Turtle Tomb Cave. Sipadan, Borneo, Malaysia, July 2013.

Sipadan Turtle Tomb Cave

  Borneo: Indonesia + Malaysia - July 2013

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text: 

Hop! Back to Borneo. Here is my little video shot in July 2013, at the entrance of the famous underwater cave of Sipadan called "Turtle Tomb".

I confess, I oversold the thing... In fact, I only visited the entrance of the cave, where there is not a skeleton to see.

Where's the turtle graveyard?

My group only did the classic little loop that all tourist divers do inside the vast entrance hall, located between -17m and -23 m deep, where we keep the reassuring blue triangle in sight that gives access to the outside.

Turtle Tomb Cave. Sipadan, Borneo, Malaysia, July 2013.

I did not go to the "turtle graveyard", popularized by Cousteau's movie (I was talking about it in a previous post), where you can see the skulls and whitish carapaces on a sandy background. To get there, you have to go into the gut at the bottom of the cave. The unfortunate turtles were stupidly lost and died there, asphyxiated, because they could not find their way back to the surface to breathe...


The sign with a skull and crossbones at the entrance of the cave, which you can see at the beginning of my video, is there to remind intrepid people who are tempted to become underwater cavers, that some humans have already perished inside...

To explore the Sipadan cave in greater depth, up to the turtle graveyard, it is necessary to organize things in advance, with a serious guide, who knows the place. And then, of course, to feel ready for an underground dive.

To give you an idea of what it looks like, I put below a video of another diver, found on YouTube :

I confess, I wasn't too tempted. I'm already not crazy about terrestrial caves. So I don't think it's my thing, to go and make bubbles in bowels where you can't see the surface anymore...

Turtle Tomb Cave. Sipadan, Borneo, Malaysia, July 2013.For me, the entrance hall is already enough to impress me.

We went there several times. And always, my pulse quickens, when I go into the half-light, then into the intimidating darkness of this rather vast cave of which one does not see the bottom.

A few small fish sometimes appear in the light of our lamps and headlights, but the most beautiful, the most spectacular - and the most comforting - is when we turn around to go back to the entrance.

There, there is often a small school of jacks, which turns without haste, indifferent to the divers who come and go. Divers and fish are shaded in Chinese shadows on the blue mouth of the cave.

That's how I like the caves. With a huge photogenic opening to the light!!!


At the exit, a solitary barracuda watches over and shows the latecomers the way to continue the dive, along the reef, on the right.

Solitary Barracuda. Sipadan, Borneo, Malaysia. July 2013.

Nice barracuda. That's my buddy, that one!


  Borneo: Indonesia + Malaysia - July 2013