A photographer's paradise
Located just twenty minutes by boat from the world-famous Sipadan, Mabul offers divers an extraordinary array of dive sites and an astonishing diversity of marine life. Within 10 minutes of Mabul Beach Resort you will find wall dives, gently sloping coral reefs, artificial reefs, world famous muck diving sites and there's even a wreck! Mabul has long been known as a macro diver's paradise and is indeed one of the richest single destinations for exotic small marine life anywhere in the world. Did you know however that Mabul is also home to thousands of Jackfish, Barracudas, Groupers, Bumphead Parrotfish as well as turtles up to 2m in length? In fact it is not uncommon to encounter 10 or more such turtles in 1 dive! Lucky divers may also spot eagle & devil rays gliding gracefully along the reef or find themselves face to face with a Whaleshark! And the best part? Whether you're staying in Mabul or on a day trip from Semporna, you can explore all of these underwater treasures and still be back at our resort in time for a cup of tea between dives!
Keen on underwater photography? Find yourself carrying more photo equipment than clothes? Then Mabul is the place for you! Flamboyant cuttlefish, blue-ringed octopus, mimic octopus and bobtail squids are just a few of the numerous types of cephalopods to be found on Mabul's reef. Like crustaceans? Mabul is literally overflowing with them, including harlequin shrimp, mantis shrimp, hairy squat lobsters, spider crabs, porcelain crabs, and more. This is a frogfish lover's paradise, with giant, painted, and clown frogfish seen on a daily basis. Want more? How about leaf scorpion fish, dwarf lionfish, and crocodile fish? Sill more? There's also stonefish, stargazers, devil scorpion fish, and flying gurnards. Pipefish are common finds, from mushroom coral to many-banded to harlequin ghost pipefish. Like seahorses? How about pygmy seahorses? They're here too.
New to underwater photography? Then don't worry, good quality, easy to use digital cameras can be rented from our Mabul Beach Resort as well as our Semporna dive centre and our helpful & friendly staff will be delighted to show you all the basics as well as helping you track down your favorite marine life!
The diving off of our jetty offers one of the most diverse selections of marine life around Mabul Island. From all types of crazy macro critters, to huge green turtles, cuttlefish and schools of snapper, fusiliers and big eyed trevally, there is something to interest every level of diver.
As you cruise along the stretches of sand which slope gently from 5m to 18m, you will be amazed at the eclectic mix of life you will come across. Shrimps, crabs and eels are in abundance in this area. On top of that many rare and sought after species have been seen on this dive site including blue ringed octopus, wonderpus and the stunning flamboyant cuttlefish. Juvenile eagle rays also frequent this dive site.
But it's not just sand, there is an array of structures and boats that have been deliberately sunk in order to attract marine life. These have enticed a wealth of schooling fish, as well as frogfish, nudibranchs and full sized green turtles that reach 150cm!! You can also visit our underwater coral transplant nursery. This dive site will not disappoint any level of diver. Even our experienced dive guides regularly encounter new and fascinating creatures.
Also known as Paradise I, Froggie's is perhaps the archetypal dive at Mabul. A gradual reef sloping down to 14 meters where it meets up with the sand, Froggy's offers a highlights tour of all that Mabul has to offer. Where the reef meets the sand is the sweet spot on this dive, a convergence point for an overwhelming variety of marine life. Named after the frogfish that are seen daily along the slope, it's not uncommon for divers to want to make three dives at this one dive site. It's nearly impossible to list everything a diver can see on this dive; even our most experienced dive guides frequently find things they've never encountered before. Besides the resident frogfish, highlights include myriad nudibranchs, leaf scorpion fish, stargazers, banded-pipefish, crocodile fish, as well as a small school of streamline barracuda that hover just above the sandy bottom. Pharaoh cuttlefish are commonly seen here, as are octopus and bobtail squids. Two boats have been sunk in the sand, adding even more possibility for discovery.
An old oil rig, the Seaventure is a bit of an eyesore to the horizon, but an absolute treasure trove for divers. Diver's descend beneath the old steel structure to the bottom in 16 meters of water. Pygmy seahorses are virtually guaranteed here, living among the gorgonian sea fans. Lionfish number in the dozens, including spotfin and zebra lionfish. Tassled scorpion fish are commonly found as well. Perhaps the highlight of the dive is an encounter with "Elvis", a three meter long moray eel that calls Seaventure his home.
We named this spot after Tino, one of the guys who runs Scuba Junkie. This site was at first overlooked, but as Tino kept coming back with photos of juvenile painted frogfish smaller than his fingernail and ornate ghost pipefish, we decided to add this site to the list of one's frequented daily. This dive is carried out entirely in the sand, essentially swimming from buoy line to buoy line. People often give us a skeptical look on the dive briefing when we tell them they'll spent the entirety of the dive in sand, but usually at the end of the day it winds up being one of their favorite dives. Ornate ghost pipfish can be found--often in pairs--in the weedy patches of sand. Juvenile frogfish are commonly seen at the base of buoy lines. Flying gernards, bobtail squid, blue-spotted stingrays, and blue-ringed octopus can be found seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Longnose stick pipefish, often mistaken as mere twigs, are seen as well. A highlight of the dive is an old descent line, now broken off from the surface, in 16 meters of water. What started as a single piece of rope descending to the sand has turned into oasis of life in the center of the sand. The rope is now nearly 2 meters in diameter, as all sorts of soft corals and sponges have attached themselves to the rope. Stonefish can be found here in large numbers, as can painted frogfish and dwarf lionfish. At the base of the rope lives a colony of cleaner shrimp, which are always eager to clean the hands (or teeth!) of divers who stop by. Anemones dot the sand floor, where you can find anemone shrimp, mushroom coral pipefish, porcelain crabs, and more.
Whether it's your 1st night dive or your 100th, the night dive we offer is sure to impress you. It may be close to home, just off our jetty, but that doesn't mean you won't be spoilt in what you see. It's at night time when some of the most interesting and bizarre looking creatures come to life. Cephalopods and crustaceans are in abundance. Schools of big fin reef squid, tiny bobtail squid and Papuan cuttlefish are just some of the impressive finds on this site. Huge plurobranchs and green turtles are also commonly spotted. Towards the end of the dive kneel down in the sand, hold your touch into your chest and move your hands through the water. The bioluminescence's light up like green glitter floating through the water. This is a stunning phenomenon that all divers will love to see.
For a little variety, just a 30 second boat ride away from our jetty boasts an exciting wreck dive. The boat, deliberately sunk just over a year ago, is over 12m long and has attracted an amazing amount of marine life. The wreck, which is now covered in crinoids (featherstars), is a great place for spotting the stunning ornate ghost pipefish and the elegant crinoid squat lobster. Schools of batfish hang out at the top of the wreck, whilst schools of fusiliers will move through it. Turtles and cuttlefish are also drawn to this impressive wreck. With the bottom at 18m and the top at 10m divers of all experience levels can enjoy the dive. It is the perfect place for anyone interested in undertaking their Wreck Adventure Dive or Wreck Diver Speciality course.