Pearls of Borneo

Pearls of Borneo

Sangalaki, Derawan, Maratua, Kakaban, Samama

This 11-Night roundtrip from/to Tarakan in the Northeast of Borneo takes us to the islands and reefs rising out of the depth of the Makassar Strait. Leaving the Borneo coastline behind, the sea becomes deep very soon. Yet a little further out, a series of large coral reefs and islands rises out of the sheer depth to the surface. They are swept by strong currents, washing up big fish from the depth to shallower waters, where they join in and chase the many reef fish.

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. Scan the shallow waters surrounding Samama to find a wealth of macro life.

There are other islands in the group we will pass and dive on our way, however we will also include a few exploratory dives on the long reef lining the Borneo coastline, a huge place no-one else but us is diving!

Our point of departure/arrival, Tarakan, is well connected to the rest of the world - to Singapore via Balikpapan, as well as to Bali and Jakarta.

Upcoming Departures for Pearls of Borneo

Click 'Inquire' to check with us re availability


Cruise-IDStartEnd# NightsCruise NameCruise AreaFromToPrice (US$)Availability
2020-12 7-Jun-20 17-Jun-20 10 Pearls of Borneo East Borneo Tarakan Tarakan 4,020 Inquire
2020-13 20-Jun-20 30-Jun-20 10 Pearls of Borneo East Borneo Tarakan Tarakan 4,020 Inquire
2021-13 21-Jun-21 2-Jul-21 11 Pearls of Borneo East Borneo Tarakan Tarakan 4,425 Inquire

Dive Blog – Pearls of Borneo

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

27-Jul-13: Current City III
A cold upwelling during our dive on Current City III provided for crystal clear waters and lots of fish. We passed multiple, large schools of surgeonfish; each school appeared to take a keen interest in us and follow us for a couple of minutes, circling around the divers, and by the time they let loose, the next school was already approaching. Two eagle rays flew past, and we saw two large marbled stingrays from very close up.

26-Jul-13: Deep South
During our long drift dive along the Deep South reef, we ran again into ‘Simi’, our friendly leopard shark; a school of full size red snappers; two giant trevally; and, schooling rainbow runners that swam up to us from way down the vertical wall. Later in the dive as the current changed direction, the barracudas swooped past, and large schools of fusiliers and surgeonfish were moving past swiftly in an effort to reposition themselves for the falling tide.

24-Jul-13: Big Fish Country
Once again a world class dive! We had excellent conditions with a rather moderate current and excellent visibility. We spent the first half of the dive taking in the two enormous schools of barracuda right in the channel, prior to moving a little further South to watch the large schools of jacks, surgeonfish and snappers, and the occasional giant trevally chasing right through the middle of the action.

17-Jul-13: Resort Jetty
In addition to nudibranches, octopus, tiny scorpionfish, and turtles everywhere, the giant frogfish was the star of this dive!

15-Jul-13 & 16-Jul-13: Barracuda Point
Not only the barracuda, but also eagle rays, a large (apparently pregnant) whitetip reef shark and a fully grown out grey reefshark were the clear highlights of our dives at Barracuda Point.

12-Jul-13 & 13-Jul-13: Deep South
We did two drift dives on this beautiful hard coral ridge, and were pleased to find out that the school of barracuda once again showed up, and that the school of oversize red snappers was still circling around where the ridge drops off into the depth. On one dives we found a leopard shark resting down below on a sandy bottom, and some of the guests saw (and photographed!) two hammerhead sharks.

09-Jul-13 & 10-Jul-2013: Big Fish Country
We had two terrific dives in the Maratua channel on these days. On both dives, there were three separate batteries of barracuda: the first one hung over us for a while like a dark cloud in the sky, with the grey barracuda so dense that it was just impossible to see through, and then there were two smaller groups of yellowtail barracuda later in the same dives. An enormous group of jacks as well as schools of emperors, black snappers, and giant trevally also stood in the current, and an eagle ray swooped past!