Why dive the Derawan Archipelago and the Sangalaki Marine park?
The latest Scuba Junkie dive resort is on
Derawan island, diving all of the islands in the Sangalaki Marine Park. Here we thought we'd introduce you to Scuba Junkie Sangalaki so you know what to expect ahead of your trip including where
we are, how to get to us, what the resort is like and what you can see on your
Where is it?
It's true that this area is not so well
known, but that's a great thing if you ask us! It means we can take you to
beautiful islands and dive sites away from the crowds.
Derawan island is part of Indonesian Borneo -
Kalimantan. It's in the Kalimantan Timur
region - Our closest town on the main island of Borneo is Berau, which is one
of the places you can fly to in order to reach us, our other closest town is
Tarakan - itself an island a bit further North.
Derawan island has a local fishing community,
a couple of other resorts and some homestays.
The locals are really friendly and welcoming.
How to get to us?
The area is served my two main airports -
Tarakan (TRK) and Berau (BEJ).
From Tarakan airport we can pick you up at
the airport and bring you to the harbour, where the transfer
boat will bring you to the resort on Derawan.
Our transfer service runs on Mondays and you can expect the speed boat
ride to take between 3-4 hours.
Otherwise you'll fly into Berau - most of the
time you'll connect in Balikpapan (BPN), which is served by flights from
Singapore, Jakarta, Bali and other Indonesian hubs. If you're coming from Scuba Junkie Komodo you'd
take this route!
From Berau it's a 2-2.5 hour taxi ride
followed by a 30 minute speed boat ride to Derawan.
We can arrange all of the transfers for you,
and if you're not sure which airport is best to arrive into, just ask!
What's the resort like?
Once you've arrived on Derawan we'll welcome
you into the resort. Our seven water
bungalows and our 4-bed water dorm are a very short walk away from the dive centre
and chill out area.
We have 3 double water bungalows; 3 twin-bed
water bungalows and one bungalow which can be converted between double and twin
bed configuration. Our dorm sleeps 4 and
has comfy bunk beds.
All bungalows and the dorm have a spacious
balcony where you can relax after your dives and watch Derawan's green turtles
when they swim up to eat the sea grass!
The bungalows are fan-cooled, have en-suite
bathrooms, a small safe plus they're equipped with an umbrella and a backup
torch in case of emergencies (!) and all have black-out curtains and cozy
duvets. As we're built over the water
the rooms are pretty cool!
Chill out area
Our amazing chill out area is upstairs, above
the dive centre and offers spectacular sunset (and sunrise)
views, and is an ideal place to watch for turtles swimming by.
It's also where you'll eat breakfast in the
mornings and log your dives with your guide after diving - Of course we have
cold beers and soft drinks available as well as squishy bean bags and hammocks!
The dive centre
We're a PADI 5* dive centre,
like other Scuba Junkie resorts and dive centres. We cater for up to 20 divers and we stock
Mares rental equipment - 3mm long wetsuits an open heel fins with booties for
your comfort. We also have Suunto Zoop
dive computers for rent.
Our fiberglass dive boats dock straight
outside the dive centre so it's easy to
board for your dive trips, and our boats are equipped with lifejackets, oxygen,
first aid, GPS and a satellite phone.
After diving you'll find the rinse tanks for
your equipment (we'll take care of your BCD and reg if you're using our gear),
and then you'll have an allocated locker to safely store your equipment
Yes, yes - this is the part you've been
waiting for! The Derawan Archipelago and
Sangalaki Marine Park consists of the islands of Derawan, Sangalaki, Kakaban,
Maratua, Semama and Pandjang. We dive at
all islands and they're very diverse! We
leave for diving at 8am and return to the resort around 4-5pm, depending on
which island we visit. When diving
Derawan it may be possible to return to the resort between dives, if the tide
allows. Sangalaki is about 45 minutes
away, and both Kakaban and Maratua are about an hour away.
Derawan - Has gentle sloping colourfulcoral
reefs and small walls, rarely has currents and is a haven for turtles and macro
life. We'll most often dive Derawan as
the first day of your package so that you have time to adjust to your equipment
in the easy dive conditions. We can offer
refreshers here if you haven't been diving in a while, too. It's really common to see turtles around
Derawan, plus the usual reef suspects such as moorish idols, snapper, batfish,
trevally plus awesome macro such as frogfish, ghost pipefish, and pygmy
seahorse. It's also where we do our
night dives which are not to be missed!
Thanks Clare Lancaster for the photo
Sangalaki - This is where we go to look for
Mantas! Sangalaki's topography is quite
unusual… Shallow reefs with sandy channels and coral mounds - often these are
cleaning stations for Manta rays! The
manta cleaning stations are located on one side of the island, so we often
spend our dives here swimming (or drifting) between them. Often the mantas give us a clue as we can see
their wings tips giving away their location as they feed at the surface. Sangalaki dives are shallow - max 18m, often
shallower. In addition to mantas we also
see turtles, leopard sharks, cuttlefish, schooling fusiliers, cool macro life
and amazing coral!
Kakaban - Is an uninhabited island and home
to the sting-less jellyfish lake - one of only a few in the world! We visit the lake on our surface intervals
for snorkeling! The reefs and walls of
Kakaban never disappoint - we often drift in the fun currents and we see
schooling barracudas, jackfish, black tip and white tip sharks. There are a couple of thresher sharks which
we see fairly often and Barracuda Point dive site always throws us some
Kakaban trips are included with our packages
which have 4 days of diving or more.
Maratua - Is the largest of all of the
islands and is a unique, horse-shoe shape.
The diving around it is stunning wall dives with huge gorgonian fans and
also sloping coral reefs. Maratua also
has a resident school of barracuda, it too has some fun currents - we usually
drift here also while keeping an eye on the blue for tunas, wahoo, rainbow
runners and the like. We also see napoleon
wrasse, eagle rays and sharks.
Maratua trips are included with our packages
which have 5 diving days or more.
We can also help you with snorkel trips to see the almighty whale sharks!
As with all Scuba Junkie locations you'll
have small dive groups with a maximum of 4 divers per guide, safe and
responsible diving practices and a commitment to conservation.
So what are you waiting for?! Get planning your trip - send us an email
with any questions you might have!