The Unforgettable Derawan (Day 1) - Good Friday on a boat

The Unforgettable Derawan (Day 1) - Good Friday on a boat

After many trips, I got to admit that not every trip has its own particular moments that will make us remember that trip vividly for a long time. But Derawan for sure will be the one that I remember long time.

Not only, because it’s breath taking beautiful scenery, or that’s the first time in my life I’m swimming with thousands of jelly fish, touch and kiss them (yes I did), or swimming with sea turtle, but most probably also because I was floating on a boat at the middle of nowhere for 2,5 hours, yelling for help, get rescued, then continue the journey with boat for another 7 hours.


How come? Let me start it from the very beginning…

Last February, Vari – my true traveler friend (check her blog here) – asked me whether I want to go Derawan with her. I know Derawan since my other friend blog about his diving trip there and said it’s one of the nice destinations Indonesia has. I saw his pictures and its truly beautiful. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to go with Vari due to another plan. Vari went to Derawan bring home many beautiful photo’s that she proudly showing off – ignoring my jealousy – and brought me good news that the same organizer  will conduct another trip on April, on Easter’s long weekend. I was totally psyched and need not to think twice to say “yes, I’m joining this one!”, that also because the organizer charging a very reasonable price for all-in trip for IDR 3.200.000 per person. Wanna know more about Derawan, you can click here, and here, and here and google it of course.

Lot’s of funny preparation prior to the trip, especially because the control-freak Vari kept reminding me about many stuff. She seemed like have a never ending checklist. Hahaha… still I missed to buy snorkel set and she was totally anxious about it. As a true sloppy traveler, eventhou I already open my luggage 2 weeks before our departure, I was finally done with the packing 2 hours before leaving to the airport (and because 3 hours before I was still in a karaoke room).

I arrived at the airport at 5 am, boarding at 6 am so I have some times to get breakfast. Steam rice, egg and kecap for me, yay! The airport already quite busy at that time and as usual Terminal I Soekarno Hatta Airport feels like a traditional market when it packed with people, lining and dealing with a very slow counter attendee that test our patience to the limit. God only know why. Even thou we’re check-in together and quite early, we still get separated seats. Funny eh?

Thank God that Sriwijaya Air only delay for 30 minutes and there I am, sitting on the seat number 22B (the last row) with a sophisticated mature lady on my left side and F4-member-wannabe on my right side (judging from the sleeveless shirt + pilot sun glasses he refuse to take off). I slept almost all the way except for the part when the plane is about to landing and then failed!  The plane took a few rounds above Sepinggan Airport Balikpapan before the pilot feel obligated to tell us what’s wrong.  THE WING’S FLAP DIDN’T WORK! Amazing eh? But before we get panicked, somehow someway it’s working again. We’re landing roughly despite, and the 20 minutes transit turned into 50 minute transit due to re-fueling. Jakarta – Balikpapan should only take 1,5 hours.

The 1 hour flying to Tarakan Island was quite smooth, the airport is pretty small. We’re landing at 2 pm. You need to becareful here cuz bad people might try to take your luggage, that’s why the airport’s door locked from inside.  We’re welcomed by a quite stressful looking organizer, Malik - since it was delay quite significantly long. We were supposed to go straight to the port and go to Derawan and have our first swimming, but it’s impossible. So instead, Malik took us to the Mangrove Ecosystem and serve our lunch there.

Mangrove Ecosystem located right in the middle of Tarakan town. It’s pretty neat, I love it! They have few distinct animals’ species there such as Eagle and Bekantan monkey. For forest that size I think 20 Bekantan monkeys is quite few, but that’s all they got. I can only see them from far but the walk around the mangrove is lovely. The lunch was “nasi bungkus”. We were strolling around for about 45 minute plus lunch then we went to the port. It’s a quite small port with quite many people. There was this woman announcer with very-very-very husky voice as the background telling people / boat to do this and that. Really, I wanna see that woman’s face because she sounds like in the middle of orgasm.

Our boat was small with capacity 25 seats and took around 30 minutes to make the engine work. I was too excited to feel annoyed by it. The trip to Derawan Island took 3 hours from Tarakan Port that feel quite long and literally give me pain in the ass. Have you ever feel butt numb? Hahaha. Yeah, my ass was numb for a while there. Oh, how lovely to see the sight of the island as we get closer to the jetty. Lovely! And finally arrived at the island, a short brief and then check our room. My room is really, really, really small with no bathroom, others just luckier than me & Yuliana (happened to be my roommate). Theirs were better with bathroom, and of course we still can share. :)

We’re immediately change our outfit and jumped to the sea and meet Mr. Turtle!!! Hooraay! Since I’m wearing only my swimming glasses, I can’t go and chase Mr. Turtle.  We swam maybe only for half an hour because it’s dark already.  We took bath and happily anticipated for dinner…. and there come the disaster. Suddenly a really loud song come from the near restaurant  - like15 meter from our rooms - and they start karaoke-ing with speaker set that enough for an event in football field. Can you imagine how loud it is? I was totally hysterical about it. We had our dinner with that really loud noise and try to calm our self down.

To sooth our ear, we went to the jetty where our boat pulled over this afternoon. Malik said it’s star gazing time. The night sky not at its best to do star gaze, but we had good times, despite the loud noise that reached us well even its few hundred meters from us. When we arrived at the cottage we decided to see the one who responsible for that noise and deal with them. Well, 4 high temper women marching to the sound system’s operator is not a good sign and I can guess they knew it. Need a little high pitch tone yelp, and they agree to turn it off. Here come our peaceful sleeps. Malik expect to see us 7 in the morning for island hopping and snorkeling. I was lay down on my bed and really grateful. Happy Good Friday for everyone in this world!

Wanna see full pictures? Click here :)


Written and contributed by lolo sianipar