Dive site: Barracuda Point
Location: Malesia, Sipadan Island
Type of dive: Wall, drift
Maximum depth: 40 m
Level: intermediate to advanced in case of current
Water temperature: 27 – 29° C
When to go: You can dive here year-round, but the best time is from April to December, with top conditions in July and August. From January until March it rains a lot, so the visibility can be very limited.
This beautiful dive site is located in Malaysian Borneo, off the famous Island of Sipadan in the Celebes Sea. A magical and captivating place that Jacques Cousteau, 50 years ago, described as a unique and intact work of art! Nowadays it is one of the 5 marine parks established by the Malaysian government.
It is no coincidence that this has always been considered one of the top diving destinations world-wide, whether for the quality of the dive sites, or especially for the exuberance of the underwater habitats, very rich with life and a high biodiversity, home to over 3000 species of fish and hundreds of different corals.
Barracuda point is one of the most precious dive spots in this whole stretch of sea.
Its geographic location and unique structure allow for a concentration of huge schools of pelagic predators. Fish abound here, with impenetrable walls of barracudas and jack fish circling around and above divers, countless species of smaller fish coloring the reefs and turtles swimming undisturbed all around.
The dive site can be reached in approximately 45 minutes from the town of Semporna, or 25 minutes from the Island of Mabul.
To better protect these sites, the Malaysian government allows a maximum of 120 divers per day to visit the different resorts in the area. Full days are organized leaving at 05:00 a.m. to be in the water for the first dive at dawn, as this is the best time to encounter large schools of humphead parrot fish that, in very long single files, swim in shallow water on the reef’s plateau.
Upon reaching the dive site, the guides will check the current, and depending upon intensity and direction, will decide on which side of the reef to start. The dive unfolds following a vertical wall that is extraordinarily rich with life. Huge gorgonian sea fans, sponges, and black coral interchange with soft corals of all shapes and colors, giving life to a landscape of exceptional beauty that is literally teeming with life.
Barracuda point is still one of the few places left in the world where you can see swirling schools of jack fish. Hundreds of fish swim in unison, perfectly synchronized. There are so many that they form impenetrable barriers to sunlight. Their movements are slow and winding, opening up to form real whirlwinds. It is a performance of rare beauty that will leave even the most seasoned divers in awe.
Going on with the dive you reach a plateau that forms a small saddle at a depth of approximately 22 meters and where barracudas gather. If the current is not too strong you can leave the wall and swim towards them, to observe them even more closely.
The numerous schools of fish are not the only attraction of this dive site, it is enough to direct your gaze to the blue, and often you will see white tip or grey reef sharks materializing in front of you, patrolling the reef in search of lunch, large tunas and giant solitary barracudas scanning the perimeter of the wall. Often you also encounter turtles, napoleon fish, and eagle rays.