Swimming with Stingless Jellyfish at Kakaban Island, East Kalimantan

Submitted by viravira on 21 October 2015   •  Destination   •  Borneo

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Upon knowing that our road trip would include a visit to Kakaban Lake, I couldn’t be happier. My first visit to Kakaban Lake in 2009 left a very sweet impression. I loved swimming with stingless jellyfish because they feel so soft and jelly-like, and Kakaban is one of the few places in the world where you could find this creature.

stingless jellyfish kakaban

This time, it was about 40 of us visiting Kakaban Lake at the same time. It’s a huge lake, 5 km2 in area, so perhaps 40 visitors in one go shouldn’t be a problem, no? Well, I don’t know. In the span of 6 years, there have been countless tourists that come to this brackish lake to see the jellyfish for themselves, more than 40 people on the weekends. I would guess that’s why the jellyfish around the jetty is now scarce. Who knows how many of them have been swimming with stingless jellyfish there.

So I swam away from the jetty, re-finding my happiness being surrounded by the adorable jellyfish. Hello again, lovely creatures!

stingless jellyfish kakaban

Some are only heads, some are nearly headless. Many are still intact.

 

It felt so lovely and peaceful, watching how they sway slowly all directions, with the ‘umbrella’ moves like nostrils huffing and puffing. Not caring about taking self-photos let me pay more attention to the details of the jellyfish. I noticed how intricate the inside part was. I noticed a few jellyfish are nearly headless, and some are only heads. It’s a pretty sad sight. I didn’t take pictures of  them but I recorded it in my watercolor painting afterwards, I hope you get the picture – pun unintended. Then I realized there were only two kinds around, the one mostly seen and the one that looks upside down at the bottom. Where is the one that looks like snot?

stingless jellyfish kakaban

A drone shot by Barry Kusuma, of me and Marischka Prudence.

Notes on Visiting Kakaban Island

Kakaban Island is an uninhabited island except by the sea creatures, birds and god knows what else in the lush forest.

To visit the lake, you have to pay IDR25,000/person, collected at the booth in front.

So far, there is no limit of how many people can go inside and crowd the lake – but I think there should be.

stingless jellyfish kakaban

Prue and I rushingly went to the lake before the others, so we could get a clean shot of the lake and jetty.

The ticket man told us not to wear fins in the lake, to avoid damaging the jellyfish. Even though you’re not wearing fins, do be careful when swimming. Swimming in groups – usually to take wefies – I think gives high risk of kicking or bumping the jellyfish hence causing damage.

More information on Kakaban Lake and tips to enjoy it responsibly has been written by Mumun after her visit there last year. Just click this link.

stingless jellyfish kakaban

The beach on the outer part of Kakaban Island, near the main jetty.

*This trip is fully paid by Astra Daihatsu Motor in exchange of blog publication, but the opinions are my own.


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