Mabul Island, Malaysia- jumping off point for legendary Sipadan diving, only the best in the world–presented herself quietly after a day and night of cab travel, air travel, sprints through back alleys looking for a room, dinner and directions, a suspenseful-yet- unsuccessful encounter with an ATM and a windy launch.
Groups of ladies plied the waterfront with conversation, walks and tai chi. Men played with shuttle cocks and repeated jumping exercises. Fathers wrapped in sarongs carried and cooed to their babies. Women smoked the sky with their boiling breakfast pots and chopped the air with their ams. Spit-polished children emerged in school uniforms.
Highlights were a Flamboyant Cuttle Fish—which really looked more like a nudibranch-type of thing, like a dark brown truffle mushroom with floaty ruffles all around it, fluttering in the current. We saw a huge moray eel near the end of the dive and a couple of these big fish that seem to be covered in crud–I can’t remember the name but they were gross and cool. I try to keep snapshots in my eye/brain.
As we slid through one fairly tight crevice we found a large school of shiny yellow tailed fish rather surprised to be in the fast lane alongside the two of us putterers.