Scuba Diving In Indonesian Borneo On The Tambora Liveaboard

Indonesian Borneo is now being explored by liveaboards, making the islands of Derawan, Sangalaki, Kakoban and Maratua accessible in one trip

Diving Kalimantan, Indonesia
Diving Kalimantan, Indonesia

I recently dived in Kalimantan – the Indonesian part of Borneo – with Tambora, a newish liveaboard that is pursuing an ambitious yearly itinerary across Indonesia. I was writing a story for EZ Dive magazine, which you can read in full here. See also Tambora’s current schedule and prices).

The Tambora was recommended to me by Dom at Dive Advice – thanks Dom.

Tambora Liveaboard

The trip was a round trip from Terakan and revolved around four islands which are all dive hotspots in their own right – Sangalaki, Derawan, Kakoban and Nabucco. We also explored a huge submerged atoll which isn’t accessible by daytrips which yielded some of the best dives of the trip (and some of the worst too ;) – I’ll be writing a full report for EZ Dive magazine and publishing a separate liveaboard review of Tambora here on Divehappy soon (as I have done previously with other Indo liveaboards like MSY Damai, Siren and MSY Seahorse). In the meantime, here’s some of the photos I took as a taster of the journey

A huge battery of barracuda hundreds strong at Big Fish Country (Maratua Channel)
Reef at Kakoban
Cuttlefish at Kakoban
Kakoban Reef Scene
Sunlight on a plate coral bommie
Clownfish and diver
Fan coral and diver
So flat calm the clouds in the sky are visible through the ocean surface
Flat calm seas on an early grey morning

Raindrops falling on the surface above plate corals

The reef reflected in the mirror surface of the sea
Close Manta encounter, Sangalaki
Manta ray feeding at the surface in the sunlight at Sangalaki
Flabellina and egg ribbon, Derawan
Flabellina and egg ribbon, Derawan

Flabellina and egg ribbon, Derawan

Crocodile Fish, Derawan
Jawfish with eggs in its mouth - you can see the eyes of the babies if you look closely
Jawfish releasing the eggs - they're the squiggly bits in top right of photo
Jawfish releasing the eggs - they're the squiggly bits in top right of photo

Make Sure You Have Diving And Travel Insurance

World Nomads is one of the leading travel insurance providers and their coverage also includes scuba diving to 40 metres too if you select the relevant options. Make sure you're covered insurance-wise both above and below water.


  1. Wow, Jawfish releasing the eggs! Is it part of the process?? Coz I only seen they keep the eggs on their mouths.

    Love the Mantas and Barracudas!

  2. Hi Adri – apparently the jawfish release their eggs from their mouths every month — it conincides with the full moon. We had to get up at 4.30 am to go diving and have a chance of seeing it – we sat waiting by the hole for half an hour and then suddenly the jawfish emerged and started burping the eggs out! It was over really fast, I was lucky to get this shot. I would love to do it again. I thought of you while at Maratua Channel – amazing place, that is the biggest battery of barracuda I have ever seen!

  3. I dont mind waiting for 30min to see the jawfish burping and I think I will make the video instead of taking picture :-)

    Glad that the barracuda show at Maratua Channel still amazing! (Means they are still safe from the fishermen). That was highlight of our trip. I also love snorkling with lots of stingless jellyfish in Kakaban lake :-)