Friday, October 26, 2007

Sabah Ocean Deep

By Anna Vivienne

Sabah is well known for its natural bio-diversity and this not only encompasses the mountains and the rainforests but the sea as well.

The sandy beaches and blue waters are a step towards the wonder of marine life, that divers have the privilege to enjoy.

In fact Sabah has several dive sites that are rated among the top ten best dive sites in the world. Imagine that. One of the islands that offer beautiful diving sites is the Pulau Tiga. This island is located within the Pulau Tiga park which is made up of three islands; mainly Pulau Tiga (!), Kalampunian Damit and Kalampunian Besar.

Pulau Tiga is relatively tranquil as there is only one resort there. The resort offers diving courses and will help novices and the experienced to go to the best sites for diving.

Divers can hope to glimpse bamboo sharks, cuttle fish, marbled stingray and healthy corals, of course.

The sea off Mantanani Island has been hailed as the best location to fish. Tall tales of fish spanning a man’s hug that got away usually get told and retold by hobbyists.

Mantanani a group of three isolated island northwest of Kota Belud is populated by a few locals and boast one resort.

The sea off the islands boasts various interesting sights including three wrecks. And of course there are the menageries of marine creatures inhabiting the blue sea.

Divers will be able to see the Lionfish, Scorpion Fish, glassfish as well as various species of stingray when they submerge into the water here.

If you like photographing the small ones, such as seahorses, this is the place to go.

An alternative area is the Lankayan Island; this is located in the Sulu Sea north west of Sandakan.

The island is quite small and well known for its beautiful sunsets and white sandy beaches. Divers will also love the marine population there comprising of leopard sharks, marbled stingray and schools of parrotfish and barracudas.

After enjoying this island, you can hop over to Mataking Island, which is not far away from the well known Sipadan Island. Mataking is located north of Mabul and is about 40 minutes boat ride away from Semporna.

Mataking is ideal for divers who love to take photographs, especially if you love the beautifully coloured coral reefs and the marine life and swarm over them.

Divers will be able to see lobsters and giant clams as well as stingrays and barracudas.

And then of course there is Mabul Island. Although its initial claim to fame is its close proximity to Sipadan Island, this island holds its own where exotic small marine lives are concerned.

The sea teems with eels and frogfish and harlequin shrimps!

And if you want accommodation to dive in Mabul and Sipadan, go to Kapalai Island and check into the resort there. The resort there is akin to a water village, so it can be an experience of a life time. You enjoy the sunsets and the marine life in your compound at the same time for the duration of your stay.

It can’t get better than that.

So if you feel like you have seen the mountains, the forests, the waterfalls and the rivers, go to the island and enjoy what the sea have to offer.

Courtesy of: New Sabah Times 'In' Sites - Sabah Travel and Leisure Guide

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