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Scuba Diving in Malaysia




In her debut article for Scubaverse, Ivana Craft takes a look at some of  the best diving that Malaysia has to offer

Located in South East Asia, Malaysia consists of several tropical islands that are the very definition of biodiversity and stunning natural beauty. To fully appreciate everything Malaysia has to offer, the true nature lover and thrill seeker has no choice but to venture underwater. The warm and bountiful waters of Malaysia have long been highly coveted diving sites by professional and amateur divers alike. Hundreds of dive sites are scattered across the islands. They are as diverse as they are stunning, with sites to match any diving preference and level of diving expertise. From wall and cavern dives to wreck dives and vast coral gardens, you are guaranteed to have the diving experience of a lifetime. Over three thousand species of marine life call these waters home, including some of the most immaculate and vast coral formations in the world. When in Malaysia, be sure to visit at least one of these sites.

Sugar Wreck, Perhentian Islands

Of all the diveable wreck sites around Malaysia, the Sugar Wreck is among the more recent. This huge sugar hauler was sunk to a depth of 100 feet during a vicious monsoon in 2000 near the Perhenian Islands. The sea has completely taken over this vessel, as it is now covered in shells, coral formations and a veritable cornucopia of flora and fauna. Small fish find refuge in the mazelike interior of the wreck, while predators circle the perimeter on the lookout for a quick snack. A large school of scorpionfish have made the wreck their home, and jacks, snapper and trevally are never far away. Blue spotted stingrays and bamboo sharks lurk in the back of the wreck, under the sugar freighter’s massive cargo doors.


Sipadan Jetty/Drop-off

Sipadan has a special place in the geographic makeup of Malaysia, as it is the country’s only oceanic island. The foundation of the island is an extinct volcano that, over thousands of years, has been completely overgrown with living corals. The corals provide a density and diversity of marine life that is hard to match anywhere in the world. The most popular and accessible dive site on the island is called the Drop-off. The site got its name from the sheer 600 foot drop into deep ocean that is almost completely vertical. Perfect for wall dives, divers can feast their eyes on lush and ubiquitous hard and soft corals that decorate the wall, and the many thousands of species that call this coral home. Turtles are common in the waters around Sipadan, as both hawksbill and green turtles mate and nest in the area. Enormous schools of barracuda, mackerel and batfish form tornados of shining flesh, while majestic white tip reef sharks and leopard sharks make up the top of the food chain.

Turtle Cavern, Sipadan

The Turtle Cavern, also known as the Turtle Tomb, is a site that is truly unique in the world, and can only be experienced in Malaysia. The Cavern is in fact a sprawling complex of caves that is littered with thousands of ghostly turtle skeletons. For reasons that are still unclear to scientists, turtles from all around the area flock to this location to die, and make for a breathtaking, if a little macabre sight. It is not all skeletons, however, as the caves are home to a thriving green sea turtle population. This site requires an experienced guide, as there are many dead ends in the mazelike cave complex, and the corridors may be quite claustrophobic to the unprepared. Air pockets are a huge attraction, enabling divers to surface, take off their breathing apparatus and talk to their diving companions, whilst still in the caves.


Pulau Sibuan, Semporna

Pulau Sibuan seems like a place that time forgot. There is almost no modern infrastructure on this lush island, and the population consists of a mere handful of Bajau families; a tribe of seafaring nomads. There are no public facilities or resorts on the island, but what it does possess in abundance are some of the best muck diving sites in the world. Some of the weirdest and most elusive creatures can be seen here in large numbers, from the alien like nudibranches, pygmy seahorses and frogfish to the more common but no less stunning lionfish, scorpionfish and lionfish. Most dive sites around Semporna are well suited to inexperienced divers. However, the monsoon season brings with it lowered visibility and strong currents, so special care should be taken during this time.

Ivana Craft is a blogger and traveler, continuously looking for an adventure. She loves diving and likes to write about her experiences and share them with others. She also writes for, a company that offers accommodation located in Malaysia.

Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Mares EOS LRZ Torch Range



What does LRZ stand for I hear you ask? The answer is: LED lights, Rechargeable, Zoomable. Mares have created a versatile set of seven underwater lights in the new range to suit all needs and budgets.

I tested the most powerful of them – the EOS 32LRZ at Capernwray on a cold but bright spring day. I was diving with Alex Mustard, and so all the underwater images are by him, showing me trying out the torch in both the shallows and in some of the wrecks at this site.

All the torches in the new line have an LED visual battery charge indicator that allows you to keep the battery level under control.

Want to use it out of the water? No problem! The new EOS LRZ torches feature an innovative temperature control system that allows you to use them both underwater and on land. I can see myself using this on gloomy dog walks later in the year!

As you can see from the video I filmed just after getting back from a dive, the torch is easy to use, even with thick gloves in cold water. The zoomable light beam means that you can highlight a particular spot, or have a wide beam, which is great for both modeling for a photographer, and exploring different underwater environments.

The EOS 32LRZ has a powerful beam with 3200 lumens of power and 135 minutes of burn time. Perfect for some of the darker dives you can experience in the UK, but also for exploring overhead or enclosed environments. I easily got 2 long dives out of a single charge, and then was able to recharge it in my car using a USB cable on the way home, ready for the next day of diving.

The look and feel of these torches are great. In your hand you can feel the quality of the torches. They are solid and well built. They also look great. Each torch in the range comes with a padded case to keep them safe during transport.

For more, visit the Mares website by clicking here.

All underwater images by Alex Mustard

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Marine Life & Conservation

Reef-World launches Green Fins Japan!



The Reef-World Foundation, the Onna Village Diving Association, the local government, and Oceana are delighted to announce that Japan is now the 14th country globally to implement the Green Fins initiative – a UN Environment Programme initiative. Onna Village in Okinawa is the first Japanese tourist destination to adopt Green Fins environmental standards to reduce the threats associated with diving and snorkelling on the marine environment.

Green Fins is piloted in Onna Village, Okinawa prefecture, an area renowned for its marine sports and has been working to protect its reefs for many years. Green Fins is implemented as part of the national Sustainable Development Goals project, which aims to manage and illustrate to the local industry how sustainable tourism can play a role in reef conservation. The economic benefits of the reefs benefit not only the fisheries industry but also the tourism industry as it has rocketed in recent decades.

If the project is successful – proving the value of sustainable tourism – the model has the potential to be escalated to a national level. A wide rollout would allow Reef-World to focus on uptake and expansion into other marine tourism and biodiversity hotspots across Japan. Green Fins implementation in Japan would provide practical solutions to many of the common problems faced in the area. It would also help to promote high standards for diving in the country. Improving the quality of the diving industry through Green Fins would demonstrate the added value of Onna Village’s tourism product. This, in turn, will encourage tourists to spend more time and money diving in the region.

Following a week of training by Reef-World (23 to 28 May 2022), Japan now has a national Green Fins team comprised of four fully certified Green Fins Assessors and two Green Fins Coordinators from Oceana and the local government. They will be responsible for recruiting, assessing, training and certifying dive and snorkel operators to become Green Fins members in the country. This involves providing training about the ecology and threats to coral reefs, simple and local everyday solutions to these threats and Green Fins’ environmental standards to dive and snorkel operators. Green Fins membership will help marine tourism operators improve their sustainability and prove they are working hard to follow environmental best practices as a way of attracting eco-minded tourists.

James Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “We are really excited to finally introduce Green Fins in Japan. We have been planning this for almost three years, but the travel restrictions related to the pandemic hindered progress. The diving industry in Okinawa and the marine life upon which it has been built is so unique, it must be preserved for generations to come. The Okinawa diving community is very passionate about protecting their marine environment, and Green Fins has given them an opportunity to collectively work to reduce their environmental impact and pursue exemplary environmental standards.”

Diving and snorkelling related damage to sensitive marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, is becoming an increasingly significant issue. This damage makes them less likely to survive other local and wider stressors, such as overfishing or plastic debris and the effects of climate change. Based on robust individual assessments, the Green Fins initiative helps identify and mitigate these risks by providing environmental consultation and support to dive and snorkel operators. Through Green Fins implementation in Japan, Reef-World aims to reduce negative environmental impacts in the region by reaching 10 marine tourism operators, training 50 dive guides and raising awareness of sustainability best practices among 10,000 tourists in the first year.

Yuta Kawamoto, CEO of Oceana, said: “Green Fins will help to unify all the conservation efforts in Okinawa by applying the guidelines in many areas and raising tourists awareness. We hope this will increase the sustainable value in the diving industry and in turn increase the diving standards in the country.”

Green Fins is a UN Environment Programme initiative, internationally coordinated by The Reef-World Foundation, which aims to protect and conserve coral reefs through environmentally friendly guidelines to promote a sustainable diving and snorkelling tourism industry. Green Fins provides the only internationally recognised environmental standards for the diving and snorkelling industry and has a robust assessment system to measure compliance.

To date, four dive operators in Onna Village have joined the global network of 600+ trained and assessed Green Fins members. These are: Benthos Divers, Okinawa Diving Center, Arch Angel and Pink Marlin Club. There has also been significant interest from other operators, even those that are not located in Onna Village, for Green Fins training and assessment.

Suika Tsumita from Oceana said: “Green Fins serve as an important tool for local diving communities to move towards a more sustainable use of their dive sites; so that they can maintain their scenic beauty and biological richness to provide livelihoods for many generations to come.”

For more information, please visit or Dive and snorkel operators interested in signing up for Green Fins can find the membership application form at:

Dive and snorkel operators in Japan interested in signing up to be Green Fins members can contact the Green Fins Japan team at

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