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Useful Links
Danum Valley
- Official site of Danum Valley  
- Info about Danum Valley  
- Birds Photo gallery of Danum Valley field centre  
- Uncle Tan's Wilderness Camp and Danum Valley Field 
- Danum Valley's Info - KLIA Site
- Gallery :: Sabah, Borneo
- Steve's Web Site -- Site Map
Maliau Basin
- Official site of Maliau Basin 
- How was the Maliau Basin formed?
- Murray Kaufman Photography
BIRDS in MALIAU BASIN – 8
Tabin wildlife Reserve
- Official website of Tabin wildlife reserve
- Tabin wildlife 's Info - KLIA Site
- Caving expedition - Tabin
Sukau Wildlife
- Sukau Rainforest Lodge - Malaysian Borneo
Tawau Hill Parks
- Tawau Hill Parks by Cikgu Lee
Sipadan Island
- Sipadan dive resort  
- Sipadan-Mabul resort  
- Article about Sipadan island - by David Lim
- Info about Sipadan Island
- Sipadan-kapalai resort
- Sipadan Water Village Resort
- Terrestial Life Forms of Sipadan Island
Mataking Island
- The Reef Dive Resort
Sipilok Oran Utan Sactuary
- Sepilok Nature Resort, Borneo, Malaysia, near the Orangutan Wildlife ...
Sepilok Jungle Resort Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia
How to Explore Sabah Borneo

About Diving in Labuan

   This tropical duty-free island with an area of 92sq. kilometres has beautiful sandy beaches with international class hotels and a golf course. The numerous activities available on the island will keep the divers occupied after their dives. During the early years, Labuan experienced battles between the Allied and the Japanese’s force, resulting in several war wrecks. Two of the World War II wrecks here are the American Wreck. Other wrecks include Cement Wreck and Blue Water Wreck, both from the 1980s. Diving The types of diving skill required on these wrecks rated from novice to experience wreck diving, penetration into hulls. Professional dive operators cater for daily trips, as well as from Open water to Wreck Diving Specialty courses. Visitors May also take advantage of duty-free purchases for dive equipment from the dive in Labuan. The Cement Wreck can be dived by novices but the Blue Water Wreck requires Advanced Divers or with logged experience. To penetrate into the two mentioned wrecks or to dive the American or Australian Wreck, you must be certified in wreck diving or have previously logged experience in wreck diving. Cement Wreck Situated about 21 kilornetres from Labuan, east of Kuraman Island, is a 105 metres modern style freighter. It is said that the freighter MV lung HWJ was ferrying a load of cement for the Brunei Sultanate but enrooted, she struck Samarany Bank and sank behind Kuraman Island. The ship sits perfectly upright on the bottom at about 30 metres. Her masts stand at 8 metres, the roof of the wheelhouse at 14 metres and the main deck at 19 metres. The position of the wreck makes it ideal for novice divers and wreck diving training. Experienced dive masters would either descend to tie a line or would drop a rope weighted with molded lead as opposed to an anchor to prevent damage to corals and the wreck. Schools of baitfish congregating in huge groups greet divers as they descend the masts of the ship. As your eyes adjust to the low light, the wreck reveals a profusion of coral and marine life. A soft coral in all shapes and colors lance with the currents. Small marine animals observed, around the wreck include hawkfish, pipefish, damselfish, gobies, cardinal fish; the list is endless. The rich diversity of coral life also attracts bigger animals either to feed or to look for a cleaning World War I Located about 1.5 kilometres from the American Wreck, this ship is actually a Dutch merchant ship captured by the Japanese then fitted with weapons and utilized as a cargo vessel, but spotted and sank by Australian aircraft in 1945. A maker's plate identified the freighter as built in Rotterdam in 1900. station. The outer parameter of the wreck is patrolled by schools of fusiliers, batfish, barracudas and rainbow runners. This wreck offers the avid diver the most photogenic opportunity of all the wrecks. Australian Wreck This is not an Australian ship, but was nicknamed so by the locals from the fact that was sunk by Australian aircraft during lying on her portside the wreck is about 23 kilometres from Labuan, southeast of the small islands of Rusukan Besar on the Barat Banks. This vessel is a riveted hull freighter with a wooden deck that has already deteriorated. She is approximately 100 metres long and lies at 33 metres on the sandy bottom, with the shallowest depth at 21 metres. Nature has transformed what was once a lifeless wreck to rich coral growth with an abundance of marine life. The superstructure is covered with black coral tress, sea whips and stinging hydroids. A particular feature of the wreck is the presence of resident palm-sized frogfish or anglerfish. Large groupers can be seen swimming about looking for an easy feed among the profusion of marine life. Divers are forewarned where to place their hands as many stonefish and lionfish lie camouflaged around the wreck. American Wreck The American Wreck, identified as the USS Solute (a minesweeper), lies some 24 kilometres from southwest of the small island of Rusukan Besar on the Barat Banks. During the Allied pre invasion of the Brunei Bay, while carrying out a routine mine sweep, the minesweeper struck a mine midship. She buckled when she sank, with the bow portion folding back over on top of the stern section. The wreck lies at 33 metres on the sandy bottom with tangled masses of metal and cable. Diving this wreck requires an experienced diver or a wreck diver to carefully explore the tangled mass. A feature of the wreck is the many fish-cleaning stations, crustaceans and echinoderms. The presence of spiny black urchins requires caution on the buoyancy of the diver when venturing was once a lifeless wreck to rich coral growth with an abundance of marine life. The superstructure is covered with black coral tress, sea whips and stinging hydroids. A particular feature of the wreck is the presence of resident palm-sized frogfish or anglerfish. Large groupers can be seen swimming about looking for an easy feed among the profusion of marine life. Divers are forewarned where to place their hands as many stonefish and lionfish lie camouflaged around the wreck. American Wreck The American Wreck, identified as the USS Solute (a minesweeper), lies some 24 kilometres from Labuan, southwest of the small island of Rusukan Besar on the Barat Banks. During the Allied pre-invasion of the Brunei Bay, while carrying out a routine mine sweep, the minesweeper struck a mine midship. She buckled when she sank, with the bow portion folding back over on top of the stern section. The wreck lies at 33 metres on the sandy bottom with tangled masses of metal and cable. Diving this wreck requires an experienced diver or a wreck diver to carefully explore the tangled mass. A feature of the wreck is the many fish-cleaning stations, crustaceans and echinoderms. The presence of spiny black urchins requires caution on the buoyancy of the diver when venturing close to the wreck. Depth chargers, ammunition shells, shoes culinary and wire bottles can be still found scattered around the wreckage, amidst mangled metal and cables. A resident school of spotted sweetlips lie as silent sentinels of the wreck. Getting There Labuan Island is serviced by domestic air flights from Kuala Lumpur or Kota Kinabalu. There are numerous international flight connections from either Kuala Lumpur or Kota Kinabalu. Best Time to Dive Best months for diving are between March to October. Visibility fluctuates with tidal changes but adds to the drama of wreck diving. Little or no current are experienced at the wreck proper but could be stronger outside the parameter of the wreck. All dives are via anchor line with spare tanks provided at decompression stops. As wreck diving can be dangerous, always enquire about safety equipment provided by the operators, especially for decompression stops.Located about 30 minutes from mainland Semporna, Pulau Mabul has a shallow reef profile with sandy bottom and patches of sea grass. The coral reefs at first glance do not look very picturesque and inviting, However, it is the diversity of macro animals inhabiting the coral rubble and sea grass sites that put Pulau Mabul and Kapalai on the diving map. Eel Garden Located towards the southern end of Pulau Mabul, Eel Garden is one of the deeper dives around the area. Divers descend to a sandy flat between 20 to 25 metres sloping towards the open sea. Finning carefully and avoiding stirring up the silty bottom, divers can observe gobies seeking refuge in the tiny crevices and moray eels occupying larger holes. Looking towards the sandy patch, you will see what appears to be blades of long grass swaying with the current These are the elusive garden eels (Heteroconger Hassi) living in colonies, that quickly dart back into their burrows on approaching shadows or excessive movement in the water. Ray Point Also located on the southern tip of Pulau Niabul, this site slopes to about 30 metres at the sandy bottom. Currents sweeping through this point bring clear water and good visibility. Sea fans and soft corals that thrive in current areas are home to gobies, blennies, moray eels, butterflyfish, damselfish, parrotfish and stonefish (Synanceia Verrucosa). Mandarin Valley This site is located on the northern tip of Pulau Kapalai. Pulau Kapalai is only a sandbank with a resort built on stilts over the island. The depth of this site ranges from 15 to 20 metres, sloping to a sandy bottom. Divers can observe stonefish, frogfish, gobies, leaf fish, ghost pipe fish, nudibranchs and mandarin fish (Synchiropus Splendidus) . 
 
Getting There  
Pulau Mabul and Pulau Kapalai can be reached by connecting flight from the state capital, Kota Kinabalu, or direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau, followed by a  less than 2  hour drive to Semporna and finally a 30 minutes fast catamaran boat transfer to the island.


....Next : About Diving in Mataking Island of Sabah Borneo 

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By Ian Chow

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