Sipadan Island (西巴丹岛)
Sipadan Island (西巴丹岛)
Explore the Wonders of Sabah Malaysia
Sipadan is the only oceanic island in Malaysia, rising 600 metres (2,000 ft) from the seabed. It is located in the Celebes Sea east of the major town of Tawau and off the coast of Sabah, East Malaysia on the island of Borneo. It was formed by living corals growing on top of an extinct volcanic cone that took thousands of years to develop. Sipadan is located at the heart of the Indo-Pacific basin, the centre of one of the richest marine habitats in the world. More than 3,000 species of fish and hundreds of coral species have been classified in this ecosystem. Sipadan has been rated by many dive journals as one of the top dive destinations in the world. Normally, rare diving scenes are frequently seen in the waters around Sipadan: schools of green and hawksbill turtles nesting and mating, schools of barracuda and big-eye trevally in tornado-like formations, pelagic species such as manta rays, eagle rays, scalloped hammerhead sharks and whale sharks. A turtle tomb lies underneath the column of the island, formed by an underwater limestone cave with a labyrinth of tunnels and chambers that contain many skeletal remains of turtles that become lost and drown before finding the surface. Surrounded by crystal clear waters, this crown jewel is a treasure trove of some of the most amazing marine animals. Declared a bird sanctuary in 1933 by the Colonial Government of North Borneo and re-gazetted in 1963 by the Malaysian Government, the dense vegetation on Sipadan Island supports a large variety of tropical birds which include sea eagles, kingfishers, sunbirds, starlings and wood pigeons. Exotic crustaceans including the amazing coconut crab roam the beaches and scurry among the undergrowth. When diving here, encounters with turtles, resident schools of jacks, bumphead parrotfish and barracudas are almost assured around the tiny coral island. The residential schooling barracuda and big-eye trevally, which often gather in thousands forming spectacular tornado-like formations, are one of the highlights of every diver’s wish-list. With the possibility of seeing pelagic species such as mantas, eagle rays, scalloped hammerhead sharks and whale sharks, each dive at Sipadan is a highly anticipated event. It is not only the big fish that amaze divers coming to Sipadan, the macro life is equally mesmerizing. Garden eels, leaf scorpion fish, mantis shrimps, fire gobies, and various pipefish are guaranteed at various dive sites. The diversity and abundance of marine found at Sipadan gives it its reputation of being one of the ten best dive locations in the world. There a total of 12 dive sites in Sipadan Island namely the West Ridge, North Point, The Drop Off, Turtle Cavern, Barracuda Point, Coral Gardens, Whitetip Avenue, Mid Reef, Turtle Patch, South Point, Staghorn Crest, Lobster Lair, and the Hanging Gardens. The most popularly recommended dive sites are the Turtle Cavern, Barracuda Point, South Point and Hanging Gardens.