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 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 walls and huge fish motion.
Pulau Mabul (because it is understood regionally) is a small sandy island with coconut timber, a local fishing village, and of course dive resorts. It is just 25 minutes or so boat trip 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 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 walls and artificial reefs and jetties, are all residence to among the seas most amazing little creatures.
It is commonly a great sign when underwater photographers are around and there are always a number of scuba diving here at Mabul (often they are solely here for the macro sights, and not at Sipadan!), so you can ensure 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 in the shape of pyramids, crates and rockpiles. It attracts many various kinds of marine life. What appears at first sight to be only a bunch of boring old junk turns out to be a habitat for an astonishing array of creatures. Show more
The obvious are the massive faculties of juvenile barracuda and batfish patrolling along the reef and naturally the unimaginable faculty of jacks which can wrap you in silver. Your complete area may be considerably of a maze as you wander from construction to structure. The sandy bottom homes ribbon eels and if you’re lucky you might get to see a juvenile Harlequin sweetlips performing its unusual jig. In a few of the structures you may find juvenile Oriental sweetlips, colorful nudibranchs, frogfish and enormous groupers.
With its sandy bottom you must be careful throughout the dive and frog kick gently so you won’t stir up the silt and decrease the visibility. For scuba divers who are into macro, the sites around Mabul and Kapalai are a wonderland and this home reef is among the best. It is so much fun and so easily accessed that you just would possibly want to dive this spot over and over again.
Crocodile Avenue – Opinion is divided on the quality of this site. For top adrenaline-junky divers, Mabul Island may seem a bit sedate, but for macro-lovers it is a haven of discovery. As with most of the dive websites here, progress ought to be sluggish and deliberate with eyes scanning the flooring and every characteristic on it for sightings that you’ll miss for those who fin off wanting straight ahead. Show more
To dive right here is to cover a gentle sandy slope peppered with little areas of exercise. With a pair of sharp eyes you’ll find a seahorse or ten. Patches of weed and stringy areas typically harbour no less than 1 seahorse, clinging on with its prehensile tail.
Different joys which can escape the attention of inattentive divers embody the eponymous crocodilefish mendacity in wait on the sandy floor, its large flat snout resting simply above the bottom. Your guide will also certainly establish the occasional ghost pipefish riding delicately in the motion of the water. As you make your way along it could even be price wanting forward the place 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 no doubt that Mabul’s crowning glory is the abundance of critters and small stuff, nonetheless often the bigger issues may put in a visit equivalent to a passing eagle ray. If you are investigative by nature, diving right here might be best for you. Equally fashionable as a evening dive, nocturnal outings will yield excellent rewards with sightings together with cuttlefish, nudibranchs and crabs all making their way into the beam of your flashlight.
Eel Backyard – Scuba diving stone island jeans birmingham at Mabul gives wealthy rewards for these who’re patient and keen to move slowly however absolutely searching for uncommon species which can be arduous to search out at other dive locations. On the sandy seabed which you will discover at a depth of about 20 metres onwards, you’ll spot loads of small lairs and tunnels. These are home to shy colourful gobies of assorted species, blue ribbon eels swaying around with gaping mouths and cleaning shrimp who may conduct a little bit dental be just right for you when you ask properly. Show extra
As its identify suggests, there are a lot of backyard eels which rise out of the sandy seabed. From a distance they stand very tall swaying with the water and searching like a field of stalks. Inside the small teams of coral, exploration will yield sightings of the rare lemon coloured moray, and frogfish in colours of blue, rose purple and black.
As you work your manner up, you may come upon the reef at a depth of between 2 and 15 metres. Along with wrasse and damselfish, there’s a really 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 seize passing fish for dinner. The pressure that its front claws have on passing fish has been in comparison with a 22-calibre bullet. They are built to pierce powerful marine exoskeletons and may cut through human flesh like a sizzling knife via butter so divers be warned, don’t provoke them, you will not like them when they’re angry.
Froggy Lair – As with most of the sites around Mabul Island a keen pair of eyes and deliberate strategy are obligatory right here if you’re to not emerge saying you saw nothing. Suspended particles in the water could make for what would usually be thought of poor visibility. The purpose is that this shouldn’t matter, as you won’t be staring off in the gap in search of passing sharks, reasonably you should be in search of out delights nearer to your mask. That explains why there are mixed evaluations for this dive site. Show extra
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 very little to offer. On the other hand, diehard macro divers have come again raving about unusual finds.
Several frogfish are often noticed well camouflaged as they sit in wait prepared for the quickest lethal strike in the pure world. The 2 more celebrated of those are blue in color and about the size of a football (or in case 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 which 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 physique to the delight of all vast-eyed witnesses.
Lobster Wall – Lobster Wall close to Mabul is a slope operating down to about 20m depth. The dive site consists of a colourful reef lined with various species of nudibranchs, and several various kinds of pipefish. To begin the dive you will possible begin off on top of the reef, working your approach down gently along the sloping wall. The wall is full of holes and a community of tunnels behind the main wall of the reef. Lobsters can sometimes be noticed at the entrances to these small caverns. Present more
Currents may be sturdy, by which case you possibly can cruise along the reef within the direction of the present, protecting an eye out for giant turtles, peacock mantis shrimps, and even a flamboyant cuttlefish. This is a really unusual type of cuttlefish being normally very small and with more purple and yellow coloration than the cuttlefish mostly encountered. It is 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 current here in spectacular numbers and varieties. Persevering with the dive, you’ll fin slowly along the reef, occasionally having turtles pass by or for a quick stop simply to say good day.
There are many frequent anemones with their tentacles swaying in the current and enjoying house to the resident anemone clownfish. You can watch because the immature males can be swimming in and out of the anemone however staying close whereas the larger, sexually energetic pair brave it up and swim out, making an attempt to scare you away.
Ray Point (a.ok.a. Stingray Metropolis) – Accessed by boat from Mabul Island, you will roll into the water proper above the reef and, having descended from the surface, gently wander down the slope. Show extra
Slowly cruising alongside the slope, you could cease to see the resident crocodile fish resting on the coral or on a patch of sand. This species always appears like it is solely relaxing, and seldom strikes when divers are around. They seem like comfortable to remain still and pose for a number of pictures, even shut ups, much closer than you’d get to an precise crocodile!
On the underside itself is a large sandy space peppered with small rocks and what seems to be like sticks pointing up from the sand. On closer inspection you will notice that these are garden eels, and numerous them.
Different interesting species for scuba divers to spot at Ray Level embrace, unsurprisingly, blue spotted stingrays that are sometimes looking along the reef seeking meals. They’re a greenish brown color with vivid blue spots and a white underbelly. It’s a jungle on the market if these rays are round and you are a shrimp, crab or small bony fish, because the ray would possibly pin you down with its fins and squash you with the meals-crushing plates it has on the inside of its mouth.
Other commonly sighted creatures doubtless to come into your view at this dive site include cuttlefish, boxfish and naturally extra of the ever-present parade of turtles.
Seaventure Platform – Is magnificence only pores and skin deep or is that just one thing that ugly folks say People see this converted oil rig and are aghast on the considered diving beneath it. Ugly, big metal legs support what’s now transformed into accommodation however it appears to be like like the last place you’d assume about diving beneath. Underwater however, is a really totally different story. Show more
The location is simply a stone’s throw from the north coast of the island of Mabul (nicely, if you’re particularly good stonethrower) and is sheltered by the construction of the platform. This means that floor situations are virtually all the time flat calm and there can also be little present. This means you possibly can loosen up 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 discover a complete batch of frogfish in varying hues of red, yellow and black. Cruising round this put up-apocalyptic panorama, the joy of discovery can be intense as you spot large moray eels, ghostpipefish and nudibranchs galore where you thought there was nothing. The wonderful factor is that what appears like a desolate wasteland is in actual fact home to a flourishing marine island group.
Every scuba diver who visits this site seems to come back back with their very own tales of things they’ve discovered and the positioning of everyone poking around makes it appear like some bizarre industrial archeological site! Delights in the debris. Rarities within the rubble. Joy within the junk. Definitely unique and unquestionably rewarding for critter followers – a particular, idiosyncratic site and one that will stick with you for a very long time.
How to Dive Mabul Island
Staying in a resort on the island signifies that on days when you are not diving Sipadan, you may concentrate on all the native sites round Mabul the place the critters abound. There are a number of resorts on the island that should have something for everyone, from a budget resort to stilted bungalow luxurious. Particular native charges apply at many of these resorts for Malaysians, Singaporeans and expatriates dwelling 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 dive many of the native websites.
For extra info on your diving options, and all the other travel info you might need to go to Mabul and the state of Sabah in Borneo, view our:
You can dive in Mabul 12 months spherical with one of the best situations occurring outside the rainy season which usually happens between December and March. Nonetheless, the weather and diving circumstances are sometimes superb presently too.
Visibility will not be superb here even at the better of instances, which is the dry season from March to September. Nevertheless, since diving right here is usually about the macro life, the visibility does not have to be that great. The seas across the island stay calm more often than not although at times surface waves will be current. Water temperatures additionally vary very little, normally hovering at between 27 and 29°C.
There isn’t any finest time to go to to see sure creatures as all the macro life seems to be present all 12 months spherical, as does the big resident college of jacks on the island. So they are going to be all there when you get right here, you simply have to find them!
It is a very talked-about destination and some intervals are so popular that you actually ought to guide long in advance. These durations embody March to August, Christmas, New Year and Chinese language New Yr. When you wish to journey at these occasions please tell us as quickly as doable.
The place is Mabul and how Do I Get There
Assessment our map under of Sabah state, displaying the placement of Mabul Island. Right here, you will find information on easy methods to get to Mabul.