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Asked me what made me thinking of coming all the way here to Karimunjawa two years ago. Well, a few years earlier, it was when I and friends were in Pahawang, Lampung, then one of my friends told me that 70% of the coral variety in Karimunjawa, we can find it right here in Pahawang. I am not sure where my that friend got that piece of information from though.
..Karimunjawa must be much more amazing and I have to visit there one day.
Back then, I had very limited knowledge about places in Indonesia and that was my first time to know of Karimunjawa. So, while I did kayaking in front of our homestay in Pahawang at that time, looking at the crystal clear water and what was below that water, in my mind, Pahawang is already so beautiful, Karimunjawa must be much more amazing and I have to visit there one day.
Karimunjawa is not a recent popular place to visit. From what I heard, often times, people can get there but they might get stuck on the island for unexpected extra days due to the weather. All boat schedules will be cancelled and there is no way for people to go back to the main island of Java unless the boat for crossing resumes back on service. Because of that, people choose to go to other places than going to Karimunjawa.
[Read: A Getaway to Karimunjawa Islands]
Diving in Karimunjawa
The main activities in Karimunjawa are definitely snorkelling and diving. If you don’t do both, you can still enjoy the island hoping and the main island of Karimunjawa itself. The island is pretty big and we only explored one side of the island that is close to Alun-Alun Karimunjawa. Our hostel and the harbour heading out to other islands are located around this area.
I and my two other friends only plan for diving and since we have come so far, we did three dives instead of the package offered by the tour operator on the island that is usually only two. Pak Noor, the instructor as well as the one who runs the Salma Dive Shop Centre in Karimunjawa, assigned Jamal, one of the dive masters to guide us. We had our gears fitted the night before and briefing on what we shall expect on the next day diving.
The Indonor Shipwreck
The first dive site would be the Indonor Shipwreck. It is a big steel steam-engine cargo vessel with about 99 m long and 12 m high that was sunk in the waters of Karimunjawa on February 7th, 1960. Lay on the sea bed at about 16 m depth, it is considered as a shallow wreck. Although we would only go around the ship and wouldn’t be going through the hall or anything, I was still kind of worried. Phew, I can do this. I told myself. The feeling that usually appears when I am about to dive at new sites. Especially, this would be my first-time to dive around the wreck.
Actually, it is not really my first-time. I recall back to the dive I did in Padang Bay, Bali. There is one dive site where we can see a small boat wreck and Agus, the dive master from Livingseas, brought me there. That was my first time seeing a wreck and I didn’t dare to follow either stay close. So, in the end, I just followed him from the outside watching he went in from the back of the boat and came out from the other end. If I think it over, it is quite a funny watching him using his underwater body language asking why I didn’t follow as he swam in while I just laughed (slowly), shook my head waving bye.
Our second dive was at Cemara Gosong where it has beautiful coral reef and fish here. Although I didn’t see any big fish but reef fish and corals variety are plenty. The coral is dense more than I expected, too. I can’t deny that I saw many dead corals during the dive but really, I still didn’t expect it to be this good. I mean, it is still so near to the Java island, what we could expect? That’s what I thought.
The water is also calm. There is some part where there is a little bit current but it is still pleasant and we can just drift along with it, watching the corals without need to anything except breathing and watching our surrounding. The feeling is so good, calm and peaceful. That is one of the reasons I love to be in nature. The feeling that I will always miss when I am already back to the city.
A wooden shipwreck, not as big as Indonor shipwreck, is something to see at this dive site. The ship was carrying tiles when it sunk so we could still find some tiles lying around the wreck. Starts from about 8 m below the surface, we could already see the wreck. The ship stern resting at 27 m depth. Too bad the visibility was so poor at this site that time, we only saw a very small part of the wreck. We didn’t continue to explore further. We went off to check out the reef. Even though the Indonor wreck is much bigger than this one, I was still quite amazed when seeing this wooden shipwreck. It could be because the boat was made from wooden material which gives that antique or very old kind of feeling.
[Read: Best Scuba Diving Destinations in the World by Adventure in You]
No, we didn’t dive here. This was where we pampered ourselves with a nice meal. Based on what our DM, Jamal said, Cemara Kecil Island is usually crowded with visitors having their lunch break. Did I tell you that we were there during the fasting month, low season? There was no one there except our group, a private island it is. We saw how Jamal and his brother grilled the fish for us. You can see how they grilled the fish at the end of my Indonor shipwreck video on Youtube, too! They brought cooked rice, stir-fried vegetables and of course can’t miss sambal for our lunch. While they grilled the fish, what we three girls did was enjoying the beautiful view of the ocean in front of us and chit chatting. When else we could get guys to cook for us, right? :)
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If I came to Karimunjawa two years ago, the story would have been a bit different. I would have only been snorkelling and not diving. I wouldn’t be able to explore the shipwreck. Asked me if I would want to Karimunjawa for snorkelling or probably diving again. My answer would definitely ‘yes’. First, because it is not too far from Jakarta. Second, because I haven’t explored much of the island yet. Third, because of the friendly people on the island.
Now, Karimunjawa has become more accessible. While the boat crossing to Karimunjawa from Jepara is still available, there is a direct flight going to Karimunjawa from Semarang once a day. For those who prefer a shorter travel time, this is definitely a go for you. Is there anything else holding you back from visiting Karimunjawa? Spill in the comment box below.