Sipadan Island : West Ridge

West Ridge is one Sipadan dive site that is seldom considered because most people have only one or two days to dive Sipadan and the main draw for the island is to see large schooling pelagics at the other dive sites. Another reason that West Ridge is frequently overlooked is that, because of its location the sun does not normally hit directly over the site until late in the day when many of the dive boats are already gone. When the sun does shine on West Ridge it usually casts shadows from the ledges of the top reef that carve in and out of the wall to sharp drops below. The shadows at West Ridge can make it a difficult dive site for the amateur photographer and many times this makes some of the other Sipadan dives more desirable to divers and dive masters alike. However, if you have an appreciation for coral, this dive site will certainly not disappoint. Because this site is seldom considered on the divemaster’s itinerary, the coral is in pristine condition and attracts an impressive number of turtles, sharks and larger fishes.
The topography at West Ridge is like most of the others on Sipadan, a shallow top reef with beautiful coral growth and schools upon schools of small reef fish with a wall that plunges far past recreational dive limits. Once you have a moment to enjoy the top reef, make your way over to the wall and descend between 20 to 30 meters. You are in for a treat. Like its’ neighbor, Hanging Gardens, the wall at West Ridge is covered in purple, yellow, red and pink carnation corals. There are also many large gorgonians and sea fans with many other dark green and black branching corals that we did not see at any of the other dive sites. Etched into the wall are some crevices that are 10 to 15 meters wide and run from the top of the reef to depths of up to 30 and 40 meters. It is absolutely breathtaking to swim your way into a crevice and take a look up to the surface with all of the coral and fish silhouettes above you.

On our dive at West Ridge, we saw at least 10 turtles, small schools of big tuna out in the blue, large moray eels and a number of sharks. If you are into larger fish, beautiful topography and loads of colorful soft and branching coral, you should definitely consider West Ridge as one of your stops during your visit to Sipadan Island.

Where will you dive next?
Dan, Esther, Lana & Tim

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