About Derawan island, sangalaki, Kakaban, Maratoa
The Terrains at Derawan are varied-from walls and fringing reef to caverns. Big green turtles (chelonia mydas), whitetip leopard and nurse sharks, schooling barracudas, napoleon wrasses, cuttle fish, spanish mackerel, jacks and batfishes, and ornamental reef fishes hang out in record densities and diversity.
The island of Derawan is home to critters, small and unusual creatures native to this coral environment .A great many species can be seen, where in the evenings the waters are home to predators of all shapes and sizes
Derawan is also home to sea turtles ( both green and hawksbill), which come on shore at night during high tide and lay their eggs.
Sangalaki is the world Capital of Mantas. At Sangalaki Diving Site the familiar set of Manta Rays emerges from all directions. Their wing tips breaking the surfaces at regular interval.
Snorkeling is the way to interact with this gentle plankton feeders. Totally unperturbed by your presence, they swim in eurhythmy and sometimes glide right up to you before making a sharp nose-dive into the blue. It is not unusual to find them encircling you. Though most of them are about 3,5 meters (12 ft) wide with a white belly, there a few black giant with a 6 meters (20 ft) wing span – we refer to them fondly as the Darth Vaders.
The sensation of looking through their giant mouths cannot be described, it must be experienced. it is totally out of this world, so much so that one published writer reported that he was whacked by his own adrenaline.
Sangalaki is surrounded by a shallow langoon and the reefs start a distance out from the Island. SInce there is so much shallow reef here, there is a vast diversity of marine life, and since the area is a protected marine park, the reefs are quite pristine. Most Sangalaki Diving sites are shallower than 65 feet (20 m). The reef slope gently and all dive sites have excellent shallow areas for the end of your dive. The hard and soft corals here are amazingly prolific with over 500 species present around the island. It is a good place to see both large and small marine creatures. When you look up after watching a colorful Nudibranch, don’t be surprised to see a Turtle or Manta Ray swimming by.
Kakaban island is a coral atoll that has been uplifted by geological forces, turning the lagoon into a land-locked lake.
The 5 square-kilometer lake, surrounded by a 50-meter ridge, occupies most of the interior of this uninhabited island, which has been declared a government nature reserve. From the surface, Kakaban looks like a typical freshwater lake, but below there is an abundance of colorful marine life. Kakaban is wall diving which features schooling Barracudas and Jacks, Leopard Sharks, Gray Reef Sharks and the occasional Hammerhead. Top it off with the world’s largest Jellyfish lake in the center of the islands.
The shoreline is fringed with a tangle of mangroves. Their sturdy roots, as thick as human arm, are cloaked with sponges, seaweeds and tunicates. Visibility is around 10-12 meters, and the lake is almost 11 meters deep. Some of the strangest species and typical behaviors are observed in this prehistory lake. Through millennium, they have adapted into an ecosystem that is totally unique to the brackish water environment.
The lake is teeming with at least 4 species of stingless jelly fish including one of an upside down species of Cassiopea (possibly Cassiopea Xamachana). About three species of Halimeda green algae cover the bottom, and mangrove roots live side by side with tunicates, sponges, tube worms, bihalves, crustacean, anemones, sea cucumbers, sea snakes and at least five known species of gobies. Unidentified species are in abundance.
Maratua, about an hour from Sangalaki by boat is a large island with a massive lagoon. The island only rims part of the lagoon, the rest is fringed by reef and wall. A channel into the lagoon is an incredible drift dive and the surrounding walls are loaded with hard and soft corals.
Imagine you are sitting on a ringside seat, the arena an underwater colosseum at 100 feet, beneath you and abyssal plunge beyond the depth of mortal endurance.
The arrival of a lone 7 foot great barracuda heralds for the show to begin. A dark cloud emerges from the distance, like an uprising tornado, as it twirls toward you, the dark mass metamorphosis into silvery screen of barracudas.
Eight spotted eagle rays pear from the liquid information whilst heavy bodied gray sharks arrive at an electrifying velocity to break up a school of big tooth trevally.
Large Dog-tooth tunas and mackerels make up the chorus line to fleeting appearance of hammerheads and mantas, this show is the greatest show on earth beneath the sea, the performance limited to twice daily everyday of the year.