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Nabucco Island, Berau District, East Kalimantan, Indonesia 2002

Intro •  Nabucco Island Resort •  Guides & Safety  •  Diving in General  •  Barracudas: Big Fish Country  
Manta Rays: Sangalaki Island  •  Jellyfish Lake: Kakaban Island  •  Flying Foxes  •  Still Life  •  Moving Pix


It's not terribly easy to reach Nabucco Island. We flew from Singapore on the tip of the Malay Peninsular to the largest city on Kalimantan Timur the Indonesian part of Eastern Borneo Balikpapan. Here we spent a night before flying up north to the town of Tanjung Redeb.

The air was strangely hazy but this wasn't a weather phenomenon but rather the result of farmers' slash-and-burn method. The jungle is chopped down and set on fire to give way to a small plot of farmland with just enough nutrients to keep a family going for a couple of years. Then they move on. Apparently the haze wasn't so bad as some five years ago but bad enough to keep the airports of Central Kalimantan closed due to poor visibility. Cars had their head lights on and in some places the visibility was down to 50 metres.

On our flight to Tanjung Redeb we could see tiny smoke columns rise to the sky. Fortunately, when we arrived at Tanjung Redeb it wasn't raining. The runway is so short that planes are only able to land in dry weather and the pilot has to almost stand on the brakes to avoid hitting the banana palm trees at the end of the runway. If it rains the plane would merely continue past the runway.

We were picked up at the airport and driven down to the Berau River where a small motorboat with two crew members waited for us. Our bags and equipment were stowed on board together with salad oil, eggs, butter, mineral water and other articles supplies needed on Nabucco Island. Soon we headed down river. After an hour or so the landscape flattened as we reached the river delta and the mangroves. Pretty soon we were out on the open ocean and couldn't see land at all.

Yet another hour passed and a small island emerged on the horizon. Naturally, we thought it was our dive destination but no. Not until after three hours of sailing did we arrive at Nabucco Island. The voyage could have lasted longer but we only had three engine failures on the way and the weather was nice a bit overcast but no wind, fortunately.

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