and Natural Reserves
- Ultimate in Diversity
Island, a natural wonder
Sumbawa and the
Rest of East Nusa Tenggara
worth a visit
lies in the middle of the large marine Indo-Pacific
basin. This region extends from the Indian
Ocean waters off East Africa all the way
to the Hawaiian and Morquesas Islands in
the East South Pacific. The central area,
the waters around the Indonesian and Philippine
Islands, is the lest well-known, and much
scientific work still needs to be done.
In tropical wafers, where the temperature
and salinity are right, corals seem to "blossom"
into gardens, with an amazing variety of
forms and colors. Growing corals form reefs,
functioning as homes for whole communities
of marine life, they also provide nourishment
and nurseries for thousands of fish, shellfish,
sponges, crayfish and marine plants, while
protecting shorelines and creating islands
in the process.
scuba diving (snorkeling) or deep diving
with breathing equipment, or exploring a
reef it is on unforgettable experience.
Reefs often surround Indonesias smaller
islands, and many are inaccessible and still
undeveloped as far as marine tourism is
concerned. The single exception is Pulau
Putri in the Thousand Islands, northwest
of Jakarta. Other good places: Pulau Peucang
and Panaitan off Javas western most
peninsula in the Ujung Kulon Reserve; coral
reefs off the Tangkoko Batuangus Reserve
in North Sulawesi; Pulau Kasa near Ambon
in Maluku, off the Bali Barat Reserve, in
Bali. The Riau archipelago also offers some
excitement to divers of a different kind:
coral reefs are here combined with the interest
of exploring sunken ships and wrecks from
World War II.
wrecks, which dot the Riau waters, so close
to Singapore, are strictly World War II
vintage, but they still have an air of mystery.
The Japanese sank many in 1941. Riau is
easily accessible by boat from Singapore,
from Pekanbaru in SUMATRA or from Pontianak
in West Kalimantan. Good beaches and coral
can be found near Bintan Island, but for
divers and coral enthusiasts (or historians,
archaeologists or anthropologists, for that
matter) there are also endless opportunities
to explore the whole Riau Archipelago. The
islands are small and close to one another,
and the wrecks are usually in shallow waters.
Island hopping is easy and inexpensive.
Boats in Tanjung Pinang are easily available.
Peucang and Pulau Panaitan
of these sizeable islands are part of the
Ujung Kulon nature reserve, and lie just
off Java's western end. Peucang has two
rest houses; a permit to enter the reserve
and rest house accommodation must be obtained
at the Nature Conservation Directorate's
Head Office in Bogor, or the local office
in Labuan. Both islands are reached via
Labuan, a town on Java's west coast where
there are fishing boats. It's wise to make
firm arrangements for return trips at the
same time, and to make some allowances for
bad weather. No food is available on the
island, but the reserve wardens on Peucang
(in radio communication with the Nature
Conservation office in Labuan) will provide
visitors with water, bedding, cooking facilities,
and guides. There is good snorkeling and
diving all the way around Peucang, with
many ledges to explore on the northern reef.
More spectacular are the "under water cliffs"
of Tanjung Layar where the new and old lighthouses
are perched on. Tanjung Layar is only a
short boat ride from Peucang and well worth
the trip. Spear fishing is not permitted
within the reserve.
Island is uninhabited. Day trips to the
southern beaches, about 1 hour from Peucang
are recommended. Panaitan has extensive
reef platforms, particularly attractive
to explore on foot at low air pasang tides.
Seribu or the Thousand Islands is a group
of small Islands scattered in the Bay of
Jakarta. Actually a total of 110 islands,
they are within easy reach from Jakarta
by boat or chartered aircraft. Several islands
have been developed as tourist resorts or
for recreational purposes, where there are
bird and marine sanctuaries. The northern
part of these islands has been zoned as
a national marine park to preserve its underwater
resources and beauty.
90 km from Jakarta is the Pulau Putri, Pulau
Pelangi, Pulau Melintang, and Petondan,
which have up market accommodation, restaurants,
a dive shop and boats for hire. Nearby,
the islands of Melinjo, Papa Theo and Sepa
have been developed for divers
budget tourists. Transport is available
by private speedboats, inter-island ferries
or charter flights, which land on a grassy
strip on Pulau Panjang. The scenery among
so many green islands as well as the coral
is beautiful. Bookings can be made with
Pulaun Putri Paradise in the Setiabudi building
I, JI. H.R. Rasuna Said. There are also
other agencies, which offer sailing and
skin diving areas among the reefs are off
the coast of West Bali and those near Padangboi
in eastern Bali, and at Nusa Lembongan on
Nusa Penida, the large island off Bali's
southeastern shores. There is also a wreck,
that of the S.S. Liberty, only 40 meters
off the beach at Tulamben, near Kubu. Fish
sheltering in the wreck make them so tame
that they will flock to divers.
easy reach from Manado, North Sulawesi,
are good beaches and coral reefs, and plenty
of speedboats or sailboats for hire. Rent
a boat to go to the nature reserve of Tangkoko
Batuangus. The corals are exceptional and
accommodation can be found in Batu Putih
village. Beach landings are not uniformly
easy, depending on the time of the year.
Directorate General of Forest Protection
and Nature Conservation (PHPA) has an office
in Manado. A permit is necessary to enter
the Tangkoko Dua Saudara Nature Reserve.
coral reefs which ring the islands of Bunaken
are among the most spectacular in Indonesia
and have been rated by internationally experienced
divers as on a par with some of the great
reefs of the world. The marine population
is among the densest of Indonesia and is
of unequalled variety. Along the dramatic
drop-offs, riddled with grottos, fissures
and arches, downward visibility extends
to 30 meters or more and the contours of
the reef formations offer limitless diving
opportunities for snorkelers and scuba enthusiasts.
The islands can be reached within half an
hour by motorized outrigger from Malalayang
Beach, the jump-off point south of Manado.
Beach has a dive-master with licenses from
both the Indonesian and Sub aquatic Sport
Association (POSSI) and the Paris-based
Confederation Mondiale des Activites Subaquatiques
(CMAS). Scuba equipment can be hired there,
but it is advisable
bring along personal items such as depth
gauges and decompression tables. Both are
of particular importance, as there is a
decompression chamber in Manado.
has to be considered from the marine enthusiast's
point of view, more as a jumping off point
than as a destination, since it is accessible
by air and lies in the heart of many interesting
island groups. For the adventurous and the
self sufficient, the underwater islands
of Maluku are magnificent.
are about a thousand island islands in the
region, and most have excellent beaches,
reefs and seascapes, almost anywhere less
than a day's journey away from the population
centers. The snorkeling is superb. Boats
easily available for hire. Pulau Pombo and
Pulau Kasa are two small island-marine reserves
time of the year is from September to March.
Spells of rough weather can be expected
between April and July. A word of caution
is necessary: some corals are very fragile
and break under flippers. Some sting badly,
like the yellow-tipped fire coral. On sandy
reef platforms, watch out for the long back
spines of the sea urchins. Several small
islands in this archipelago are still uninhabited.
of the islands of Maluku is the small group
of islands of Banda, the original nutmeg
island. Banda Neira offers crystal clear
water, full of coral gardens and tropical
fish. There is a small hotel where diving
gear is available. The island of Bonda Neira
is seeped in history, starting from 1312
when the first Portuguese arrived on its
shores; followed by the English and the
Dutch all eater for the golden nutmeg trade.
Some of the remnants of this period still
remain. Banda Neira is an hour's flight
is rich in ornamental fish species, which
are exported to the United States, Japan
and Europe. Among these beautiful marine
aquarium fish species are the Amphiprion,
the Dascyllus, the red colored labrida and
the Gorisaygula found plenty in the waters
around the Bali Strait. The Balistoides
Niger is found in abundance in North Sulawesi.
from fish, the waters around many islands,
especially in the more virgin areas in the
eastern parts of the archipelago, offer
a rich variety of conches and shells and
one of the world's most beautiful conches,
the so called "Glory of the Sea". In waters
around nature reserves, however, the collecting
of fish, shells and other objects of marine
life is prohibited.
is ideal for surfing all year round. Some
areas are the best by strong shore hugging
currents, which, while not bothering experienced
surfer, make them unsuitable for beginners
and swimmers. Java's southern coast is longer
than California's Pacific coastline. Long
sandy beaches separated by rocky headlands
or occasional peninsulas are plentiful where
conditions are excellent for surfing. A
good place for beginners, but still satisfactory
for the more advanced is the beach near
Batu Keras, west of the nature reserve and
local resort of Pangandaran. Small but steady
right-handers roll in over a sandy bottom.
boards are good fun here too. Batu Keras
is about an hour's drive west of Pangandaran
village, where there is ample accommodation.
Avoid the bay between Batu Keras and the
Pangandaran peninsula, as strong currents
run parallel to the shore except in the
sheltered cove near the reserve itself.
area rapidly becoming increasingly popular
with surfers is at Pelabuhan Ratu, a three-hour
drive from either Jakarta or Bandung, situated
on Java's southern coast, the Indian Ocean.
A few miles from this fisherman's part going
west on a scenic coastal road with wild
beauty on your right and the impressive
ocean waves on your left, you will notice
all kinds of adequate facilities. But the
best place to go to is beyond the 4-star
Samudra Beach Hotel, towards the village
of Cisolok where beach surrounding are lovely,
distinctly tropical and where the ocean
is at its best. Its relative proximity from
Jakarta or Bandung has certainly been a
major factor, which gave rise to general
growth in this area where prices are still
very moderate and its seafood excellent.
western beaches of the Blambangan peninsula,
Java's easternmost extension has also attracted
the attention of surfers. The whole peninsula
is a nature reserve, known for its sea turtle
nesting beaches and its good waves but little
else. Most surfers reach by boat from Bali.
With its greater share of the tourist traffic,
especially from Australia, the needs of
sporting tourists are more obviously catered
to Bali than elsewhere in Indonesia.
places for surfing in the west monsoon (October
to March) are Nusa Dua and Sanur. Between
April and September, Kuta Beach is better,
and for advanced and serious practitioners
of the art there is also Ulu Watu on the
west coast of the peninsula.