The area around Darvel Bay has been inhabited for over 20,000 years. The limestone caves on the mainland and on the islands were used for prehistoric burials.
Darvel Bay was a traditional haunt for pirates up to the end of the 19th century. Among the most famous pirates was Datu Kudunding. The British operated the Darvel Bay Tobacco Plantations Ltd, in Lahad Datu District which was immortalized in the documentary film Urban Bioscope Expedition through Borneo by H. M. Lomas.
Saleh, Ejria et al. (June 2007) "Water circulation in Darvel Bay, Sabah, Malaysia" AbstractIn: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (June 2007) Oceans 2007 – Europe Marine Technology Society, Oceanic Engineering Society (U.S.), Columbia, Maryland, pp. 1–6, ISBN 0-933957-35-1