Borneo-Celebes Blues

Borneo-Celebes Blues

Sangalaki, Derawan, Maratua, Kakaban and over to Sulawesi

This special 11-Night cruise takes us from Tarakan in the Northeast of Borneo across the Makassar Strait to Palu in Central Sulawesi. It allows us to sample three distinct dive areas as part of one and the same itinerary: the islands offshore northeast Borneo; virtually untouched reef structures lining the Borneo coastline; and, the many bays and islands lining the Sulawesi side of the Makassar Strait north of Palu.

We'll start it off with a group of current-swept islands rising out of the depth of the Makassar Strait. Each island has its own specialty: Observe schools of manta rays at Sangalaki, who come here to feed on plankton. Dive amongst turtles and search for the many hidden critters in the waters around Derawan. See the barracudas, sharks, and once again mantas outside the V-shaped island of Maratua. Immerse in the saltwater lake full with non-stinging jellyfish in the middle of the island of Kakaban – or dive the spectacular walls fringing the island.

Moving on, we will do some exploratory dives on the long reef lining the Borneo coastline, a huge place no-one else but us is diving! Next we cross over to the Sulawesi side of the Strait, following closely the coastline with its many beautiful islands and hidden bays. Diving here is characterized by large reefs with great soft and hard coral coverage, and inevitably pelagics, including sharks on basically every dive.

Our point of departure/arrival, Tarakan and Palu, are both well connected to the rest of the world – to Singapore via Balikpapan, as well as to Bali and Jakarta.

Upcoming Departures for Borneo-Celebes Blues

Click 'Inquire' to check with us re availability


Cruise-IDStartEnd# NightsCruise NameCruise AreaFromToPrice (US$)Availability
2020-14 3-Jul-20 14-Jul-20 11 Borneo-Celebes Blues Palu, West Sulawesi, East Borneo Tarakan Toli Toli 4,395 Inquire
2021-14 5-Jul-21 16-Jul-21 11 Borneo-Celebes Blues Palu, West Sulawesi, East Borneo Tarakan Palu 4,425 Inquire

Dive Blog - Borneo-Celebes Blues

Check out our dive blog and read up on some spectacular dives we had on this cruise itin!

26-Jun-14: Dharma Point
We enjoyed a very gentle dive, surrounded by many turtles including some of immense size; many turtles were resting under rocks of coral and appeared not to mind at all being approached for close-ups by the photographers. What’s more, our dive guides found two frogfish and many nudis to keep everybody entertained.

25-Jun-14: Barracuda Point
Once again an action-packed dive: lots and lots of sharks circling in front of the wall, two schools of barracuda, many big-eye trevallies and an eagle ray swooping past.

19-Jun-14: One-Hut Beach
As usual, there were quite a few sharks resting in the sand valley when we entered the water. As we crossed and moved towards the ledge, a large school of jacks came straight towards us and half surrounded us before disappearing once again in the blue. Which gave us time to take in the beautifully overgrown ledge, looking for critters in the sea fans and on the substrate, while a large bull shark swept in to have a brief glance at what the divers were doing on his ledge!

18-Jun-14: Stadium
As previously, this site once again produced both good macro – leaf scorpionfish, thin gost pipefish – as well as schooling fish action with bluefin trevallies, giant trevallies and jacks. It was interesting to see how some jacks displayed remora-like behavior towards the sharks that circled beneath the school of jacks.

14-Aug-13: Karang Halut
On both dives we had on this site, we took in the amazing scenery of this centuries-old hard coral reef. As usual, whitetip reef sharks were almost constantly present around us throughout the dive, and a school of batfish was circling around just beneath the surface. However, the real stars of this dive were the two painted frogfish we found on the deeper sections of the slope.

13-Aug-13: Stadium
How can you give photographers a recommendation for what lense to use on this dive? After starting out in some reasonably strong current, taking in the abundant fish life including jacks, sharks and a large napoleon wrasse, we drifted along the steep slope and then shallow reeftop, where we found many nudibranches including, some rarely seen Polyceridae; reef octopus; and even a wonderpus!

09-Aug-13: Big Fish Country
This dive site never stops to amaze us! In addition to the batteries of barracudas, jacks, giant trevally, snappers and many other fish, we enjoyed the rare sight of African Pompanos, including juvenile animals with their amazing dorsal and abdominal fins!

07-Aug-13: Barracuda Point
On what has been our best dive at Barracuda Point during this year’s Borneo season, we were swamped by a large school of jacks and more whitetip reef sharks than we could count; needless to say, the battery of barracudas was here as well! The pregnant white tip that we had seen so many times over the course of this season was again here as well, and we look forward to seeing some baby whitetips in 2014!

02-Jul-13: Hollow Wall
Challenged by a rather untypical current environment, we had no choice but to change plans and try an exploratory dive along a stretch of reef that we (and perhaps no-one else) had dived before. All the more surprised were we by what we found: a long, steep wall that appears to be almost entirely carved out, with enormous overhangs and crevices, with some of them easily large enough that one could hide a truck or bus underneath! At times there were up to three layers of overhangs staggered on top of each other, before the wall eventually gave way to a steep slope disappearing into the abyss. The overhangs were covered with many types of sponges, including very large, pale blue tube sponges of a, and gave this unique dive site a very colorful appearance.

30-Jun-13: Eagle Run
With crystal clear water from a cold upwelling below 25-30 meters, we spent the first part of this dive out in the blue – and were rewarded with the sight of a school of 14 large eagle rays! The eagle rays appeared to be going back and forth along the steep slope, as if they were following us through our dive.

25-Jun-13: Karang Halut
Entering upcurrent, we spent the first part of the dive amongst hundreds of surgeonfish and fusiliers feeding on current-borne plankton. Then slowly drifting over the reef, we enjoyed the spectacular beauty of the centuries-old hard coral – large fields of cabbage coral, different types of staghorns, and large porites – of what easily ranks as one of the best hard coral reefs in the entire country. Whitetip reef sharks were almost constantly present throughout the dive, circling leisurely at only a few centimeters above the coral fields.