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Scuba Diving in Kalimantan: A Guide to the Best Sites and Seasons

Kalimantan

Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo, is a paradise for scuba divers who love to explore diverse and pristine underwater environments. Kalimantan has some of the best scuba diving sites in the world, with hundreds of coral and fish species, as well as larger marine animals such as turtles, sharks, mantas, and whale sharks.

Whether you have never experienced a liveaboard or an expert diver, you will find something to suit your taste and skill level in Kalimantan. You can choose from a variety of dive sites, ranging from shallow reefs and lagoons to deep walls and caves. You can also enjoy different types of diving, such as drift diving, muck diving, and cave diving. It will be an unforgettable experience of a lifetime!

In this guide, we will introduce you to some of the best places and times to scuba dive in Kalimantan, and give you some tips and recommendations on how to plan your trip.

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Best Places to Scuba Dive
in Kalimantan

Kalimantan has a long coastline that stretches from the Java Sea to the Celebes Sea, and is dotted with many islands and archipelagos that offer excellent diving opportunities. A liveaboard is the perfect way to explore this area, because all highlights in the area are explored in great comfort! Here are some of the most popular and recommended places that should not be missed in Kalimantan:

Derawan Island 

This is the main island and the base for most liveaboards and dive resorts. It has a long sandy beach, a friendly village, and a shallow lagoon that is perfect for snorkeling and beginner divers. You can see turtles, stingrays, cuttlefish, and even whale sharks in the water.

Sangalaki Island

This is a small island that is famous for its manta rays. You can swim with these graceful giants, as they feed and glide in the currents. You can also see dolphins, reef sharks, and barracudas in the surrounding waters.

Kakaban Island 

This is a unique island that has a large brackish lake in its center. The lake is home to millions of stingless jellyfish, that you can snorkel with. The lake also has other rare and endemic species, such as mangrove snails, sea cucumbers, and anemones. The island also has some amazing dive sites, such as Barracuda Point, where you can see schools of barracudas, jacks, and trevallies.

Maratua Island

This is a large island that has a stunning atoll and a deep lagoon. The island offers a variety of dive sites, from walls and slopes to caves and channels. You can see hammerhead sharks, eagle rays, napoleon wrasses, and schools of fish in the deep waters, and turtles, octopuses, and nudibranchs in the shallow waters. 

Best Times to Scuba Dive in Kalimantan

The best time to dive in the Derawan Archipelago is from April to October, when the weather is dry and sunny, and the sea is calm and clear. This is also the best time to see whale sharks and manta rays, as they are more active and abundant. From November to March, the weather is wetter and windier, and the sea can be rough and murky. This can affect the visibility and the accessibility of some dive sites, especially the ones that are exposed to the open sea.

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