SCUBA DIVING IN BORNEO
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:
- Mantabuan West
The reef has two separate crests. The first is shallow water and has a reef front which drops to a depth of 5 metres. This is then followed by a wide, gently shelving slope which extends outwards for several hundred metres.
- Mantabuan South-West
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 metres. A low tide reef is exposed and prevents even shallow fraught boats from reaching the island.
- Mantuan East
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.
- Pulau Sibuan
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 Sabah Parks.
The island is generally surrounded by a reef:
- Sibuan 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 metres. The reef then drops away steeply before ending at about 22 metres. 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 metres. This is then followed by a wide, gently shelving slope which extends outwards for several hundred metres.
- Sibuan Reef