Location : Pulau Derawan, Kabupaten Berau, Kalimantan Timur, Indonesia.
The Derawan Islands (Kepulauan Derawan) are part of the Berau Regency, in the province of East Kalimantan in Indonesia. They include Derawan, Sangalaki,Kakaban, Maratua, Panjang, and SamamaIsland and submerged reefs and islets. Derawan islands is a part of Coral Triangle, which contains one of the richest marine biodiversity on earth.
Some forums may have unkind words for Derawan due to its over commercialised beachfront but I feel that it gave us a chance to have a glimpse of the Bajaus lifestyle. These are the sea gypsies that have made their home permanent here and the tourism business must be good enough to make them stay put.
Cart vendor selling fish at night
Unfortunately, on the night we stayed here no turtles came to nest. There were a couple of cafes as we explored for dinner. Knowing how to speak the Indonesian language helped a lot as the locals could not speak any English. Quite a handful of tourists here. This was the only island that had a souvenir store.
Early next morning, we took a 20minute walk to the snorkeling spot.
Morning view from homestay
On the way to snorkel
Derawan Dive Resort
A touch of Dayak
Nothing much to shout about the marine life here. Water visibility was OK despite the fact that the island looked quite densely populated. By the time we started walking back to our homestay, the sand and belian plank walk was burning hot from the morning sun. Good thing I had my slippers on.
The only giant clam left
At last, it was time to say goodbye and hit the waves across the Celebes Sea.
Lots of ‘bagan’ out there
Relieved to see my driver Baha with his van at the pier waiting. Wondered how he passed the two nights when we were at sea. He had to have a long story to tell for the long drive to the next stop, Tanjung Selor.