Reputably one of the best diving spots in the world, the uniqueness of Sipadan Island lies in its geographic makeup. Lying on top of a volcanic seamount, Sipadan Island is the only oceanic island in Malaysia. As this volcano rises steeply over 1600 feet from the seabed, many of the dive sites here consist of steep walls or drop-offs. In addition, the entire reef area of 513 acres functions as the habitat for soft and hard corals, as well as home to over 3000 species of fish. Hawksbill and green turtles are common in Sipadan. In fact, it is not surprising for divers meet to 70 turtles on each dive!

Due to the size of the island, dive sites around Sipadan are close to one another. Altogether, there are 11 marked dive sites around Sipadan:

The Drop-Off is the most popular dive site here and has won the island the Best Beach Dive Award in the world. Located just 20 feet from the beach, the sea water turns indigo blue as the depth of the sea drops steeply to a staggering 2800 feet. The circling tornado of barracuda or jacks typically found in brochures, books or magazines are easily visible overhead when a diver enters the water. Corals and sponges growing at the side of the wall attract small reef fishes. White tip sharks and green turtles are also amongst the creatures living along the cliff. This is also a popular location for night dives, as shrimps and crabs can be seen peering out from the crevices along the wall at night.

Next up is the Turtle Cavern, with the entrance located about 65 feet below the surface. Within these chambers lie the remains of hawksbill and green turtles that have lost their way in the caves and subsequently drowned. Visibility is low in the far reaches of the caves, which is why only advanced divers should enter the cavern. Accompaniment of a local diving master is necessary when venturing into this maze of interconnecting tunnels.

As one of Sipadan’s most treasured sites, Barracuda Point is where schools of barracudas and jacks swirl around as the strong currents here bring food to their midst. Of course, the large volume of fish also attracts the presence of Grey Reef Sharks and the Hammerheads. Here, it is common for divers to drop down lower along the wall. However, the northern point of this site should be avoided as strong currents here may bring divers further away from the island.

The highlight of the Sipadan Midreef Dive would probably be the strong currents that drift divers north or south from their start points. As they scale along the wall, throngs of marine life such as triggerfish, unicorn fish, hawk fish and gobies are visible here. At times, divers may even be pushed upwards by the current, only to be stopped by hard flat corals at the top of the reef.

Other dive sites in Sipadan include the Coral Garden, the Hanging Gardens and the Staghorn Crest, perfect locations for underwater photography due the unique topography and the abundance of colorful marine life. On the other hand, the South Point and Whitetip Avenue dive sites are great locations to observe the rarer shark species such as the Whitetip Reef Sharks and the Hammerheads.

About the Author

Jacob Mojiwat recommends for your next Sipadan diving trip.