Dive Site: Kapalai House Reef, Mabul, Sabah

Painted Frogfish diving Kapalai House Reef at Mabul Sabah Malaysia by Diveplanit

Site Overview

Site Type: Large artificial reef structures
Depth: Top: 5MMedian: 17MBottom: 21M
Location: Right in front of the Kapalai Resort

Description

Most artificial reefs just happen because a man-made thing ends up on the sea-bed usually in some chaotic and random manner. Trying to ‘design’ an artificial reef is a different thing altogether.

The artificial reef at Kapalai is rather grand. There are lots of different components, attracting differing kinds of critters. The entrance to the artificial reef is rather grand, but that in itself doesn’t attract too much life.

Grand entrance to the artificial reef diving Kapalai House Reef at Mabul Sabah Malaysia by Diveplanit

There are frames in the form of houses. The reef fish have worked out that divers cannot get inside these structures, so many, like the sweetlips will hang in there in the same way they would under a ledge or in a crevice.

Houses and some gate structure diving Kapalai House Reef at Mabul Sabah Malaysia by Diveplanit

This was my first time on an artificial reef, and some of it looked a little bizarre: a great playpen for an orang-utan maybe – but for fish?

Great playpen for an orang utan diving Kapalai House Reef at Mabul Sabah Malaysia by Diveplanit

Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a Leaf Scorpionfish – this is the place to come.

Leaf Scorpionfish diving Kapalai House Reef at Mabul Sabah Malaysia by Diveplanit

Likewise, for other weird critters such as the Painted Frogfish.

Painted Frogfish diving Kapalai House Reef at Mabul Sabah Malaysia by Diveplanit

As well as a number of dorid nudis, you might find a special little nembrotha, like this Kubaryana’s Nembrotha.

Kubaryanas Nembrotha diving Kapalai House Reef at Mabul Sabah Malaysia by Diveplanit

There are aeolid nudibranchs too: behold the Blue Dragon!

Blue Dragon an aeolid nudibranch diving Kapalai House Reef at Mabul Sabah Malaysia by Diveplanit

And just because Kapalai is an artificial reef, doesn’t mean that you won’t find all the regular reef critters. Here’s a black-spotted puffer just chillin.

Spotted puffer just chillin diving Kapalai House Reef at Mabul Sabah Malaysia by Diveplanit

The attractive reef fish make you realise that the artificial reef appears a little monochromatic by comparison to a natural reef. Still this Blue-ringed angelfish doesn’t seem to mind. Their colours seem all the more dramatic against the background.

Blue-ringed angelfish diving Kapalai House Reef at Mabul Sabah Malaysia by Diveplanit