Turtle Cavern/Tomb and TDI/IANTD Cavern in Sipidan

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MrsBBC

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Is there a TDI training faciltiy or instructor in/around Sipidan that is recommended.

I will be visiting in August and have yet to book with anyone yet, but don't wish to leave it too late in order to secure a permit or two. In particular I have been recommended to dive Turtle Tomb and would therefore prefer to complete a cavern course.

I am also hesitant to sign up for a PADI course as in my experience PADI centres and instructors are far to keen to ensure you sign up for EANx or Intro to Cave instead of insuring you can actually dive, and can competently meet the criteria for the certification. If I can help it I intend to give as little money to the organisation as possible.

Is it possible to dive Sipidan and it;s surroundings with a quality centre that provides Nitrox, and yet stay in backpacker accommodation, not the dive resort?
The situation with permits is such that I do not wish to turn up and scout around.

Thanks,
Nic
 
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MrsBBC

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To answer my own question, the only facility appears to be SMART-TEC, attached to the Semorna Mabul Resort and Mabul Water Bungalows. They are almost impossible to contact directly. The reply I managed to receive from eExplore Asia Tours states that the Cavern Course is NAUI, PSAI and was very interested in quoting a huuge range of prices at me to encourage me to book, and enquire with the instructor when I'm there.
I guess I won't be diving with them.
 

tstormdiver

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I am not directly addressing your question, & don't know if this would be of any use to you, but some things to be aware of: Dive masters & guides in the area take untrained tourists into the cave (yes, by definition it is a cave in many ways) all the time:shakehead:. We were with Borneo Divers, but the other resorts do the same thing also. I was there 2 yrs ago. The dive masters took the people in our group who were on the boat into the cave. Being at the time, I was at Intro to Cave level & not being preapared (no lights or reels with me atthe time), I would not enter & just hung out, outside the cave mouth. When we got back our group leader (also a cave instructor) was furious at the resort for allowing & encouraging this activity:no:. How is it a cave? 1. by liner footage to get back to see the skeletons, it is 65 ft from the surface + almost 200 ft penetration:shocked2:. How do I know this? A few days after the episode above, we went back to the cave. This time I took some lights & a cavern reel. I tied the reel off at the entrance (remember we are already at 65 ft depth- one of the definitions of cavern is no more than 130 linear ft from the surface). I ran the reel to empty (140 ft penetration). The skeletons were another 50 ft further penetration. I chose to remain on the reel, while the others there decided to go see the skeletons. Also from where I was at the end of the reel, I could see not visible natural ambient light (also a criteria for cavern diving). The cave has an extremely silty bottom. It is only a matter of time before an untrained tourist goes in there, loses buoyancy control, gets a fin in the silt & wipes out all visibility thus causing a horrible disaster.:depressed: The only thing going for the cave is it is a sea cave & there are no major branches (although it is huge) going off from the main cave area. It is only 1 big room. The practices of the resorts there are dangerous, when it come to entering the cave; generally non- cave trained dive masters, leading in untrained OW divers:confused:. When confronted about this practice by our group leader, the dive masters just shrugged & walked off. It is basically just a matter of time......:shakehead:
 

MrsBBC

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Thanks very much for the information, this has been my concern, and I have read similar stories on Trip Adviser.

I am not cavern/cave certified and the tomb is by definition a cave dive not a cavern dive.
The dive is very intriguing so I would like to dive it to the extent that it is safe to do so, and have more than enough time to complete the cavern cert.
I'm suprised that there hasn't been reported incidents. Even unreported ones would quickly crop up on ol' gossipy SB.

I have contacted Sipadan Scuba...
Sipadan Scuba - PADI Cavern Diver course - cave diver training asia malaysia
...who I was recommended in the Philippines by an employee from another Sipadan dive operator.

The decision to take The Cavern course in Sipidan is merely to faciliate safe penetration of the site.
Althought cave diving has always been an interest it is not one that I can realistically finance.

Nic
 

MrsBBC

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Hum,
Their most recent review on Trip Adviser, by an experience dive instructor is scathing.
A further delve into their site reveals that the PADI Divemaster takes 8-25 days.
Cavern training is 1day Sipadan Trip & Permit @ (Duration Course: 2 days)
...I hope that's not 1 day theory plus 2 dives


Nic
 

tstormdiver

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Thanks very much for the information, this has been my concern, and I have read similar stories on Trip Adviser.

I am not cavern/cave certified and the tomb is by definition a cave dive not a cavern dive.
The dive is very intriguing so I would like to dive it to the extent that it is safe to do so, and have more than enough time to complete the cavern cert.
Nic

In order to do as you are wanting, a cavern cert. would not be enough to safely make this dive. You would need to be a minimum of Intro to Cave/ Basic Cave level to do it safely, according to most technical agency training standards. Why not look for training locally? I realize that most european caves are not the most appealing, but it would certainly give you a better perspective of the risks involved.
 

MrsBBC

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Thanks for the heads up,
Looks like I will be leaving this particular dive for another trip, whenever that might be.

Nic
 

Centrals

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It is a well known fact that certain "malpractice" are endosed by some dive shops on the turtle cave as well as hammerhead spotting on a ledge which is about 60m deep.
The dive on the turtle cave is a technical dive involving overhead environment.
Most recreational divers who just follow the dm into the cave would not know the differences between frog kick and flutter kick.
Get proper training before attempting this site.
 

divermike1011

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MrsBBC (great s/n btw) Since you are looking to get more in to DIR diving Gordon Liew (sp?) is a GUE instructor based out of Singapore and you may want to look him up and see what he is offering in August. I have heard he is very good.

Michael
 

MrsBBC

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Cheers Mike. I have not completed Fundimentals so as I understand it, would not be able to move forward through the GUE training.
I am hoping to relocate to South East Asia in the next 18 months so will keep his name for the future.
.... what does s/n mean?

It's a shame that it's not easier to find tech training in Sipadan; I am not even going to bother reading the blurb for PADI Cavern cert, and my experience with PADI instructors to date has reeealllly put me off giving them more of my time and money than absolutely necessary.
I would have happily trained and trained all week if it would allow me to dive the site (within the limits of my training, so not to the end...) on the last day.

I was recommended a Dave Shaw for Cavern training at SMART-TEC... not the Dave Shaw of 'Raising the Dead' but a more... lively, Dave Shaw.
But I have been unable to track him down.
I'll try to give SMART a call

Nic
 
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