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Dive Review of Sipadan Kapalai in
Malaysia/Sipadan, Mabul, Kapalai

Sipadan Kapalai: "Sipadan did not disappoint", Mar, 2017,

by Jana Johnson, NC, US ( 2 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 9543 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We spend 6 days at Sipadan-Kapalai resort and went to Sipadan island twice during that time. The other days we went to dive sites around Mabul island, and once dove the Kapalai house reef. Sipadan was all that I had expected and more. Spectacular schooling jacks, schools of bumphead parrotfish, longfin bannerfish, many whitetip reef sharks. The visibility in this area is anywhere from 30-60ft, worse round the bumphead as they poop out sand, but the creatures are amazing. It was odd to have an armed soldier on the dive boat to Sipadan but I always felt safe at all locations.
The sites around Mabul include natural and artificial reefs and though not teeming with life like Sipadan, have plenty of life including many many fish, nudibranchs, cuttlefish, pipefish, ribbon eels, blue spotted rays, etc.
The Kapalai house reef was surprisingly wonderful - eels, many-spotted sweetlips, rays, giant grouper. The dive operation is well run.
The mostly Chinese clientele seem to come mostly to snorkel so in general the dive boats were not crowded. As per previous reviews, there was an odd rush to the dinner buffet by the Asian crowd the moment dinner was made available, even though there was always plenty of food for everyone. Kapalai itself is quite beautiful with crystal clear water below the huts where one can easily see large needlefish, parrotfish, blue spotted rays and many other critters. Neither resort nor boats are set up to accommodate photographers.
Websites Sipadan Kapalai   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Indonesia, Philippines, Caribbean
Closest Airport Lahad Datu Getting There New York to Hong Kong to Kota Kinabalu to Lahad Datu

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas calm
Water Temp 80-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30-60 Ft/ 9-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions I hired a private guide so I could photograph. Groups were only 4-5 divers, usually. No depth limits.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Neither the resort nor the boats are set up to accommodate photographers. There is no clean room or anywhere to keep gear. I hauled mine back and forth from my room to the boat everyday. Dive boats have no fresh water tank for anything. There is a fresh water tank on "shore" for cameras/gear.
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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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