Dive 197: Eel Gardens, Pulau Mabul (Malaysia)

Dive time:  00:48:00
Max depth:  20.7 metres
Temperature:  29 C
Visibility:  10 metres
Buddy:  Jose
Surface interval:  02:46:00

Our last dive of the day was back at Mabul but this time on the other side of the island.  As our boat neared the site, we sped right past a bloke way out from the island with just a snorkel and a weight belt.  We circled back to check whether he was OK and he signalled as such – what an idiot though, being so far out from the reef and the island without any sort of marker or high visibility life jacket.

There was a slight current for this dive, so it was a nice cruisy ride going with the flow.  We saw a few different nudibranch varieties, some sort of crustacean with big oval googly eyes protruding from its shell, a couple of turtles swimming up to the surface for air, and I even saw a blue-spotted ray well inside a hole after seeing a giveaway puff of sand (however when i went to point it out to Jose, the ray was so far inside the hole that we couldn’t see it at all and Jose must’ve thought I was imagining things!)

On our safety stop, the German couple in our group spotted a giant cuttlefish and started giving chase to get a photo, but the cuttlefish was clearly feeling very threatened as it kept swimming backwards at the same pace that the Germans were advancing on it.  All the while, it was changing colour as it was passing over sand and then coral – absolutely fascinating – and its tentacles were raising up in anticipation of an attack (or a defense?).  Jose also spotted a zebra eel in a hole right in the middle of a large soft coral, its head popping out occasionally to peer at us.

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