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Diving In Kapalai

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The island of Kapalai, just 15 kilometers off Sipadan, was a beautiful island two hundred years ago, but now it is only a sand bar. Erosion has reduced the island to sea level and the village now sits on the edge of the extensive Ligitan Reefs.

Kapalai – The mere name conjures the image of crystal clear waters and a floating paradise like no other. A 45-minute trip from Semporna by speedboat, Kapalai island is one of the many beautiful diving havens in this part of the world. There is only one resort in Kapalai – The Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort.

The resort are built on high wooden stilts in the middle of the ocean. Visitors can enjoy the sights of marine life in action as they stroll along the boardwalk, a sturdy construction that connects the various sections of the floating resort. The resort has 40 chalets, equipped with basic amenities, including tea and coffee making facilities.

You will never have to gripe about having a less than desirable view: you have a breathtaking view of the Celebes Sea no matter where you turn! The restaurant is a wooden deck, where diners can eat indoors or al fresco. There’s even a viewing area in the middle of the restaurant which allows you to see the myriad of marine life passing below.

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Kapalai Scuba Diving

Diving around Kapalai is exceedingly easy and shallow but quite spectacular:  the sandy bottom and the spare coral heads host an amazing array of small,  often yet-to-be classified, shamelessly colorful subjects, making the diving here an unforgettable experience.

Home to the weird and techno-colored flamboyant cuttlefish rumbling on the bottom like a miniature tank rippling with fluorescent waves of vermilion, purple, chocolate brown, bright yellow and blinding white, all the time waving  and flourishing its paddle-shaped front tentacles like some samurai of yore, looking more like a sensuous orchid than a predatory cephalopod ; it is the domain of the invisible frogfish found in Kapalai in all sorts of shapes, sizes  and colors- which despite sometimes being as large as a melon will often  escape even from the most trained of wildlife spotters.

CLICK HERE to view our gallery of Kapalai!

Kapalai Marine species:

  • Greenback turtles
  • Hawksbill turtles
  • Giant morrays
  • Crocodilefish
  • Nudibranchs
  • Octopus
  • Flamboyant cuttlefish
  • Blue-ringed octopus
  • Mantis shrimp
  • Frogfish
  • Lobsters
  • Garden eels
  • Shipwrecks

Diving at Kapalai is possible all year round and is easily accessible from Mabul island.

Important: Book your Sipadan Dive Permits in advance!

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