SCUBA DIVING IN BORNEO
Mabul Island as seen from Kapalai
Kapalai is a sand bar located only 15 minutes by speedboat from Sipadan Island. The sand bar was
many years ago the island of Kapalai, but erosion must have taken its toll on what was surely a very
beautiful island. It is on what is known as the Ligitan Reefs, a very extensive stretch
bordering the deep and vast Celebes Seas.
Kapalai lies just 30 to 40 minutes from Semporna by very fast speedboat. Semporna itself, is a
70-80 minute drive from the closest airport located about 20 km out of Tawau.
The underwater scene is completely different compared to that found at Sipadan. It is a
macro world of great interest, featuring rare subjects ranging from mandarin fish, dragonets,
fire gobies, partner and sleeper gobies, wasp or leaf fish, gurnards, the strange "little
dragonfish" or seamoth, the tame crocodile fish, giant frogfish of different colours, eels,
rays and much much more. This is a truly magnificent macro world where interesting and rare subjects
need to be located by the discerning diver, where you can see things others cannot. It is a
place where your skills at spotting small and well camouflaged oddities are to be well rewarded.
Dive sites around Kapalai Resort
Departure from Kapalai Dive Resort
Sipadan Island as seen from Kapalai
(on the horizon, just to the left of the eave on the right hand side)
Due to its geographical position, Kapalai is open for scuba diving all year round,
with April until October offering excellent weather conditions. The water temperature ranges from
26 degrees C to 30 degrees C year round. Even during the "monsoon" period, diving in the region is
Breakfast on Sipadan Island with the team from Kapalai Resort
Photographs and map courtesy of Pulau Sipadan Resort and Tours Sdn. Bhd. and Phil Youdale