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 actions…
Most individuals who come to dive in the Sipadan area stay on close by Mabul Island and their diving expertise is a combination of the 2 islands – macro sites and critters, deep walls and huge fish action.
Pulau Mabul (as it is understood domestically) is a small sandy island with coconut timber, a neighborhood fishing village, and naturally dive resorts. It is just 25 minutes or so boat ride from Sipadan Island itself. It has lengthy lived within the shadow of its well-known neighbour but is now emerging as a dive destination in its personal right. Show more
As critter-diving has increased in reputation, many scuba divers now come here, not only for the large fish motion of Sipadan, however for the incredible array of macro-life to be seen at Mabul Island. Sandy sea-beds, coral outcrops, small partitions and synthetic reefs and jetties, are all house to some of the seas most amazing little creatures.
It is often an excellent signal when underwater photographers are round and there are at all times a few scuba diving here at Mabul (typically they’re solely here for the macro sights, and not at Sipadan!), so you can make certain that there are a wealth of fascinating marine creatures lurking in each nook and cranny around the island.
Dive Site Descriptions
The Synthetic Reef – Situated directly in entrance of Sensible Resort on the south side of Mabul Island, the artificial reef is constructed from wooden frames, man-made constructions in the form of pyramids, crates and rockpiles. It attracts many several types of marine life. What seems at first sight to be solely a bunch of boring old junk seems to be a habitat for an astonishing array of creatures. Show extra
The most obvious are the large colleges of juvenile barracuda and batfish patrolling alongside the reef and of course the unbelievable school of jacks which may wrap you in silver. All the space might be considerably of a maze as you wander from structure to structure. The sandy backside houses ribbon eels and in case you are fortunate you might get to see a juvenile Harlequin sweetlips performing its strange jig. In some of the structures you may find juvenile Oriental sweetlips, colorful nudibranchs, frogfish and huge groupers.
With its sandy bottom you must be careful 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 home reef is one of the best. It is so much enjoyable and so simply accessed that you just might wish 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 may seem a little sedate, however for macro-lovers it’s a haven of discovery. As with most of the dive websites here, progress should be gradual and deliberate with eyes scanning the floor and every characteristic on it for sightings that you will miss in case you fin off looking straight ahead. Present extra
To dive here is to cover a gentle sandy slope peppered with little areas of activity. With a pair of sharp eyes you will find a seahorse or ten. Patches of weed and stringy areas often harbour no less than 1 seahorse, clinging on with its prehensile tail.
Other joys which can escape the attention of inattentive divers include the eponymous crocodilefish lying in wait on the sandy flooring, its giant flat snout resting just above the ground. Your guide may even certainly identify the occasional ghost pipefish riding delicately in the movement of the water. As you make your means alongside it may even be price looking ahead where you may see the long protruding bodies of garden eels shrinking back to security 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, nevertheless sometimes the larger things would possibly put in a go to resembling a passing eagle ray. If you are investigative by nature, diving here will probably be ultimate for you. Equally fashionable as a night time dive, nocturnal outings will yield glorious rewards with sightings including cuttlefish, nudibranchs and crabs all making their means into the beam of your flashlight.
Eel Garden – Scuba diving at Mabul offers rich rewards for these who are patient and keen to maneuver slowly however absolutely seeking rare species which might be onerous to search out at different dive locations. On the sandy seabed which yow will discover at a depth of about 20 metres onwards, you may spot a great deal of small lairs and tunnels. These are dwelling to shy colourful gobies of assorted species, blue ribbon eels swaying around with gaping mouths and cleaning shrimp who may conduct a bit of dental be just right for you if you happen to ask nicely. Present extra
As its title suggests, there are a large number of 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 teams of coral, exploration will yield sightings of the uncommon lemon coloured moray, and frogfish in colours of blue, rose purple and black.
As you work your manner up, you’ll come upon the reef at a depth of between 2 and 15 metres. Along with wrasse and damselfish, there may be 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 pressure that its entrance claws have on passing fish has been compared to a 22-calibre bullet. They’re constructed to pierce powerful marine exoskeletons and may lower via human flesh like a scorching knife by butter so divers be warned, don’t provoke them, you will not like them when they’re offended.
Froggy Lair – As with many of the sites around Mabul Island a eager pair of eyes and deliberate strategy are vital right here in case you are to not emerge saying you noticed nothing. Suspended particles in the water can make for what would usually be thought-about poor visibility. The purpose is that this mustn’t matter, as you won’t be staring off in the space searching for passing sharks, rather you ought to be searching for out delights closer to your mask. That explains why there are blended reviews for this dive site. Present more
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 little or no to supply. Alternatively, diehard macro divers have come again raving about unusual finds.
A number of frogfish are often spotted properly camouflaged as they sit in wait prepared for the fastest lethal strike within the natural world. The 2 more celebrated of these are blue in colour and about the scale of a soccer (or when you insist a ‘soccer’ ball). Cowries may be seen each in the daytime in addition to at night.
There are any number of species of nudibranchs in splashes of colour which can be extraordinarily pretty in addition to some fabulously ornate ghost pipefish. Maybe essentially the most sought after 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 manner alongside the sandy bottom transferring its ornate purplish, yellow physique to the delight of all vast-eyed witnesses.
Lobster Wall – Lobster Wall near Mabul is a slope working right down to about 20m depth. The dive site consists of a colourful reef covered with various species of nudibranchs, and several other different types of pipefish. To begin the dive you will likely begin off on high of the reef, working your way down gently along the sloping wall. The wall is stuffed with holes and a community of tunnels behind the primary wall of the reef. Lobsters can sometimes be spotted on the entrances to those small caverns. Show more
Currents may be robust, in which case you may cruise alongside the reef within the course of the current, maintaining an eye out for large turtles, peacock mantis shrimps, and even a flamboyant cuttlefish. That is a really unusual kind of cuttlefish being usually very small and with extra purple and yellow coloration than the cuttlefish most commonly encountered. It is without doubt one of the favourite creatures among scuba divers to identify and photograph.
You might be spoilt on this area by the numbers of nudibranchs and Lobster Wall is not any exception. They are present here in spectacular numbers and varieties. Continuing the dive, you’ll fin slowly along the reef, sometimes having turtles move by or for a fast stop just to say howdy.
There are a lot of common anemones with their tentacles swaying in the present and enjoying residence to the resident anemone clownfish. You’ll be able to watch as the immature males will be swimming in and out of the anemone but staying shut while the bigger, sexually lively pair brave it up and swim out, attempting to scare you away.
Ray Level (a.k.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. Present more
Slowly cruising alongside the slope, chances are you’ll cease to see the resident crocodile fish resting on the coral or on a patch of sand. This species always seems like it is just relaxing, and seldom moves when divers are around. They look like happy to stay nonetheless and pose for a number of images, even close ups, much nearer than you would get to an precise crocodile!
On the underside itself is a large sandy space peppered with small rocks and what seems stone island sticker to be like sticks pointing up from the sand. On closer inspection you will notice that these are backyard eels, and various them.
Other interesting species for scuba divers to identify at Ray Point embrace, unsurprisingly, blue spotted stingrays that are sometimes looking alongside the reef in search of food. They’re a greenish brown colour with vivid blue spots and a white underbelly. It’s a jungle out there if these rays are around and you are a shrimp, crab or small bony fish, because the ray may pin you down with its fins and squash you with the meals-crushing plates it has on the inside of its mouth.
Different commonly sighted creatures probably to return into your view at this dive site embody cuttlefish, boxfish and naturally more of the ever-present parade of turtles.
Seaventure Platform – Is magnificence only skin deep or is that just one thing that ugly folks say Folks see this converted oil rig and are aghast at the considered diving beneath it. Ugly, huge steel legs assist what is now transformed into accommodation however it appears like the final place you would assume about diving beneath. Underwater however, is a very different story. Present extra
The positioning is barely a stone’s throw from the north coast of the island of Mabul (well, if you are notably good stonethrower) and is sheltered by the construction of the platform. Because of this surface situations are virtually at all times flat calm and there is also little present. This implies you’ll be able to calm down and take your time to discover.
Among the many piles of metallic rods on a dive site that varies in depth between 12 and around 17 metres, you can find a whole batch of frogfish in varying hues of purple, yellow and black. Cruising around this submit-apocalyptic landscape, the joy of discovery might be intense as you spot huge moray eels, ghostpipefish and nudibranchs galore where you thought there was nothing. The superb thing is that what appears like a desolate wasteland is in truth house to a flourishing marine island group.
Every scuba diver who visits this site seems to come back again with their own tales of things they have found and the location of everybody poking around makes it seem like some bizarre industrial archeological site! Delights in the debris. Rarities within the rubble. Joy in the junk. Definitely distinctive and unquestionably rewarding for critter fans – a particular, idiosyncratic site and one that may stay with you for a very long time.
How to Dive Mabul Island
Staying in a resort on the island implies that on days when you are not diving Sipadan, you’ll be able to concentrate on all of the native sites around Mabul where the critters abound. There are a number of resorts on the island that ought to have something for everybody, from a budget resort to stilted bungalow luxury. Particular local rates apply at many of these resorts for Malaysians, Singaporeans and expatriates living in these countries with work permits.
There can also be one liveaboard in the realm which stays in a single day at Mabul Island and from which you’ll be able to dive lots of the local sites.
For extra info in your diving options, and all the opposite journey information you might need to go to Mabul and the state of Sabah in Borneo, view our:
You may dive in Mabul year spherical with the most effective situations occurring outdoors the rainy season which normally occurs between December and March. Nonetheless, the weather and diving situations are sometimes excellent right now too.
Visibility isn’t amazing right here even at the better of occasions, which is the dry season from March to September. Nonetheless, since diving here is usually in regards to the macro life, the visibility doesn’t need to be that great. The seas across the island stay calm more often than not although now and then surface waves will likely be present. Water temperatures additionally vary very little, often hovering at between 27 and 29°C.
There isn’t any finest time to visit to see certain creatures as all of the macro life seems to be present all yr round, as does the enormous resident college of jacks at the island. So they will be all there when you get right here, you simply have to seek out them!
It is a extremely popular vacation spot and a few intervals are so well-liked that you actually should ebook long prematurely. These durations include March to August, Christmas, New Year and Chinese language New 12 months. In case you want to travel at these occasions please let us know as quickly as potential.
Where is Mabul and how Do I Get There
Assessment our map beneath of Sabah state, displaying the situation of Mabul Island. Here, you will find info on the right way to get to Mabul.