The wall on the west side of Sipadan Island generally has more soft corals and Lobster Lair is without exception here. Lobster Lair is a wall dive with a pretty sharp drop to the unseen depths surrounding Sipadan Island and it is a continuance of its’ more popular cousin to the North, Hanging Gardens. While similar, it gained its name many years ago from a divemaster who dropped in the water and saw many lobsters in a lair underneath some hard corals. It is said you are lucky if you can find a lobster now. Our divemaster, Eljer, was so confident that all the lobsters were gone that he promised to buy a beer for anyone in our group who would spot a lobster. In fact, the divemasters have renamed it “Lobster Liar” because of the absence of our crustaceous critters!
We start our dive near the top coral and white tip sharks find a perfect spot to lounge about. Various fish species cram together under table corals, such as the featured bat fish and puffer fish, and more activity always appears around us in an organized frenzy. But more is yet to be seen as we descend into our dive.
This is a pretty dive and is generally done as a last dive, or under cloud cover at any time of the day. The dive site is exquisite but the hard corals and rock contours around this part of the island cast many shadows over fantastic sea life below. This is a relatively easy dive for most divers, but presented challenges for our own amateur photographer, Tim. You will definitely benefit by investing in strobes, as Esther did. They certainly illuminate many of these macro-caves and get rid of annoying shadows.
Lobster Lair is somewhat less popular than other dive sites at Sipadan because it focuses on the smaller critters found in the many crevices around this dive site. It may not be a thrill ride like South Point or Barracuda Point, but we think it is filled with equal (and sometimes more) surprises because we are focused on macro. And then, out of nowhere, we come face to face with a swimming turtle here, a resting shark there and we even locate the elusive lobsters at Lobster Lair… One beer for our own eagle eye, Lana!
We spotted the normally camera-shy gobies around Christmas tree coral and we discovered many more species of scorpion fish in various hideouts as they seek shelter from the currents around Sipadan. Turtles are EVERYWHERE at Sipadan, but they appeared out of the most unusual crevices, finding any place to rest along the wall.
As we near the end of our multi-level dive, our safety stop is filled with the colorful beauty of blue chromis and multi-colored anthias. We are greeted with a final surprise as the wall of barracuda seem to quickly announce their presence and then move on to the next dive site.