Tun Sakaran Marine Park
|| : Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia
Tun Sakaran Marine Park (TSMP) is located at the entrance of the Darvel Bay just off the east coast of Sabah.
It is situated near the town of Semporna which is about 20km away. It is about 45 minutes by speed boat from
the jetty to this part of Sabah. The marine park is made up of a staggering eight islands with magnificent
reefs and sea surrounding them. The islands which make up the Tun Sakaran Marine Park are Pulau Bodgaya,
Boheydulang, Tetagan, Selakan, Sebangkat, Maiga, Sibuan and Mantabuan. These islands are formed from
Quaternary pyroclastic material which are excreted during explosive volcanic activity.
The marine park was established back in 2004. It is the largest protected concentration of coral reefs in
Malaysia at a staggering area of 350km square. There have even been claims by experts that there are higher
levels of biodiversity in the marine park than in the exclusive Sipadan Island. The marine park has a higher
biodiversity of species and habitats such as coral reefs, seagrasses, mangroves and open sea.
The population on the island is approximately 2000 people which depend on fishing and seaweed farming to
make a living. These people rely heavily on the marine resources but are not utilizing their resources in a
sustainable way as they sometimes resort to dynamite and cyanide fishing. As of now, there are still no
facilities to provide for the tourists who come to the island. However, the park headquarters are working hard
to create more facilities for the tourists. At the moment, construction is going on to build a cafe, toilets
and a gift store. Until these facilities are ready, tourism on the island is not advisable.
However, divers are enjoying the park as divers from Mataking visit several sites within the park. During
dives in this area of Sabah researchers have spotted eagle rays, turtles, barracuda, bumphead parrotfish, and
lots of nudibranchs and found some new sponges, so there is great hope for the future. The diving experience
here is very varied in the park with lots of big walls, and a great deal of incredible macro-life in the
Bodgaya Lagoon. There are also vast sandy areas with big gorgonian fans, sea pens and rocky outcrops with
plenty of activity. Other than this marine park, there are still plenty of other places of interest to be visited
in Sabah. Accommodations in Sabah come in a variety of range to suit your budget and your liking.
To get there from Kota Kinabalu, just drive in the direction to Kota Belud town. After an hour, you will
arrive a roundabout, just follow the brown signage that says 'Jeti ke Pulau Mantanani'
(Jetty to Mantanani Island). Then you will see second roundabout (Kuala Abai), follow the junction
at the left, and you will arrive the entrance of Usukan Cove Lodge within 10 minutes.