Trip Reports

Jun 6, 2017

Diving paradise in Sangalaki with KM Raja Manta

The White Manta diving team has returned to the stunning diver's paradise of Sangalaki, Maratua & Kakaban, a string of Islands off the east coast of Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. This little known destination is a true hidden treasure with abundant marine life, action packed diving, beautiful island excursions and truly unbelieveable sunsets. So far this season the crew and guests of KM Raja Manta have been treated to some amazing highlights both above and below; read on for our Cruise Leader's trip report from the second trip of the season....

KM Raja Manta is in Sangalaki again. This trip we were joined by guests from China Scuba Diving.

The trip started with easy check-out dive and night dive nearby KM Raja Manta’s embarkation point. Photographers donned their macro lenses for small critters such as pygmy squid and species of nudibranchs and pipefishes. Not all is small though, there were cuttlefish, stingrays, crocodilefish, juvenile sweetlips and many turtles. Photo Credit: Lilian Tan

Early morning, we sailed onto our second destination for a drift dive rich with current and pelagics that make it seem that there is no current at all. Divers deployed their reef hooks and ogled at quite a few grey reef sharks, white-tip sharks, big-eye jacks and barracudas. One group even saw a small school of small hammerhead sharks. After the dive and breakfast, we took the guests to Jellyfish Lake. It was a lovely sunny day and the budding photographers snapped some artistic shots of the sting-less jellyfish in their tranquil setting.

 Photo Credit: Herianto Bando "Anto"

Next destination offered a nice school of batfish, a big school of chevron barracudas and big-eye jacks in perfect light and visibility along with an easy current. Occasionally a turtle came to say ‘hi’ too. Further dives in this area had great visibility and nice current. There is an enormous resident school of barracudas that may envelope you, it is awesome. Sail-fin snappers, dogtooth tunas, spanish mackerel, giant trevallies, black snappers and more turtles were to follow. Really great stuff.


Late morning and afternoon dives were conducted on walls rich with sea fans, sponges, damsels, triggers, many many turtles and the occasional eagle ray. Hard corals on the safety stop were magnificent, home to many anthias, chromis and other smaller damselfish. Some groups witnessed pygmy seahorses and everybody enjoyed further schooling jacks and barracudas.

 Photo Credit: Lilian Tan

The second night dive was shallow and easy. Many giant mantis shrimps, bobtail squids, cuttlefish, crabs and moray eels.

 Photo Credit: Lilian Tan

Next morning was focused on pelagics again. Divers were not disappointed, nearly everyone sighting hammerhead sharks, napoleon wrasse, and schooling barracudas, jacks and snappers. Further wall dives ensued at a different location and more pygmy seahorses were found. Schooling bonito tunas, a large notodoris minor nudibranch with a pattern that looked like a smiley J, majestic barrel sponges and large gorgonian seafans delighted the wide-angle photographers.

Next up were manta rays. During 3 dives divers also witnessed turtles, cuttlefish, porcupine ray, sweetlips, lobster and an eagle ray. A visit to the island gave our guests the rare opportunity to see baby turtles dash for the sea after hatching from their eggs. It was akin to being in a nature documentary.

 Photo Credit: Handri Tulenan

On the last day, all the divers were treated to a rare opportunity to see whale sharks face-to-face. Needless-to-say: they had a ‘whale shark of a time’.

 Photo Credit Nicole La                                                            Photo Credit: Mike Malin

Come and join us for upcoming trips on KM Raja Manta where we promise to entertain you above and below the water.

Christopher Hutton, KM Raja Manta Cruise Director.

Trip: RMSGA2 30 May – 5 JUN 2017 Sangalaki, Kakaban & Maratua
Author: Christopher Hutton