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Famous for manta rays and turtles, Sangalaki is a small touristic island offshore Kalimantan's coast.
|Name Dive Site:||Sangalaki|
|Inserted/Added by: ||lars, © Author: Lars Hemel|
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Sangalaki is a small and popular diving destination famous for its encounters with manta rays that can have a wingspan of up to six meter. The well known manta rays with their white belly can be seen, but also the larger completely black ones. Especially the east of Sangalaki is extremely rich in plankton and at dive sites such as Manta Avenue, Manta Parade and Manta Run, you can literally dive with more than ten mantas at the same time. They can swim to within one meter, letting you see their gigantic mouth, before they sharply turn away in the opposite direction.
You can reach Sangalaki from Balikpapan, Indonesia or by a two hour boat ride down the scenic Berau River. Most diving is done at the outer coral reef that surrounds the island but lies more than two hundred meters offshore. Coral is extremely prolific and healthy with over 500 different kinds that have been cataloged. On top of this the shallow gradually descending reefs provide many common reef fish and photo-genetic critters. Sangalaki is famous for turtles as well. All year long you can find turtles dropping their eggs at night and seeing baby turtles struggling to reach the sea in time before they are eaten.
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Sangalaki Island was first opened to divers in 1993. Despite the effort required to get there and the poorly run dive resort on the island, divers still found the trip worthwhile because the diving was so breathtaking. After a short closure and change of ownership in 2007 the island's dive resort is now open again and being run by a respected figure in Asian diving so the future looks bright for Sangalaki and the divers that visit.
Sangalaki is most famous for the large amounts of manta rays that come to feed on the plankton and visit cleaning stations here. The dive site names highlight the manta ray proliferation with names like manta avenue, manta parade and manta run. It is not uncommon to see 15-20 manta rays at one time, particularly around the full moon. The manta rays are usually seen filter feeding near the surface, their wings often breaking the water, so snorkellers can enjoy the spectacle as much as divers. Manta rays can also be seen foraging on the sanding bottom for food, a sight rarely seen in other places.
Although the mantas take centre stage, after a few dives you may start to look around for something else of interest underwater. The reef life around Sangalaki is very healthy, partly due to it's protection under Indonesian Marine Park status.
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