Sipadan is a must see if you are diving in Asia. It is an anomaly – being an oceanic island, rising 600m from the deep seabed, yet less than an hour from the mainland. Sipadan is blessed with deep waters and rich currents bringing a host of pelagics and fish, with an abundance of turtles and sharks. Yet because it sits in the coral triangle, the global centre of marine biodiversity, macro-lovers are also well pleased with the diving of Mabul and Kapalai.
The highlights of Sipadan diving would all include the big fish encounters. Reef sharks and turtles are guaranteed, but the really exceptional encounters all involve the big fish. You could find yourself surrounded by a wall of barracuda as the swim about you like a tornado, or watch the parade of bumphead parrotfish on an early dive. A sign at the entrance on the cave Turtle Tomb, warns off all but the properly trained and equipped, but you are free to explore the sun-lit parts of the cavern. If you are lucky, you may spot a thresher shark, hammerheads or even some whales.
As there are no resorts on Sipadan itself, all divers stay at Mabul or Kapalai and both have excellent house reefs boasting ghostpipe fish, frogfish, mandarin fish, a wide variety of nudibranchs, crocodilefish, flying gunards, too name a few. Or you may catch a glimpse of the resident table-sized turtle or massive grouper.
April through October is the best time,
but diving possible all year round.
November to March is the rainy season.
Plane from Singapore – Kota Kinabalu – Tawau.
Bus from Tawau to Semporna, about 1 hour
Boat from Mersing to Aur, about 45 minutes.
The tiny island of Sipadan with it s breath-taking wall dives is surely one of the top dive sites in Asia, Barracuda Point, Drop Off and South Point are all must see dives. But Mabul and Kapalai, the islands with the resorts, boast some excellent macro-diving, complement to the breathtaking big fish action of Sipadan Island. Kapalai House Reef, Seaventures House Reef are worthy mentions.