- Village life in Payung-Payung (no tourists here!); the village with the biggest Green turtles.
- Loads of gigantic green turtles in Payung Payung: High tide: snorkel the seagrass, Low tide: snorkel the reef
- Explore, or find new, marine lakes on Maratua
- Dive site “The Channel” near Nabucco, Maratua: at incoming tide wait flying as a kite attached to your reef-hook and see hundrends of Barracudas and eagle rays flying by.
- Take a slow fishermans boat and enjoy the large groups of dolphins between Kakaban and Maratua.
This atoll is inhabited and there are 5 villages of which Payung Payung is my favourite. The houses of the villages are all build away from the waters edge and has a more natural setting. Unlike Derawan this island is too far from the mainland for the usual local tourist that likes the bananaboat & karaoke and it is nice & quit. In front of Payung Payung at both sides of the jetty it is teeming with green turtles (always cool!). There is also a marine lake which you can visit, it is only a 15 minute walk north from the village but ask the owner to join you first. This lake is not so big as in Kakaban and people keep hawksbill turtles inside until they are big enough to use their shell to make rings, & bracelets (which is prohibited, so do not buy them). At the south side you can follow the path out of the village to the peacefull cemetery and a bridge over a mangrove creek entrance were there are more green turtles. Diving is great at the north tip of Maratua and best in “the Canal” were you can hook yourself into the fossil coral at 25 m and fly like a kite in the current that follows the upcoming tide. There often are a big school of barracudas, some eagle rays, grey reef shark and more. This is one of the most challenging dives I know. Take a guide and do not try this when you did less then 50 dives.
Getting there can be done in a daytrip (1.5 hours 1 way) and will cost about 1 million Rupiah. You will have a boat that seats 4. If you go around the island to the inside of the atol, be aware you get into the ocean waves that can be really rough at times. Take care when there is a wind (and the waves are far higher then what you encounter on the way from Derawan to Maratua). You can stay on the island, just ask the head of the village and they will help you to find a family that will let you sleep in their home. There are no places to stay apart from two (expensive) resorts, Nabucco (on a small island) and Maratua paradise (near the village Bohebukut.
We are evaluating go to Maratua with my wife in abril/2014. The query that I would like to do is if in Maratua we can do snorkeling from the beach or from some jetty and access to good quality coral reefs (I read that there are areas with coral died from the use of dynamite). If so, could you tell me what are the best snorkeling points? Our idea is to stay at the Maratua Paradise Resort and from there mobilize for the rest of the island.
Thank you very much!
I would advice you to go snorkeling with low tide on the reefs in front of Payung Payung village when you will find many green turtles on the reef resting (before going to eat seagrass at low tide on the adjecent seagrass beds).
Next year a new ecoresort will be opening between this village and Maratua Paradise which is more into ecotourism and aims to protect the turtles there. It is owned by a local sponsored by a French couple who is visiting the area for 25 years. I will post more details later on this. For the nicest coral you should go to the other side of the island (east-side) to coral garden or the lighthouse. Last time I found schools of bumbhead parrots and grey reef sharks.
Hope this helps.
Thank you very much for your help!
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