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Dive Review of Reef Resort in
Malaysia/Mataking Island

Reef Resort, Dec, 2004,

by Sharon Hurst, OK, USA . Report 2012.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Bali, Indonesia; Bay Islands, Honduras; Grand Bahama Island; Cozumel, Mexico; Guadaloupe, Caribbean; Key Largo, Florida; Gulf of Mexico, offshore Texas; Bonaire
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, dry Seas calm, choppy, currents
Water Temp 79 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 20 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Sign out and in on board; advised to limit dive to 1 hour; advised to stay above 130 feet; otherwise, none.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments My husband and I went to Mataking Island in December 2004, at the start of the monsoon season. Not the best time to go, but we were in Malaysia on business and decided to take the opportunity to do some diving. Mataking Island is a beautiful tropical island located 45 minutes by fast boat off the eastern coast of Borneo, Malaysia. We flew from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu (on Borneo), then to Tawau on the east side, where we were met by Reef Resort staff and ferried to the dock for the boat ride to Mataking. The only inhabitants on the island are the guests and staff of Reef Resort, plus the numerous coconut crabs. We stayed a total of 8 days, while other guests came & went frequently. However, only 2 days seemed crowded when large groups of Chinese tours came in for a brief overnight. Otherwise we felt like we had the place to ourselves. The staff is wonderfully welcoming and helpful. As they waved us off on our last day, we truly felt like we'd made friends. And the accomodations are so gorgeous, built in typical Malaysian style. We were upgraded to a deluxe bungalow on the beach, which had a beautiful deck overlooking the water and lots of space inside. Meals were served buffet-style in the open-air dining/bar area over the water. Most of the food was Asian (Chinese and Malaysian/Indonesian), which was delicious. There were some western foods, but not many. Topside activities are limited - volleyball, kayaking, snorkeling. We spent our surface intervals walking around the island (that took an hour), crossing over to the smaller adjacent islet at low tide, lolling on the deck, and getting massages. We love shore diving, and so this place was perfect for us. There's nice coral all along the shoreline in front of the resort, starting at 15 feet and quickly sloping down to 60 feet and deeper. Mostly coral heads, and it gets sparse below 60 feet, so we confined our diving to the shallower depths. Small tropicals and macro creatures were abundant on these shore dives - morays, octopus, crocodile fish, unicorn fish, leaf fish, plus all the other typical Pacific types. You had to take the boat to see turtles and rays, at least while we were there. We never saw any sharks on these dives, but we understand they are seen often. Mataking Island is right across the channel from Sipadan, so it has many of the same types of sea life. Currents could get very strong and might change midway through the dive, making it impossible to return to the entry point. On our shore dives, the resort always posted a boat to keep watch for us in case we needed to get picked up. There were 3 boat dives a day - 8:30, 10:30, and 2pm - which left promptly and took divers' requests into account. In addition to the diving around Mataking Island, Reef Resort will take divers on a 3-dive day trip to Sipadan. We never bothered to do this, as much because of the rough waters (it was the start of monsoon season) as because we were satisfied with the diving around Mataking Island. I wouldn't classify the diving as superb, although maybe that was due to the time of year. But even if it's like this year-round, the diving was certainly acceptable for us. I've been diving for over 15 years and have 200+ dives, while my husband was only certified a week before we went to Malaysia. We wanted something comfortable for him but with enough variety for me, and we felt like we got that at Mataking Island. The dive shop was terrific, with plenty of space to leave our gear overnight and between dives, plenty of filled tanks all day and night, plenty of showers and snacks, a full line of rental gear. The only bad comment is that, when we were there, the rinse tanks were limited and rarely cleaned. However, they were in the process of installing several more tanks, and when we complained about the dirty water, they quickly cleaned the tanks and refilled them. And that really was our only complaint. All in all, we both loved this place. It's a wonderful spot for people who want to get away from it all, especially couples looking for a romantic hideaway. And I think the diving is good enough for experienced divers to be satisfied, especially given the nice shore diving which allows for plenty of bottom time even when the boats aren't going out. A nice add-on for those who have time: stay in a jungle camp on the Kinabatangan River and search out pygmy elephants, river crocodiles, and orangutans, then climb to the top of Mount Kinabalu. But that's another story! (Website: www.mataking.com)
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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