Saturday, 15 October 2011

Sangalaki island : Diving on Manta Rays Home

The Manta Ray ( Stingray ) is classified as a fish. The stingrays are a group of rays, which are cartilaginous fishes related to sharks. They are classified in the suborder Myliobatoidei of the order Myliobatiformes, and consist of eight families: Hexatrygonidae (sixgill stingray), Plesiobatidae (deep water stingray), Urolophidae (stingarees), Urotrygonidae (round rays), Dasyatidae (whiptail stingrays), Potamotrygonidae (river stingrays), Gymnuridae (butterfly rays), and Myliobatidae (eagle rays). Most stingrays have one or more barbed stings (modified from dermal denticles) on the tail, which is used exclusively in self-defense.

The stinger may reach a length of approximately 35 cm, and its underside has two grooves with venom glands. The stinger is covered with a thin layer of skin, the integumentary sheath, in which the venom is concentrated. A few members of the suborder, such as the manta rays and the porcupine ray, have lost their stings.

Kingdom : Animalia (animals)
Phylum : Chordata
SubPhylum : Vertebrata (vertebrates)
Class : Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fish)
Subclass : Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays)
Superorder : Batoidea
Order : Myliobatiformes
Family : Myliobatidae (Eagle Rays),
Genus : Manta
Species : birostris

Mantas are considered "ghost" fish and hence 'feared' by the local fishermen. The open fins of a Manta Ray can be more than 20 feet in length.They can be up to 25 feet in length and weight as much as 5,000 pounds.It is one of the largest and it continues to be one that we know the least about. Scientifically it would be interesting to investigate the rational behind this assembly of huge mantas. The manta ray is found both inshore and offshore in the warmer oceans. Although mantas can be found on the seabed, they spend much of their time feeding near the ocean's surface.

Mantas swim in tropical seas, living both close to shore and in open seas. Large species of ray, such as the manta, tend to be solitary, although they are often accompanied by a shoal of pilot fish. While feeding, small and medium-sized species of ray may form shoals. Unoccupied by human beings, and 'feared' by local fishermen perhaps explains why huge mantas still exist around Sangalaki Island.

Where is sangalaki island ?

At Latitude of : 2° 5' 41" N and Longitude: 118° 24' 10" E , Sangalaki located in Derawan Islands, Berau regency, East Kalimantan, Indonesia . The island of Sangalaki has a wide 15.9 acres. Sangalaki is surrounded by a shallow langoon and the reefs start a distance out from the Island. The beach sand on this island has a width of 12-15 meters with slopes between 6 ° -11 ° with the material making up the coast of the dominant form of coral fragments and coarse sand-sized grains.

In the surrounding waters are known as marine parks and dive (diving) SInce there is so much shallow reef here, threre is a vast diversity of marine life, and since the area is a protected marine park, the reefs are quite pristine. Most Sangalaki Diving sites are shallower than 65 feet (20 m). The reef slope gently and all dive sites have excellent shallow areas for diving spot . For further information about diving site , please following this link

The hard and soft corals here are amazingly prolific with over 500 species present around the island.Sangalaki's shallow reef system extends over 200 meters from the island, apart from some steep coral ridges in places, generally falls away gradually and most diving is undertaken in water up to a depth of 25 meters.

This islands, is a attractive dive destination as it is known for the large manta rays that come here to feed their plankton. The Manta 's show mostly up at the north part of Sangalaki Islands, and come from all directions. The Manta's are often seen at the surface waterline, and even when snorkeling the Manta's can be easy seen. Here you can swim with the elegant moving Manta' s which have a wing weight of more then two meters.

Manta ray fish commonly clustered in the waters of this island and can be assembled up to 20 tail light rays at the time of the month. They headed to the island to find food in the form of various types of plankton are abundant in these waters. The island itself is a breeding ground for green turtles. At night female turtles come ashore and lay their eggs and small baby turtles can be seen regularly as they hatch and desparately struggle their way to the sea whilst dodging hungry birds.

Sangalaki and it's surrounding reefs are protected as an Indonesian Marine Park. Without the destructive effects of explosives and cyanide fishing, Sangalaki has remained a pristine example of an untouched tropical marine ecosystem. In a world where every resort claims to be situated in a "divers paradise", Sangalaki truly deserves the honor . .

How to reach?

International travelers to Sangalaki,
the best route would be to fly into Singapore direct to Balikpapan. From Balikpapan, you then take a one hour flight to Berau (Tanjung Redeb) where the Sangalaki Dive Lodge boat will take you on a two hour journey to Sangalaki, one hour down the Berau River to the sea, and then one hour out to the island. You can also reach Balikpapan from Jakarta or Bali if you are travelling within Indonesia. If you have the option of flying on Singapore Airlines from your home country, you may get a cheaper ticket to Balikpapan because SilkAir is a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, so you are travelling all the way on the "same carrier". For more further information according to get to sangalaki island , you can visit the website of Sangalaki Dive Lodge HERE


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