Diving In Mabul Island, Malaysia
Where is it
…Good for: Small animals, underwater pictures and newbie divers…
…Not so good for: Visibility and non-diving actions…
Most individuals who come to dive within the Sipadan space keep on close by Mabul Island and their diving expertise is a mix of the 2 islands – macro sites and critters, deep walls and large fish motion.
Pulau Mabul (because it is thought domestically) is a small sandy island with coconut timber, an area fishing village, and naturally dive resorts. It’s only 25 minutes or so boat journey from Sipadan Island itself. It has long lived within the shadow of its well-known neighbour however is now emerging as a dive vacation spot in its own proper. Present extra
As critter-diving has elevated in reputation, many scuba divers now come right here, not just for the large fish motion of Sipadan, however for the unimaginable 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 few of the seas most superb little creatures.
It is usually a very good signal when underwater photographers are round and there are at all times a number of scuba diving here at Mabul (typically they’re solely right here for the macro sights, and not at Sipadan!), so you possibly can make certain 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 Smart Resort on the south side of Mabul Island, the artificial reef is constructed from wood frames, man-made buildings within the form of pyramids, crates and rockpiles. It attracts many various kinds of marine life. What appears to be like at first sight to be only a bunch of boring outdated junk turns out to be a habitat for an astonishing array of creatures. Show more
The most obvious are the big colleges of juvenile barracuda and batfish patrolling alongside the reef and naturally the unimaginable college of jacks which may wrap you in silver. The complete area may be somewhat of a maze as you wander from structure to structure. The sandy backside homes ribbon eels and in case you are fortunate it’s possible you’ll get to see a juvenile Harlequin sweetlips performing its strange jig. In a few of the structures you may find juvenile Oriental sweetlips, colorful nudibranchs, frogfish and huge groupers.
With its sandy backside you must watch out throughout the dive and frog kick gently so you will not stir up the silt and decrease the visibility. For scuba divers who are into macro, the websites round Mabul and Kapalai are a wonderland and this house reef is probably the greatest. It’s a lot enjoyable and so simply accessed that you simply would possibly wish to dive this spot time and again.
Crocodile Avenue – Opinion is divided on the standard of this site. For prime adrenaline-junky divers, Mabul Island could appear just a little sedate, however for macro-lovers it’s a haven of discovery. As with most of the dive websites right here, progress needs to be gradual and deliberate with eyes scanning the flooring and every characteristic on it for sightings that you will miss in the event you fin off wanting straight forward. Present extra
To dive right here is to cowl a gentle sandy slope peppered with little areas of exercise. With a pair of sharp eyes you’ll discover a seahorse or ten. Patches of weed and stringy areas typically harbour at the least 1 seahorse, clinging on with its prehensile tail.
Different joys which can escape the eye of inattentive divers embrace the eponymous crocodilefish mendacity in wait on the sandy ground, its massive flat snout resting just above the ground. Your guide may also absolutely determine the occasional ghost pipefish riding delicately in the motion of the water. As you make your method alongside it might even be value wanting ahead the place you might even see the long protruding our bodies of garden eels shrinking back to safety as you and your fellow scuba divers method.
There may be little question that Mabul’s crowning glory is the abundance of critters and small stuff, nonetheless sometimes the larger issues would possibly put in a go to corresponding to a passing eagle ray. If you’re investigative by nature, diving here shall be ultimate for you. Equally standard as a night time dive, nocturnal outings will yield glorious rewards with sightings together with cuttlefish, nudibranchs and crabs all making their manner into the beam of your flashlight.
Eel Backyard – Scuba diving at Mabul gives wealthy rewards for these who’re affected person and keen to maneuver slowly however absolutely in the hunt for rare species which can be exhausting to search out at different dive locations. On the sandy seabed which you’ll find at a depth of about 20 metres onwards, you will spot a great deal of small lairs and tunnels. These are house to shy colourful gobies of assorted species, blue ribbon eels swaying around with gaping mouths and cleansing shrimp who may conduct a bit of dental give you the results you want in the event you ask properly. Present more
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 looking out like a discipline of stalks. Throughout the small teams of coral, exploration will yield sightings of the uncommon lemon colored moray, and frogfish in colours of blue, rose pink and black.
As you’re employed your means up, you may come upon the reef at a depth of between 2 and 15 metres. Together 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 power that its entrance claws have on passing fish has been in comparison with a 22-calibre bullet. They’re constructed to pierce robust marine exoskeletons and may minimize by way of human flesh like a scorching knife by means of butter so divers be warned, don’t provoke them, you won’t like them once they’re offended.
Froggy Lair – As with most of the websites round Mabul Island a eager pair of eyes and deliberate strategy are needed right here if you’re not to emerge saying you noticed nothing. Suspended particles in the water could make for what would usually be thought-about poor visibility. The purpose is that this shouldn’t matter, as you will not be staring off in the space in search of passing sharks, quite you need to be in search of out delights nearer to your mask. That explains why there are combined evaluations for this dive site. Present 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 supply. Alternatively, diehard macro divers have come again raving about unusual finds.
A number of frogfish are sometimes noticed nicely camouflaged as they sit in wait prepared for the quickest lethal strike within the natural world. The 2 extra celebrated of these are blue in colour and about the dimensions of a football (or in the event you insist a ‘soccer’ ball). Cowries might be seen each within the daytime in addition to at night time.
There are any variety of species of nudibranchs in splashes of colour which are extraordinarily pretty as well as some fabulously ornate ghost pipefish. Maybe essentially the most wanted prize right 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 magnificence, most often seen at evening, is a gem making its manner alongside the sandy backside shifting its ornate purplish, yellow body to the delight of all vast-eyed witnesses.
Lobster Wall – Lobster Wall close to Mabul is a slope working right down to about 20m depth. The dive site consists of a colourful reef coated with numerous species of nudibranchs, and a number of other several types of pipefish. To start the dive you’ll probably begin off on prime of the reef, working your means down gently alongside the sloping wall. The wall is filled with holes and a community of tunnels behind the primary wall of the reef. Lobsters can generally be noticed on the entrances to these small caverns. Present extra
Currents may be sturdy, during which case you’ll be able to cruise alongside the reef within the route of the present, maintaining a watch out for big 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 mostly encountered. It is likely one of the favourite creatures amongst scuba divers to identify and photograph.
You might be spoilt on this space by the numbers of nudibranchs and Lobster Wall isn’t any exception. They’re current right here in spectacular numbers and varieties. Persevering with the dive, you’ll fin slowly alongside the reef, sometimes having turtles go by or for a fast cease just to say hi there.
There are a lot of widespread anemones with their tentacles swaying in the present and enjoying house to the resident anemone clownfish. You possibly can watch as the immature males can be swimming in and out of the stone island sale online anemone but staying close while the larger, sexually energetic pair brave it up and swim out, attempting to scare you away.
Ray Level (a.ok.a. Stingray Metropolis) – Accessed by boat from Mabul Island, you’ll roll into the water proper above the reef and, having descended from the surface, gently wander down the slope. Show more
Slowly cruising along the slope, chances are you’ll stop to see the resident crocodile fish resting on the coral or on a patch of sand. This species all the time appears to be like prefer it is solely stress-free, and seldom moves when divers are around. They look like comfortable to stay still and pose for a couple of pictures, even shut ups, a lot nearer than you’d get to an precise crocodile!
On the underside itself is a big sandy space peppered with small rocks and what appears like sticks pointing up from the sand. On closer inspection you will note that these are garden eels, and quite a lot of them.
Different attention-grabbing species for scuba divers to identify at Ray Level embody, stone island sale online unsurprisingly, blue noticed stingrays that are sometimes looking along the reef in quest of food. They are a greenish brown colour with vivid blue spots and a white underbelly. It’s a jungle on the market if these rays are round and you’re a shrimp, crab or small bony fish, for the reason that 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.
Other commonly sighted creatures doubtless to come back into your view at this dive site include cuttlefish, boxfish and of course more of the ever-present parade of turtles.
Seaventure Platform – Is beauty only skin deep or is that just one thing that ugly folks say Folks see this transformed oil rig and are aghast on the considered diving beneath it. Ugly, large metallic legs assist what is now converted into accommodation but it appears like the last place you would suppose about diving beneath. Underwater nevertheless, is a really totally different story. Present extra
The positioning is only 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 structure of the platform. Which means surface circumstances are nearly all the time flat calm and there can also be little current. This means you can calm down and take your time to explore.
Among the piles of metallic rods on a dive site that varies in depth between 12 and round 17 metres, you will see a complete batch of frogfish in varying hues of crimson, yellow and black. Cruising around this post-apocalyptic landscape, the joy of discovery can be intense as you spot big 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 actual fact home to a flourishing marine island community.
Every scuba diver who visits this site seems to come back with their own tales of issues they’ve discovered and the location of everybody poking round makes it appear like some bizarre industrial archeological site! Delights in the debris. Rarities in the rubble. Joy in the junk. Certainly unique and unquestionably rewarding for critter fans – a particular, idiosyncratic site and one that can stay with you for a long time.
How one can Dive Mabul Island
Staying in a resort on the island means that on days when you are not diving Sipadan, you may concentrate on all of the native websites round Mabul where the critters abound. There are several resorts on the island that should have something for everyone, from a finances resort to stilted bungalow luxury. Special local rates apply at many of these resorts for Malaysians, Singaporeans and expatriates dwelling in these international locations 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 can dive many of the local sites.
For more information on your diving options, and all the other journey data you may need 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 exterior the rainy season which usually happens between December and March. Nevertheless, the weather and diving situations are often excellent at the moment too.
Visibility isn’t superb here even at the better of instances, which is the dry season from March to September. Nevertheless, since diving right here is generally in regards to the macro life, the visibility doesn’t must be that great. The seas around the island remain calm most of the time although at times floor waves will likely be current. Water temperatures additionally fluctuate little or no, normally hovering at between 27 and 29°C.
There is no such thing as a best time to visit to see certain creatures as all the macro life seems to be present all yr spherical, as does the large resident college of jacks on the island. So they are going to be all there whenever you get here, you just have to search out them!
It is a highly regarded destination and some durations are so in style that you actually ought to ebook lengthy upfront. These durations include March to August, Christmas, New 12 months and Chinese New Year. If you happen to wish to journey at these occasions please tell us as quickly as doable.
The place is Mabul and the way Do I Get There
Evaluate our map beneath of Sabah state, showing the location of Mabul Island. Here, you can see data on the best way to get to Mabul.
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