Earlier last month on Valentine’s Day (Feb 14), divers and researchers from Sabah Parks (TTS) discovered a blue hole at Darvel Bay in East Sabah, according to a report by Bernama.
These geographical anomalies are underwater sinkholes, descending past sea level and sometimes giving access to underwater cave systems. The blue hole in Darvel Bay however, is different from the others around the world as it has two structures, with each hole measuring 15 metres deep in the seabed.
TTS senior research officer Nasrulhakim Maidin has noted that the blue hole is probably the only one is Sabah and possibly even in all of Malaysia.
“If this sunken coral structure (like a cave in water) is promoted as a diving site, it could become a major tourist attraction such as The Great Blue Hole of Belize (Central America), Blue Hole Dean (Bahamas), apart from Dragon Blue Hole (China),” he said.
They found the hole when a remote sensing map first reported it as a coral area.
“We explored both blue holes and could cover the site with just one tank of gas. The experience was amazing. When we came out of the blue hole from the left to the right, we were like moving over a mountain range in the sea,” Nasrulhakim continued.
He also suggested that the blue hole could be promoted as a tourist diving site, especially given its strategic position near Sipadan Island, one of the world’s best diving locations.
However, Nasrulhakim also said that the entire bay, encompassing the blue hole and 50 other islands, should first be gazetted as a marine preservation area by the state government.
“The gazette is the initial measure to preserve marine lives in the area, like the blue hole which we found has lots of corals but minimal presence of fish,” Nasrulhakim explained. He also added that the move would contribute to state revenue, stating that, “Last year alone, Sabah earned RM7.8 billion from tourism, and this income can be further increased with the latest product like Darvel Bay.”
It seems this discovery will not only lead to financial prosperity but ecological flourishing as well. Universiti Malaysia Sabah Borneo Marine Research Institute lecturer Associate Prof Dr Juanita Joseph also stated that gazetting the bay would attract more turtles to the area, as they search for safe havens with pristine corals.
Wow! It looks like something straight out of a movie. Have any of you guys ever visited Sabah’s world-class beaches? Let us know in the comments below!
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