Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dive in May again - Layang Layang

Here comes the super belated post on the dive trip some good 6 months ago. While I am still waiting for pictures or videos to be up, which I think most likely they won't be up on facebook anymore, I've decided not to wait for the slowpokes and do up my post with on-land pictures. *all photographs were taken by nothing fantastic but a humble 2 year old iPhone 4=)*

From Singapore, we flew to Kota Kinabalu (KK) via Air Asia, a budget airline which provides daily flight to and fro KK. My flights with Air Asia are usually good. Perfect for divers like me as they are the only budget airline that flies to KK.

Departing from Singapore Changi Airport. No, i did not take JAL ;)

My dive mates and I are constantly busy with our work / commitments in lives and seldom have chance to catch up, but once we do, we do catch-up marathon over lovely trips or if time doesn't allow, over a beer or chips. The funny thing is, we don't usually get drifted apart. What's more, for each dive trip, we make new friends! These are probably one of the many reasons why i love diving - for its serenity, matured friendships and rewarding holidays:)

We have traveled quite a bit together prior to Layang Layang and we maintained the unspoken trademark wherever we go, for being ever so colourful unknowingly!

That was us at Phuket in 2012, and our luggage in Layang 2013!

So we met up with two other divers in KK, and headed out for dinner at the ever famous Bah Kut Teh place - Sin Kee Bah Kut Teh. I was at KK the previous year for Mount KK climb and visited the same bah kut teh place. It's awesome! If you're someone who opt for herbal soup base Bah Kut Teh, you may want to drop by and decide if you'll return for more:P

Cut the story short, we headed back hotel and woke up at 3am to catch the propeller that would bring us into the amazing Layang Layang island. Though tired, no one was complaining as that was all part of the fun to travel out to such isolated land in the world! Check out the propeller, a small air craft that can only take up to 40 (i think, maximum) pax!


Layang Layang, commonly known as Pulau Layang-Layang in Malay and “Swallow Reef” in English, is an island situated 300 km north of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. We visited the island in May, which we believed it's within the desired diving season.

I couldn't describe my excitement more when I was hovering in the air above the lovely island. I didn't even want to steal winks on the plane as I was afraid of missing out on any breathtaking views. We literally flew onto an island, where there was no custom awaiting to check our passports, no security checks nor police dogs waiting to sniff our belongings and no gateway. We, flew into, an island!

(Following pictures taken on my last day, while waiting for my boarding and witnessing another plane's landing)

The runway is right beside our resort! I don't know about you, but personally, I thought this is rather cool. That means, we gonna sleep beside the runway, sit on the rocks and watch sunsets, lying on the runway and do star gazing the divers style! Flash backs of the holiday some 6 months later still hype me up pretty much:D

This was what greeted me when i stepped out of the air craft. The view was so dramatic that I swear I felt like I'm the female lead of some shows who was transported to a secret getaway by the rich male lead (ok there wasn't such guy in this trip btw LOL!).

This was only the start of our 15 dives in Layang Layang!

A little background information on Layang Layang dives. Unlike Sipadan, where every descend promises you countless sea creatures, our objective of this trip was to sight hammerhead sharks, and not one, not two, but a school of them. We had a handful of surprise sightings, which heightened the spirit a little!

That were my buddies and I! missing few other buddies in the pictures though. Not much underwater photos on my end as I do not own an UW housing, hence the limited photos. Well, my eyes were the camera and memory the films, I captured everything in my mind and flip through the pages from time to time, hehe!

Summary of our sightings:

  • HAMMERHEADS! a school of them, visible only at 40m depth (the maximum that you are allowed in Layang Layang due to safety reasons. Your dive com will beep rather quickly, I managed to catch a glimpse for 1 minute before ascending to safer depth).
  • Thresher sharks (a surprise! multiple sights some more. Some lucky dive mates caught up close views but alas I forgot where I was tsk.)
  • Up close manta ray! ( well I'm this excited because I always see manta ray at a distance. This one was like gliding pass me and was really really close!)
  • Leopard shark (it was sleeping)
  • school of (i think jacks?) few hundreds of them forming an underwater tornado
  • Dolphins (on the surface)
  • Devil rays (I then learned that devil rays travel in 5s, at least the ones i saw were 5s, with a formation and swim in unison to create the illusions that they are a "big fish" and ward off sharks with that. Underwater world...:)))
  • Some smaller things like box fish, pipe fish, nudi etc. But they weren't the highlights 

Dive map and some of the surface interval shots (spotted White Manta LOB peeps passing by the island)
This was drawn by Jean, for an old Japanese couple who sat by the shore and watched sunset:D

The resort was really sweet. They never fail to surprise the divers with their creativity in towel folding!


Now come the highlight of the post. The unforgettable sunsets! I was totally mesmerized. *start to day dream again*

It was a romantic trip with detachment from the hustle and bustle. We danced under the stars, skated in the breeze, slept by the runway, sea gazed everyday, embraced sunsets and brought no woes along this trip. A romantic friendship trip for a bunch of khakis. The only pity was that Mr. JJ wasn't with us on this trip. It's ok, Sipadan is coming next year:D
Cute dive guides and us, guitar, alcohol and songs for our no flight night.

With that, we conclude the trip with propellers flying in to the island again.

15 deep dives (exhaustingly exciting); multiple unspoken exclamations when we sight threshers sharks and hammerheads, up close manta ray and devil rays etc; virgin experience to speak underwater (lol!); unlimited breathtaking sunsets; a group of wonderfabulous divers who sleep by the airplane runway; and a night of guitar, singing and drinking with our awesomest dive guide.

Hardest part of the trip, bid goodbye. Till then, take care!

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