Situated only about 15 minutes by speedboat from Sipadan, and 30 minutes from mainland Semporna, Mabul is recognized as one of the world’s best “muck-diving” sites, has a shallow reef profile with sandy bottom and patches of sea grass and also one of the richest single destinations for exotic small marine life in the world.
The coral reefs at first glance do not look very picturesque and inviting, however it is the diversity of macro animals inhabiting the coral rubble and sea grass sites that put Mabul on the diving map. Flamboyant cuttlefish, blue-ringed octopus, mimic octopus, gobies and frogfishes are everywhere, as are moray, snake eels and practically the whole scorpion fish family. There’s no doubt about it,
Mabul is a magical macro site! The beauty of Mabul will also appeal greatly to non – divers as well. There are about 8 dive sites in Mabul area such as: –
• Eel Garden (18 – 20 m)
Located towards the southern end of Pulau Mabul. Eel Garden is one of the deeper dives around the area. Divers descend to a sandy flat between 20 to 25 metres sloping towards the open sea. Fining carefully and avoiding stirring up the silty bottom, divers can observe gobies seeking refuge in the tiny crevices and moray eels occupying larger holes. Looking towards the sandy patch, you will see what appear to be blades of long grass swaying with the current. These are the elusive garden eels (Heteroconger Hassi) living in colonies that quickly dart back into their burrows on approaching shadows or excessive movement in the water.
• Ray Point (15 – 25 m)
Also located on the southern tip of Pulau Mabul, this site slopes to about 30 metres at the sandy bottom. Currents sweeping through this point bring clear water and good visibility. Sea fans and soft corals that thrive in current areas are home to gobies, blennies, moray eels, butterfly fish, damselfish, parrotfish and stonefish (Synanceia Verrucosa).
• Panglima Reef (5 – 20 m)
• Lobster Wall (40 – 75 m)
Mabul, Lobster Wall: Wall, some small caverns. There are many nudibranchs, anemones, shrimps and in a small cave I even found a baby cowfish.
• Nudibranch Centre
• Crocodile Avenue (2 – 15 m)
Mabul, Crocodile Avenue: Flat sandy area from 5m to 20m. It is a sandy area, so there are empty stretches of sand with oases of life. Our dive guide found some seahorses there every time. The absolute record was 8 seahorses. Then there are sand eels, double-ended pipefish, crocodile fish, special tube anemones, ghost pipefish (Harlequin- and Sea grass-), cowfish etc. I even saw some turtles, humpback parrotfish, barracudas, mackerels and a small eagle ray there. We found lots of sepias, cuttlefish and special nudibranchs (for example the Spanish Dancer, Asteronotus c.) and lots of crabs. One of the highlights was a small boxer crab, found on some rubble.
• Coral Reef Garden (5 – 15 m)
• Seaventures Platform
Mabul, Seaventures Platform: Flat sandy area on about 17m. This is an old oil platform that has been converted into a hotel owned by Seaventures Dive Resort. It stands on huge pillars. You dive underneath in 17m of water. An amazing dive site! There are several piles of metal rods, look close, and there are always several frogfish (yellow to red, black and gray) sitting on them. Inside the largest pile there is a huge moray eel. His head must have a diameter of about 15cm! Also found: ghost pipefish (Harlequin and sea grass), wasp fish, nudibranchs (Halgerda, Cromodoris etc.), stonefish, flying gurnard and close to the pillars always lots of batfish and flute fish.