I went to Semporna last May and have only just noticed Big John on Tripadvisor. I spent a day wondering around but found Big John was not only the only company that could get me a permit to dive at Sipadan within two days (most have a waiting list of a week or more) but his packages were great and he was a charming gentleman.
I booked a couple of days fun diving and my much anticipated Sipadan trip and prepared for departure to their homestay on Mabul Island the following morning. I did one dive with Big John and we started discussing the Divemaster course (I was already Rescue Diver). Within ten minutes I decided to stay and do the course, fortunate as I was that I was travelling and flexible. It was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. What I had already paid towards diving was put towards my course and I still had an amazing trip to Sipadan.
During my time at Big Johns I found the LOCAL staff so very helpful and friendly. Myself and the other customers during my stay were blown away by their graciousness and helpfulness. The food was amazing, plenty of fresh seafood and other options if you don't eat fish/meat. I cannot emphasise enough how all the staff were so willing to go out of their way to make every guest feel special.
I am a fan on their Facebook page and have seen so many great comments and fantastic pics. If you are a serious diver or a discerning traveler this is definitely the place for you. There are so many other soulless diving companies in Semporna who employ westerners for their senior positions and local people to do the dirty work. If you want the real deal and mingle with the locals go to see Big John, he's a star!!!!!
One last word of warning to Big John himself. I'm on my way back big fella. Looking forward to seeing you and diving with the team again. Can't wait!!!
One Very Happy Customer;o)
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