Saturday, 6 December 2014

Proud to be: Eco-Warriors!

Over the past few months Scuba Junkie has continued to show it’s commitment to protecting the environment. 

Steve talking about waste management
Not so long ago we had a group come over from the Falu Frgynasium School in Sweden who were interested in the environmental aspects of Scuba Junkie. Over the course of 4 days they excelled themselves by getting involved in beach cleans, ecological discussions with our Environmental Officers Dave McCann and Cat Cassidy as well as dipping their toes into the world of Scuba Diving with a DSD experience.  They were also lucky enough to spend a day snorkelling at the stunning island of Sipadan. Our knowledgeable staff spent several days educating them on how to run an environmentally responsible resort.  One of the Resort Managers, Steve Ashby, gave them a hugely informative talk on how we treat our waste and how we run our Turtle Hatchery. 

Discover Scuba Diving!

Chen Sue Yee gave a talk on Environmental Impacts
Scuba Junkie is proud to have been listed as one of Green Fins top 10 members! Green Fins is an organisation that assesses dive centres on their environmental impact. We welcomed Chen Sue Yee, a representative of the company who came to visit us in the middle of October. It is not only our dive practices that she looked at, but also our own recycling, waste management and waste treatment centre. Green Fins hope to raise awareness on protecting our coral reefs and to encourage dive centres, snorkelling companies, governments and local communities  to operate in a way that has as little impact as possible on the delicate underwater ecosystem. We are so happy to be a part of their initiative, and hope that other dive centres will see the benefits of adhering to their code of conduct. 

For more information on Green Fins, and to see their code of conduct, please visit their website at

Schooling Devil Rays
The underwater world has continued to amaze us. Pulau Sipadan has been an absolute wonder. Hammerhead sightings have been on the increase, with multiple sightings throughout the day! On some days our divers have been seeing Scalloped Hammerheads and Devil Rays! We have also had sightings of Devil Rays out on the Sipadan Barrier Reef. The water temperature has cooled slightly and it seems the underwater life loves it! 

Schooling Hammerheads

The macro world has also been on fire. We have had several different sightings of Blue Ringed Octopus and a few resident Flamoyant cuttlefish. The sighting of the bizarre looking Estuary Batfish was a turn up for the books! It was the first recorded sighting of such a fish in the area! It’s not just the big stuff that can be exciting. 

The bizarre looking Esturay Batfish!

We would also like to welcome Valerie, Kevin, Edmund and Fendi, our new Divemaster Trainees. We wish them the best of luck on their course, and are confident they will learn a lot during their time here. A couple of them will be completing the Eco Divemaster course, where they will learn how to conduct Reef Checks. Reef Checks are an important aspect of underwater research; they indicate the health of the coral reefs and can give us an idea of whether the health of the reef is declining or not. It is an intense few weeks, hopefully these guys will enjoy it!

If you want any information on our Divemaster course, or the Reef Check course, please do not hesitate to get in touch:

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Saving a Mola Mola and Keeping Mabul Clean!

It’s been another month filled with great diving, as well as some unexpected sightings. We’ve also made some huge leaps forward in terms of helping keep Pulau Mabul clean!

Sipadan has continued to prove itself as one of the greatest islands in the world to dive. We have had several sightings of Hammerhead sharks, as well as all the usual suspects: Schooling Barracuda, Trevally, Butterfly fish, several species of Unicorn fish and let’s not forget the huge amounts of White Tip and Grey Reef sharks we have been seeing! 

However, it was not Sipadan that gave us the most unusual sighting this month; that honour was reserved for Pulau Mabul. Whilst heading out to a dive site around Mabul, one of our boats was called to aid a distressed Mola Mola! Whilst it is not the first time that this unusual and beautiful fish has been seen around this area, it is certainly the first time in a long while. This bizarre looking fish is generally found in temperate and tropical waters. They tend to come up into shallow water to bask in the warmth of the sun, but are often seen at dive sites that have cold, upwelling currents. 

The Mola Mola was sustaining injuries on the sharp coral
It was not a simple rescue. The Mola had become hugely distressed. Stranded in water less than its height, it was cutting its fins and body on the sharp rubble and coral in the shallow water. It took nearly 45 minutes for our staff to help guide the Mola Mola into deeper waters, sustaining their own injuries along the way! Of course, Scuba Junkie enforces a no touching policy. Touching underwater creatures can introduce harmful bacteria as well as creating unneccesary stress for the animal. However, in this unique case it was deemed necessary by our trustworthy and responsible staff – one of which was one of our onsite Environmental Officers, Cat – that touching the Mola Mola would only aid it in this potentially dangerous situation.
Only touching the Mola Mola to aid it to safety

All guests who were on the boat got to take part in the incredible experience, and there were some big smiles in the bar that night. Of course, the situation in which they saw the Mola was far from ideal; it's never nice to see an animal in distress. However, it was a rewarding experience for those involved, especially after seeing the Mola steady itself in the deeper water and swim off. 
As you may previously have known, we here are Scuba Junkie are proud of our beach cleans. At least once a week staff, and any customers who wish to take part, head down to the beach armed with bags and gloves and try to keep Mabul clean! Usually this happens during the first surface interval and it can be pretty sweaty work. Last week, however, it was Esscom (one of the security forces on the island) who organised a beach clean. They opted for a 6.30am start, when it's a little cooler - and what better way to start the day than knowing you've made a difference.

As staff got to the beach, still yawning and waking up, we saw that many people from our neighbouring village were getting involved! It was an incredible turn out, and we are hugely thankful to everyone who took park. And especially to Sargent Major Tuan Mude (Head of Police Esscom on Pulau Mabul) who organised this event. The effort put in was amazing, with people going out into the deeper water, up to their chest, to help clear debris out of the water. We collected over 300kg of rubbish. Although we may not be a huge fan of the early starts, we can certainly get used to it and all hope that this will become a regular event! 
HUGE Thanks to everyone involved!

Here are some facts about Mola Molas!
  • They are the ocean's largest and heaviest bony fish! 
  • They are unable to fully close their small beak-like mouths
  • They can breach the surface, going up to 10 feet out of the water 
  • The like to eat jellyfish
  • It is thought that they spend more time at the surface at night time
  • One Mola was found with an estimated 300 million eggs in her ovaries! When they hatch they are only 2mm in size!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

11 Reasons why Flamboyant Cuttlefish are AMAZING!!

1. They walk along the bottom of the sea, and are the only cuttlefish known to behave in such a way

2. They can go from being the same colour as the sand they walk on to a rippling bright purple, brown and white with yellow edging in a second! This is due to chromatophores - these are pigments cells that can be manipulated to change colour. 

3. They produce an ink to confused predators while they swim away. Hmmm... crafty!

We didn't have a photo of one inking...

4. Their buoyancy is controlled by their inner shell - the cuttlebone. Made of calcium carbonate it is divided into many chambers which the cuttlefish can rapidly fill or empty of gas to control it's bouyancy! 

5. They look really really cute inside their eggs! 

Photo from

6. It is the only toxic cuttlefish known to exist

7. Look at how they catch the little fish that they eat! 

8. They only grow up to 8cm long. 

9. They are thought to live between 18 - 24months, but the females die just after spawning. 

Big thanks to Redfish Media for the photo!

10. They can live in waters up to 86m deep! 

11. They have well developed brains that means they can see, smell and sense sound waves. They can use this information to determine what colouration is required for their environment.

They are just generally AMAZING!! 

Here's a link to an amazing video of flamboyant cuttlefish put together by Jon and Deb! 

Monday, 29 September 2014

Teaming up with DHL - Dive Against Debris Month of Action!

September is Dive Against Debris month. A month that Project AWARE dedicates to the cleaning of beaches and coral reefs and encouraging people around the world to actively  contribute. Of course, this is something that Scuba Junkie is keen to support and be a part of. So we have had some hard working teams out collecting plastic, tins and various other forms of rubbish from our coral reefs and beaches. 

Not only this, but we teamed up with DHL as part of their initiative to clear visible debris and a desire to work on Project AWARE Dive Against Debris . The team came from around the world, and were simply a keen group of people who love diving and wanted to help make a difference. They got in touch with us, expressing an interest in conservation and environmental work. Once we had a clear view of their aims we were able to create a varied and interesting programme for them to get stuck into. Over the period that they were here they collected 190kg from underwater clean up and 860kg of waste during their Beach Cleans.

Beach Clean!
Dav one:
The group wanted to get involved straight away and so they headed off to Sibuan, a stunning island in the Tan Sakaran Marine Park, to begin their Beach and Reef cleans. They were accompanied by two of our truly dedicated Environmental Officers: Cat and Dave. The divers were fully briefed on how to safely and properly carry out these activities. Of course it is important to remove as much debris as possible from the coral reefs, but it is also important to protect yourself. Gloves where handed out so people could protect their hands from sharp glass and metal. Not only this, but it is possible that items of rubbish become a home to some small underwater critters - which necessitates making sure the plastic bags / glass bottles are empty before removing them from the water. In some cases it is actually more damaging to remove an item from the reef than to leave it there. If you encounter this whilst on your own reef clean, always check with someone experienced before removing an item you are unsure of. 

Day Two:
For their second day, the team from DHL were brought over to the  Mabul Beach Resort to focus their attentions on reef cleans around Pulau Mabul. Throughout the day they completed three dives, collecting over 80kg of rubbish! All of the debris that was removed from the ocean was then recorded. After each dive the group put all of the refuse together and recorded what exactly it was that is found in this area. This information is then sent onto Project AWARE, who use this information to build a clear picture of what trash actually is affecting the underwater environment. 
Sorting through the debris
The evening time brought a little time to let loose and Dave presented an entertaining Pub Quiz for everyone to get involved in. The entry fee was just 10RM per person and all the money raised will go straight into supporting the kids in the local community. In the past we have used such money to provide toothbrushes and toothpaste, fresh fruit and educational materials.  We raised an amazing 400RM and are extremely grateful to everyone who donated and took part. 
                                                                      Day Three: 
Coral Transplant
The team was out in full force, once again getting stuck in to Reef Cleans around Pulau Mabul. Day 3 also brought some variety in the form of our Coral Transplant Project on the island. In the afternoon the dive and snorkelling team were helping collect coral fragments.  Live fragments of coral are delicately collected and brought over to our House Reef. Here they are attached to a structure in the hope that they can grow into a healthy and happy reef. You can find out more about our Coral Transplant project here:


The evening brought Movie Night, a chance for everyone to relax a little bit. The projector was set up in the bar and we showed the fascinating documentary 'SharkWater'. This documentary follows Rob Stewart as he investigates sharks and the growing shark finning industry. The first part of this educates us on how the media has crucified sharks and portrayed them as man-eating machines. Which is, of course, a gross misconception. As the film progresses Rob journeys into the shark finning world, taking a look at the Cocos islands and the Galapagos, where he finds that corruption is rife. This dramatic and interesting documentary is a must-see! If you love sharks, or hate them, it's full of fascinating information about an extremely misunderstood animal. 
Days Four and Five: 
Over the last two days it was time for everyone to have a little break. Half of the group was treated to a day trip out to Pulau Sipadan. This world famous island is renowned for its incredible diving and snorkeling,  with the chance of seeing Reef Sharks, masses of Green Turtles, absolutely stunning corals and an amazing array of schooling fish.  The other half of the team stayed around Pulau Mabul as part of an Environment Day, taking part in a huge Beach Clean. In the afternoon they were treated to a wealth of information about the underwater life we see here. Dave gave them a hugely informative lecture about identifying species that we encounter in this area and  the coral reef system. The next day the two teams swapped so everyone could get the Environmental and the Sipadan experience.

In the evening it was time for a workshop. The group sat down with Dave and Cat and spent several hours discussing the waste management issues that they have seen in the area. They brain stormed proactive ideas on what solutions could be brought in to the area to help prevent debris from entering the water. All sides feel that these talks were extremely productive and we hope that some of the ideas that were presented can be put into action.  
It was an extremely productive few days and we hope that the entire DHL Crew had a great time. A huge thank you to Hari, Michael, Frank, Ladi, Melanie, Brano, Petr and Paulo for all of the hard work and dedication they showed. It was a pleasure to have them contributing to the work that we do here. If you have an interest in environmental and conservation work then do not hesitate to get in touch:

Friday, 22 August 2014

14 Reasons to do your IDC with Scuba Junkie

1) We have been running IDCs at the Mabul Beach Resort for over 3 years and we have a 100% success rate!

 Everyone has passed!

2) We have an award winning platinum rated course director come to the island to teach the IDC. He has taught over 1000 people how to be instructors

 This is Thien... He's taught a lot of people how to be Instructors

3) The diving in this area is world class! Just off out jetty, where you will be fine tuning your skills underwater, you can see an incredible range of creatures – from huge Green Turtles, schooling fish to tiny Flamboyant Cuttlefish. 

School of Trevally

Flamboyant Cuttlefish are so CUTE

4) Every candidate gets 1 free Specialty Instructor Course!

YAAAAY Free Stuff!!
5) With all the new information you will learning, you don’t want to have any extra worries. That’s why we offer a fully inclusive package, you won’t be going hungry! 

6) The IE takes place on a stunning paradise island: Sibuan! 

7) When you’re not studying you can relax on one our sunloungers on the beach…Siesta anyone?

8) At the end of the day, relax in our bar with a nice cold beer or cocktail 

Yum, delicious cocktails!

9) Class size is no more than 10 people, meaning that each student gets personal attention throughout the course. 

10) We have a fantastic selection of experienced instructors, who will be more than happy to offer to advice and guidance. 

 The Scuba Junkie Team
11) Be involved with a Dive Centre that is dedicated to responsible diving and committed to the marine environment.

We run weekly Reef and Beach Cleans
12) You can choose between  a Deluxe Aircon room, or a spacious Dorm.

13) It may sound cheesey, but it’s true. It will be a rewarding and fun experience, you’ll meet new people and make new friends! 

14) We have some special offers this November for our IDC, get in touch with our office to find out more!


For more information please email us at 
Or take a look at our website: