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Indonesia :: Kalimantan : Kakaban

Kakaban island lies around 20 minutes from Sangalaki and offers 2 very different diving experiences. In addition to some spectacular wall diving, where pelagics can be found, Kakaban also features a massive landlocked marine lake supporting 4 different species of non-stinging jellyfish and some marine life not found anywhere else in the world. These include the upside down Cassiopeia ornate, Mastigias Papua, Aurelia Aurita and Tripedalia Cystophora. These jellyfish are quite special; unlike their sea-living counterparts, they have been living in a lake, protected from their natural predators such as turtles and barracuda. Through time therefore, they have lost their ability to sting simply because they have had no need for them.

The island is a coral atoll that has been uplifted by geological forces, turning the lagoon into a landlocked lake. The 5 square-kilometer lake, surrounded by a 50-meter ridge, occupies most of the interior of this uninhabited island, which has been declared a government nature reserve. The shoreline is fringed with a tangle of mangroves. Their sturdy roots are carpeted with sponges, seaweeds and tunicates. Visibility is around 10-12 meters and at its deepest point the lake is 18 meters with tidal amplitude of about 0.2m, this is a result of a network of underground fissures that connect to the ocean. Marine creatures found here include brilliant blue flatworms on the mangrove roots together with tiny molluscs and colonial bivalves. The shy file snake, a non-poisonous fish eating snake, prefers a darker habitat under the roots, where it waits for the schooling cardinal fish and gobies. A green marine algae dominates the lakebed and provides a foothold for a voracious jellyfish eating sea cucumber. This truly is a biological paradise.

The Dive Sites
Around the outer rim of the island steep limestone cliffs drop to the waters edge which then plummets to around 200 meters deep in places. This underwater terrain makes for some great drift wall diving. Barracuda Point offers an exhilarating drift dive as it follows the top of a sheer wall around the point. The two walls do not exactly meet at a corner, they taper off into the depths. As the corner beckons, the concentration of pelagic sea life intensifies. Swirling school of chevron barracuda and big eye trevally fill the sea, with tuna and shark sightings also common.

Blue light cave is for experienced divers since the exit is quite deep. The cave starts at a hole accessible at low tide on the top of the wall at 2 meters and descends through a narrow chimney. At about 21 meters the chimney opens into a large cavern with the bottom at 30 meters. Swimming along the ceiling of the cave for about 120m is also possible and as you approach the exit of the cave, the blue light of the sea can be seen. The exit is a long vertical crack in the wall and about 2 meters wide which lies at 44 meters, there is also another exit at 64 meters. The dive is finished on the wall.


Depths: 5 - 65m

Viz: 5 - 25m

Currents: Variable

Getting there : Boat 2 hours.

Best months: Apr to Dec