Muck Diving Extraordinary!

Mabul is arguably one of the richest single destinations for exotic small marine life anywhere in the world. Having already spent several days on Sipadan Island, I planned to spend my entire visit diving around Mabul and nearby Kapalai Island.

On the first evening, my divemaster, Ferdie, handed me a marine invertebrate book and asked me to show him what I wanted to see. Being optimistic, we went through the book page by page with me giving him my entire, uninhibited wish list. By the end of my visit, I had seen at least 80% of everything we had discussed, plus heaps more. Ferdie even surprised himself, when he encountered animals he’d never seen before either, even after several years of diving almost daily.

Discriminating divers wishing to explore Sipadan will enjoy the extra comfort offered by Smart Divers Resort, but whatever you do, make sure you allocate at least two full days to diving around Mabul itself. It’s the finest and most easily accessible “muck” in the world!

mantis shrimp « Mabul has a spot where they feed mantis shrimp. These guys can cut your finger off in one blow, so it’s best to let the guides do the work. Kids, don’t try this at home.

coral pipefish « Ghost pipefish is described in some ID books as residing only in Indonesia and Philippines. They’re common as can be around Mabul.

sea cucumbers « Trumpet fish are familiar lurk-and-lunge hunters of the tropical coral reef.

Moray eels « Moray eels come in many sizes and colours.

snake eels « Blue-ringed octopus despite their small size can prove a danger to humans.

Pegasus fish « Pygmy seahorse lives on gorgonians (sea fans) and soft corals.