SIPADAN is the small island where you can dive and snorkel. It is a 15-30 minutes boat ride south of Mabul. Sipadan is the tip of a mountain with steep underwater walls all around it. These walls drop to 300m on the Mabul side of the island and 600m on south side.
Diving on Sipadan is all drift diving, divers drop in and cruise with the current along the walls. This combination of deep walls and ocean currents provides the ideal environment for pelagic such as sharks and large schools of jacks and barracuda.
SPECIAL RULES FOR PROTECTING TURTLES:
Divers and snorkelers are to refrain from touching, teasing and restraining turtles under water because turtles are air breathers and can be drowned if panicked or cornered. Anyone riding or restraining turtles will sit out the next dive.
Note: The time restricted by the Government for Diving at Sipadan Island is from 6am to 6pm.
MABUL in contrast to Sipadan is a continuation of the Borneo landmass rather than the top of an underwater mountain. Because of this, Mabul has more gradually sloping walls around it that bottom out at about 30m. The attractions on Mabul are of the smaller variety such as lobster, crocodile fish, moray and garden eels. This makes it an ideal location for macro-photo opportunities.
If you walk around the east of the island at night, be sure to take a flashlight and watch for sea snakes on the beach or amongst the palm trees.
Kapalai lies to the east of Mabul about 10 minutes away. It used to be a vegetated island much like Mabul but erosion has turned it into a small sandbar that just breaks the surface of the water. This is an area that we are exploring for new dive sites. Like Mabul it is an excellent location for macro-photography and is specially abundant in the rare finds of diving such as mandarin fish, stonefish, leaf fish, pipefish, lionfish, frogfish, cuttlefish, eels, and more.