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After a night’s stay at Semporna at the lion’s lower jaw of Sabah, we packed up our gears and took the boat to Mabul island. The six of us jumped onto the speed boat operated by Uncle Chang’s Sipadan Mabul Dive Lodge.

We were all stoked as it was the first half of our 2 day, 6 dive expedition.


all smiles except for Chan, who is susceptible with sea sickness, noob

A lot of people associates diving at Mabul/Sipadan to be an expensive affair, but with Uncle Chang’s, accommodation is at an affordable RM 60 per night including all meals, with 3 dives at Mabul & Kapalai priced at RM 260, and a further RM 560 for 3 dives at Sipadan (longer boat ride and 1-day dive permit). For those who doesn’t dive, there’s a RM 100 boat transfer fee that includes unlimited snorkeling at Mabul.

We had a bit of an engine problem half way to Mabul, so the usual 45 minute ride took over an hour, no one really complained though. We were too excited for what’s ahead of us.


giant sea turtle

Mabul and Kapalai are arguably the best spots for muck diving, which basically consist of slightly water with higher concentration of sediment, a condition perfect for many exotic sea creatures to call home, albiet with slightly lower visibility.

Our first dive site was at Eel Garden where we spent 43 minutes at 17 meter underwater. There were plenty of giant sea turtle, stone fish, lion fish, and of course, the famous Nemo too.


pipe fish, crocodile fish, blue nudibranch

After stopping at the dive lodge for slightly over an hour, we proceed to our second dive site at Kapalai island and spent a further 42 minutes at a maximum depth of 18 meters.

The dive site at Kapalai consist of mainly sandy bottom with plenty of man made corals. Ship wrecks and other structures make perfect home for plenty of fishes. There were giant grouper, trigger fish, cuttle fish that flashes colors, blue spotted stingray hiding under the wreck, and even a sea dragon too.


clown fish with anemone, blue spotted ray, cuttle fish, hermit crab

We probably didn’t have enough surface interval between the two dives as the boat transfer from Semporna to Mabul took a bit too long. As a result, Chan somehow ran out of air (while I still had some 70 bar left) and Gan managed to throw up after surfacing. I think we almost went off the dive chart for diving again too soon, oh well..

We then went back to the dive lodge and had our well deserved lunch. It wasn’t great food, but perfectly edible with meat, vegetable, rice, and fruits.


fluet fish, angry eel, upside down pencil fish, moray eel

After lunch and a bit of rest to clear the residue nitrogen in our body, we headed to our final dive site of the day, Paradise II at Mabul. There we spent 45 minutes at a shallower 12 meter maximum depth, I managed to finish with more than half a tank of air left.

Paradise II had plenty of turtles, moray eel, sting ray, and we even spotted a hermit crab. It was already 4pm by the time we were done.

Some of the best photos I took on this day came from this dive as shallower water = better colors.


the most beautiful sunset this side of malaysia

We spent the rest of the day completing our dive logs and a bit of tanning. As Uncle Chang’s is located at the west side of Mabul island, by around 6pm when the sun starts to set, the whole resort bask in amazingly beautiful golden rays of light.

They claimed this place to have the most beautiful sunset, and they were right. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.


rocking it on at Uncle Chang’s Sipadan Mabul Dive Lodge

After dinner, the live band at the lodge came out and started rocking the crowd. There were 4-5 singers, some of them orphans under Uncle Chang’s wing (part of profits go to orphanage), and the man himself (long hair, white t-shirt) too sang “we are the world”. The singers were actually rather entertaining, with the girlΒ possessingΒ an exceptional though unpolished voice. She’d have made Simon Cowell proud.

After a while, bottles of free rums were given to each table, and the dive masters started pouring cheap red wine to us too. That got the crowd really going, in no time we were dancing on the floor and singing together with the rockers. It was absolutely awesomesauce.

The night more than made up for the canceled Killers concert.

A couple of us spent the night sleeping on uncomfortable wooden deck chair under thousands of stars at night, with sea breeze blowing on our face, and max brenner the cat on my stomach acting as an extra organic heater. It was splendid.

Discuss : Mabul and Kapalai in under 18 meters of water (Day 2)

  1. Your breathing very efficient hor?

  2. Go diving usually eat seafood de. why no bbq seafood?

  3. Suertes,
    not nearly as efficient as the dive master and the girl. hehe

    Reb,
    cos we’re cheap and we stayed at cheap ass but kick ass place. πŸ˜€

  4. Looks good!

    I’ve found that pilates helps with breathing while diving… if you can find a pilates class, do it! They’re normally full of sexy ladies, too πŸ™‚

  5. love the underwater photos and nice sunset

  6. muahahahahahahahah i had 150 air left on one of my dives! say i keng! say i keng! i still have no idea how chan finishes his so quickly though. never seen anyone run out whilst underwater, before i dived with him.

    ANYWAY – what’s with the horrible singing shot again OMG.

  7. Your post made me wanna fly off NOW to some beach side and chill out!!! grrrr…. I WANNA GO HOLIDAY!!!! *sobs sobs* πŸ™

  8. Steven,
    Ooo interesting, I’m sure you go just for the ladies, no? πŸ˜›

    M-Knight,
    Thanks!

    irene,
    Hahah what’s wrong with your singing shot? It’s awesomesauce!

    sotong,
    Hehehe, you will soon, Penang maa πŸ˜›

  9. Fucking awesome dive trip – love the underwater photos. πŸ™‚

  10. wah this is very relaxing and fun. Pictures are very nice too. You got underwater camera?

  11. Huai Bin,
    Thanks thanks πŸ˜€

    eiling,
    Yes, underwater casing for my camera. πŸ˜‰

  12. there is rely paradise lor…can have any fun fun there..

  13. Beautiful and fun pictures. Wish I knew how to dive.

  14. nikel,
    Paradise indeed. πŸ˜€

    Meng,
    Don’t wish, take a lesson. πŸ˜‰

  15. foodcrazee

    nice . . .wish i can dive. . .but a noob like moi . . .i scared of water

  16. foodcrazee

    and i dont want to learn!

  17. Pictures of the sea creatures that you took… I only saw them on TV πŸ˜›
    must take license… put this into my bucket list

  18. foodcrazee,
    hahaha, can’t have your cake and eat it too!

    Leo,
    Heheh yes make it happen πŸ˜‰

  19. oh man…. after seeing Nicole’s and your Sipadan dive trips… I’m so gonna make myself go get the damn license this year and go dive…

    both Nicole’s and your blogs are poison… =.=”

  20. wonderful .. u take excellent underwater shots..! and the sunset.. sigh sigh sigh.. i wanna go on holiday.. NOW:)

  21. Awesome photos mate

  22. Looks like a great holiday! πŸ™‚
    *looks dreamily at the photos whilst she should be working hard – oops*

  23. dreckker,
    hehehe make it happen, it’s an awesome place.

    cumidanciki,
    Thank you very much young lady πŸ˜€

    Audrey,
    Thanks πŸ˜‰

    J,
    Yah it was, it definitely was.

  24. ish i’m jealous! sunset and scuba diving?

    rar!

  25. Michelle Chin,
    Yess, it was awesome. πŸ˜‰

  26. That’s some really nice underwater pics! And I love that silhoutte/sunset photo! Looks just like one that came from a brochure.

  27. Oh, you guys actually stayed in Uncle Chang! Super cheap right?? I love Uncle Chang’s place. Looking at the picture made me realize how much I missed that place. =(

  28. Li Ann,
    Thank you very much. πŸ˜€

    gypsy-on-the-move,
    Yah Uncle Chang’s was a blast!

  29. wow…it’s so nice..all those underwater pics from your camera??

  30. […] the awesome party and three dives at Mabul and Kapalai the previous day, we woke up feeling a heightened level of excitement despite having slept only a […]

  31. Hong Chern Wern,
    Yess, with me underwater casing, best investment ever. ;D

  32. wahlau eh..this is tooo coooll…now it’s useful

  33. Hong Chern Wern,
    Thanks πŸ˜‰

  34. love the underwater and sunset pics πŸ˜‰

  35. ahlost,
    Yaa me too! πŸ˜€

  36. sunset damn awesome. i want to go …..

  37. myhorng,
    make it happen πŸ˜€

  38. […] mentioned in this post titled Mabul and Kapalai under 18 meters of water, we had an awesome party at Uncle Chang’s dive lodge in Mabul on the first night we stayed […]

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