Our Living Seas

Borneo

INDONESIA

Located on the Equator in the center of Maritime Southeast Asia, Borneo is the third largest island in the world. It is divided between Malaysia and Indonesia, and the small independent nation of Brunei on the northwest coast. Borneo’s offshore islands are of legendary beauty. Noted among them is Sipadan, the most famous scuba destination in Malaysia, introduced to the diving world by Jacques Cousteau in the 1970s. Indonesian Borneo in the eastern part of Kalimantan is also home to some excellent diving, particularly the islands of Derawan, Sangilaki, Kakaban, Maratua, Nabucco and Samama, where this video was shot. Unfortunately, large swathes of these areas have been decimated by dynamite fishing (the practice of using homemade bombs which stun fish and cause their swim bladders to rupture). While a small number of fish float to the surface where they can be hauled in by the fisherman, a much larger percentage sinks to the bottom. Not only do these explosions indiscriminately kill large numbers of fish and other marine life in the vicinity, they turn healthy coral reefs into rubble fields and dead zones, which can take generations to recover.