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Dive Review of Sangalaki Dive Lodge in
Indonesia/Sangalaki

Sangalaki Dive Lodge, Oct, 2002,

by Rick Tuss, DE, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 7 reports). Report 290.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving All over
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 40 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Time limit normally of 60 minutes per dive
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments No fresh water bucket on boats. Cameras were protected by laying them on an open life jacket in rear of boat. Did have separate fresh water troughs on shore to soak cameras.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 2 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Good: Mantas, mantas, and more mantas. Dived and snorkeled with 10's of mantas every day. They constantly feed in large numbers around the island. I had to snorkel with them nude... I am now known as the Great White Manta! The locals thought I was crazy.

Turtles, turtles, and more turtles. Not quite as many as Sipadan, but plenty. This is one of the few marine parks in Indonesia that actually has a warden to look out for them. Obverved females coming and leaving shore to lay eggs. Assisted many newborns to the ocean... wonderful helping newborn turles make a good start to their lives.

If you want to see mantas and turtles, this is definitely the place to go, but be prepared to rough it a bit.

The other marine life was abundant and the corals quite healthy. Saw multiple large groupers on one dive... a rarity in Indonesia as most get consumed! Great wall diving on close by islands. Jelly fish lake to snorkel in.

The vis wasn't fantastic, but the plankton is why the mantas are there.

The accomidations aren't 5 star, but ok for a dedicated dive resort. The people were extremely friendly and wanted to please.

Bad:
At the end of the earth. International flight from Singapore to Balipapan then domestic to Berau (ever flown an Indonesian domestic flight??). Serious weight restrictions on the domestic flight... be prepared to pay additional for your dive gear! 2.5 hour boat ride from Berau to Sangalaki. The boat trip back was even worse in a small speed boat in rough seas... Everything needs to be brought into the small island of Sangalaki, including fresh water a couple times a week. It's kind of like being on a large liveaboard, only it doesn't rock all the time (the island is only about 5 acres).

The food was marginal. It greatly improved at the end of the week... they hired a new cook and she was really proud of her cooking.

No shore diving! It's a shame because the house reef is great with super critters including mandarin fish, nudibranch, etc. SDL needs to put in a getty out to the reef.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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