Dive Site: Coral Gardens, Sipadan, Sabah

Anthias in coral at Coral Gardens diving Sipadan Sabah Malaysia by Diveplanit

Site Overview

Site Type: Volcanic pinnacle island with massive diversity from pelagics to nudis
Depth: Top: 5MMedian: 17MBottom: 30M
Location: Towards the south on the eastern side of Sipadan

Description

There is a very clear drop-off from the 4 m reef top and potentially current flowing. Also, like many of the sites around Sipadan be prepared for a distinct thermocline with probably about 30°C above and 25°C below creating an area of haze.

The first thing that strikes you are the pretty coral stacks everywhere.

Pretty coral stacks everywhere at Coral Gardens diving Sipadan Sabah Malaysia by Diveplanit

The quality and extent of the branching coral will impress anyone.

Stacks of branching coral at Coral Gardens diving Sipadan Sabah Malaysia by Diveplanit

The second thing is the diversity of fish: damsels, surgeons, butterfly, and angels. Also lots of unicorn fish and snapper especially midnight snapper, and even Yellow fin snapper

Yellow fin snapper at Coral Gardens diving Sipadan Sabah Malaysia by Diveplanit

Fortunately the Bignose Unicornfish is unaware of the name we have for him.

Bignose unicornfish at Coral Gardens diving Sipadan Sabah Malaysia by Diveplanit

And like most sites around Sipadan, look out for turtles resting on the ledges.

Turtle resting on a ledge at Coral Gardens diving Sipadan Sabah Malaysia by Diveplanit

There are plenty of porcupines and puffers, including the White-spotted puffer.

White-spotted puffer at Coral Gardens diving Sipadan Sabah Malaysia by Diveplanit

There are smaller parrotfish (not just the Bumpheads), and plenty of wrasse of ever hue (and saturation)

Red-breasted wrasse diving Coral Gardens at Sipadan Sabah Malaysia Diveplanit 8452

Variable Thorny Oysters cling to the reef walls.

Variable Thorny Oyster diving Coral Gardens at Sipadan Sabah Malaysia by Diveplanit

There are few resting sharks here, but you’ll usually see a few paasing through on their way to White Tip Avenue.

Make way for the white tipped reefy diving Coral Gardens at Sipadan Sabah Malaysia by Diveplanit

No dive is complete without playing hide and seek with the anemonefish.

Pinks in an anemone bowl at Coral Gardens diving Sipadan Sabah Malaysia by Diveplanit

It’s not called Coral Gardens for nothing.

Anthias in coral diving Coral Gardens at Sipadan Sabah Malaysia by Diveplanit