Kapalai Diving

 

Blue ringed octopus
Kapalai is a luxury resort on stilts sitting on a shallow reef.

Kapalai is also a stones throw away from Mabul and 20 minutes from Sipadan, which is well known for its stunning underwater scenery and large numbers of marine species.

Like for nearby Mabul Island, many divers come to dive Kapalai to enjoy the fascinating muck diving and underwater macro photography.

Kapalai is not really an island, but a large sandbank with a floating diving resort with beautiful over-water bungalows interconnected by a series of walkways and it has some superb open-water and macro diving sites surrounding it.

It is possible to see underwater creatures such as:

  • Large greenback and hawksbill turtles
  • Huge giant morrays
  • Nudibranchs
  • Crocodilefish
  • Octopus
  • Frog fishes
  • Mantis shrimps
  • Flamboyant cuttlefish
  • Blue-ringed octopus
  • Lobsters
  • Garden eels
  • Small wrecks
  • Etc.

Scuba diving Kapalai is year round.

Recommended Length of stay: 5 to 14 days (including Sipadan and nearby islands).

Pulau Kapalai dive site map:

Kapalai Dive Map

Dive sites of notable interest are as follows:

Mandarin Valley

This popular macro-photographers site is a mad circus of manic marine life here. As well as hundreds of strange and wonderful tiny critters, you can see flamboyant gobies and cuttlefish, jawfish, the more unusual leaffish, grey frogfish and ghost pipefish, hawkfish, crocodilefish and of course, many colourful mandarinfish which give this site its name.

Kapalai Jetty

Right beneath you on the main resort jetty is the best of them all, spot colourful schools of fish and even blue ringed octopus.

Gurnard Point

A calm shallow reef dive with clear viz and a sandy bottom, this site is crammed with marine life all along the reef, you can see hundreds of stingrays such as blue spotted rays, ribbon and moray eels, schools of boxfish and batfish, dragonets and octopuses, as well as several varieties of macro critters and crustaceans like shrimps.

Dive sites Min depth Max depth Experience
Mandarin Valley 8m 26ft 20m 66ft OW
Spotted Ray Channel 5m 16ft 20m 66ft OW
Kapalai Jetty 5m 16ft 20m 66ft OW
Gurnard Point 5m 16ft 20m 66ft OW
Mid Reef 15m 49ft 30m 98ft AOW
Cleaning Station 8m 26ft 20m 66ft OW
Check Point 5m 16ft 30m 98ft OW
Stingray City 8m 26ft 14m 45ft OW
Great Wall 30m 98ft 60m 196ft AOW