Darvel Bay

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Satellite image of Darvel Bay, 27 July 1980

Darvel Bay or Lahad Datu Bay is a bight (large bay) on the east side of Sabah, Malaysia. It is the largest semi-enclosed bay on the east coast of Borneo and faces the Sulawesi Sea. Administratively, it is within Tawau Division, with Lahad Datu District on the north side, Kunak District in the middle and Semporna District to the south of the bay.


Large parts of the shore of Darval Bay are mangrove swamps.[1] Within the bay there are numerous islands, the largest, Timbun Mata Island, is located near the southern shore.


The area around Darvel Bay has been inhabited for over 20,000 years.[2] The limestone caves on the mainland and on the islands were used for prehistoric burials.[2]

Darvel Bay was a traditional haunt for pirates up to the end of the 19th century.[3] Among the most famous pirates was Datu Kudunding.[4] 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.[5]


  1. ^ United States Navy Publication 163, Chapter 10, prepared by the National Imagery and Mapping Agency
  2. ^ a b Hutton, Wendy (1993) East Malaysia and Brunei Passport Books, Lincolnwood, Illinois, p.77, ISBN 0-8442-9890-5
  3. ^ Tregonning, K. G. (1965) A History of Modern Sabah (North Borneo, 1881–1963) (2nd ed.) published for the University of Singapore by the University of Malaya Press, Singapore, p.191 OCLC 410956
  4. ^ Black, Ian (1983) A Gambling Style of Government: The Establishment of the Chartered Company's rule in Sabah, 1878–1915 Oxford University Press, Kuala Lumpur, p.23, ISBN 0-19-582535-7
  5. ^ Herbert, Stephen (2000) A History of Early Film Routledge, London, p.180-181, ISBN 0-415-21152-2

Further reading[edit]

  • Saleh, Ejria et al. (June 2007) "Water circulation in Darvel Bay, Sabah, Malaysia" Abstract In: 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

Coordinates: 4°48′N 118°39′E / 4.800°N 118.650°E / 4.800; 118.650