Crocodile fish. Derawan Island (Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009).
Crocodile fish. Derawan Island (Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009).

Derawan under the water

# Borneo # Indonesia

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:

  Borneo [Malaysia and Indonesia] - July 2009

Back to Derawan ... under the surface. The reef of the island, even if it is not the most spectacular of the sites of the corner, deserves some dives. The little creatures that I adore abound.

Muck-dive near the pontoon

I regret, moreover, not to have been able to enjoy the site more, during my stay there in July. Because of this damn stingray sting, I had to spend three days in the dry time to heal properly ... Private dives! Infuriating.

I have to just watch the turtles from the dock ... Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009.
I have to just watch the turtles from the dock ... Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009.

That said, I would still have managed to cumulate three dives in Derawan itself (in addition to the dives at Sangalaki and Kakaban). Contrary to what one might think looking at the azure sea from the pontoons, the visibility under the water is rather bad around the island, because of the sediments carried by the river basin of Berau, on Borneo. The archipelago is not so far from the mouth.

Houses on stilts in Derawan. (Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009).
Houses on stilts in Derawan. (Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009).

In diving, we move a few meters from the pontoons of the village. Atmosphere rather "muck-dive", so. Personally, I love. For the uninitiated, the "Muck-dive" (literally "immersed in the mud", to understand: in unclear water flush with the substrate) it often means ... that we do not see much! There is fog in the water. The interest of the dive lies in all the little things that hide in the sand, the coral, under the pillars of the pontoons ...

If we just palmer sweeping the entire look, we are inevitably disappointed: it seems that there is nothing special to see. But if we move slowly, taking the time to scrutinize the bottom, we discover wonders. Gobies, nudibranchs, shrimp, crocodile fish, cuttlefish, octopus ... I feasted to hunt down all this little world with my goal ...

Flat worm. Derawan Island (Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009).
Flat worm. Derawan Island (Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009).
Crocodile fish. Derawan Island (Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009).
Crocodile fish. Derawan Island (Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009).
Nudibranch. Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009.
Nudibranch. Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009.
Cuttlefish. Derawan Island (Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009).
Cuttlefish. Derawan Island (Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009).
Shrimp. Derawan Island (Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009).
Shrimp. Derawan Island (Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009).

Attention to the current!

The dives here delighted me. Especially since we almost certainly cross one or more turtles underwater. They are everywhere and even swim under pontoons, where islanders put banana leaves to attract them.

Just hang a banana leaf under the pontoon to attract turtles! (Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009).
Just hang a banana leaf under the pontoon to attract turtles! (Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009).

Caution, however. Depending on the time, the current can become quite strong and surprising ... The tides on these shoals are important and powerful.

Including for those who are content with snorkeling, to the area where there is a beautiful coral garden close to the surface, distrust: during our stay, two very good swimmers from our small group Tourists, at the Danakan losmen, had a hard time getting back to the pontoons.

The children of Derawan play in the water near the pontoons. (Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009.)
The children of Derawan play in the water near the pontoons. (Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009.)

During my very first dive in Derawan, I was with a couple of Spanish, very great beginners. The current has risen suddenly.

They were trained and our guide Oslan had a good run behind them to catch up, they remained a few moments separated from him, without seeing him anymore, which gave them long minutes of stress. Fortunately, we were at the end of the dive and already in the 5-6 meters zone for a while ...

Emergency lift ...

Near the island, the bottom is about twenty meters, which makes exploration rather comfortable. But be careful not to be caught by the time: monopolized as it is by small animals, we arrive without even realizing the limits of non-decompression ... Better watch his dive computer! Finally, visibility being what it is, I can not recommend too much to stay really close to his buddy. An incident happened so quickly.

Come on, I tell you ...

During a dive there, my duo of the day, a Frenchman, Guilhem, had a problem with his rental regulator. Fortunately we were close to each other.

Absorbed as I was by a nudibranch that I was trying to immortalize, I did not see anything. It was only when a cloud of sand rose in front of my camera that I looked up. I first pestered internally ... see the kind: "But it's not true, he messed up the picture! "

Because in fact, he rushed on me to grab my backup regulator! ! !

He tears it, puts it in the mouth and beckons me, his eyes wide behind his mask, he wants to go back. 😯

OK, OK, not so fast. Calm. Look at me. Breathe. How are you breathing? It's okay ? It's okay. He answers OK to my sign. Phew.

Unlike the Spanish, it is a diver of good level. He controls himself quickly and his panic is flowing, now that he has air. I let it suck greedily a few bars.

Then we start the recovery, face to face. I control the climb. I see in his eyes that everything is fine now. He confirms it to me several times by sign. We resurfaced well as it should, at the right speed.

I must admit, in retrospect, that I am very very very happy to have followed these damn lessons of Rescue a few months ago! And having repeated, dozens of times, this kind of recovery ...

Selfie underwater with my Legend Expander. (Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009.)
Selfie underwater with my Legend Expander. (Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009.)

It was only 8 minutes that we were in the water. We were 20 meters away. Oslan, our guide had disappeared, caught by the underwater "fog". He was not far, though. When he started the climb, we heard him bang on his block, I answered him on mine, but we were already a few meters higher, out of sight, he could no longer spot us. So we waited on the surface. The boat, moored to the dock nearby, took a little time to pick us up.

Guilhem explained that he had a problem with his rental regulator that made him swallow water instead of air ... In the panic of the moment, he did not even think about his own regulator rescue (the octopus, hanging on the side) and so rushed on mine under water.

Back at the dock, not discouraged, Guilhem simply changed the regulator. Then we went back to the water, he did not want to stop there.

We then did a very nice dive. I took lots of nice pictures. But here, I guarantee you that we stayed all well together, this time, to admire the nudists.

Nudibranch. (Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009.)
Nudibranch. (Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009.)
Nudibranch. (Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009.)
Nudibranch. (Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009.)
Nudibranch. (Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009.)
Nudibranch. (Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009.)

Diving and safety in Derawan

Moral: Derawan is a great place to make bubbles, but it's better to have your own stuff. After this kind of incident, which could have ended badly, I know why I am clogging up with the little extra pounds of my darling Legend.

Finally, although I enjoyed my dives with the small "center" of the losmen Danakan, I have many reservations about its organization. Better to be autonomous and able to take care of diving, I would not recommend the place to beginner divers who need to be supervised ... The boss was not there during my stay. This may explain that.

Dive equipment on the pontoon of losmen Danakan. (Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009.)
Dive equipment on the pontoon of losmen Danakan. (Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia, July 2009.)

The other option on the island is the Derawan Dive Resort at the other end of the beach, which seems more serious and better equipped (boats, equipment in good condition). But during my stay, no "walk-in" possible. They only work with packages, much more expensive (accommodation + diving), to book on their site or via tour operators (with the inevitable supplement "single").

To find all my articles on this 2009 trip to Borneo, click on the link below:

→ Travel Borneo [Malaysia + Indonesia]: July 2009

🙄

Update: return to Derawan in 2013

After this stay that goes back to July 2009, I returned to Derawan in July 2013. This time I was diving with a new structure, which had just opened. Derawan Dive Lodge (created by the Tasik Divers Center of Manado).

They have guides trained and used to driving teams, modern and fast boats, with engines that go well. In short, much better conditions, security issue, to dive around Derawan, Sangalaki and Kakaban ... You can find my articles for this trip of 2013 at the end of the link below:

→ Travel Indonesia and Malaysia: Borneo - July 2013

  Borneo [Malaysia and Indonesia] - July 2009

  1. Hi Corinne,

    you really do very pretty underwater photos, a real pleasure for my eyes & #8230; When will your next trip to Thailand be? Have a nice day 🙂

  2. 🙄 mmm ... I feel like it would please me!
    I love your nude pictures ... and the crocodile is beautiful, beautiful angle of view!

  3. But how not to adore nudibranchs ??? In any case, it works, I am always delighted and fascinated to see these little creatures with incredible colors.
    Thank you 😀

  4. Too great your nudibranch photos! 🙂
    I became quite a fan and it decided to equip me with a small Nikon L20 to try to flash the nudity during my next dives in the Red Sea in early November.
    Do you have some basic tips for this type of photos?
    Thank you in advance and above all continues to amaze us.

  5. Hello Corinne!

    I'm always stunned by what you can do with an A95 gun? You confirm me that it is always this camera that you use?

    Your photo of the crocodile fish is superb! Not to mention nude photos.

    Thank you for this story "rescue divers". It may seem odd, but since I did my Rescue, I hope that a situation like this will happen to me just to see how I will react. With all these lay-en-situation that I can not wait to put my knowledge into practice! But since it's flat calm & #8230; No cramps under water, no "narcotic" people to calm, no "unconscious diver at the surface" that I could tow & #8230; NOTHING ! At the mall the other day, I saw an old lady who seemed to be breathing badly. I'm going from my best: "I'm a first responder, may I help you ??? False alert, everything was fine! She was a little out of breath but that's it! I want people in trouble and nothing happens.

    I say congratulations, you seem to have reacted like a champion! It's very good that the diver wanted to come down again right away! Did you know what the problem was with his regulator? O-ring problem?

    Let's go with your articles ... I love it!

    Guillaume

  6. Thank you for all these beautiful colorful photos, it's like, and better because I'm sitting in the open air, without any worries regulator! Biz!

  7. @PhilippeB: Thank you!!! I do not know when I will come back to Thailand, where I went very often. I think to devote my next trips to explore the Philippines and Indonesia, to discover new diving spots ...
    8)

    @Manta: Oh yes! I think you would like. For crocodile fish, I start to know how to highlight them. I now know what is the angle that makes the best, and when I find one that is ideally positioned for this kind of photo a little against-dive, I give myself to my heart. I am particularly pleased with it, with the piers of the pontoon in the blue in the background. Delighted that you like it too!
    🙂

    @Malene: Ah, me the same, the nudists, I would never get tired!
    😉

    @ Jean-Luc: Delighted that the nudis have conquered you too !!! You'll see, the picture under water, when we start, we take a liking and we can not stop. I give some basic tips on this page:
    »Underwater photo
    🙄

    @Will: Yes, I confirm: it's always with my child Canon Powershot A95 I flash under the water (and I confess that I'm dreaming now to move on, but I'll have to wait to put a few pennies aside).
    : Mrgreen:
    As for this incident underwater, I think I would have preferred that nothing happens, unlike you! (I laughed with your story of old lady breathless ...) But hey, everything went well, I managed well, and my partner too (a N3 who knows all too well the emergency procedures in diving, so that helps). What surprised me most, in fact, was that I felt no fear. I think it's the benefit of training beforehand. I was cold and lucid, I knew what to do, and I did it, that's all ... as if the brain was triggering the procedure.
    As for the regulator, I do not really know what the problem was. My partner was sucking water instead of air, which suffocated him, and so he did not even try to take his relief and ran directly on mine . He did well, I think. The dive-master inspected the regulator afterwards, without being able to tell us what was wrong. I do not know much, but a regulator invaded fleet and no longer delivers air, it's suspicious, it suggests that the first floor has a problem ...
    😕
    Otherwise, for the articles, do not worry, I continue, of course. I have a lot of fun keeping this blog. And even more when I receive enthusiastic comments like yours! Thank you!!!
    🙂

    @ Helen: Yes, I know you enjoy being able to admire all these charming critters without having to put your head under water, comfortably installed in front of your computer!
    😀

  8. They are very beautiful photos, also seen the small device that you use! For Dummies in macro like me, you could not also display the EXIF data. Maybe I'll learn something ...

  9. great photos I love !!
    for the gear I agree with you to have his well revised it limits the risks, we are there on vacation as much to enjoy the maximum not 😉

  10. @Max: Thank you!!! 🙂
    I'm not sure that the Exif data would bring you much. When I'm under water and I trigger, I do not have accurate data in my little head, especially as conditions change all the time during a dive. Simply, with the usual, I "see" quickly what speed and torque to use and the dose of flash to send. If this is not satisfactory, I reshoot by readjusting the parameters. In general, on my little camera, for the integrated flash macro, a nudi for example, I attack on f / 8 so that everything is clean (horns to the nudi's forelock) and I test first to 1 / 500th, by dosing the flash or not at -1/3 or -2/3 depending on the color of the thing to photograph, the light environment or not, etc. I take my time for the focus, because the autofocus is far from perfect, and especially especially, I think the angle of view.
    Some basic tips for the photo sub here:
    http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/photo-subaquatique/
    Finally, it would be tedious to indicate the Exif data for each photo on this blog (even if the export function of my photo software should allow that). As I want them to weigh as little as possible for the web display, I do not include any additional data in the image file.
    🙄

    @Laurence: Exactly, it would be high time that he goes into revision, my Legend ... Security first!
    😉

  11. Hello,
    thank you for what you make us discover, I discovered diving at an advanced age! ... life your dreams, bravo for the rescue

  12. @Anne Marie: Thank you for that little word! The good thing about "recreational" or "recreational" diving is that it can be practiced at any age. Good bubbles!
    😉

  13. "It's five, Paris wakes up! ". I send you an e-mail; it will allow you to expand a little your article!

    The swimmer who was caught by the current ... it's me ^^
    The guy who had a leak on the first floor of his regulator ... it's me too ^ ^ By the way, at the end of the video nudi, you can see that the image panics a little. It was my first sip ... 😀

    I do not wish anyone, sea water, it really bad taste! 8)

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