Diving at Mabul Island

Mabul Island is a beautiful paradise off the sandy coast of Sabah state, Malaysia. Since 1970 the natives have been engaging in subsistence fishing, but during the mid nineties divers started using it as a vintage point to visiting the nearby Sipadan region. They also discovered Mabul to have clean, calm beaches that are suitable for diving. As a 27 yr old career man, I enjoy coming here every holiday season to play in the revitalizing waters, it makes me feel relaxed, peaceful and in control of my life.
Mabul Island

There are also interesting sea creatures that roam the seas for you to see, I always find it interesting to swim alongside camouflaged frogfish, harlequins and massive schools of salt-water fish. The island is free for deep-sea diving throughout the year. Nevertheless, for great underwater visibility I recommend visitors to come in the dry period which lasts from the month of March to October.

Diving expeditions

The reef area borders a natural continental shelf and has a deep seabed which goes down 28m deep. Moreover, there are numerous dive resorts which operate within the beach area for visitors to take advantage of. During my first diving experience I was able to see various sea creatures for the first time, some of these are bobtail squids, colorful cuttlefish and the rare mimic octopus. Mabul’s reef is a natural ecosystem for diverse breeds of cephalopods. Sea gobies can also be found in these waters with the most popular ones being metallic shrimp, spike-fin and gray sail-fin goby. Most of these creatures are docile and rarely attack divers. However, I still recommend that you should wear a sturdy swim suit when exploring the ocean. Diving in Malaysia is an experience worth trying.

Apart from the usual resorts, there are also backpacker accommodations and home-stays that may arrange cheap diving expeditions on your behalf. The lodging firms may also arrange for special day tours to the adjacent isles. Nonetheless, diving is excellent around Mabul and there’s little reason to go elsewhere for the same services. Divers’ safety from predatory sea creatures is also guaranteed by the Panglima barrier wall.

The Paradise

I really like the Paradise Diving sites which are also popular amongst international tourists; they always have something new for people to enjoy. These spots are covered in pristine coral forests that teem with goldfish, whiptail and sparkled-mask rays. The second of these sites is popular for its Staghorn coral system, which houses the elusive but conspicuous mandarin fish.

Froggie’s Place

This marvelous diving spot features a sloping reef that’s about 14m deep, it offer a sweet diving experience that often brings me back every year. It even gets better where the barrier reef comes to contact with the sand, a marine convergence spot with an irresistible collection of fish and crustaceans. This site got its name from the massive array of frogfish that can be found along the sinuous slopes, the waters are so warm and relaxing that most divers dip in at least thrice in a day. Mabul is a true paradise for muck-divers who love spending time next to the beautiful soft corals.


About our new author:

Grace Sumrall is an avid diver from Australia who loves exploring the open ocean. She loves to read and share diving experiences with her fellow divers.



Scuba diving had always been on my secret bucket list. Not even my best friends knew it was something I was interested in. I also knew if I ever had the opportunity to learn, I would have to start out in the shallow end and with plenty of adult supervision!

So when my older sister surprised me for my 50th birthday with 2 ticket to Hawaii, I knew I was going to finally learn how to scuba dive.

Doing a quick internet search of ‘Scuba Diving Tours Oahu,’ eventually led me to HOP Tours where I booked their  Scuba Diving Beginner course  class mainly because they picked me up from my hotel.

There are a number of scuba diving tours available, but it was important for me to start out in shallow water and to become familiarised with the equipment.

When I first called HOP tours they immediately made me feel  confident that I had made the correct choice. The staff encouraged and assured me the introductory scuba diving class was perfect for a first time diver like me. This has just made all of my trepidation and uncertainty go away and just made me really want to start straight away.

Before I left for Hawaii, I read Scuba Diving-For-Dummies, which was surprisingly informative. I wanted to know some of the key words and terminology before I took my first class, and the information did prove helpful for my introductory class. Although there were quite a few people who had not done any pre-reading and they seemed to do just as well, the instructors made this really easy to understand.

My First Dive

HOP Tours arrived at 8 am in front of my hotel, and after making a brief stop at the HOP Tours office where we picked up our instructor, we were off to our dive site at Makai Pier Point.

The drive is quite lovely, especially as we rounded the point past Hanauma Bay and drove the curvy road along the water.  We passed dozens of gorgeous beaches, and I was surprised with how blue the water was near the shore (this provided a great opportunity to take a few snaps with my camera).

Once we arrived at the pier the instructor first assisted everyone with their diving equipment and explained in language we easily understood what everything did and how we would be using it. The instructor talked equally about both the practical and hypothetical situations we might find ourselves in once in the water.

He was very thorough, and made sure everyone completely understood their equipment which was exactly what I needed. As we only had an hour and a half, we moved through the material quickly, and I was glad I had done some initial reading and study. I felt like my studies combined with the dive site instruction was a very adequate introductory dive lesson.

The instructor also explained that we should not be concerned if we don’t remember everything as they will look after us. I felt so assured that the instructor was not only knowledgeable but had my welfare in hand and really cared about my dive experience.

The instructor also explained that we should not be concerned if we don’t remember everything as they will look after us. I felt so assured that the instructor was not only knowledgeable but had my welfare in hand and really cared about my dive experience.

Additionally, our instructor highlighted diving safety and the ‘buddy system.’ I was paired with a friendly Japanese man named Kenji who had some previous diving experience and was a fairly confident diver. Each tank had about 30-40 minutes of air, which was enough to explore the reef and become comfortable with the tanks and breathing through a regulator. I was surprised with how brave and calm I became after only a few minutes in the water. While most people stayed close to the pier, Kenji and I swam to the far side of the reef.

We were rewarded by seeing a group of Turtles and schools of colourful fish. I really wish I had hired a camera for the dive as the coral and the wildlife cannot really be described adequately.

It seemed like we had only been in the water for seconds before it was time to surface, once back on the shore we got ourselves organised and soon loaded up and head back to the hotel.

Our instructor did a brief follow-up and showed us how to properly clean and return the dive gear. It was a great first dive that gave me a lot of confidence in my ability and some skills to pursue my diving certification at a later date.


Article submitted by Vic Dinovici a soon to be regular writer for Scub-Pro



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