KNOW BEFORE YOU GO!

Scuba Junkie is a multi-award winning PADI 5 star Instructor Development Centre with a strong focus on marine conservation. Over the years we have won numerous awards including the Wild Asia award for Protection of Natural Areas and Wildlife conservation as well as receiving awards from PADI Asia-Pacific for Outstanding Contribution to the Marine Environment and the Coral Triangle Initiative in recognition of our contribution to sustainable tourism.

Conservation of the local environment, both above and below the waves, has been at the heart of Scuba Junkie's ethos right from our inception. We believe that as divers and snorkellers we are fortunate to experience the joy and beauty of the underwater world and with this comes a duty to protect and conserve.

This responsible, sustainable ethos starts with our resort and dive operations, and carries right through to the work of Scuba Junkie SEAS, the dedicated conservation arm of the dive centre.

We have worked hard to make our operations as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible, and we invite you to support our work!

Thank you for considering us for your next holiday! Whether you are hoping to enjoy a day trip snorkelling or fun diving, trying your hand at an introductory dive, or even becoming a dive professional- we are here ready to help plan an unforgettable trip


PLANNING YOUR TRIP!

BOAT TRANSFER BETWEEN SEMPORNA/ MABUL:

We have two boat transfers per day between Semporna and Mabul:

From Semporna to Mabul:

8am: No flights land early enough to match this boat transfer- so you will need to plan a night in Semporna prior to this transfer (also our day trip boat- so you can still do a full day of diving/ snorkelling with this transfer!)
2:30pm: Dedicated transfer boat- no activities possible with this transfer (though you can still snorkel on our House Reef on arrival!)- Please ensure your flight (if applicable) lands in Tawau airport (our closest airport) no later than 12noon.

From Mabul to Semporna:

10:30am: Dedicated transfer boat- no activities possible with this transfer- please ensure your flight (if applicable) departs from Tawau airport no earlier than 3pm.
4pm: If you do not plan to dive, please ensure your departure flight is 8pm or later to match this transfer (also our day trip boat- so you can still do a full day of diving/ snorkelling with this transfer- please ensure your flight the following day is not before 10am!)

Please be aware that our transfer boats are also our dive/ snorkel boats- these are approx. 35ft speed boats - there is a roof, but the sides are open. This can mean that if conditions are windy/ wavy or rainy, there is a chance that you might get wet! Please do not keep any non-waterproof items such as phones/ vapes/ lighters in your pockets during the boat rides. We highly recommend using a dry bag for these types of items on the way to and from Mabul.

If you are planning on taking our 8am transfer to Mabul, and take advantage of a diving or snorkelling trip the same day, please do ensure you depart from Semporna swim ready. The journey to Mabul takes approximately 1 hour, upon arrival; our staff will take your luggage to the resort on your behalf while you visit the dive shop to try on your equipment. Once you have your gear- you will head straight back to the boat and start your tour immediately. Check in to your room will then be around lunchtime (1:30pm). A welcome orientation will be offered after your dive day at around 5pm.

If you plan to take our afternoon boat to Mabul- you will be welcomed by one of our staff members who will take you for a short walk up our jetty to the resort. Here you will enjoy a welcome drink while receiving an orientation to the resort and overview of your trip.


WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU?

Plastic pollution is not only a huge global issue; it is also a major issue locally. We are actively working against this through weekly beach and reef cleans, but prevention is better than cure. Please do not bring any single use plastics or Styrofoam onto any of our boats

We appreciate all your efforts to support us in this. Not just at our locations, but wherever you choose to travel

  • Reusable shopping bags. Single use plastic is banned from our dive boats - if you wish to get snacks or go shopping in Semporna before you leave, please use a reusable shopping bag. You can borrow some from our offices in Semporna or Mabul if needed.
  • Reusable water bottle. Tap water in Mabul is not drinkable- we recommend bringing a re-usable water bottle- Please do not buy single use plastic water bottles - they account for up to 80% of the bulk we pick up on beach and reef cleans. Please bring your own reusable water bottle with you, which you can refill at our water stations, which are free to use. If you do not have a reusable water bottle, you can buy one in our retail shop both in Semporna or Mabul
  • Toiletries. We do not supply toiletries in our resort rooms - as these small, single-use products are incredibly wasteful. We do have plastic free toiletries for sale in our resort, if you wish to minimise your plastic waste
  • Reef safe sunscreen and sun protection. We are proud members of Green Fins, and our dive operations have strict guidelines to minimise damage to coral and marine ecosystems. To further minimise adverse impact to coral reefs, please use reef safe sunscreen before diving. Sunscreens with Oxybenzone and Octinoxate can harm corals - avoid purchasing these types of sunscreen. Even better, bring a long-sleeve rash vest, sunglasses and a hat with you- we are sunny almost all year around!
  • Reusable straws. We do not use plastic straws at our Mabul Beach Resort. If you wish to use a straw, consider bringing an alternative such as bamboo or stainless steel with you. We sell metal straws in our bar at MBR.
  • Dry Bag/ Day Bag. It's a good idea to prepare a small day bag with towel, possible change of shirt, camera etc as well as a water bottle- islands are around a 45 minute to 1 hour ride away from Semporna, and islands such as Kapalai and Sipadan are around a 20 minute speed boat ride away from Mabul. Our boats have a roof but open on the sides- so to avoid any damage to your electronic/ valuable items- we do recommend a dry bag. We sell very affordable SJ dry bags both in Semporna and Mabul.
  • Certification Card. Remember to bring proof of diver certification. An online card, email confirmation, or physical card will all be accepted. When unsure about your certification, please let us know in advance and we can try to help by checking the database of PADI and SSI before arrival. If there is no proof of certification, there is a risk you would not be able to join our certified divers group- we will only be able to offer a try dive experience or snorkelling trip instead.
  • Medication. Please be advised the closest doctor and hospital are on the mainland in Semporna. While we do have some basic first aid medical supplies kept at our resort- they are by no means extensive. Please ensure if you require specific or prescription, that you bring this with you. Please note Sudafed and decongestants in general are not readily available in Sabah.
  • Cash. The ATMs in Semporna can be very busy or even be out of cash at times- money changing facilities are also limited in Semporna. There are no ATM machines or money exchange services on Mabul island. If you do prefer to pay with cash- it is advisable to withdraw/ exchange money prior to arrival in Semporna. We do accept payment by Visa or Mastercard (please note there is a 3% processing fee applicable) for most extras in Semporna and on Mabul.
  • Insurance. We strongly recommend each guest purchase accident, medical, baggage and trip cancellation and interruption insurance. Insurance will protect you from financial disappointment if you are prevented from making your scheduled trip due to illness or flight delays. We recommend DAN insurance for all our divers- this can also be arranged upon arrival with our friendly reception team! Please be sure to read the Scuba Junkie Terms and Conditions prior to making payment.

PLANNING YOUR ACTIVITIES WITH US:

Refresher Dives

If your last logged dive was longer than 6 months ago, we recommend joining our refresher sessions- this will be combined with your first dive of the day (this will be conducted on our purpose built platform in the ocean and will not have any additional charge!) Skills to practice are: a weight check, some basic mask and regulator skills and buoyancy skills. After the skills are completed, you will be able to dive our house reef sites (some of the best on the island!) The remaining dives of the day will join the dive boats. Spending a little extra time on a few skills to ensure you are 100% comfortable and confident will benefit during your whole stay.

Mabul trip

1st dive/snorkel departs: 8.00-9.00AM - 1st Surface interval 10- 11AM
2nd dive/snorkel departs: 11.30-12Noon - Lunch Break 12.30-1PM
3rd dive/ snorkel departs: 2.15-2.30PM

Kapalai Island trip

From Semporna, we will first head to Mabul to collect some more guests before heading on to Kapalai- the boat ride from Mabul to Kapalai takes around 20 minutes. The boat will then remain at Kapalai for the first and second dive/ snorkel session, and the first surface interval/ break. After the second session, we will return to Mabul Island to enjoy lunch at our resort restaurant! The third session will then be after your lunch break. It is not possible to go on Kapalai in-between dives/snorkelling as it is a private island resort- please keep in mind there are no toilets on our boats!

All day trips usually end by 3:45-4PM. The boat that heads back to Semporna is the dive boat- so even if your day is running a little behind schedule- we will not leave you behind!

Sipadan National Park:

BOAT 1
Depart Mabul by 6.30AM
1st dive 8.00-9.00AM - 1st Surface interval 9.00-11.00AM
2nd dive 11.00-12noon - 2nd Surface Interval 12noon-2.00PM
3rd dive 2.00-3.00PM - Arrive back in Mabul approx. 3.30PM
BOAT 2
Depart Mabul by 7.30AM
1st dive 9.00-10.00AM - 1st Surface interval 10.00-12.00noon
2nd dive 12.00-1.00PM - 2nd Surface Interval 1.00PM-3.00PM
3rd dive 3.00-4.00PM - Arrive back in Mabul approx. 4.30PM

North Islands (Sibuan/ Mantabuan or Mataking)

You will be out all day with the boat, having breaks and lunch on the boat or island. The boat will depart Semporna by 8am and return by around 4-5pm.
Depending on the tides on the day, we might not be able to get go on to the island- this is only applicable for Mantabuan Island.

Mataking Island is also a private island resort- as such; there is only a very small section of beach we are permitted on. Trips to the North Islands will depend on the number of guests requesting to go and the conditions on the day.

NO DECOMPRESSION LIMITS (NDL)

We only offer no decompression diving. To ensure our divers are safe at all times- we require all divers with their own computers to stay 5 minutes or above the NDL limit at all times. Due to this, we do request all divers who are not diving with a computer to stay at the same depth, or slightly shallower than their guide. If for some reason you do go over your NDL- please ensure you inform your guide so that a prolonged safety stop can be arranged to clear your dive computer. Please be advised that you will not be able to dive for the remainder of the day. If your computer goes into error mode due to you not clearing your computer- you will be required to wait a minimum 24hrs before being able to join our dive trips again. There will be no refund applicable for these missed dives.


GENERAL INFORMATION:

Valuables

We do not advise you to take valuables on the boats during your snorkelling/diving tours. Our boats are small speedboats- as such there is nowhere to lock valuables away, and there is a chance that items can get wet on board.
There are lockers available in Semporna - we will ask for RM10 deposit for a key - once you return the key, we will return your RM10 😊

At our resort on Mabul there are lockers available for our guests in the dormitories, and there are safes available in the private rooms.

Meals and Drinks

Lunch is included with all day trips from Semporna- if diving/ snorkelling at Mabul island, lunch will be served at our resort (buffet style). If diving/ snorkelling around the northern islands- lunch will be served on the beach or on the boat. We can cater for vegans and vegetarians- please do let us know ahead of time if this is required. All meals served are Halal.

Dress Code

Please take into account that you are in a Muslim Country and public nudity is strictly forbidden. When you go into the village on Mabul island or when in Semporna town please do wear shorts/ shirts/ dresses (not swimsuits).

On the various island beaches and at our resort on Mabul- it is OK to be in your swimwear. Please be sure to cover back up before getting off the boat in Semporna after your day trip

Rental Equipment

BCDS: We have a combination of our own branded Scuba Junkie BCDs manufactured in Italy as well as Mares Rover & Scubapro T-1 BCDs

REGULATORS: We have Scubapro brand regulators. All of our rental regulators are Yoke valves- if you have a DIN regulator don't worry! We have DIN adaptors available to borrow during your stay 😊

WETSUITS: We have 3mm shorty wetsuits or full length suits if you prefer a bit more cover. Water temperature rarely drops below 27C!

MASKS: Our masks are standardized one size fits all! Please note that we do not have prescription masks available for rental or retail.

FINS: Our fins are closed heel style (no need for booties!) available from size (European) 34 to 46-47.

We do also have a few children's masks and fins available though our range is not extensive so please do check prior to arrival.

For our guests traveling with their own equipment we have built personal lockers to keep your dive gear together in one place to dry over night!

Dive Computer rental

A dive computer is recommended by PADI, but not mandatory! All of our dives are guided by a dive professional- and all of our dive guide wear a dive computer to keep you safely in your limits. If you would like to rent one of our dive computers, please let us know! Dive computers are provided FOC for the Open Water and Advance Open Water course- if you would like to keep them when fun diving, the rental fees are as follows: 1 Day: RM50 / 2 Days: RM80 / 3 Days: RM100 / Extra day: RM20RM per day

Night Dives

All night dives are guided by one of our dive professionals- these are conducted on our house reef sites at Mabul only between 6-730pm nightly. We limit the total number of guests on a night dive so please do check at reception for availability! To join a night dive- you must be a minimum open water level certified, and have done at least one day dive with us (to ensure you are comfortable with our guides and equipment before embarking on a night dive!)
Price: RM110 per dive (includes torch rental)

15LTR Tanks

Our standard tanks are 12LTR aluminium tanks with yoke valves. If you require a slightly larger tank- this can be arranged for all dive locations- please note we do not have 15L tanks available for nitrox fills.
Price: RM25 per tank

Nitrox

Enriched Air is available for dives around the Mabul and Kapalai area only (not available at Sipadan due to the risk of down currents). To dive on Nitrox, you must show proof of a valid Nitrox certification, and all Nitrox divers must wear a dive computer for all dives. If you do not have your own- you can also rent one 😊 Please note that due to the remote location and only one compressor for nitrox, there is a chance (very small)- that we will not be able to offer nitrox during your stay. We will endeavour to meet your requests whenever possible!
Price: RM25 per tank

Camera Rental

We have Olympus TG5 camera and housing available to rent both from Semporna and Mabul. We strongly recommend all guests to bring their own SD card or USB to transfer the pictures across. SD cards are available to buy from our retail shop on Mabul! Please note that camera rentals are not available during DSD or Open Water Course dives. We do not have GoPro's for rental or sale.
Price: RM100 per day


MABUL ISLAND and OUR RESORT:

Meals and Drinks

All meals are inclusive at our Mabul Beach Resort. These are served buffet style daily (we can cater for vegans and vegetarians too)

Breakfast is from 6:45 - 9:30AM
Lunch from 1 - 2:30PM
Dinner from 6:30 - 8PM
Homemade snacks at 10:30AM and 4PM

Water, tea and coffee are available in the restaurant all day. We encourage all guests to have a reusable water bottle to refill at our various stations 😊

Food / Allergies / dietary needs

  • All meals served at our resort are HALAL
  • We always try to adapt and change our menu to keep it interesting and use as much local seasonal produce as possible. If you are unsure what the ingredients are in any of our dishes- please do ask our friendly kitchen team!
  • For severe allergies, please let us know in advance at the time of booking. We will always try to accommodate guest requirement as best we can, however, as we are located on a small island with limited kitchen facilities, this occasionally can get tricky!
  • Please be aware that we do not serve any seafood in our restaurant on Mabul! There are unsustainable fishing practices in this area and therefore we cannot guarantee how the fish will be caught. Please do contact our environmental managers at scubajunkie.environment@gmail.com for more information.

Safety

Our resort on Mabul has 24-hour security and surveillance throughout to ensure our guests are secure during their stay. Our resort is also built next to the ESSCOM base (security forces) and also next to the local police base again ensuring our guests have the highest security possible while visiting the area.

There are no curfews on the island preventing you from walking around after dark, but there are curfews in place for water-based activities. As such- we do not allow snorkelling after sunset (usually around 6pm) and all night divers are required to be out of the water no later than 7:30pm.

Wi-Fi and Phone signal

Wi-Fi is available in our bar and restaurant on Mabul. Keep in mind that this is satellite Wi-Fi; this is suitable for checking emails/ WhatsApp- but might not be strong enough to stream/download. When it is overcast or heavy rain, this may affect the WIFI signal.

There is phone signal and 3G/4G on the island. We recommend buying phone credit in Semporna before heading to Mabul, as this can be difficult to purchase on the island. Celcom, Digi and Maxis are the 3 biggest providers.

Shopping

On the island there are small stalls/ shops run by the locals in the village- these are cash only stalls and sell things such as snacks or cheap cigarettes. Please note there are no supermarkets on the island- if you are looking for something specific it is best to check for it in Semporna.

We have a small retail shop in the resort for souvenirs, toiletries and dive accessories- we accept cash or Visa/ Mastercard (3% processing fee applicable).

We sell alcoholic and soft drinks as well as some snacks at our resort bar- we accept cash or Visa/ Mastercard (3% processing fee applicable).

All luggage will be brought up to our resort upon arrival in Mabul.
8:00am boat: Check into your room at lunchtime (approximately 1-130pm) or you can choose to check in after the 3rd snorkel/dive.
2:30pm boat: Check into your room upon arrival.

Check out day

If going to Sipadan on your check out day: Please settle your bill the day before and check out of your room before you head to Sipadan, please place your luggage in the check out section at reception

If diving/ snorkelling on your check out day: Please settle your outstanding bills by lunch time, and please check out of your room prior to going diving/ snorkelling. Please place your luggage in the check out section at reception.

If taking the 10:30am boat: Please check out of your room and settle your outstanding bills by 10AM. Please place your luggage in the check out section at reception.

All luggage placed in our designated check out luggage area will be brought to the jetty. Please ensure your luggage is on the boat before departure.


WEATHER and WAVES:

Weather is very difficult to predict in a tropical country and on an island in the middle of the ocean- Please note that the below is a suggested guideline on the expected visibility and waves each month in the area however weather can be unpredictable and thus this can change from year to year 😊

In general diving and snorkelling in the area is amazing all year round and the weather conditions are sunny with a slight chance of rain- when it does rain- it rarely lasts longer than a couple of hours 😊

Generally air temperature is 25-30℃ during the day and 20-25℃ at night.

In over a decade of operating- we have never had to cancel a day trip due to weather! Borneo is nick-named "land beneath the wind" as we are fortunate enough to not experience monsoon seasons- though occasionally we do experience the tail end of storms from other locations 😊

Feb-Jun Jul-Sept Oct-Nov Dec-Jan
Water Temperature 28-29℃ 26-28℃ 28-29℃ 26-28℃
Visibility 15-40 meters 5-30 meters 10-40 meters 5-30 meters
Waves 🌊 🌊🌊 🌊 🌊🌊


DIVE and SNORKEL SITES FROM

NORTH MABUL:

  1. Lobster Wall
  2. D-Wall
  3. Azman's Oasis
  4. Froggies
  5. Awas
  6. BD Wreck
  7. Seaventures
  8. Panglima
  9. Paradise
  10. Navy Marker

SOUTH MABUL:

  1. Stingray City
  2. Eel Garden
  3. Ribbon Valley
  4. Coral Hills
  5. Artificial Reef
  6. Nudi Nook

NORTH KAPALAI:

  1. House Reef
  2. Cleaning Station
  3. Midreef
  4. Gurnard Ground
  5. Siu Siu Point

SOUTH KAPALAI:

  1. Black Ray Channel
  2. Little Okinawa
  3. Lost World
  4. Kapalai Rock
  5. Coral Garden
  6. Stingray City

SIPADAN:

  1. Barracuda Point
  2. Coral Gardens
  3. White Tip Avenue
  4. Mid Reef
  5. Turtle Patch
  6. South Point
  7. Staghorn Crest
  8. Lobster Lair
  9. Hanging Garden
  10. West Ridge
  11. Drop Off
  12. Turtle Cave


Scuba Junkie SEAS

Scuba Junkie SEAS is the dedicated conservation arm of Scuba Junkie. This was set up in 2009 with the aim of raising awareness for shark conservation in the area. Since then, our portfolio has diversified and we now have six major work areas:

  • Eco-friendly resort
  • Tackling marine debris
  • Shark conservation
  • Turtle conservation
  • Coral conservation
  • Outreach programmes

SJ SEAS are based at the Mabul Beach Resort, where we have an office and classroom adjacent to the restaurant. All of our conservation activities are coordinated or run on Mabul - including our conservation internships, our weekly beach and reef cleans, our coral restoration projects, our turtle hatchery, turtle and shark surveys, and major outreach programmes with local schools and colleges.

Central to all of our work is encouraging the local community to take part in all aspects of our conservation programmes, through both awareness raising and practical activities. Taking care of an ecosystem means taking care of the people within it too, and taking into account their needs and livelihoods in a responsible manner! Due to the fact that many of the local community rely on the marine ecosystem for food and their livelihoods - many of our projects are geared towards facilitating sustainable livelihoods, for example, the Mabul Community Market.

We are proud to have an extensive portfolio of conservation programmes already in place - a lot of hard work has gone into getting where we are today, and it will take more hard work to keep it going. We hope that through the collaborative work of passionate people we can make a difference to our beautiful oceans and the lives of those that rely on them.

If you'd like further information on any aspect of our work, please feel free to email us at scubajunkie.environment@gmail.com or call into our office while you are here 😊

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