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Derawan Dive Resort •  The Guide System •  Critter Country
Around the Island  •  Back in Balikpapan  •  Still Life Gallery

Critter Country

Diving around Derawan Island was quite undramatic – a world of difference to Nabucco Island. The currents were easily manageable and quite often a fin kick now and then was enough to stay put and have a closer look.

The island was surrounded by a coral slope that in most places at some 20 metres turned into sandy bottom and only slowly disappeared out of sight. Only on the eastern side at sites like Shark Cave was it possible to go as deep as 40+ metres.

Harlequin ghost pipefish

The macro stuff and not least the sheer variation were simply astounding. And we had the time to sneak up on very shy gobies and jawfish that usually would have fled into their boroughs before you even noticed them.

Pygmy seahorses were literally available on demand, and several of the fan corals had more than one of these dear little critters onboard.

We had orang-utan crabs in large tube sponges, stonefish almost fully buried in coral rubble, twospot turkeyfish parading in our torch lights, oriental flying gurnards flying and crocodile fish mating, juvenile dusky batfish, cockatoo waspfish, ribbon morays of all sex and ages, green turtles, Indonesian jawfish and crab-eye goby, lots of different ghost pipefish, and lots and lots of nudibranchs and flatworms in all their colourful splendour. This was indeed Critter Paradise.

Glossodoris atromarginata

On our check dive Samarand had shown us a stonefish more or less completely buried in the coral rubble. Only its beaky eyes and sour mouth were visible.

Passing the same spot a couple of days later we asked Eddi by pointing and gesticulating if he would dig it out with his stick, please, so we could have a closer look. If at all possible this made the stonefish look even more miserable than before. It hopped a bit from side to side but seemed to believe that it had indeed found the perfect spot. By using its enlarged pectoral fins as shovels it then began to dig itself into a new hole.

The stonefish from the jetty reef

We did feel a little guilty afterwards – especially when we found out that Eddi hadn’t any idea of how poisonous the stonefish really was.

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