Crusing alongside the atoll reef-feels like - at the tip of a very big iceberg! It is 600 metres straight down to the sea bottom!
Off the waters of Borneo Malaysia,on the Celebes sea separating Malaysia and Philipines,40 minutes speedboat trip from the mainland from a sleepy fishing town called Sempurna ,Malaysia., is a collection of islets and atolls, which almost every well travelled diver knows about or itching to go dive.!
SIPADAN ,Mabul island and Kapalai (a sandy atoll where a resort is buit on), a quaint collection of dive sites all within 40 minutes of each other..
Mabul island has its own charms in many ways,nestle among the few high end tourist resorts is a community of sea dayaks(gypsies) who have lived there countless years and wholly make their subsistence from the sea ,now the younger generation have found employment with the resorts making live easier but they would have lost some of the fishing skills from generations past.!
To scuba dive at Sipadan is absolutely a awesome experience,even for the well travelled divers, its like the dive "mecca" for many seasoned or newbie divers,a pilgrimage to pay homage to among one of the most talked about and 'must go' dive destinations in the world. Simply because the collection of critters to be found here is like a celebrity list of who 's who in the aquatic realm. , almost everything usually featured in dive magazines or coffee table journals about scuba diving, can be found here,from the tornado effect of schooling barracudas,deep water thresher sharks , giant bumphead parrot fishes (pic) to napoleon wrasses,leopard sharks , reef sharks in abundance ,and even migrating pilot whales have been sighted cruising past , of course turtles turtles and more turtles everywhere(,the big boys,)
to the tiny macro critters,pygmy seahorse ,ornate ghost pipe fish,porcelain crabs ,etc etc Name your poison..! Its there.Mabul island and Kapalai sand atoll both have resorts right on top of their own house reefs where the fantastic collection of macro are found, Sipadan is, besides the tiny critters is more well known for the big stuff..
There really is something for evrybody's preference when it comes to what the diver wishes to experience,All within 40 minutes of each other..There is a very good reason why it is acknowledged as among the top 10 dive destinations in the world !
Mating mandarin fishes,a regular occurence in theses waters,very rare sight in other places!