Sipadan Island – The Big Fish Capital of the World
The Sipadan Island has arguably the best dive sites in the world to the extent that most divers rate it as a top must-dive destination. The huge diversity of marine life here has made it rated at the top of Rodale’s Scuba Diving Magazine Gold List for ‘The Top Dive Sites in the World’.
This dive mecca is a tiny oceanic island located off the east coast of Sabah, Malaysia’s eastern most state, and lies on the north-eastern corner of Borneo Island, the world’s third largest island. This ‘untouched piece of art’ is just less than an hour from the mainland and has rich currents sweeping through it. The rich currents bring lots of fish which attracts bigger creatures like sharks, barracudas, bumphead parrotfish and turtles.
The overwhelming list of attraction is staggering and to make it more exceptional, it involves a wholesome of big fish encounters. At South Point, a dive site typical of Sipadan, you will be amazed by colorful abundant walls, schools of barracuda, sharks, turtles and exotics like hammerheads and thresher sharks. With a rich macro life like the nudibranchs and pigmy horses on the rich coral garden, divers often found themselves in a dilemma whether to poke around in the wall for macro beings or keep an eye for the bigger stuff.
One of the favorite sites here is the Barracuda Point where divers will find hordes of turtles, vast schools of jacks, bannerfish and snapper. A variety of the shark families are also often spotted here. However, the real stars of this site are the spiraling vortex of barracudas, so large that the sunlight is often clouded out.
The Turtle Cavern site is well worth a visit as it is unlike other sites in Sipadan. Divers often bumped into massive marauding hordes of huge bumphead parrotfish as they sink down the wall, before approaching the cave entrance. Looking into the cave entrance, you will see turtle skeletons resting on the sea-bed. Apparently, the turtle seems to meet their dead-end in the small and confusing passageways of the caverns.
Diving season in Sipadan Island is all year round with the best condition between April and December. There are no liveaboards offered here. However, there are some excellent resorts which divers can choose to stay. The nearest resorts are on the Mabul and Kapalai Island. Visibility can range from 10 meter to more than 40 meter. Depth at Sipadan can range from 5 meter to more than 40 meter. Recommended length of stay on Sipadan is 5 to 14 days including the nearby Mabul and Kapalai islands.