As one of the world’s best top dive destinations, Sipadan needs no further introduction amongst divers. Any diver who has the opportunity and fortune to dive at this internationally famed wall diving spot at the Celebes Sea will earn the reverence and envy of their not-so-fortunate diver friends.
Why the envy, you ask? Well, firstly, not everyone who heads to Sipadan will get to dive there. Due to conservation reasons, the Sipadan Marine Park authority imposed a restriction of 120 visitors per day to the island.
Secondly, the island is literally a turtle and shark haven. Green turtles, hawksbill, white tipped sharks, reef sharks and black tip sharks seemed to appear everywhere a diver chooses to look! More than 3,000 species of fish and hundreds of coral genera can be found there, making it a most diverse and beautiful diving site.
There are 12 dive popular sites to explore on this mushroom-shaped island with the best being Barracuda Point. It is a prominent feature in every visiting diver’s log book as there is an unspoken hope of encountering the breathtaking sight of the thousands of barracudas circling endlessly around them. No guarantees that you would get to see the school though and if you are very, very lucky, you may encounter the unique hammerhead sharks at cooler waters (which normally means deeper depths).
In any case, chances of seeing bumphead parrotfish early in the morning and schools of jacks in the day are pretty good. The corals, sea fans and sponges that decorate the wall are lovely to see. At shallower depths, you will encounter green turtles and jacks.
Currents range from mild to strong, which is great news to fans of drift-diving but be sure to stick close to the reef so that you don’t get swept away out to the wide ocean. The Drop Off is another popular site which gets its name because a 9.14 metre stroll on the beach is all it takes before one drops off into a 600 metre underwater abyss.
The wall has an amazing variety of fans, corals and sponges with interesting tiny creatures making their homes there. Jacks, grey reef sharks, white tip sharks and large fishes also abound in this fascinating site. The Turtle Cavern entrance is located about 22 meters down along the Drop Off wall. A resident giant grouper or two can normally be seen hovering about the entrance of this famed final resting place for turtles.
Note: Permits must be applied in advance via travel agents and/or resort’s dive centres) and a levy of RM40 per person/day is payable to the resort. Since 2005, there are no resorts allowed on the island. Divers would need to reside at the resorts on the nearby islands of Mabul or Kapalai and make day trips to Sipadan.
Contact Name :Sabah Tourism Board
Phone :+6088 212121
Fax :+6088 212075
Website : Sipadan Island Official Page