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  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - THE SECRET LIFE OF MABUL - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Start your day with a buffet breakfast which usually consists of fruit, cereal, toast, tea, coffee, eggs, possibly porridge and some sort of noodle dish. A large whiteboard lists divemaster and guests assigned to each boat. A quick squiz at the whitebaord will tell you the dives scheduled for your boat that day giving you an idea of what to expect and what lens to assemble on your camera.

After breakfast, mosey down to the dive shed. Scattered in front of the shed are little leaf umbrella structures, numbered to correspond with boats. Full tanks will be waiting for you. Simply assemble your gear under the umbrella reserved for your dive boat and ensure everything gets loaded onto the tractor which services the boats. After that, you never touch your dive gear again during the day since the staff switch tanks for you between dives.

In the evening, the boat crews brings your equipment back to the dive shed where you disassemble, wash and hang everything to dry in a securely locked airing shed. At Smart Divers Resort, you NEVER carry a heavy tank, not even a few metres.

Each boat has a permanent driver and deck hand. If you are working with heavy camera equipment or multiple systems, it's worthwhile getting to know your driver and deckhand. and from the boat for you. All you have to do is ask once. After that, it's automatic everyday. I simply left mine on the front verandah when they were ready to go and then forgot about them. My eagle-eyed deck hand was always lurking about and before I knew it, they were whisked away to be stowed in padded, shady comfort on the boat. For this extra service, you might want to tip the boat driver and deck hand a little bit on the side or give them a souvenir from Australia such as a t-shirt, hat or pinch koala.

If you're diving around Sipadan, then you're out for the whole day, but if you're diving around Mabul, then you will be coming back to the resort between each dive allowing you the opportunity to have a quick shower, change film, take a nap or lounge around the main house sipping cool drinks.

Evenings are recovery time. Lounge in the beachfront deck chairs until the last light has disappeared and then mosey up to the main house in anticipation of a great buffet meal which usually features a mixture of Asian and western dishes.

After dinner, you can do a night dive, chat with new friends, browse the library to determine how many new animals you saw that day, watch a video or retire early with a good book. At least once in your visit, grab a torch and a few other people and walk around the island on the beach. Look carefully in the scrub where the beach meets the brush for kraits, or black and white sea snakes, which come ashore in the evening to hunt for small reptiles and rodents. Creepy!