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Sipadan Dive Islands ~ Mabul Island

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The Island Dives and Marine Life The Resorts Getting There

Mabul island is a small oval shaped island surrounded by sandy beaches and perched on the northwest corner of a larger 2 square kilometre reef.

Located off the south-eastern coast of Sabah in Malaysia, It first became popular due to its proximity to Sipadan island.
This small island surrounded by sandy beaches and perched on the northwest corner of a larger 200-hecter reef is notably known as one of the worlds best "muck-diving" sites.

Great for: Small animals, underwater photography and beginner divers
Not so great for: Visibility and non-diving activities
Depth: 5 - 20m / Visibility: 5 - 15m / Water Temperature: 27 - 29C
Currents: Gentle / Surface Conditions: Calm
Experience Level: Beginner - advanced
Number of dive sites: 12 / Access: Diving resorts
Recommended length of stay: 5 - 14 days, including Mabul, Sipadan and Kapalai

The Island
Although you can still walk around the entire island in less than an hour, Mabul is considerably larger than Sipadan, and boasts two resorts and a large village, mainly home to fisherman and employees (and their families) of the two resorts.

Sipadan and Mabul couldn't be more different. While the interior of Sipadan is untouched tropical forest, Mabul is predominantly made up of actively producing coconut trees.

Mabul is located just 25 kilometers north of Sipadan and is used as a base to dive there. Diving at Mabul offers something different to the usual coral reef environment, it is often refered to as a macro heaven. Muck diving is the rage here, this is a term used to describe limited visibility diving at shallow sites usually with a sandy bottom. Muck diving offers the opportunity to observe rare macro critters close up, a photographers paradise.

Dives and Marine Life
 The reef is on the edge of a continental shelf and the seabed surrounding the reef slopes out to 75 to 100 feet deep. Mabul is arguably one of the riches single destinations for exotic small marine life anywhere in the world. Flamboyant cuttlefish, blue-ringed octopus, mimic octopus and bobtail squids are just a few of the numerous types of cephalopods to be found on Mabul's reef. The sight of harlequin shrimp feeding on sea stars and boxer crabs waving their tiny anemone pompoms are just a small example of the endless species of crustaceans.

Many types of gobies can be found including the spike-fin goby, black sail-fin goby and metallic shrimp goby. Frogfish are everywhere -giant, painted and clown frogfish are regularly seen along with the almost the whole scorpion fish family. It would be quicker to list the species not found at Mabul - crazy critters are in abundance at this magical macro site!

The Resorts
There are several dive resorts operating on Mabul island.
There are 4 resorts on Mabul Island - Sipadan Water Village Resort / Sipadan Mabul Resort / Borneo Diver Resort / Seaventure Resort

Sipadan Water Village Resort - The entire resort is built in pilings and connects to the shore by a long pier. Located on the north eastern side of Mabul Island, it has Bajau" styled water cottages built on stilts 45 ", built 1m above the sea. All room amenities include twin / double or triple beds, private balcony offering sea or island view.

Sipadan Mabul Resort - Offers seven units of wooden-type bungalows built over water with stilts. Each bungalow furnished with contemporary decor, air-conditioned/ ceiling fan, private bathroom with hot/cold shower, spacious private balcony, colour TV with satellite channels, mini bar and in-room safety box.

Borneo Divers Resort - Occupies a beautiful stretch of white sandy beach with easy access for both shore and boat diving. It offers chalets, all with a view of the beach and the Borneo Mainland in the distance. The chalets are constructed of beautiful hardwoods in a local style. with Ceiling fans & air condition. All units have either twin or double size beds. and private bathrooms with hot showers

The Seaventure Resort - is located in middle of the sea was formerly known as Seaventure Oil Rig located 1km off the shore of Mabul. The resort is a customized 4 tiers accommodation platform anchored in a jack-up position supported on 6 tubular legs over 60 feet water. Fully air-conditioned and the resort can cater up to 86 guests.
The accommodation Cabin twin sharing Is fully air-conditioned with hot shower and wardrobe and other facilities. This allows for unlimited diving, even night diving, in waters directly under the platform, which can be accessed via a lift from above

Getting There
Mabul is located southeast of Semporna on the east coast of Sabah. Visitors to the island have to travel to Semporna Town (1 hour drive from Tawau Airport). Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and Air Asia have daily flights to Tawau. From Semporna, it is a mere 35 minute speed boat ride to the island.


Mabul ~ Dive Sites
Dive Map and Description of Popular Dive Sites- Crocodile Avenue / Froggy Lair / Eel Garden / Seaventure Platform







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