East Kalimantan

East Kalimantan

Well after a 2 hours ride on the river and on the open ocean, I have reached Derawan island and checked in to my room. It is a nice resort except that the food could be a little bit better.

The diving:

The most important thing is the diving here ! This area has some very special dives to offer, which from my point of view as a photographer, are excellent. I do travel quiet frequently, alone mainly, doing hotel inspections for my groups to dive and photograph. When I am alone and I don’t have my wife as an underwater model with me, the success rate of good photos is %10. But here, I got some top shots without having an underwater model !

Kakaban Island and the jelly fish lake are one of the ‘must visit’ sites for photographers. Do not do the mistake of swimming out to the middle of the lake and photographing lots of jelly fish. Do stay at the shore where rainforest meets the reef.  Find yourself a cooperative jelly fish and start shooting splits and reflections !! If you can catch a passing by snorkeler ask him/her to model for a couple of shots.

There is a dive site called  Barracuda Point at Kakaban Island , also a dive not to be missed, serves your wide angle setup for the day !


Sangalaki , what can I further recommend about a site with 40 + manta while diving or snorkeling ? Do you need some photographic tips ? Don’t chase them. That’s all!

Maratua , If you’re going to dive in ‘The Channel’ , don’t bother taking your camera with you . You will be tossed around by the strong currents and miss the main attractions , namely , barracudas, sharks, schools of eagle rays. Well I did try and didn’t succeed in getting any shots, but you may end up luckier than I was.

Derawan Island has the best jetty dive I have seen till now, with thousands of yellow snappers schooling the stilts of the jetty which are outgrown by huge colorful fan corals. Definitely worth a wide-angle dive here . Derawan has also very good muck diving to  offer, with creatures you won’t be able to see anymore at the famous muck dive locations around the world. Jaw-fish were looking out of their holes every 30cm or so. Mating squids, pikachu nudis, ghost pipe fish, sail-fin blennies and mantis shrimps were common sights.

For the full Image Gallery please click here .