Malaysia scuba diving - semporna islands dive sites of Malaysia.
Some idyllic but mostly uninhabited island, off the town of Semporna
in southeastern Sabah, have an underwater species diversity alleged
to be on par with that of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Being on
the continental shelf, the surrounding waters of these islands are
relatively shallow, wit a maximum depth of a mere 25m. There are two
groups if island present: the Ligitan group and the more important
Semporna, a very small but lively town, renowned for
its cheap and delicious seafood, is the gateway to these islands.
Mostly populated by fisherfolk of Filipino and Indonesia origin,
their shanty hamlets on the sea front have unfortunately been termed
unsanitary quarter that need serious attention from the relevant
authorities. Tustic chalets, near to the jetty, provide some modest
accommodation for the visitor. The seas around here are, however,
still richly blessed with an abundant marine life. Fish markets on
the waterfront sell crabs, lobsters, prawns and many varieties of
fish and fishery products. Semporna is also the gate-way to
scuba diving, Mabul,
Pulau Mantabuan is approximately 3 km long and 1.5 km wide. It lies
about an hour by speed boat North-East of Semporna.
The entire island is beautifully clean - almost no flotsam on the
clean beaches. The island is totally uninhabited, and the ocean is
calm and inviting for scuba diving. If you are planning a day in the
area, it is advisable to bring along your own drinks and food, as
there are no facilities available.
Around the island are a number of reefs:
The reef has two separate crests. The first is shallow water and has
a reef front which drops to a depth of 5 meters. This is then
followed by a wide, gently shelving slope which extends outwards for
several hundred meters.
The South-West facing reef at the closest point to the island is
both shallow and narrow. The reef drops from the shallow crest to a
sandy bottom at 10 meters. A low tide reef is exposed and prevents
even shallow fraught boats from reaching the island.
The Eastern reef borders on the deep water. The reef in its
shallower sections slopes quite gently but the angle of the slope
gradually increases. The reef top and shallow edges are mainly coral
covered with a few sandy patches.
lies approximately 16 km from Semporna, which is about a half hour
speed boat trip. There is no drinkable water on the island, other
than water which is shipped in from Semporna
Like Pulau Mantabuan, the island is clean with almost no flotsam on
the beaches, and the water is clear and inviting.
About five families of the Sea Bajau tribe (sea gypsies) live on the
Northern end of the island. There are no facilities on the island,
or as previously noted, on Pulau Mantabuan, both islands being part
of the Bodgaya Group of islands which are under the protection of
The island is generally surrounded by a reef:
The Southern end of the island falls steeply without the formation
of a reef. Elsewhere around the island there are well developed
reefs with the steepest slope along the Eastern and South-Eastern
sides. The reef lies at a depth of 3 - 6 meters. The reef then drops
away steeply before ending at about 22 meters. Beyond this is a
slightly less steep sand and boulder slope with the occasional coral
outcrop. There are two separate crests. The first is shallow water
and has a reef front which drops to a depth of 5 meters. This is
then followed by a wide, gently shelving slope which extends
outwards for several hundred meters.
Please contact us for more information about PADI scuba centres
and dive shops in Semporna town.