In pictures: Mabul Island, Borneo (Malaysia)

ONE of Malaysia’s little known paradises, Mabul island off the coast from Sabah is a fantastic location for diving, snorkelling or simply a superb island stay.

These images of life in and above water should give you a taste of the fishing, corals and lifestyle the locals enjoy.

Coral coral everywhere. Snorkellers can enjoy an amazing underwater world right off the beach. Mabul is also known for its muck diving and its location on the edge of the continental shelf means the waters are rich with sea life.


Anemone fish. Frogfish, gobies, turtles and octopus are commonly seen in the waters off Mabul.


Early morning catch. About 2000 people live on Mabul Island, an island a mere 20 hectares in size.

A local jumps off the pier as the sun sets. This man was working at one of the resorts on the island - a fantastic source of employment for young people.


Boat making is an important local trade and the only means of transportation.


Exuberant students at the local school. According to wikipedia half the 2000 population on Mabul are children below 14 years of age.


A common sight in Mabul - grilling fish. Fishing is the main source of income for locals and their catch is sold mostly at the mainland in Semporna.

Playing in the sandy "streets" of Mabul. Besides a school there is also a mosque and community hall on the island.


Play time on Mabul. The people that currently live on Mabul are thought to have immigrated from islands off the southern Philippines.

Jaws sold in a local village shop. Over fishing is a problem around Mabul.


Divers are part of the daily landscape on Mabul and an important part of the local economy. Many come here as a base from which to travel to world famous Sipadan Island. Diving outfits are also trying to encourage the collection of rubbish and preservation of turtle eggs particularly among children.

Snorkelling off the beach on Mabul at sunset.

All images by Joanne Lane,