Trip Report – Day 5 – Kota Kinabalu to Layang Layang Island

Trip Report – Day 5 – Kota Kinabalu to Layang Layang Island

Layang Layang Island here we come! 4 am start, out to the airport (again!) this time we had seats and this time there was a plane! You can read about what happened a few days prior here if you missed it.

Now if you are anything like me, when I first heard the words Layang Layang Island I had no clue where it was. So a quick geography lesson…Layang Layang Island sits 300km off the mainland of Sabah, Malaysia in the South China Sea.

After a short journey of an hour, we finally landed. After checking in had a brief about the resort and diving, then it was off to find our rooms, settle in, get reacquainted with our friends, ready for a dive at 11 am.

During this time a storm passed over, when we landed it was overcast, windy with waves and white caps in the lagoon, it looked pretty rough to me! Our friends told us this was the best weather they had seen in 3 days! Right about then I was thinking it was a godsend that our plane was cancelled a few days earlier!

We met our dive master, Benji to listen to the usual dive brief and dive plan before a dive. Wetsuits on we boarded the boat and off we went. A few Minor details, my wetsuit zipper split and I didn’t have enough weight on so I couldn’t descend! With that, the 2nd divemaster waved the boat over and another weight appeared for me to use.

Once I was descending I check my computer…not working, even tho I had it serviced just 2 weeks prior! Yikes! This is essential for a diver (for those of you that don’t dive) without a computer a diver can’t tell how deep they are diving (which they have to know for decompression reasons) and other information that is crucial. Fortunately, the computer that tells me how much air I have in my tank still works, thank goodness!

All these initial little glitches tend to iron themselves out fairly quickly when you are on a dive trip. Generally, we are always well prepared with backup bits and pieces as we dive in pretty remote places. Despite having the computer serviced ready for this trip it appeared that the battery was overlooked and was flat. There were none for sale on the island, I didn’t take a backup battery with the nearest battery is 300kms away!

Because I didn’t have a computer, a dive master had to dive with me for all dives, they could have insisted I just hire one, however, they were happy to supply Devi, he was great and was a terrific help for the whole trip. As a novice diver amongst a group that have dived tens of thousands of dives, this was a great thing, trust me 🙂

This also freed up Kev as he could buddy up with someone else and dive deeper. As a more experienced diver, he enjoyed being free to dive deep and hopefully see some hammerhead sharks!

Devi rattled his tank soon into our dive his gesturing suggesting that he had found something worth stopping and looking. He’d cracked the jackpot and a Thresher shark swam towards us.

He was HUGE and if you knew me you would know, this was the very reason I had learnt to dive, to overcome my fear of sharks! I surprised myself and wasn’t one bit frightened, realistically I didn’t have time to think and process as it was happening AND the shark wasn’t interested in us in the slightest.

You would have to be pretty quick to see him as he was there, had a look at us, then turned and swam out into the blue. A moment in time, just like that, nothing to be concerned or frightened about at all! Unfortunately, we completely missed a pic of him it happened so fast, so I can’t share the moment with you. Devi was VERY excited when we finished the dive as although he’d been diving the island for 9 months had never spotted a Thresher shark.

We swam for a little further on the reef saw some Nemo Anemone and 2 turtles, one the largest Kev or I have seen previously, and a smaller baby turtles. According to some books back at the resort, they were Lakehill turtles.

Lots of different hard and soft corals, a large variety of fish and marine life, very happy with the first dive!


On a typical dive trip ,there are 2-3 dives per day. On this day I sat out dive #2 as I was feeling pretty exhausted and had an upset stomach. Always best not to dive if you are not feeling right. Plus just after I decided this another huge storm hit, this time there were waves inside the lagoon and if you have visited Laynag Layang Island you would know how strange this is as normally the water is as flat as a tack!. Kev, his brother and sister-in-law went (when it calmed down a little) everybody else on the boat opted out too.

Dinner was a simple affair, all meals on the island are Buffett style. Compiled from a few wet dishes, some protein, salads, desserts and fruit. You certainly wouldn’t go hungry, however, the food is basic and negates the hunger pangs.

The manager Sep was extremely helpful for me as a gluten-free eater. He asked every lunch time and dinner time what I would like to eat.

Each time chef prepared a small plate of fresh vegetables, generally broccoli, carrots and a Chinese green that resembled a large Brussel sprout or a small bok choy. Always cooked with garlic and a small amount of butter. All to my liking I then just added whatever protein waofferering. Dining on Layang Layng Island for me is all good.

Have you ever overcome a fear when you have been traveling?

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