come here before it's too late

Come Here Before It’s Too Late!

This is the Derawan archipelago, just off the east coast of Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. It’s where we’ve been for the last few weeks and we love it here.

You’d be forgiven for having never heard of this place, least of all visiting the islands. They are difficult and time-consuming to travel to. Way off the beaten track for social media ‘influencers’ or glossy travel blogs, they don’t get the big bucks or publicity of similar places like the Maldives or the Caribbean.

And yet this archipelago is right up there on the list of top places we’ve visited. Our long and arduous journey to get here was made worthwhile, though, by some of the most beautiful views we have seen. There are no private islands or luxury resorts here, instead we saw rustic chalets built under the trees on the seashore, serving tasty home-cooking, Bintang beer, locally-grown pineapples, papayas, coconuts and mangoes. The sand between our toes under the tables felt good, and there is no reason to dress up because all you ever need is beach clothes and flip flops.

Come Here Before It's Too Late

Of course it has the obligatory turquoise water and white-sand beaches fringed by palm trees. And there are miles and miles of those beaches, great for walking or just sitting and looking out to sea. But the shoreline is also the home and workplace of many local people, mostly fishing families eager to chat and take a selfie with you to show to their friends.

There is no menace here, just smiles and a warm welcome.

The Coral Triangle

The Derawan archipelago is part of the ‘Coral Triangle’, home to the highest coral diversity in the world. It has 605 coral species, compared to the Caribbean with just 61 and even the Great Barrier Reef with a mere 500.

Maratua atoll is encircled by a shallow reef, suitable for snorkeling as well as diving. At its edge you tilt over the edge onto the side of a wall which drops off into infinity beneath you. Intense hard and soft corals shoot out from the side as far as you can see. Turtles, sharks, mantas and pelagics cruise by and reef fish swarm through the coral and sponge gardens.

Underwater world

The water clarity is superb and gave Jamie the opportunity to take some great shots not only of familiar critters but also finding new macro subjects, including the majestic Candy Crab.

Come Here Before It's Too Late
Candy crab
Come Here Before It's Too Late

Coral on the wall dives
Come Here Before It's Too Late
Banded shrimp on bubble coral

We know that many places we visit are difficult to get to by any means other than boat, but if you are planning your next holiday and fancy deserted beaches, stunning underwater vistas and the warmest of welcomes, then you might want to put the Derawan archipelago on your wish-list. We promise you won’t be disappointed.

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2 thoughts on “Come Here Before It’s Too Late!”

    1. We swung by your barn the other week but the gate was locked. Would be nice to catch up. I’ll send you a message…

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