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Sipadan ('Border Island' in Malay) is the only oceanic island in Malaysia; rising 2,000 feet or 600m from seabed; it is formed by living corals that grow on top of an extinct volcanic cone that took thousands years to develop. Sipadan is located at the heart of Indo-Pacific basin (22 miles South of Semporna, off the South-East coest of Sabah), which puts itself at the centre of one of the richest marine habitats in the world. More than 3,000 species of fish and few hundreds of coral species have been classified in this ecosystems.
Rare diving scenes such as school of greenback turtles and hawksbill turtles nesting and mating, school of barracuda & big-eye trevally in tornado-like formation, pelagic species such as manta rays, eagle rays, scalloped hammerhead sharks and whale sharks could be seen here.
A mysterious turtle tomb lies underneath the column of the island, formed by an underwater limestone cave with a labyrinth of tunnels and chambers that contain many skeletal remains of turtles.
Ever since diving celebrity Jacques Cousteau raved about the diversity of marine life, this dive mecca has been indisputably the most famous scuba destination in Malaysia. It is located off the east coast of Sabah, Malaysia's eastern most state, and lies on the north-eastern corner of Borneo, the world's third largest island.
The Sipadan diving legend has passed through the world's dive community to the extent that all divers with an interest in visiting the best sites in the world, have this small island near the top of their wish list.
Pulau Sipadan Island was at the top of Rodale's Scuba Diving Magazine Gold List for 'The Top Dive Destination in the World'. In fact the island shared its top spot with two other destinations known for the amazing diversity of their marine life - the Galapagos Islands and Truk in Micronesia
The list of attractions is quite staggering and all the more exceptional as it involves big fish encounters, something very rare in Asia these days - at Barracuda Point you can find yourself surrounded by a spiralling vortex of barracuda, so large that the sunlight is often clouded out. At South Point there are scores of reef sharks, large schools of passing trevally and herds of massive marauding bumphead parrotfish. When diving in Sipadan everywhere you turn you'll see turtles, munching on the sponges and algae, or lazing on the wall ledges. If you take the time to look closely at the walls you'll see a wealth of macro life and fish species to rival most destinations, although this is often overlooked due to the other major attractions vying for your attention.
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|Dive sites (15)||Quality||Avg depth||Max depth||Experience||Dive type|
|Barracuda Point||15 / -||49.2 ft||213.3 ft||CMAS ** / AOW|
|Coral gardens||- / -||32.8 ft||147.6 ft||CMAS * / OW|
|Drop Off||- / -||65.6 ft||98.4 ft||CMAS * / OW|
|Hanging Gardens||2 / -||59.1 ft||213.3 ft||All divers|
|Lobster lairs||- / -||82 ft||196.9 ft||CMAS ** / AOW|
|Mid Reef||- / -||65.6 ft||147.6 ft||CMAS * / OW|
|North Point||1 / -||82 ft||213.3 ft||CMAS * / OW|
|South Point||5 / -||65.6 ft||213.3 ft||CMAS ** / AOW|
|Staghorn Crest||- / -||65.6 ft||213.3 ft||CMAS * / OW|
|The Jetty||6 / -||9.8 ft||213.3 ft||All divers|
|Turtle Cavern||10 / -||59.1 ft||68.9 ft||CMAS ** / AOW|
|Turtle Patch||- / -||65.6 ft||213.3 ft||All divers|
|Turtle Tomb||2 / -||55.8 ft||75.5 ft||CMAS *** / DiveMaster|
|West Ridge||- / -||59.1 ft||213.3 ft||All divers|
|Whitetip Avenue||3 / -||59.1 ft||164 ft||CMAS * / OW|
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