Rabu, 09 Januari 2008

Pulau Pramuka: Turtle & Soto

farewell to Nelly

this is rainy season and i miss Pulau Pramuka (PP). the last time i went there was sunny and warm. i had a vey good time there: swimming, boating, eating, basking, singing, photographing.

my friends and i sailed about 3 hours from Muara Angke pier to PP on that noisy diesel powered boat. we mounted on the top and have the best view and the bluest sky we'd ever seen.

the wave rocked gently and we didn't talk much because the view was so amazing and none of us had ever gone there before.

at 12 we landed on the PP. the surrounding water was clear and schools of fish roamed here and there. and the pink jellyfish added to the beauty.

like many other islands in Thousand Islands (Kepulauan Seribu), PP's beach have been heavily transgressed by the sea water. but it has unwalled, white sand beach on its back side of the island where the abrasion shows no lethal threat.

the island is about half the size of Ragunan Zoo or about 5 ha, .

we stayed at a local house. it was a 5 x 2.5 m upper room with spacey terrace with beach view for only Rp 250,000 or USD 25 for 11 of us.

after securing the shelter, we rent ojek (rent boat) to go islands hopping for the fare of Rp 250,000. we went to uninhabited Pulau Semak Daun and once commercial Pulau Air. we had much fun there, from free diving, photo shoots (we did 2007 calendar), to scavenging garbage in search of cast sandals (Victor and I lost our beloved sandals).

we returned to PP and had lunch, it was soto ayam. this was the spiciest soto (turmeric chicken soup) i'd ever tasted. the coconut milk was thick and the turmeric was so generous with occasional eruption of salt and leek. and the food cost inexpensive even for an island 40 miles far away from mainland Java.

the island itself is one of 10 inhabited islands in the cluster of 108 islands in the Thousand Islands. it has schools, from preschool to high school, cyber cafe, hospital, and football field. so there are plenty activities here.

and the most exciting part is the turtle farewell party. the island houses the best turtle sanctuary in Jakarta. Pak Salim (58) has been collecting turtle eggs around the islands for more than 2 decades. for his initiative and vision, he has been given various awards. he led me to his sanctuary. its garden served as mangrove nursery. the sprouts are kept until they're 3 months old before transfered to the beach. nearby, i saw a caged heaps of sand. it was the site of unhatched eggs. each mound was labeled and dated. then i entered a building with many a blue container in which the turtles live.

i saw many hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata). so amazing. the cute reptiles swam here and there and they looked like angels when seen from above. their front feet often rest on the scaly back that they it resembled shoulders. you should see it yourself. really.

when my friends later joined, Pak Slamet said we could release the tukik (hatchlings) to the sea. he arranged them on the beach seawise. in seconds, they turned the direction instinctively and marched into the sea, to the calling of Mother Nature. so beautiful and moving.

i wanna go back there, soon as the rainy season ends.


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