Mabul Island is a scuba diving gem. Located on the Litigan Reefs and close to both Kapalai and Sipadan, the island has a reputation for all things macro – critter life is prolific around the gently sloping shores.
There are several resorts on the island, including, just off-shore, one housed in a not-so-pretty oil derrick that was relocated from Borneo's west coast. It’s not the sort of place most people want to stay in, but the marine life beneath the platform is impressive. There are swarms of jacks, snappers and rabbitfish; stonefish that lurk on the sand and huge morays ensconced at the base of a pylon. There are crocodilefish, scorpionfish, nudibranchs and masses of crustaceans.
Away from the derrick a little, the corals are prettier and hidden in amongst the cracks and tentacles there are loads more frogfish, unusual shrimp and ornate ghost pipefish. The sandy beach areas have more good muck diving with seahorses, flying gurnards, fingered dragonets, long snout pipefish, snake eels and several sorts of file fish.