A visit to Si Amil Island is a great way to avoid the crowds while getting in some great macro diving. Located 35 kilometres southeast of Semporna and about an hour’s boat ride from the famous Sipadan, Si Amil offers excellent reefs with unusual critters not easily found anywhere else.
Update Unfortunately, since the end of 2016, non of the dive resorts in the area visits Si Amil Island any more. If you have been here before, are the lucky few that have visited this beautiful island! For other nearby islands, please see Sipadan Island, Mabul Island and Kapalai Island.
Si Amil has four main dive sites including East Point, Celebes Reef, Maratua Reef, and Jeffery’s Reef. The sites are unique to the island but fairly similar to each other with similar marine life found at each site. Muck diving is popular here as the watchful diver can find nudibranchs, pygmy seahorses, coral shrimps, sea dragons and camouflaged frogfish. Also keep your eyes open for the poisonous scorpionfish and the uniquely shaped trunkfish.
Shark sightings also occur at Si Amil Island – although largely at night. Keep your eyes open for bamboo sharks as you swim along the gently sloping reef populated by colourful sea fans and hard corals. On the east side of the island there is a breathtaking drop into the deep blue as the sea floor plunges into the several hundred meter deep Alice Channel.
Best Time to Visit
Although diving is open at Si Amil all year round, the best time to go is between March and October. This is the island’s dry season, which means there won’t be any storms to ruin your dive’s visibility.
Si Amil’s lush forest and abandoned World War II structures make it an interesting place to explore between dives. It is the only island in the area that is home to a large family of monkeys, while on the beach an old 1930’s Japanese fish factory can be found. Japan also left its mark in the ocean – right next to Si Amil’s jetty old boilers from a World War II Japanese ship jut out of the ocean. Today Si Amil is not inhabited but Malaysia’s army does keep a base on the island not far from an old lighthouse built in 1952. Although no one calls Si Amil home, you can find 1,500 of the Bajau Laut sea gypsies living on nearby Danawan Island.