Derawan Island lies closer to the main land of Kalimantan
– about one and a half hours of sailing from Nabucco. The dive resort is a
good deal older than the Nabucco Resort and contains dive centre, equipment
and souvenir shops, a large restaurant and a good deal of bungalow-like
cabins that did seem rather worn down.
New luxury cabins were being built when we visited but ours had holes in the
ceiling, useless air conditioner, torn mosquito nets and shapeless
mattresses. But, as we found out, the diving did more than make up for this.
The restaurant was situated almost at the end of a long, long jetty (where
the guest accommodations used to be), and the chef Harod, originally from
Surabaya on Java, was a really friendly guy. He did become more and more
desperate during our stay as we ate so little of his otherwise excellent
food. Very varied and plentiful and inclusive all the water and fruit juice
you could possible drink. Only beer and soft drinks were charged as extras.
In our room we had two large bottles of complimentary water that we could
refill in the restaurant as often as we wished, and we could take of
advantage of the tea and coffee machine 24 hours a day.
Normally Harod offered a large and varied buffet but we had a say in
everything as we were the only guests on Derawan – apart from numerous rats
incessantly darting back and forth across the rafters.
Apparently Derawan Dive Resort catered a lot for the
Japanese dive market, and we had landed in between two dive groups so all
was peaceful and quiet.
Derawan Dive Resort – or DDR – had at least four dive boats which could hold
from six to 12-14 divers. A trip to Derawan included two guided boat dives
per day as well as unlimited diving from the jetty – three of them guided if
we wanted to. That brought the guided dives up to five per day included in
the price – quite generous.
Trips to the giant mantas off Sangalaki, the jellyfish lake on Kakaban and
to Big Fish Country at Nabucco Island would be charged as extras depending
on how many divers wanted to go.
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