Booked everything in advance for some specialties and fun dives. Paid the 6% GST which I can only blame the current Msian gov. When you spend few thousands for the trip, 6% is quite a lot. Managed to dive 2 days Sipadan out of 5 diving days. Not too bad. If you did not book in advance for Sipadan, you can try Sipadan Scuba.
Instructors and divemaster (during my stays there) were great, funny, professional, look after you well, not neglecting safety of divers. Powerful and spacious boats were used for the dives. Everything was quite organized. You get a tasty baguette sandwich for lunch with some coffee/milo and bananas. I love the baguette sandwiches.
Well, every morning the dive boats depart for islands about 8.35am or so. A little waiting, just nice for a cigarette and chit chat with dive buddies. Not a big deal.
I think Sipadan Scuba has one of the best classrooms for courses in Semporna. They are new, air conditioned, spacious with large TV screen. Sipadan Scuba offers many PADI courses and "Sipadan Combo".
Rental gears are "seasoned" with mix of ordinary and branded ones but most of them are in good working condition.
I wish Sipadan Scuba would improve the airing of the gear room, update the website a little bit or revamp it for a fresh and simpler look, and maybe hire 1-2 more instructor or divemaster.
(it is a positive feedback for them)
Overall experience was great.
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