Tawau | Malaysia :: Diving Sipadan Island Marine Park

Ever since we first went diving in Thailand, we now tend to gravitate towards places where the diving is known to be wonderful and diverse. We knew that Malaysia had some great reefs and a perfect climate for diving, but we were absolutely amazed with what we saw in our short three dives at the Sipadan Marine Reserve, it was the best holiday!  We can’t wait to go back!

Up to this point, glimpsing a sea turtle was a rare treat. In Sipidan, we found sea turtles everywhere we looked. Even better, they were particularly comfortable being around divers, affording us opportunities for up close observation.

The busiest dive spot on Sipidan Island must be Barracuda Point. We had heard amazing stories about “Barracuda Tornado’s” and we were not disappointed during our own dives to the site. The sheer size of the barracuda schools was enough to leave your mouth hanging open…if one wasn’t underwater.

Now, Manali and I have been lucky enough to see the bumphead parrotfish during our dives on The Great Barrier Reef, but we saw one or two at a time. Bumphead’s are big fish too, at nearly a meter long. When this big school came upon us, they were in the middle of a coral buffet.

And of course, we always manage to say hello to our little buddies, the clown fish.

Manali Patel Bettendorf
Manali Patel Bettendorf
Manali+Terry are world travelers with a passion for exploration, learning new things and connecting with people of different cultures.


  1. Love the shots, guys! Can't wait for my hubby and I to start our RTW adventure (just about a year to go now!)… We just had our first snorkeling experience in Puerto Rico, and I thought the sealife there was abundant, but your shots definitely take the cake!

    Was wondering what set-up you're using for your underwater shots. Surely you're not using your regular Nikon down there, are you?

    • Thanks Steph! Good luck on your RTW adventures! We are loving it so far – kinda sad that it's almost over! What countries are you planning to hit?

      We got our SCUBA Padi licenses in Koh Tao, Thailand (prob the best place to learn) and have been diving all over the world – but Malaysia is by far the best! We actually rented a point and shoot camera with underwater housing from the dive company, Terry just has really steady hands!
      Good luck on your RTW! Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have! Safe travels and thanks for reading!

      • Right now the plan is to leave Toronto, Canada (where I'm originally from and where my parents live) some time in August/September 2011. We're going to head to Japan, China, then South East Asia (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia + Singapore, and maybe Indonesia). Then we are going to spend a good chunk of time in India (mainly the northern Rajasthan area). From there we'll head to Turkey, then Greece, then the Balkans (Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia + Herzegovina, and Croatia), and then some of Eastern Europe (namely Czech Republic & Hungary). Then it's a tour of Western Europe (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Austria, Germany, France, Holland) and then London, England.

        Obviously that's a lot of ground to cover, but we're planning on traveling for somewhere between 12 – 15 months, with a slightly faster pace once we reach Western Europe. We've really been enjoying your blog as it's given us a lot of inspiration and many great tips and tricks.

  2. this post is simply amazing….if i ever get the nerve to get padi certified it’s because of your trip to malaysia……thanks for sharing these photos (again)…..they are really something.

  3. So, so, so jealous that y’all made it to Sipadan. We really wanted to go there but couldn’t fit it in to the plans. But, we are going to be in South Africa next month and I am so psyched about the awesome diving we’re going to do there. I’m hopefully going to do some Great White Shark diving! 🙂

  4. "Barracuda Tornados"! I've never seen anything like it!
    That must be dangerous. A lonely shark or a pack of piranhas are terrifying, but a "Barracuda Tornado"…
    Those fish are like torpedoes!
    Daring photos!


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