On the East coast of Sabah, in the Celebes Sea, lies Pulau Sipadan and her surrounding islands and reefs, including the famous macro scuba diving spots of Pulau Mabul and Kapalai. This group of islands is legendary in dive circles and is ranked as one of the top scuba diving destinations in the world. The reefs harbor numerous fish, invertebrate and coral biodiversity. At Sipadan huge schools of hammerhead sharks, jacks and spiraling barracuda can be seen over the 700 meter drop offs, the topography also offers caverns and coral gardens. Two species of turtle are very common at Sipadan, green and hawksbill turtles, and encounters with manta rays, grey reef, white tip and leopard sharks and if you're very lucky, thresher and whale sharks, all add to the excitement.
Pulau Mabul and Kapalai, don't offer the jaw dropping topography of Sipadan however the diversity of macro creatures is incredible, and the shallow waters make Mabul and Kapalai excellent snorkeling spots too, much of the macrofauna here is yet be classified and new species are constantly being discovered!
Barracuda Point is probably the most popular site at Sipadan. The visibility is pretty good here from anywhere 20 metres to 30 metres but currents can be unpredictable. Average depth is about 15 metres. Barracuda point is so named because of the large shoal of barracudas often found in this spot. Here on the shallower shelves, you can find quite a bit of coral rubble.
This is where divers usually ascend after making their way through the barracuda point. This takes divers through a pleasant underwater garden with soft corals and hard corals, a variety of coral denizens, whitetip sharks, unicornfish, a great variety of triggerfishes hovering in schools, a lonesome napolean wrasse here and there, etc.
Here in the Hanging Garden, divers will back roll into a shallow reef crest and slowly make their way to the drop-off and down the wall. Average depth here is about 18 metres. The entire wall is covered with soft corals, large gorgonian sea fans, black corals, barrel sponges, Dendrophyllia corals, Tubastrea corals. Small caverns with sleeping whitetips and if you look closer, you may even get to see the jewfish. With plenty of corals, divers are bound to see a lot of micro stuff. Upon ascending the Hanging Garden one might encounter with a group of turtles.
The South Point average depth is about 20m. The currents can be pretty rough and may reverse during dives so be cautious. However, if there are strong currents, there could be lots of pelagics swimming through for some plankton chow. It's been known to have large shoals of fusiliers, batfish, sweetlips, snappers, rainbow runners. Other slow moving marine life such as the lionfish, crocodilefish, pufferfish, stonefish and turtles have their regular hangouts here. For those wishing to meet the large school of bumphead parrotfish or hammerheads that may flow through with the currents.