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Last updated on January 7, 2023
Embrace yourself for a beautiful healthy reef rich in fish which will make your snorkeling session an unforgettable experience. The snorkeling at Mataking Reef Resort is among the best you can have in the Semporna Islands and coral bleaching has not yet affected this small corner of underwater paradise on Earth.
Mataking Island is located in the Celebes Sea, just a 40 minutes boat ride from Semporna, on Borneo.
There are two main ways to access this spot:
If you stay at Mataking Reef Resort, you will enter the water from shore. Watch out for stingrays and stonefish as the sandy seabed presents scattered rocks that may pose a danger. If you are on a snorkeling tour, water entrance will be from a boat.
The current usually goes south so exploit it to let it drift you alongside the reef. If you access the spot from the Mataking Reef Resort‘s beach, as far as five meters from the shore the sandy sea bed starts to make room for scattered healthy corals which becomes denser as you progress towards the drop-off about 15 meters from the shore.
After that, the corals abruptly interrupt again to make room for a sandy and rocky seabed of poor interest. It is between 7 to 15 meters from the shore that you want to stick to enjoy the full beauty of this reef.
Hard corals alternate with soft ones with large schools of fish surrounding you. Turtles are barely seen here but the fish, including angelfish, threadfin butterflyfish, brown chromis, sergeants, and black triggerfish, are very colorful.
The reef remains constantly between 2 to 6 ft/0.5 to 2 meters below you on low tide occasionally dropping to 10 ft/3 meters. A giant moray calls home a group of rock and corals in front of the lifeguard watchtower, keep your distance as this will be less than 6 ft/2 meters deep from you. Groupers can be seen patrolling the reef and the occasional barracuda pays a visit to this location too.
This spot is Mataking Reef Resort‘s house reef.
These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.
This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Vibrant reef drop off loaded with fish
Reef drop off with fish and turtles
Healthy coral reef with fish and turtles
Steep drop off with corals, turtles and reef fish
Coral reef with turtles and fish
Reef wall with corals, fish and sea turtles
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