Kalimatan East, Sangalaki Dive Lodge
Included in your day rate on the Island, we include upto 3 dives. Additional dives & PADI Courses are available for an additional cost. (See “diving & Courses” page)
We dive every month of the year at Sangalaki. Because we are only 2 degrees North of the Equator, we do not experience strong trade winds, a monsoon season or Typhoons. Borneo is known as “The Land Below The Winds”. There are two seasons in Borneo, the “Rainy Season” which lasts from December to March and the “Dry Season” which lasts the rest of the year. That being said, since we are in the tropics, we have generally splendid weather in the “Rainy Season”, and occasional tropical downpours in the “Dry Season”. The temperature is a fairly constant 82-86 degrees Farenheit or 28-30 degrees Celsius year round, day and night. Offshore islands do not suffer from the high humidity of the mainland. Light sea breezes make the climate quite comfortable anytime of the year. It hasn’t snowed here for 65 million years.
Our visibility averages about 65 feet (20 M.). If can fall as low as 25-30 feet (8-10 M.) or be in excess of 100 feet (30+ M.). Lots of rain out here offshore doesn’t affect our visibility as much as lots of rain on the mainland which increases river runoff. Sangalaki usually has better visibility than Samama or Derawan because it is a little further offshore. Kakaban and Maratua tend to have slightly better visibility than Sangalaki because they are even further out. Visibility at Barracuda Point on Kakaban frequently tops 100 feet (30+ M.). Water temperature is a fairly constant 82F or 28C year round. Even the occasional thermocline rarely drops the temperature more than a degree or two, consequently, we have very poor conditions for ice diving.
While most of our diving is done at the spectacular sites surrounding Sangalaki, we also do frequent day trips to our neighboring islands. Click on a link for specific information about each island.
Sangalaki Samama Kakaban Maratua
Sangalaki is surrounded by a shallow lagoon 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 Dive 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 at Sangalaki are amazingly prolific with over 500 species present around the island (compared to only 67 species in the ENTIRE Caribbean). Fish life and invertebrates are also prolific. Sangalaki 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.
Here is an example of an actual log book entry:
“Our first dive of the day was at Manta Run. We saw a number of Mantas cruising the surface, so everyone jumped in and snorkeled with them. I put on a tank and hung out just below the surface so that I could get a better angle for video. We probably saw about a dozen or so Mantas, and the most interesting part for me were the black ones. They have several here that are totally black, top and bottom. Mantas usually look like Stealth Bombers, but the Black ones REALLY look like them. After we’d had enough of the Mantas, we did a dive on a shallow flat reef with beautiful corals and lots of reef fishes. I saw Crab Eye Gobies, Blue Ribbon Eels, Vermiculated angels, some unique Nudibranchs and Flatworms. In the afternoon we dove at Turtle Town. I saw two Octopi, a popcorn crab, a school of striped catfish, and several Nudis, and a couple of really tame Giant Cuttlefish. After the dive, we went looking for surface Mantas again and found another dozen. Not a bad day of diving.”
If you love to see rare little macro subjects, you’ll love doing some dives at Samama, a 15 minute boat ride from Sangalaki. Its primo muck diving, without the muck. There are lots of lovely corals there with great macro mixed in.
Here’s another actual log entry for two dives at Samama:
“We saw TWO clown Frog Fish, one large and one small, and the most Nudibranchs I’ve ever seen in one place. We saw 15 species from 10 different Genus’ on two dives. Many were species that I’ve only seen in books, and two species aren’t in any of the Nudibranch books I have. It was Nudi Heaven. Lots of other good little things too. Flatworms, Pipefish, Dwarf Lionfish, schools of Striped Catfish. It’s a Macro Must!”
Samama also has clusters of Mangroves that are open to the sea. This provides access to the interesting small creatures which inhabit the tangled root structures in water much clearer than you would normally find Mangroves in.
A unique Souvenir! Introduces you to different diving techniques to maximise your diving pleasure whilst Wall Diving, Coral Diving & Muck Diving.
Kakaban is a very large Island about 20 minutes from Sangalaki that is reminiscent of the Rock Islands of Palau. The sides of the island are sheer limestone cliffs covered with dense jungle right down to the water’s edge. There are very few sections of beach around the Island, but it mostly just drops straight away down the wall. While Sangalaki has shallow reefs, the name of the game at Kakaban is wall diving. One favorite site is Barracuda Point which features schooling Barracudas, and Jacks, Leopard Sharks, Gray Reef Sharks and the occasional Hammerhead, all in a ripping current that lets you fly along the wall like Superman. There’s even a permanent safety line at the end of the drift to help you ascend back to the calm shallows.
Here’s another actual log entry for a dive and snorkel trip to Kakaban:
“Our first dive at Kakaban was an electric experience. The current was strong enough to fly us along the wall without exerting any effort. The wall is beautiful with lots of large Gorgonians. After a few minutes, or Dive Master lead us up onto a large plateau. We saw a Leopard Shark and fairly large schools of Jacks and Barracudas (close to a thousand each). There were lots of huge barrel sponges and nice soft corals too. At the end of the plateau, there is a rope permanently fixed to lead you out of the current to the shallows of another wall around the corner. I saw some nice Nudis and a Blue Ribbon Eel on my safety stop.
After snorkeling away your surface interval with the Jellyfish, next stop is Kakaban’s Blue Light Cave. This is a really exciting dive. It starts at an entrance to a vertical shaft on top of the reef in about 3 feet (1 M.) of water. You step off the edge into a black hole that goes straight down. At about 70 feet (21 M.) the hole opens into the ceiling of the main cave. You swim out along the ceiling of the cave toward the wall. As you approach the exit of the cave, you can see the blue light of the sea. The exit is a long vertical crack in the wall which is about 6 feet (2 M.) wide at the top, and gets wider and wider as it goes down. You usually exit onto the wall at about 120 feet (40 M.), though you could get out at a shallower at about 100 feet (30 M.). Then you finish the dive along a beautiful section of the wall. It’s a thrilling experience.
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.