Snorkelling at Paradise Two, Mabul Island
Have you heard of The Coral Triangle? Dubbed as the “Amazon of the Seas’, The Coral Triangle stretches from the Philippines archipelago on the north to the Solomon Islands in the south. These areas encompass the Sulu sea, Celebes sea, Sulawesi sea, Banda Sea, the Coral sea, and a small part of the Pacific Ocean. According to World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), The Coral Triangle has the most diverse collections of marine life in the world. About five hundred species of corals, and three thousand species of reef fish are found here, this kind of marine biodiversity is unmatched by any other places on earth. Mabul island together with Sipadan island are parts of the Coral Triangle. No wonder people from all over the world have taken notice of Mabul island and come here for diving and snorkelling. About twenty one dive sites are known to the divers around the Mabul Island, and there are just as many snorkelling sites on the reef surrounding the island. Mention about Paradise Two and it will surely ring a bell to most snorekellers who have been there.
Paradise Two is easily accessible from the island, just one hundred metres out from the beach. But to avoid stepping on the corals, it is best to take a speed boat and swim in from the sea. Located on the southern end of Mabul Island and sandwiched between the Borneo Divers jetty and Scuba Junkie jetty, Paradise Two has high concentration of corals and it also boasts of a wide variety of reef fish. Depending on the tides, some time snorkellers are swimming less than a metre above the corals, in this case one gets a very clear view of the corals and a close up look on its eco-system. Paradise Two is also a known as a resting place for turtles. Note: Borneo Divers and Scuba Junkie guests can just go to the end of their respective jetties and dive into Paradise Two.
Many types of corals which come in numerous shapes and sizes as well as in droves of colours are found here. These corals are often seen piling or growing on each others to form a bigger structure. Corals are normally divided into hard coral and soft coral. Here are some of the corals found at Paradise Two: anemone coral, blue coral, creamy coral, dome coral, flex coral, laminar coral, table coral, and wrinkled soft coral. Actually the list can still go on and on, but just to name a few for those who know their corals. Corals are also home to countless numbers of small fishes and offer them great protection from the bigger fishes. A good example is the anemonefish and the anemone, while the anemonefish can live happily around its host, the trespassers won’t be so lucky as the anemone can sting them badly.
Fact file: Coral reefs are composite structures formed from a variety of living and dead plants and animals. The corals growth rate has been estimated at one to two metres per thousand year. Now this is a long time, so we must learn and give good protection to the corals.
One of the best things about snorkelling is that one can see so many fishes going on with their daily life. And time passes by fast here, in no time an hour session is up. Common fishes found in Paradise Two are the damselfish, butterflyfish, snappers, surgeonfish and wrasses. Butterflyfish are always colourful with lots of intriguing patterns. The beaked coralfish, chevroned butterflyfish, pacific redfin butterflyfish and saddled butterflyfish are easily spotted normally in a pair or more. In search of nemo? Two types of anemonefishes are commonly spotted at Paradise Two, the false clown anemonefish and the skunk anemonefish.
Schools of small fishes like the dascyllus, sergeant, lemon and neon damsel are often detected among some large corals. The razorsfish is very thin with about 10 cm in length and usually in groups, so one would have to keep an eye for them. When spotted, it is very interesting to watch them swimming in a vertical position. Do spend some time to snorkel and explore around Paradise Two, this site will give you plenty of good memories to bring home and snorkelling is a sure way to throw the stress out of the window.
How to go there? Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines have a few daily direct flights to Tawau airport from Kota Kinabalu. Air Asia also has two daily direct flights from Kuala Lumpur. Then one would have to take a taxi (about one hour) from Tawau airport to Semporna, a coastal town. There are also daily buses from Kota Kinabalu to Semporna, which take about 9 hours. In Semporna, check in with the tour agents or take a boat transfer from one of the hotels or budget accommodations in Mabul Island. The speed boat ride from Semporna to Mabul Island will take about 50 minutes.
Paradise Two Gallery: