Diving In Mabul Island, Malaysia
The place is it
…Good for: Small animals, underwater pictures and newbie divers…
…Not so good for: Visibility and non-diving actions…
Most people who come to dive in the Sipadan space stay on close by Mabul Island and their diving expertise is a combination of the 2 islands – macro websites and critters, deep partitions and huge fish motion.
Pulau Mabul (because it is understood regionally) is a small sandy island with coconut timber, an area fishing village, and of course dive resorts. It is only 25 minutes or so boat journey from Sipadan Island itself. It has long lived within the shadow of its famous neighbour but is now emerging as a dive destination in its personal right. Present more
As critter-diving has increased in reputation, many scuba divers now come here, not just for the big fish motion of Sipadan, however for the incredible array of macro-life to be seen at Mabul Island. Sandy sea-beds, coral outcrops, small walls and synthetic reefs and jetties, are all house to a number of the seas most amazing little creatures.
It is commonly a superb sign when underwater photographers are around and there are always just a few scuba diving here at Mabul (typically they are solely here for the macro sights, and not at Sipadan!), so you may be sure that there are a wealth of attention-grabbing marine creatures lurking in each nook and cranny across the island.
Dive Site Descriptions
The Artificial Reef – Situated immediately in front of Sensible Resort on the south facet of Mabul Island, the synthetic reef is constructed from wood frames, man-made constructions within the shape of pyramids, crates and rockpiles. It attracts many different types of marine life. What appears to be like at first sight to be only a bunch of boring old junk turns out to be a habitat for an astonishing array of creatures. Present extra
The obvious are the large schools of juvenile barracuda and batfish patrolling alongside the reef and of course the incredible faculty of jacks which may wrap you in silver. All the space may be somewhat of a maze as you wander from construction to construction. The sandy backside houses ribbon eels and in case you are lucky you may get to see a juvenile Harlequin sweetlips performing its strange jig. In a number of the structures you may find juvenile Oriental sweetlips, colorful nudibranchs, frogfish and huge groupers.
With its sandy backside you have to be careful during the dive and frog kick gently so you will not stir up the silt and lower the visibility. For scuba divers who’re into macro, the websites around Mabul and Kapalai are a wonderland and this home reef is probably the greatest. It is a lot fun and so simply accessed that you might need to dive this spot over and over.
Crocodile Avenue – Opinion is divided on the quality of this site. For high adrenaline-junky divers, Mabul Island could appear just a little sedate, but for macro-lovers it is a haven of discovery. As with many of the dive websites right here, progress ought to be slow and deliberate with eyes scanning the ground and each characteristic on it for sightings that you’ll miss in the event you fin off looking straight forward. Show extra
To dive here is to cover a gentle sandy slope peppered with little areas of exercise. With a pair of sharp eyes you will discover a seahorse or ten. Patches of weed and stringy areas usually harbour at least 1 seahorse, clinging on with its prehensile tail.
Other joys which may escape the eye of inattentive divers embrace the eponymous crocodilefish lying in wait on the sandy flooring, its giant flat snout resting simply above the ground. Your information will also surely identify the occasional ghost pipefish riding delicately within the movement of the water. As you make your way along it might also be price looking ahead the place you may even see the long protruding bodies of garden eels shrinking back to safety as you and your fellow scuba divers strategy.
There can be no doubt that Mabul’s crowning glory is the abundance of critters and small stuff, nonetheless occasionally the bigger issues might put in a go to corresponding to a passing eagle ray. In case you are investigative by nature, diving right here can be supreme for you. Equally fashionable as a night dive, nocturnal outings will yield wonderful rewards with sightings together with cuttlefish, nudibranchs and crabs all making their means into the beam of your flashlight.
Eel Backyard – Scuba diving at Mabul gives rich rewards for those who’re affected person and willing to move slowly however surely searching for rare species that are arduous to find at other dive locations. On the sandy seabed which you will discover at a depth of about 20 metres onwards, you will spot loads of small lairs and tunnels. These are residence to shy colourful gobies of assorted species, blue ribbon eels swaying round with gaping mouths and cleansing shrimp who might conduct a bit dental be just right for you should you ask properly. Show extra
As its identify suggests, there are a lot of garden eels which rise out of the sandy seabed. From a distance they stand very tall swaying with the water and searching like a subject of stalks. Inside the small groups of coral, exploration will yield sightings of the uncommon lemon coloured moray, and frogfish in colours of blue, rose purple and black.
As you’re employed your way up, you’ll come upon the reef at a depth of between 2 and 15 metres. Along with wrasse and damselfish, there’s a very unusual creature, the gigantic mantis shrimp from the genus odontodactylus. This predatory crustacean actually jumps out of its lair (holes on the sandy seabed) to seize passing fish for dinner. The pressure that its entrance claws have on passing fish has been in comparison with a 22-calibre bullet. They are constructed to pierce tough marine exoskeletons and can reduce via human flesh like a hot knife by way of butter so divers be warned, don’t provoke them, you will not like them once they’re offended.
Froggy Lair – As with most of the websites around Mabul Island a keen pair of eyes and deliberate strategy are vital here if you are to not emerge saying you saw nothing. Suspended particles in the water could make for what would usually be thought of poor visibility. The point is this shouldn’t matter, as you will not be staring off in the distance looking for passing sharks, quite you need to be seeking out delights nearer to your mask. That explains why there are mixed opinions for this dive site. Show extra
On the one hand, the suspended particles, the seabed with stunted corals and rubbish fragments like outdated fishing nets and tyres which litter this site have led many a diver to categorise it as a poor one, with very little to offer. On the other hand, diehard macro divers have come again raving about unusual finds.
A number of frogfish are often noticed effectively camouflaged as they sit in wait prepared for the quickest lethal strike in the pure world. The 2 more celebrated of these are blue in color and about the size of a football (or when you insist a ‘soccer’ ball). Cowries might be seen each within the daytime in addition to at night.
There are any variety of species of nudibranchs in splashes of colour that are extraordinarily fairly as well as some fabulously ornate ghost pipefish. Maybe the most sought after prize here at Froggy Lair and the one which dominates most pre-dive dialog is the holy grail of muck diving, the flamboyant cuttlefish. This little beauty, most frequently seen at night time, is a gem making its means alongside the sandy bottom transferring its ornate purplish, yellow body to the delight of all large-eyed witnesses.
Lobster Wall – Lobster Wall close to Mabul is a slope working down to about 20m depth. The dive site consists of a colourful reef lined with numerous species of nudibranchs, and several various kinds of pipefish. To begin the dive you will seemingly begin off on high of the reef, working your way down gently along the sloping wall. The wall is full of holes and a community of tunnels behind the primary wall of the reef. Lobsters can sometimes be noticed at the entrances to these small caverns. Present more
Currents will be sturdy, during which case you’ll be able to cruise along the reef within the direction of the present, protecting a watch out for giant turtles, peacock mantis shrimps, and even a flamboyant cuttlefish. This is a very unusual sort of cuttlefish being normally very small and with more purple and yellow coloration than the cuttlefish mostly encountered. It is likely one of the favorite creatures amongst scuba divers to spot and photograph.
You’re spoilt on this space by the numbers of nudibranchs and Lobster Wall is no exception. They’re present here in impressive numbers and varieties. Persevering with the dive, you’ll fin slowly alongside the reef, often having turtles go by or for a fast stop just to say hey.
There are numerous common anemones with their tentacles swaying in the present and playing home to the resident anemone clownfish. You possibly can watch as the immature males will likely be swimming in and out of the anemone however staying shut whereas the bigger, sexually active pair brave it up and swim out, trying to scare you away.
Ray Point (a.ok.a. Stingray City) – Accessed by boat from Mabul Island, you’ll roll into the water right above the reef and, having descended from the floor, gently wander down the slope. Show more
Slowly cruising along the slope, you might stop to see the resident crocodile fish resting on the coral or on a patch of sand. This species at all times appears to be like prefer it is solely enjoyable, and seldom moves when divers are round. They appear to be completely happy to remain nonetheless and pose for a few photographs, even close ups, a lot closer than you would get to an actual crocodile!
On the underside itself is a big sandy area peppered with small rocks and what looks like sticks pointing up from stone island jumper dark grey the sand. On closer inspection you will notice that these are backyard eels, and quite a lot of them.
Other fascinating species for scuba divers to spot at Ray Point embrace, unsurprisingly, blue noticed stingrays that are often hunting alongside the reef in search of food. They’re a greenish brown color with vivid blue spots and a white underbelly. It is a jungle out there if these rays are around and you are a shrimp, crab or small bony fish, since the ray would possibly pin you down with its fins and squash you with the food-crushing plates it has on the inside of its mouth.
Different commonly sighted creatures likely to come back into your view at this dive site embody cuttlefish, boxfish and of course more of the ever-present parade of turtles.
Seaventure Platform – Is magnificence solely pores and skin deep or is that just something that ugly people say Individuals see this converted oil rig and are aghast at the considered diving beneath it. Ugly, large metallic legs assist what is now transformed into accommodation however it appears to be like just like the final place you would assume about diving beneath. Underwater however, is a very different story. Present extra
The location is only a stone’s throw from the north coast of the island of Mabul (nicely, if you’re significantly good stonethrower) and is sheltered by the structure of the platform. This means that surface conditions are almost all the time flat calm and there can also be little current. This means you possibly can relax and take your time to discover.
Among the many piles of metallic rods on a dive site that varies in depth between 12 and round 17 metres, you will see that a complete batch of frogfish in various hues of red, yellow and black. Cruising round this publish-apocalyptic landscape, the joy of discovery will be intense as you spot enormous moray eels, ghostpipefish and nudibranchs galore where you thought there was nothing. The superb thing is that what seems like a desolate wasteland is in reality home to a flourishing marine island group.
Each scuba diver who visits this site appears to come back again with their own tales of things they’ve found and the site of everybody poking round makes it appear to be some bizarre industrial archeological site! Delights in the debris. Rarities in the rubble. Joy in the junk. Definitely distinctive and unquestionably rewarding for critter fans – a special, idiosyncratic site and one that will stay with you for a long time.
Tips on how to Dive Mabul Island
Staying in a resort on the island means that on days when you aren’t diving Sipadan, you possibly can focus on all the native sites round Mabul where the critters abound. There are a number of resorts on the island that ought to have something for everyone, from a price range resort to stilted bungalow luxury. Particular native charges apply at many of these resorts for Malaysians, Singaporeans and expatriates dwelling in these international locations with work permits.
There can be one liveaboard in the world which stays overnight at Mabul Island and from which you’ll dive most of the local websites.
For extra info on your diving choices, and all the other travel information you may want to go to Mabul and the state of Sabah in Borneo, view our:
You’ll be able to dive in Mabul year spherical with the most effective conditions occurring outdoors the rainy season which usually happens between December and March. Nonetheless, the weather and diving circumstances are often very good presently too.
Visibility will not be superb here even at the best of instances, which is the dry season from March to September. Nevertheless, since diving here is usually in regards to the macro life, the visibility does not should be that nice. The seas around the island remain calm more often than not although at times surface waves will probably be present. Water temperatures also range very little, normally hovering at between 27 and 29°C.
There is no best time to go to to see sure creatures as all the macro life seems to be present all 12 months round, as does the big resident college of jacks at the island. So they are going to be all there while you get here, you just have to seek out them!
It is a very talked-about vacation spot and some periods are so widespread that you really should guide long upfront. These periods embody March to August, Christmas, New Yr and Chinese language New Yr. When you wish to travel at these times please tell us as quickly as attainable.
The place is Mabul and how Do I Get There
Evaluate our map below of Sabah state, displaying the placement of Mabul Island. Right here, you’ll discover info on tips on how to get to Mabul.