One of the most exciting places in Indonesia is Derawan. When you go to Indonesia make sure you also visit Derawan Islands. Derawan is beautiful, natural, and peaceful. Not like any other famous places in Indonesia that usually crowded, Derawan prefers tropical impressive natural beauty.
Derawan is located in Berau regency, East Kalimantan. The islands are well known for the best marine tourism. Its underwater park always attracts people’s heart, make several top international divers go here. Derawan has three sub-districts; Derawan Island, Maratua, and Biduk-Biduk in Berau. There are at least four popular islands that is Maratua Island, Derawan island, Sangalaki Island, and Kakaban Island. This Kakaban is inhabited by endangered species of green turtles and hawksbill turtles.
Geographically, Derawan is located in the north peninsula of the sea waters of Berau regency. They which included in Derawan Islands are Panjang Island, Raburabu Island, Samama Island, Kakanban Island, Sangalaki Island, Nabuko Island, Derawan Island, Maratua Island and some sandbanks such as Pinaka, Muaras, Buliulin, Masimbung, and Tababinga. Of course there are still many other smaller island that is not be explored yet. Total all the islands in Derawan is 31.
In this island coastal ecosystem has been found. Coral reef, mangrove forest, seagrass, and other species of inhabitants of this ecosystem is dolphin, clams, coconut crabs, green turtle, hawksbill turtles, whale, and still many other. They are well protected here. As a visitor, you can see turtle laying process and also enjoy Derawan typical seafood hard to resist. That is why Derawan Islands in 2005 successfully entered in UNESCO World Heritage.
Derawan Islands is like the typical dream of tropical paradise with private white sandy beaches, clear blue water that keeps the beauty of coral reefs, fishes, and many other sea animals. Of course diving and snorkeling become the main attraction of this place. There are at least 28 diving spots available for all diving lovers around the world.
Although Derawan is still not as famous as other big cities in Indonesia, it does not mean that it does not have tourism potential. In fact it can enter as one of the world heritage at UNESCO. Its first wealth is the coral reef. Almost in every island and sandbanks in Derawan have beautiful coral reefs. The type of the coral reef is edge coral, barrier reef, and atoll. This atoll is that become island and formed into salt water lake. Derawan’s wealth on coral reefs is the second best after Raja Ampat.
Other than the coral reef, the islands also keep the species of reef fishes that add the beauty of the island. 832 species of reef fishes have been recorded exist in Derawan sea, and 1.051 species in Berau sea water with the kind of Gobes fish, Wrasses, and Damselfishes that dominate the sea.
Next is seagrass. It has been found spread in almost all Derawan Islands. This ecosystem is quite important to Derawan islands, but its existence is threatened by human activity like massive forest clearing, forest fires, marine aquaculture, boat propellers, and etc.
Derawan Island’s mangrove forest is also become a contributor to Derawan’s tourism potential. Mangrove in Delta Berau is functioned as traditional occupation by the surrounding community. They catch fishes, crabs, and shrimp contained in Mangrove forest. In the last ten years, mangroves in Berau have been made as a place for shrimp and fishes conservation. Nipah (Nypa fructican) dominating the kind of mangrove in Berau delta.
The last is the capture fisheries potential. Marine fisheries, turtle eggs, and pond cultivation being contribution to people’s income while increasing tourism potential in Derawan Islands. Derawan islands sub-district even becomes the highest contributors to revenue in Berau regency for healthy fishing activities.
Every years starting since 2015, tourism activities are held in the form of Maratua Jazz & Dive Fiesta. The agenda in this festival is to dive together to explore the underwater beauty of Derawan and see the jazz performance in Maratua. The activity was initiated by WartaJazz and Berau Lestari Foundation and supported by Bupati Berau and Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia.
Several important tropical ecosystems that are protected in Derawan is coral reef ecosystem, mangrove ecosystem, and sea grass ecosystem. Many of the species are also unique and that’s why they are protected. Some species in Derawan Islands are coconut crab, dolphins, whale, green turtle, dugong, hawksbill turtle, and manta ray. Coconut crab usually found in Kakaban and Maratua Island, whale in Maratua Island, and dolphin is around Semama, Sangalaki, Kakaban, Maratua, and Muaras sandbanks. While if you want to see turtle, they can be found in Panjang Island, Derawan Island, Semama, Sangalaki and Maratua. Other than the turtles, Panjang Island and Semama has species of dugong.
Manta ray can be found in Sangalaki Island. You can swim with them in the conservatorium and usually this activity is desired by tourists. Barracudas and tiny pigmy seahorses are also protected in Derawan. But if you want to know the icon of Derawan, it is the stingless jellyfish. They can be found in Kakaban Lake. They are many and friendly to humans.