: : Mabul Island
Mabul is a small 20 hectares oval shaped island ringed with sandy
beaches and perched on the northwest corner of a larger 200 hectare
reef. Lying 15km to the north of Pulau Sipadan, only 15 minutes away
by boat, the reef is on the edge of the continental shelf and the
seabed surrounding the reef slopes out to 25m-30m deep. The island
has a resident fishing community and is covered in coconut plantations.
small and mostly bottom dwellers, many of these creatures are unique,
stunningly colourful, often rare and sometimes bizarre. The astonishing
thing is that most of these creatures can be found on the 'House Reef'.
remarkable multicoloured Ornate Cuttlefish continually changes its
hues when excited, such bright colours are unusual among cuttlefish.
It can also change its body colour to blend in well with its surroundings.
Only 50 to 70mm long, all its movements are in 'slow motion' including
feeding It moves about on the sea floor using its tentacles and can
be seen laying eggs in discarded containers and other man-made objects.
octopus, mimic octopus and bobtail squids are just a few of the numerous
types of cephalapods. The sight of harlequin shrimp feeding on sea
stars and boxer crabs waving their tiny anemone pom-poms are just
a small example of the endless species of crustaceans. Many types
of gobies can be found including the spike-fin goby, black sail-fin
goby and metallic shrimp goby. Giant, painted and clown frogfish;
moray eels and snake eels of many types can be seen along with almost
the whole scorpionfish family.
juvenile crocodilefish and stunningly colourful mandarinfish are everywhere.
Mandarinfish tend to come out into the open in the late afternoon
and are frequently observed mating away from their refuge under the
falling light at dusk. Equally beautiful are the variety of dragonets,
the juveniles are quite different from the adults.
Gurnards can be found as deep as 100m, spectacular when spreading
their wings, they are well camouflaged when their wings are tucked
in while resting. If disturbed, they leap off by muscle power then
glide long distances on their wings to escape.
only wall dive is 'Lobster Wall', a hanging garden of colourful soft
corals and a good place to find sleeping parrotfish at night.