The dive guides on the boat are very experienced and good at finding small critters. For each meal there were usually at least 5 diffrerent dishes and the food was tasty and plentiful. The major downside to the trip is that the boat is very old and the sleeping rooms have a VERY STRONG diesel odor. A number of passengers chose to sleep on deck rather than in the rooms. In addition, the intake for boat's compressor for the dive tanks is located directly above the boats engine exhaust - quite amazing really. Apparently a new boat is being built and the crew indicated that it maybe operational in "about a year" (which if true would be July 2014).
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