Traveling to the Derawan Islands

Late last year, the Ship’s passage from Sandakan (Malaysia) to the Derawan Islands (Indonesia) was met with flat calm seas, zero wind speed, and clear skies – conditions ideal for sailing and perfect for spotting marine life.
The highlight of the journey was the pod of seven sperm whales spotted off our starboard around midday. It is not common to have these magnificent creatures remain at the surface for so long when a vessel is in such close proximity. What a treat for all who had taken the opportunity to observe these awesome animals.

For the early risers amongst us, the first morning at the Derawan Islands was spent on a beach walk with our expedition naturalists. This proved to be a great way to stretch the legs, learn about the islands natural environment and even spot some of the “locals.”

Pit Viper

Most of us kick started our morning by snorkeling in “jellyfish lake.” This old volcanic crater, now an inland lake, is home to four different species of Jellyfish who have lost their ability to sting humans over time. No doubt, getting in the water with these creatures was a psychological hurdle for a lot of us initially – I mean, it’s not normal to immerse yourself into a swarm of jellyfish now is it? However, those willing to take the plunge found that their fear dissipated fairly quickly. All in all, a memorable experience.

After a quick lunch break, most Residents and Guests got back into their swim gear and ventured out on the zodiacs again to snorkel the island’s reef. This was magical. It was refreshing to see the reef in such a healthy state. Gorgeous corals, reef fish of varying colors and sizes and even the odd reef shark were spotted. A fantastic afternoon.

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