In the eastern part of Kalimantan and about 45 km from the Berau river, estuary out in the Makassar strait, lie several reefs ideal for scuba diving. The dive sites are famous for the large gatherings of manta rays and jellyfish lake. But in the reefs, in the Berau archipelago also live a lot of very interesting critters, hidden crabs and shrimps and unusual fish such as ghostpipefishes, scorpionfishes, Cuttlefish, Blue Ribbon Eels, Turtles, Manta Rays, Sharks, dozens of species of Nudibranchs, hundreds of species of hard and soft corals, shools of brightly colored Fusailers and zillions of colorful reef fishes.and more. There are several dive resorts, all are relatively easily reached from either Balikpapan or Tanjung Redeb.
It is Sangalaki island, one of those destinations that amazingly hidden among the Indonesian exotics. Sangalaki has 15.9 hectare area, located in Derawan Islands, Berau regency, East Kalimantan. It has morphologically flat coastal plain . The island has lagon, based shallow sand and overgrown by corals and seagrasses.
Sangalaki is a superb dive spot that can be visited by live aboard where big numbers of manta rays frolic all year round. At Sangalaki Diving Site the familiar set of Manta Rays emerges from all directions. Their wing tips breaking the surfaces at regular interval.
In the waters around Sangalaki there are numerous manta cleaning stations, the cleaner wrasse are found aplenty here, which obligingly clean all the grime and parasites off the skin and gills of the manta rays. Mantas gather here for their regular cleaning sessions. If you head out to one of these cleaning sessions, you have quite an experience in store for you. You’ll find yourself eye-to-eye with the mantas as they are generally inquisitive and quite friendly by nature and will probably approach you.
The manta rays are found in huge numbers at the dive sites found on the east coast, namely Manta Avenue, Manta Parade and Manta Run. Usually, you’ll find these graceful creatures near the surface with their gills wide open as they feed on the rich plankton to be found in these waters. The mantas can also be found cruising the seas or less often foraging for sustenance down on the sea beds.
Sangalaki is surrounded by a shallow lagoon and the reefs start a distance out from the Island. The island itself is a breeding ground for green turtles. At night female turtles come ashore and lay their eggs and small baby turtles can be seen regularly, when they hatch. The island and its surrounding reefs are protected as an Indonesian Marine Park.