Derawan Islands : Paradise For Divers

Derawan Islands, a tropical heaven in Indonesia. Located in the Sulawesi Sea on the coastal shelf of East Kalimantan, The island of Derawan are in the Province of East Kalimantan. The islands consists about 31 islands with the well-known are the island of Derawan, Sangalaki, Kakaban, Maratua, Panjang, and Samama Island. Derawan archipelago also has several submerged reefs and small islets.

The blue-green seawater, soft sandy beaches, line of coconut trees and small forest as the background, make Derawan are well-known as one of the tropical heavens in Indonesia. The nature of Derawan made itself became the habitat of various kind of plants and animals. So do the enchanted waters of Derawan that makes Derawan Islands become one of the beautiful dive site in the world and the dreamland of the divers.

Derawan Islands
Derawan Islands (Source :

In a biodiversity hotspot, the Derawan archipelago feature 872 species of reef fishes, 507 species of coral, and invertebrates, including protected species: 5 giants clam, 2 sea turtles, coconut crab, etc. The waters of Derawan are also known as the habitat for manta rays and giant green turtles. Moreover, the divers will also find the school of tunas, jacks and leopard sharks. Also the groupers, napoleon wrasses and lobsters in Derawan Islands.

There are about 25 interesting dive sites in Derawan. But the famous-five of interesting dive sites are Derawan Island, Sangalaki Island, Kakaban Island, Maratua Island and Barracuda Point. Each site has its own distinct features. Some divers said that we needed  more than 10 days to explore all the dives sites in Derawan.

Sangalaki Island, Derawan
Sangalaki Island, Derawan (Source :

In Derawan archipelago, divers can see the green turtles, white tip, leopard & nurse sharks, barracuda, napoleon wrasse, cuttle fish, Spanish mackerel, jacks, bat fish and the usual reef fish. Also the excellent distribution of hard and soft corals, sponges and many very beautiful gorgonians,  in pristine condition. Many of reef fishes are playing among the corals and reefs.

National Marine Reserve Sangalaki Island is well-known for its huge population of mating and nesting sea turtles. In a timeless cycle of reproduction, both hawksbill and green turtles come here to mate and lay their eggs. And according to statistics there are an estimated 750,000 eggs per year on the island Sangalaki. The locals get a living by helping hatching, raising and releasing young turtles into the sea.

The jellyfish, Kakaban lake
The jellyfish, Kakaban lake (Source :

There is a prehistoric lake in Kakaban Island. In the lake, there are jellyfish that don’t sting, sea cucumbers, sea snakes & gobbies. Unfortunately, although still appeared natural, but the reef clearly shows signs of having been damaged by bomb fishing.

Barracuda Point, the site that diver can see the blue tuna and white sharks. And Maratha island, variety of larger fish sightings including eagle rays offering a beautiful view.

To Derawan Islands, you can fly to Balikpapan, East Kalimantan. Then connecting flight to Tanjung Redeb. Or take boat to Tanjung Redeb from Samarinda or Tarakan.

Have a great diving in Derawan..

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