Mabul: Magical Muck & Macro Experience

October 2, 2009 at 6:55 am

Mabul Island is no doubt the richest single destination for exotic small marine life in Malaysia. You might have read in various dive magazines that say Mabul offers the best muck diving in the world and for nearly ten years of diving at Mabul, I find no reason not to agree on that as well.

Panda anemone fish and eggs

Panda anemone fish and eggs

Here in Mabul, you get to see unique creatures that you may not see at the more famous Sipadan. Colorful, cute and downright bizarre critters you can expect to find during your dives at Mabul may include the Pom-pom crab, Orang-utan crab, Harlequin shrimp and Peacock mantis shrimp; among the few examples of countless species of crustaceans available in Mabul. Besides crabs and shrimps, you should always expect some cool cephalopods like the cute lil bob-tail squid and the big and fat Broad club cuttlefish to the very beautiful yet extremely venomous Flamboyant cuttlefish and Blue-ringed octopus. A long list of species of nudibranchs can be found here as well and every year new species of nudibranchs are discovered, named, photographed and recorded.

Orang utan crab

Orang utan crab

Black Ornate Ghostpipefish

Black Ornate Ghostpipefish

Good buoyancy control and careful fin kicks are crucial to avoid damaging artificial reefs that maybe trash and garbage to us but serve as the perfect home for these unusual, juvenile and exotic life. Sponges, tunicate, barnacles, anemones and sea fans are commonly found on these artificial reefs like tires, steel, bottles, pipes and fishing nets and these fragile corals provide protection for even more fragile creatures like the juvenile midnight snapper, long-nose hawkfish and the ever popular pygmy seahorse.

Bubble coral shrimp

Bubble coral shrimp

Looking down at the sandy bottom you can often see many small burrows that house a variety of jawfishes and gobies. Some gobies live with partner shrimps that ‘maintains’ the structure, size and cleanliness of their home and in exchange the goby act as a sentry to warn the blind shrimps in an event of a danger; and the most usual danger they can expect is a diver’s fin kick, as just one big kick can leave them homeless and exposed to predators.

Many more species of fishes can be found here at the shallow waters of Mabul however they are usually missed by passing divers due to expert camouflaging and limited visibility. Examples of these masters of camouflage would include moray eels and frogfishes that are everywhere -giant, painted and clown frogfish are regularly seen along with the almost the whole scorpion fish family!

Clingfish

Clingfish

Flamboyant cuttlefish

Flamboyant cuttlefish

The best dive site – my personal favorite would have to be Paradise point where you get to see all the fishes I have mentioned in this relaxing, shallow and easy dive site. And what’s more, there are more than ten equally good dive sites for you to explore and so many more species of fishes for you to discover. Indeed it is so much easier to list the species not found at Mabul, crazy critters are in abundance at this magical macro site!

Mandarin fish

Mandarin fish

Ring-eyed dwarf goby

Ring-eyed dwarf goby

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5 Responses

  1. Dorothy Jen says:

    Indeed Mabul is the paradise for most of the people who appreciate the nature’s crystal clear water and white sandy beaches, a getaway island from the hustle and bustle of the city. If I had a diving license, I would have gone diving-frenzy!
    My boy friend and I was there on September 2009, although the trip was short, we found it to be extremely tranquil and out of the world! It was as though we’re living in our own paradise.. One thing we noticed was, there were more foreigners visited the islands than own locals, I gues this is some weird scenario, the doubt tht runs in my mind is, do Malaysians enjoy shopping malls far more than the sunshine and untouched wonders of God’s mighty creations?

  2. madamkerch says:

    Hello there,
    Im Malaysian been there last year..very beautiful and overwhelm place.

  3. ELaine says:

    Greetings!
    I’m a Sabahan and I’m really glad to read the creative descriptions and wonderful comments on this page. Apart from travelling around the abundant islands in Sabah and enjoying the uniqueness of these majestic islands and beaches, I do hope the public (tourists and fellow Malaysians) would not forget the humble and genuine locals you meet on your trips.

    I would also like to share that UNICEF and the Malaysian Ministry of Education have started a project in 2009 to train teachers from the island schools in Sabah. Our team of lecturers visited many of the island schools and wrote training modules to meet the needs of the teachers. The 1st course was held in Kota Kinabalu last year and we trained the teachers on how to use more than a dozen sets of books and games donated by UNICEF. At the same time, selected pupils from all the island schools attended a reading camp. Our team will be running the 2nd course in February 2010 and I just want to thank the public for all your donations to UNICEF and your support to the Ministry of Education, Malaysia.

    In the previous comment, it is stated that the islands of Sabah are out of this world. I agree its such an amazing place and I believe it starts with the people around you. They reach out to people across the world with their generosity in spite of having so little…especially the children.

  4. hyo-rin says:

    @ Dorothy Jen

    Hi Dorothy. Thank you for visiting our island. However, you must understand that most of the locals are not rich, meaning they trying their best to save up money for their children education, hoping the children could one day bring them to these beautiful islands. I’m myself saving up money to bring my entire family to visit the island as well. Please support and do visit often. God bless you and your family. :)

  5. Mojo says:

    Mabul is indeed a paradise and those phothos were great!
    Keep up the awesome work!~Looking forward for more blogpost from ya!

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