Anambas is a group of islands midway between Singapore and Natuna Besar. The main islands are Matak, now a base for oil exploration, Tarempah and Jemaja Andriabu. The population is sparse, mainly simple fishing folk that are the descendants of the once mighty Bugis people. The main source of income is from sea products and coconuts. The islands has become a popular destination for divers from Singapore, the best known sites are the underwater reef systems of Tokong Malangbiru island, the submerged Acasta Rock, the disused Udang Oil Rigs and the wrecks of the sunken vessels “Seven Skies” and “Sara-D”. The closest sites can be reached in a half-day’s boat ride from Singapore, while the Udang Oil Rig to the northeast is about one and a half day away. Tours with boats where we can live onboard are arranged from Singapore. The other islands of Anambas archipelago are Tarempah and Jemaja Andriabu.
Tarempah Island is a tiny town with only one scruffy and small guesthouse; we can hire a local fishing boat here for a reasonable price and explore the surrounding area. Tarempah Island was probably the first Dutch territory attacked by the Japanese during WW2. The Tarempah village was heavily bombarded and most of it destroyed, 40 civilians were killed and 100 wounded, the remaining villagers were evacuated to Tanjung Pinang on Bintan. Anambas were occupied by Japanese troops on 26th of January 1942 and used as an advanced naval base, the rest of Natuna were probably occupied shortly afterwards.