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    Sipadan-Mabul Resort: Malaysia

    Introduction

    Most people go to Mabul to dive Sipadan, that great pelagic sea mount made famous by Jacques Cousteau, home to the turtle tomb, thousands of live turtles and millions of schooling pelagics. The accommodation at Smart Diver Resort on Mabul is slightly more upmarket that offers private en-suites, fresh (not brackish) showers and loads of hot water.


    Just a stone’s throw from Sipadan is a destination which offers practically every wild, weird, exotic, and seldom-seen tiny marine animal found in the Indo-Pacific.


    If you’re diving Sipadan from Mabul (only 15 minutes away by boat), then you’re out for the whole day. This isn’t a problem because the boats are huge with lots of room, full awnings and even shelves overhead for dry gear. Between dives, have your surface interval sitting on the famous Sipadan wharf, or perhaps, walking along the beach. Lunch will be served at the site. After the second dive, you’re back on Mabul in time for a hot shower. The third dive will be carried out in the afternoon at Mabul or Kapalai Island. After dive you will have a relaxing afternoon for a cup of tea or coffee at the resort which is always accompanied by a scrumptious Asian pastry of some sort.


    photo2

     Giant crocodile fish, sometimes almost a metre long, lie so quietly on the silty bottom that you’re inclined to pass them right by.

    Mabul & Smart Divers Resort

    Smart

    Smart Divers Resort is a collection of semi-detached bungalows scattered through a coconut grove.


    Although you can still walk around the entire island in less than an hour, Mabul is considerably larger than Sipadan, and boasts several resorts and a large village, mainly home to fisherman and employees (and their families) of the resorts.


    Sipadan and Mabul couldn’t be more different. While the interior of Sipadan is untouched tropical forest, Mabul is predominantly made up of actively producing coconut trees. Practically every tree on the island is numbered and is associated with a distinct individual who cares for the tree and harvests the coconuts.

    Entrance to Smart Divers Resort
    Entrance to Smart Divers Resort

    Smart Divers Resort
    Smart Divers Resort

    Beach of Smart Divers Resort
    Beach of Smart Divers Resort

    standard chalet
    Standard chalet

    The Smart Divers resort is nestled in a coconut grove on the south-east side of the island overlooking the water and near-by Sipadan Island. It consists of 40 wooden chalets with each room featuring two oversized single beds, a couch, shelves, ceiling fan, flyscreened windows, air-conditioning, a private en-suite offering free-flowing hot and cold fresh water and a front verandah.

    stand-alone chalet
    Stand-alone chalet

    suite chalet
    Suite chalet

    The public buildings include a main house which is an open air pavilion where meals are taken, an air-conditioned room, called TV Room, set aside for watching satellite TV, and a huge lock-up airing shed for storing your equipment each evening.

    A vinyl swimming pool
    A vinyl swimming pool

    Jacuzzi whirlpool spas with jets

    Life at Smart Divers


    Smart Divers resort features beachfront lawn chairs and leaf umbrellas, a great place to relax with a drink and watch the sun go down.


    Start your day with a buffet breakfast which usually consists of fruit, cereal, toast, tea, coffee, eggs, possibly porridge and some sort of noodle dish. A large whiteboard lists divemaster and guests assigned to each boat. A quick squiz at the whitebaord will tell you the dives scheduled for your boat that day giving you an idea of what to expect and what lens to assemble on your camera.


    After breakfast, mosey down to the dive shed. Scattered in front of the shed are little leaf umbrella structures, numbered to correspond with boats. Full tanks will be waiting for you. Simply assemble your gear under the umbrella reserved for your dive boat and ensure everything gets loaded onto the tractor which services the boats. After that, you never touch your dive gear again during the day since the staff switch tanks for you between dives.

    The diving is from speedboats

    The diving is from speedboats. They are very roomy with overhead shelves for dry gear.


    In the evening, the boat crews brings your equipment back to the dive shed where you disassemble, wash and hang everything to dry in a securely locked airing shed. At Smart Divers Resort, you NEVER carry a heavy tank, not even a few metres.


    Each boat has a permanent driver and deck hand. If you are working with heavy camera equipment or multiple systems, it’s worthwhile getting to know your driver and deckhand. and from the boat for you. All you have to do is ask once. After that, it’s automatic everyday. I simply left mine on the front verandah when they were ready to go and then forgot about them. My eagle-eyed deck hand was always lurking about and before I knew it, they were whisked away to be stowed in padded, shady comfort on the boat. For this extra service, you might want to tip the boat driver and deck hand a little bit on the side or give them a souvenir from Australia such as a t-shirt, hat or pinch koala.


    If you’re diving around Sipadan, then you’re out for the whole day, but if you’re diving around Mabul, then you will be coming back to the resort between each dive allowing you the opportunity to have a quick shower, change film, take a nap or lounge around the main house sipping cool drinks.


    Evenings are recovery time. Lounge in the beachfront deck chairs until the last light has disappeared and then mosey up to the main house in anticipation of a great buffet meal which usually features a mixture of Asian and western dishes.


    After dinner, you can do a night dive, chat with new friends, browse the library to determine how many new animals you saw that day, watch a video or retire early with a good book. At least once in your visit, grab a torch and a few other people and walk around the island on the beach. Look carefully in the scrub where the beach meets the brush for kraits, or black and white sea snakes, which come ashore in the evening to hunt for small reptiles and rodents. Creepy!

    dining-hall

    Dining Hall

    Sipadan-Mabul Diving Package

    *** From 01 April 2015 to 31 March 2016 ***

    Days / NightsPrice Per Diver (Twin Share)Price Per Non-Diver (Twin Share)
    6 days / 5 nightsUS$ 1,443.00US$ 1,058.00
    7 days / 6 nightsUS$ 1,665.00US$ 1,258.00
    8 days / 7 nightsUS$ 1,886.00US$ 1,457.00
    9 days / 8 nightsUS$ 2,108.00US$ 1,656.00
    Extra day / nightUS$ 244.00US$ 219.00


    Please note that the above room allocation is based on detached / stand-alone chalet.


    SINGLE SUPPLEMENT

    • To add 50% on top of the above prices for single occupancy of a 2-bed chalet. This must be booked in advance.

    DIVE PACKAGE INCLUDES

    • Transfers between: Tawau – Semporna Jetty – Sipadan-Mabul Resort – Tawau by van and speedboat

    • Chalet type accommodation on standalone twin-sharing basis with attached bathroom and the facilities of hot shower and the comfort of air-conditioning

    • All food and hot beverage while at the resort (excluding alcoholic, fruit juice and carbonated soft drinks)

    • 3 boat combinations dives per day with divemaster on Mabul, Kapalai or nearby island (no. of dives on arrival day is depends of your arrival time to the resort and no diving on departure day even no flying)

    • 1 day guaranteed 3 boat dives at Sipadan Island (exclude entry permit fee)

    • Unlimited jetty diving on Mabul’s House Reef with buddy

    • Use of tanks with air, weights and weight belt

    OTHER RESORT ACTIVITIES OFFERED

    • NAUI/PADI Diving Courses (from Open Water to Divemaster level)

    • Scuba Skills Refresher Course

    • Discover Scuba Diving

    • Technical Diving Courses

    • Nitrox Diving

    • NAUI/PADI Specialty Courses

    • Snorkelling

    • Beach Volley Ball

    • Diving Trip at nearby island

    • Table Tennis

    • Ocean kayak

    • Beach Volley Ball

    FACILITIES

    Resort: Sipadan-Mabul Resort is located at the southern tip of Pulau Mabul overlooking Sipadan.

    • Accommodation is made from native materials of Borneo on Twin Share Basis, unless the Single Supplement is paid. We have 22 stand alone chalets which could accommodate 44 guests at any one time. All the chalets have attached toilet with hot shower facilities and the comfort of air-conditioning which is available for 24 hours. Electrical outlet is 220 Volt AC.

    • A vinyl swimming pool measuring 41 ft X 21 ft with a 6 ft deep end. A large dining hall/bar area is used for meals, socializing, dancing and staff shows. Coconut drink, carbonated soft drinks, beer and wine can be purchased at the bar. A small sundry shop sell a range of T-Shirts, toiletries and souvenirs etc. An office takes care of the registration and billing; it is equipped with a Mobile Telephone/Fax for communications with the mainland. Our 120-member staff awaits to make your dive holiday safe, easy and fun.

    • Wifi internet access available in the room.

    WHAT TO BRING

    • Personal Dive Equipment

    • Personal Items and Tropical Beach Wear

    • Insect Repellent

    • Torches

    CONDITIONS FOR DIVING

    • All divers must produce proof of certification by an internationally recognised Diving Agency upon arrival before participates in any diving activity. Divers who have not dived in the last 12 months or if they exhibit uncertainly in their skills may be required, at the sole discretion of SMART to do a Scuba Refresher Course.

    • All guests will be required to sign a “Liability Release (Waiver)” and “Express Assumption of Risk” form upon arrival. No diving or snorkelling activities will be permitted until the above said form is signed and witnessed.

    ENTRY PERMIT TO SIPADAN ISLAND

    • Please be informed that all daily entry to dive or visit to Sipadan Island will be subject to approval by the Sabah Parks Management, which is in control of issuing the entry permit. The total number of divers or visitors allowed to visit Sipadan Island is restricted now to 120 pax per day.

    • Our resort has been allocated 14 quotas each day out of the 120 pax. Due to this limited quotas our Sales Office in Kota Kinabalu under Explore Asia Tours Sdn Bhd will arrange only for divers who stay 5 nights at standalone chalets and water bungalows to have 1 day diving at Sipadan Island. Please note there is no first come first serve basis.

    • The fee for Entry Permit to Sipadan Island is RM40.00 per person per day for divers, non-divers, visitors and children. This entry permit fee has to be paid on the spot, in the resort.

    • As for guests who are staying at standard chalet based on our NON Sipadan Package, the permit for Sipadan trip is NOT GUARANTEE. Or you have the option to buy Sipadan permit based on the market price. This is subject to availability.

    • For further information, please contact us.We will not be held responsible for not being able to provide trip to Sipadan due to the conservation measures by the Government.

    • However, should the entry permit to Sipadan Island is not been approved, we can offer alternative trip at nearby islands such as Si Amil, Kapalai, Mabul, Mataking & Ligitan where there is no restrictions on these islands.

    (All prices and information are subject to change)

    Non Sipadan Diving Package

    *** From 01 April 2015 to 31 March 2016 ***

    Days / NightsPrice Per Diver (Twin Share)Price Per Non-Diver (Twin Share)
    2 days / 1 nightUS$ 529.00US$ 426.00
    3 days / 2 nightsUS$ 653.00US$ 497.00
    4 days / 3 nightsUS$ 776.00US$ 572.00
    5 days / 4 nightsUS$ 898.00US$ 647.00
    Extra day / nightUS$ 205.00US$ 181.00

    Please note that the above room allocation is based on semi-detached / standard chalet.

    DETACHED/STANDALONE CHALET
    • To add US$ 39.00 per person per night surcharge on top of the package price. This must be booked in advance.

    SINGLE SUPPLEMENT

    • To add 50% on top of the above prices for single occupancy of a 2-bed chalet. This must be booked in advance.

    DIVE PACKAGE INCLUDES

    • Transfers between: Tawau – Semporna Jetty – Sipadan-Mabul Resort – Tawau by van and speedboat

    • Chalet type accommodation on standalone twin-sharing basis with attached bathroom and the facilities of hot shower and the comfort of air-conditioning

    • All food and hot beverage while at the resort (excluding alcoholic, fruit juice and carbonated soft drinks)

    • 3 boat combinations dives per day with divemaster on Mabul, Kapalai or nearby island (no. of dives on arrival day is depends of your arrival time to the resort and no diving on departure day even no flying)

    • Unlimited jetty diving on Mabul’s House Reef with buddy

    • Use of tanks with air, weights and weight belt

    OTHER RESORT ACTIVITIES OFFERED

    • NAUI/PADI Diving Courses (from Open Water to Divemaster level)

    • Scuba Skills Refresher Course

    • Discover Scuba Diving

    • Technical Diving Courses

    • Nitrox Diving

    • NAUI/PADI Specialty Courses

    • Snorkelling

    • Beach Volley Ball

    • Diving Trip at nearby island

    • Table Tennis

    • Ocean kayak

    • Beach Volley Ball

    FACILITIES

    Resort: Sipadan-Mabul Resort is located at the southern tip of Pulau Mabul overlooking Sipadan.

    • Accommodation is made from native materials of Borneo on Twin Share Basis, unless the Single Supplement is paid. We have 18 standard chalets which could accommodate 36 guests at any one time. All the chalets have attached toilet with hot shower facilities and the comfort of air-conditioning which is available for 24 hours. Electrical outlet is 220 Volt AC.

    • A vinyl swimming pool measuring 41 ft X 21 ft with a 6 ft deep end. A large dining hall/bar area is used for meals, socializing, dancing and staff shows. Coconut drink, carbonated soft drinks, beer and wine can be purchased at the bar. A small sundry shop sell a range of T-Shirts, toiletries and souvenirs etc. An office takes care of the registration and billing; it is equipped with a Mobile Telephone/Fax for communications with the mainland. Our 120-member staff awaits to make your dive holiday safe, easy and fun.

    • Wifi internet access available in the room.

    WHAT TO BRING

    • Personal Dive Equipment

    • Personal Items and Tropical Beach Wear

    • Insect Repellent

    • Torches

    CONDITIONS FOR DIVING

    • All divers must produce proof of certification by an internationally recognised Diving Agency upon arrival before participates in any diving activity. Divers who have not dived in the last 12 months or if they exhibit uncertainly in their skills may be required, at the sole discretion of SMART to do a Scuba Refresher Course.

    • All guests will be required to sign a “Liability Release (Waiver)” and “Express Assumption of Risk” form upon arrival. No diving or snorkelling activities will be permitted until the above said form is signed and witnessed.

    ENTRY PERMIT TO SIPADAN ISLAND

    • Please be informed that all daily entry to dive or visit to Sipadan Island will be subject to approval by the Sabah Parks Management, which is in control of issuing the entry permit. The total number of divers or visitors allowed to visit Sipadan Island is restricted now to 120 pax per day.

    • Our resort has been allocated 14 quotas each day out of the 120 pax. Due to this limited quotas our Sales Office in Kota Kinabalu under Explore Asia Tours Sdn Bhd will arrange only for divers who stay 5 nights at standalone chalets and water bungalows to have 1 day diving at Sipadan Island. Please note there is no first come first serve basis.

    • The fee for Entry Permit to Sipadan Island is RM40.00 per person per day for divers, non-divers, visitors and children. This entry permit fee has to be paid on the spot, in the resort.

    • As for guests who are staying at standard chalet based on our NON Sipadan Package, the permit for trip to Sipadan is NOT GUARANTEE. Or you have the option to buy Sipadan permit based on the market price. This is subject to availability.

    • For further information, please contact us.We will not be held responsible for not being able to provide trip to Sipadan due to the conservation measures by the Government.

    • However, should the entry permit to Sipadan Island is not been approved, we can offer alternative trip at nearby islands such as Si Amil, Kapalai, Mabul, Mataking & Ligitan where there is no restrictions on these islands.

    (All prices and information are subject to change)

    The Secrets of Mabul

    Not just one or two sites, Mabul is an entire destination of muck dives, offering the circumferences of two whole islands, Mabul itself and nearby Kapalai Island, and promising practically any tropical critter you might want to see.

    Open any book on tropical fish and invertebrate marine life and you’ll see practically everything you’re going to see in Mabul. Not in one’s or two’s but in ten’s and twenty’s. You’ll see frogfish the size of soccer balls in blue and black. Every species of pipefish known. Fire gobies, both purple and red. Mandarin fish, ghost pipefish, many species of shrimp, wild and exotic sea urchins, crabs which will blow you away and lobsters by the dozens. Mabul is nudibranch heaven and if this is your bag, you’ll see more species on Mabul than everywhere else you’ve been combined.

    Here hybroids, corals, sponges and ascidians fight it out on a dead sea

    The sign of a healthy tropical reef is a ferce competition for space. Here hybroids, corals, sponges and ascidians fight it out on a dead sea whip.

    Tiny hingebeak shrimp

    Tiny hingebeak shrimp live in most tiny indentures where they seek shelter from predators.

    Stick pipefish

    Pipefish are easily missed as they look like an old, waterlogged stick lying in a grass bed.

    Sea Urchin

    The leaf fish a fresh water oddball fish also known as ‘paper fish’ looks exactly like a leaf.

    flamboyant cuttlefish

    The flamboyant cuttlefish has to be seen to be believed. They’re like neon signs rippling with waves of colours.


    Different sites are known for different animals. If you want to see a paper scorpionfish, then your guide will take you to Lobster Wall which is also great for nudibranchs and shrimp. If you can’t live until you’ve seen a Mandarin fish, then off you go to Mandarin Valley which is also home to the some resident ghost pipefish and a black anglerfish the size of a rock melon. The Flamboyant cuttlefish lives at Froggy Lair along with two blue anglerfish (often referred to as frogfish) the size of soccer balls. Crocodile Avenue is a huge grass bed with heaps of huge crocodile fish, sea horses, sea moths (or pegasus fish), pipefish and snake eels.


    But don’t think that each site only has one or two attractions. While there are reasons to visit each area, you’ll be encountering amazing animal after amazing animal throughout your dive. Non-photographers will find that they fill their slates with species long before the dive is over and the biggest problem for photographers is rationing their film.


    Muck divers have it particularly good on Mabul. Limited numbers is probably a good idea anyway. Most dive sites are either solid coral reefs sloping down to a silty bottom or a silty slope speckled with clumps of coral outgrowths. Visibility is never endless although it is usually at least 12 metres, but the silt gets kicked up easily which reduces visibility even more and makes photography difficult.


    All diving activities and dive sites will be arranged at the discretion of the resort management.

    huge resident anglerfish

    Mabul has several huge resident anglerfish, coverd in algea growth. This one was the size of a rock melon – they also have one the size of a soccer ball!

    Paper scorpionfish

    Scorpionfish are found amongst coral reefs and in shallow waters.

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