The Island

A prime objective of the Borneo trip was to breathe in enough fresh sea air to pinken our metropolitan lungs. After a long icy night bus ride from Kota Kinabalu, we arrived in the port town of Semporna. From there, it's only a short boat trip to Pulau Mabul, a tiny island in the Celebes Sea.

Mabul and Sipadan, a sister island a kilometre away, are rated as one of the world's best dive sites. Now it should be no surprise that we prairie folk who can barely swim have never had any desire to enter the unknown world under the sea. We did, however, have the great fortune to meet Kelly, Australian divemaster and fantastic teacher, who persuaded us to take the introductory PADI course. We liked it so much we dived two more times, and saw a school of barracuda, giant grouper, crocodile fish, trumpet fish, and the coup de grace, giant sea turtles.

After diving, we spent the rest of our time on Mabul snorkelling, sitting on the beach, and enjoying cold beer as the sun set with a host of colourful characters from all over the world.

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