Diving In Mabul Island, Malaysia
Where is it?
…Good for: Small animals, underwater pictures and beginner divers…
…Not so good for: Visibility and non-diving activities…
Most people who come to dive within the Sipadan area keep on close by Mabul Island and their diving experience is a mix of the 2 islands – macro sites and critters, deep partitions and huge fish action.
Pulau Mabul (because it is understood locally) is a small sandy island with coconut bushes, a neighborhood fishing village, and of course dive resorts. It is just 25 minutes or so boat journey from Sipadan Island itself. It has lengthy lived within the shadow of its famous neighbour however is now rising as a dive vacation spot in its personal proper. Present more
As critter-diving has increased in recognition, many scuba divers now come right here, not just for the massive fish motion of Sipadan, but for the unbelievable array of macro-life to be seen at Mabul Island. Sandy sea-beds, coral outcrops, small partitions and artificial reefs and jetties, are all dwelling to a number of the seas most amazing little creatures.
It is commonly an excellent sign when underwater photographers are around and there are at all times a few scuba diving right here at Mabul (typically they’re solely right here for the macro sights, and not at Sipadan!), so you can make sure that there are a wealth of interesting marine creatures lurking in each nook and cranny across the island.
Dive Site Descriptions
The Synthetic Reef – Situated directly in front of Good Resort on the south side of Mabul Island, the artificial reef is constructed from wooden frames, man-made constructions within the form of pyramids, crates and rockpiles. It attracts many different types of marine life. What looks at first sight to be solely a bunch of boring previous junk seems to be a habitat for an astonishing array of creatures. Present more
The most obvious are the big faculties of juvenile barracuda and batfish patrolling along the reef and of course the unbelievable faculty of jacks which can wrap you in silver. Your entire area can be somewhat of a maze as you wander from construction to structure. The sandy backside houses ribbon eels and if you’re lucky it’s possible you’ll get to see a juvenile Harlequin sweetlips performing its unusual jig. In a few of the constructions you might find juvenile Oriental sweetlips, colorful nudibranchs, frogfish and monumental groupers.
With its sandy bottom you must watch out throughout the dive and frog kick gently so you will not stir up the silt and lower the visibility. For scuba divers who are into macro, the sites around Mabul and Kapalai are a wonderland and this house reef is among the finest. It is so much fun and so simply accessed that you would possibly wish to dive this spot over and over again.
Crocodile Avenue – Opinion is divided on the standard of this site. For high adrenaline-junky divers, Mabul Island could appear a little bit sedate, but for macro-lovers it is a haven of discovery. As with lots of the dive sites here, progress needs to be sluggish and deliberate with eyes scanning the flooring and each function on it for sightings that you will miss when you fin off wanting straight forward. Present more
To dive right here is to cowl 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 often harbour not less than 1 seahorse, clinging on with its prehensile tail.
Other joys which may escape the attention of inattentive divers include the eponymous crocodilefish mendacity in wait on the sandy floor, its large flat snout resting just above the bottom. Your guide can even certainly identify the occasional ghost pipefish riding delicately within the movement of the water. As you make your means alongside it may even be value trying forward where you might even see the lengthy protruding bodies of backyard eels shrinking again to safety as you and your fellow scuba divers strategy.
There will be little question that Mabul’s crowning glory is the abundance of critters and small stuff, nonetheless often the larger issues would possibly put in a go to resembling a passing eagle ray. If you are investigative by nature, diving right here will probably be very best for you. Equally widespread as a night dive, nocturnal outings will yield excellent rewards with sightings including cuttlefish, nudibranchs and crabs all making their means into the beam of your flashlight.
Eel Backyard – Scuba diving at Mabul presents wealthy rewards for these who’re affected person and prepared to maneuver slowly but absolutely in search of uncommon species that are hard to find at other dive destinations. On the sandy seabed which you can find at a depth of about 20 metres onwards, you may spot loads of small lairs and tunnels. These are dwelling to shy colourful gobies of assorted species, blue ribbon eels swaying round with gaping mouths and cleaning shrimp who may conduct somewhat dental be just right for you when you ask nicely. Show more
As its title suggests, there are numerous garden eels which rise out of the sandy seabed. From a distance they stand very tall swaying with the water and looking out 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 crimson and black.
As you work your means 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 literally jumps out of its lair (holes on the sandy seabed) to grab passing fish for dinner. The force that its entrance claws have on passing fish has been compared to a 22-calibre bullet. They’re constructed to pierce tough marine exoskeletons and might cut by way of human flesh like a scorching knife by way of butter so divers be warned, don’t provoke them, you will not like them when they’re indignant.
Froggy Lair – As with many of the websites around Mabul Island a eager pair of eyes and deliberate strategy are crucial here if you are not to emerge saying you noticed nothing. Suspended particles in the water can make for what would usually be thought-about poor visibility. The point is that this shouldn’t matter, as you will not be staring off in the distance in search of passing sharks, slightly try to be seeking out delights closer to your mask. That explains why there are blended reviews for this dive site. Show more
On the one hand, the suspended particles, the seabed with stunted corals and rubbish fragments like old fishing nets and tyres which litter this site have led many a diver to categorise it as a poor one, with little or no to supply. However, diehard macro divers have come again raving about unusual finds.
Several frogfish are often noticed properly camouflaged as they sit in wait prepared for the quickest lethal strike in the natural world. The 2 extra celebrated of these are blue in color and about the dimensions of a soccer (or when you insist a ‘soccer’ ball). Cowries might be seen both in the daytime in addition to at evening.
There are any variety of species of nudibranchs in splashes of colour that are extraordinarily fairly in addition to some fabulously ornate ghost pipefish. Perhaps essentially the most wanted prize right here at Froggy Lair and the one that dominates most pre-dive conversation is the holy grail of muck diving, the flamboyant cuttlefish. This little magnificence, most often seen at evening, is a gem making its way alongside the sandy bottom transferring its ornate purplish, yellow body to the delight of all large-eyed witnesses.
Lobster Wall – Lobster Wall near Mabul is a slope running right down to about 20m depth. The dive site consists of a colourful reef covered with varied species of nudibranchs, and a number of other different types of pipefish. To start the dive you’ll likely start off on top of the reef, working your manner down gently along the sloping wall. The wall is filled with stone island junior winterjas holes and a community of tunnels behind the primary wall of the reef. Lobsters can sometimes be spotted on the entrances to these small caverns. Present extra
Currents could be sturdy, in which case you can cruise along the reef in the path of the present, keeping a watch out for large turtles, peacock mantis shrimps, and even a flamboyant cuttlefish. That is a very unusual type of cuttlefish being usually very small and with extra purple and yellow coloration than the cuttlefish mostly encountered. It is one of the favorite creatures among scuba divers to spot and photograph.
You might be spoilt in this space by the numbers of nudibranchs and Lobster Wall isn’t any exception. They are present here in spectacular numbers and varieties. Persevering with the dive, you’ll fin slowly along the reef, sometimes having turtles cross by or for a fast stop simply to say howdy.
There are various widespread anemones with their tentacles swaying in the present and playing residence to the resident anemone clownfish. You possibly can watch as the immature males will be swimming in and out of the anemone however staying close while the bigger, sexually energetic pair brave it up and swim out, making an attempt to scare you away.
Ray Level (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 surface, gently wander down the slope. Present more
Slowly cruising alongside the slope, you might cease to see the resident crocodile fish resting on the coral or on a patch of sand. This species all the time looks like it is simply enjoyable, and seldom strikes when divers are round. They seem like joyful to remain still and pose for a few images, even shut ups, much nearer than you’ll get to an precise crocodile!
On the bottom itself is a big sandy space peppered with small rocks and what appears like sticks pointing up from the sand. On nearer inspection you will note that these are garden eels, and various them.
Different interesting species for scuba divers to spot at Ray Point embody, unsurprisingly, blue spotted stingrays that are sometimes hunting along the reef looking for food. They are a greenish brown colour with vivid blue spots and a white underbelly. It is a jungle on the market if these rays are round 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 generally sighted creatures likely to come into your view at this dive site include cuttlefish, boxfish and of course more of the ever-current parade of turtles.
Seaventure Platform – Is beauty solely skin deep or is that just one thing that ugly folks say? Individuals see this converted oil rig and are aghast at the thought of diving beneath it. Ugly, big steel legs assist what is now converted into accommodation but it surely appears just like the last place you would assume about diving beneath. Underwater nonetheless, is a very completely different story. Show more
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. Because of this floor conditions are virtually all the time flat calm and there can be little current. This implies you may chill out and take your time to explore.
Among the piles of steel rods on a dive site that varies in depth between 12 and around 17 metres, you’ll discover a whole batch of frogfish in varying hues of crimson, yellow and black. Cruising around this put up-apocalyptic panorama, the joy of discovery can be intense as you spot huge moray eels, ghostpipefish and nudibranchs galore the place you thought there was nothing. The wonderful factor is that what appears to be like like a desolate wasteland is the truth is dwelling to a flourishing marine island neighborhood.
Each scuba diver who visits this site seems to return back with their very own tales of issues they’ve found and the positioning of everyone poking round makes it seem like some bizarre industrial archeological site! Delights in the debris. Rarities within the rubble. Joy in the junk. Certainly unique and unquestionably rewarding for critter fans – a special, idiosyncratic site and one that will stay with you for a very long time.
The right way to Dive Mabul Island
Staying in a resort on the island means that on days when you aren’t diving Sipadan, you’ll be able to concentrate on all of the native websites around Mabul where the critters abound. There are several resorts on the island that should have something for everybody, from a finances resort to stilted bungalow luxury. Special local charges apply at many of those resorts for Malaysians, Singaporeans and expatriates living in those international locations with work permits.
There can be one liveaboard in the area which stays overnight at Mabul Island and from which you’ll be able to dive lots of the local websites.
For extra information in your diving choices, and all the opposite journey data you may want to go to Mabul and the state of Sabah in Borneo, view our:
You may dive in Mabul year round with one of the best circumstances occurring outside the rainy season which normally occurs between December and March. However, the weather and diving situations are often excellent right now too.
Visibility will not be superb here even at the better of occasions, which is the dry season from March to September. Nonetheless, since diving here is mostly about the macro life, the visibility does not have to be that nice. The seas across the island stay calm most of the time though from time to time surface waves can be present. Water temperatures additionally range little or no, often hovering at between 27 and 29°C.
There is no best time to visit to see sure creatures as all the macro life seems to be present all 12 months spherical, as does the big resident school of jacks on the island. So they are going to be all there while you get right here, you just have to find them!
This is a very talked-about destination and a few durations are so common that you actually should e book lengthy prematurely. These intervals embody March to August, Christmas, New Yr and Chinese language New Yr. When you want to journey at these times please let us know as soon as attainable.
The place is Mabul and the way Do I Get There?
Assessment our map under of Sabah state, displaying the situation of Mabul Island. Right here, you will see that information on find out how to get to Mabul.
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