Exploring Indonesia – Below the surface – Borneo – Derawan

A B/W from above the deep.

Indonesia – Trip of Wonders

Part 1 – Derawan

As we arrive after a solid 12 hrs of traveling on the boat, a welcoming site is Maratua Island. A local community inhabiting a small ringlike shaped island lined with amazing dive spots along its shores.
My headache was still in full force. Very hard to think straight forward and concentrate. We would hang out, eat dinner and sleep in our bungalows. My roommate was Mike, an avid adventurer exploring the worlds untapped places (fearless and far on social media). The next day we would all get on a boat and head to Kakaban Lake where it is filled with 3 types of stingless jellyfish. An amazing twist in natures evolution. I would leave halfway to continue my scuba instruction with another attendee and dive instructor Azalia. I started my training in the states but wasn’t able to continue from an ear infection about 2 weeks ago. I will never forget the moment when I was breathing under water looking at hundreds of fish watching me. We finished up as the group was returning. We all headed back to our island and got ready for the next dive Turtle traffic. Seems pretty fitting for my first real dive! For my first open water dive I would obviously not bring a camera, since I was still training. We dove to about 8 meters (25ft) and drifted along the reef seeing lots of green and hawksbill sea turtles. I was a little hard to focus on much more than my training but a great place to learn to scuba. Of course I am very comfortable in the water so it wasn’t hard for me to learn. What I was focused on was my ears. The reason I have never scuba dove is the fact that I can’t equalize very well in one ear. With years of free diving in less than 20ft of water I have learned how to adapt and get my ear to equalize. When I grew up I had more ear surgeries than you can count on two hands, so my ears had scarring inside. Now it just takes me a little longer than others to equalize.

I came up after the 30 min dive achieving something that I had hoped to do when I was young but doctors recommend I not do it. We all headed back to the resort for lunch and then the next dive. I would skip the channel dive as I wasn’t ready to go deep and have a ton of current to deal with. Instead myself and some others took a boat to another reef where I would free dive with tons of fish turtles and a teeming reef. Return back to the dock, fly my drone and I discover a mecca of juvenile green sea turtles feeding on grass in very shallow clear water. Check out the video in my gallery.

Day 4…. Whale sharks.
I am so grateful that my headache left before all these amazing experiences! This morning we did something I have always wanted to, in fact who wouldn’t want to!? We took a 2hr boat ride out to off shore fishing areas where the whale sharks hang out nearby. Swimming alongside and 20ft graceful harmless shark was such an amazing experience. I spent almost 2hrs swimming around. I felt a little guilty as this is something my wife has also always wanted to do. I hope I can take her with me again!
We then traveled to a small island called Manta point. Here is a breeding ground for green and hawksbill sea turtles. We explored and learned about the conservation program they have to protect the turtles. Always great to see conservation efforts around the world.
We then dove to see the Manta Rays. It would be my second dive, this time bringing my camera down with my for the first time on scuba. After a strong current would take us along the point we didn’t see one manta! Thats ok, the whale shark was amazing, hopefully I will get to see a manta in some of our other destinations. We stopped at an island to have lunch on the end of a dock. Entertainment from this crew is always happening. Chris would get a crew together for a dance party on the dock while he flew his drone up. Mike would gather the dare devils to do flips off the dock (12ft) for his channel. I usually sat back and enjoyed the show. I would take my drone up as soon as we spotted a pod of dolphins offshore. They slowly swam along the deep water channel gracefully coming to the surface to breathe.

Day 5 – Departure day.

Today we pack up and start the 24hr journey to Raja Ampat, one of the worlds top underwater natural wonders.

For more on where I went and how you can go visit: indonesia.travel