One of the first decisions I had to make when I decided to write this blog was: where and when to start? After having rummaged through my picture archive, I finally settled to start from 2008 – mainly because the lack of pictures predating 2008. In the summer of 2008 I travelled for three weeks in Malaysian Borneo and my first travel post will be about diving. At the Layang Layang (popularly known as L2) Resort in the South China Sea. Unfortunately, I do not have any underwater pictures from this trip, and time has also passed… which taken together with my aging memory function will probably affect the details. Anyway, here we go with the first report!
Destination: Layang Layang, Malaysia
Duration: 5 days
When: August 2008
Number of dives: 11
Layang Layang is an atoll located 330 km northwest of Kota Kinabalu in the South China Sea. The only place to stay is the Avillion Layang Layang which is actually the only construction on the island apart from a Malaysian naval center. It is closed between September and March each year giving the surrounding reef time to recover. The main attraction here are the schools of Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks that frequent the area in the beginning of the season (March and April). I was there in August which is sort of off season, but the diving was awesome and still ranks as one of my absolute top places for diving.
The diving is made out of several speedboats with room for about ten people (memory serving me…) and the transfer times to the dive sites are pretty short – up to 30 minutes.
The diving in August was very good. Fantastic visibility and incredibly healthy reefs. We regularly encountered Black Tip and White Tip Reef Sharks and a couple of Grey Reef Sharks. Eagle rays were also spotted on several dives. We were also extremely lucky to encounter a Whale Shark (the first time for me!). But don’t go thinking that this is a place to go for Whale Sharks – it isn’t – this sighting was more of a freak encounter judging from the excitment of the dive guides.
The dive center setup was good and the rental equipment was in good shape. The divemasters were also very friendly and knowledgeable. But it should be remembered that when I visited, we were only 12 guests in total staying at the resort so service was obviously great. The resort takes up to 100 divers in peak season and I assume that it is a challenge for the crew to service that many guests.
Summing up, I definitely recommend a visit to Layang Layang! It is a pure dive resort (not much to do besides the diving) so I would say it is essential that everyone in the traveling party dives or finds it enjoyable to spend time with only a good book…