Located north of the larger island of Halmahera in the province of North Maluku, Morotai Island was once a World War II military base and airfield for the Japanese. An area which is now rich in historical heritage however virtually unseen these days. It’s the remnants of such times which remain underwater with a number of impressive wreck dives to be explored. To the North are the Philippines and to the East lies the Pacific Ocean but besides its historical background, it’s a destination for white sandy beaches, snorkelling, diving and fishing activities.
The island is crossed by the Indonesian Archipelago III sea channel. This vast of water is a migration path for large tuna fish. Amongst it are many interesting dive spots, fishing areas and the Dodola Marine Park. Island hopping between these remote areas including Dodola, Kolorai, Mitia, Kokoya and further north Taballenge are the best way to get a taste of the areas natural beauty from all corners. Majority of the people of Morotai seek livelihood from farming and fishing resources with main food crops being rice, maize, cassava, sweet potatoes, peanuts, mung beans, soybeans, fruits and vegetables.
There are around 28 dive points reported on Morotai Island all boasting a variety of beautiful coral reefs and various types of colourful fish. However, the main attraction to the area is the number of sunken relics which lay from World War II. The view is majestic and covered by mystery and what makes the sea around Morotai Island and North Maluku Province so attractive to divers worldwide. Those who visit can delve into the areas rich history by exploring the wrecks and ruins of sunken jeeps, trucks, tanks and war airplanes. One of the most famous relics of World War II is the Bristol Beauford plane submerged at 40 metres and at nearby Kao Bay a half-submerged Japanese wreck named the Tosimaru can still be seen from the shore. Diving around these parts offers you everything from walls, slopes, schooling fish, coral gardens and incredible critter and macro diving. Large schools of rainbow runners, snapper and surgeonfish have found refuge amongst what once was an area of war-torn activity.
This nostalgic zone of World War II and the physical memories which have been left behind is what holds the island’s charm. Historical sites and monuments are laid across the island which anyone can visit. Including seven airbases, one of which is now Pitu Airport on Morotai Island. To delve deeper and learn more about Morotai’s past, a small converted shed is now home to privately collected memorabilia from World War II. Paved roads connect main villages but the biggest drawcard is the ability to hop between more remote islands by vessel. Clear white sand beaches of Dodola Besar and Dodola Kecil which during high tide are connected and separated during low tide however can still be crossed underwater.
For avid surfers, the northernmost part of Morotai Island has been recognised as some of the best waves in Indonesia and can be accessed from Sopi Village. The mountainous terrain of some parts offers many capes and waterfalls to visit ranging from 2 metres height to 50 metres for the more adventurous looking for an adrenaline rush.