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Karimun Jawa. Untouched, natural beauty of Java Sea. Located in northern part of Central Java province, it consists of 27 small islands, approximately 80 kilometers from Jepara. The population is small, and most of them live in the largest island Karimunjawa. They speak Javanese alongside Indonesian. According to Wikipedia article, the Karimunjawa was once port for pirate activity and uninhabited until British people came to Indonesia. Now it become marine reserve and part of Karimunjawa National Park with many good snorkeling and diving spots. As usual, Nokia N8 Camera with no edit.

Before I write something about my adventure, let me remind you the most important things you should take with you because I regret not bringing them:

  1. Motion Sickness Medication. Don’t try to act strong unless you’re a seaman. That ferry/speedboat trip takes about 3-5hours and the wave is kinda extreme.
  2. Anti-Mosquito. These evil creatures suck your blood like vampires. There’s no mosquitoes in the middle of the sea (obviously), but there are many in other places. There is no malaria, so it’s all good.
  3. Towel and toiletries. Don’t compare the island to Bali’s, Karimunjawa is so isolated and may not provide anything you need. More so, there is no minimart except small convenience shop “warung” in main island. When you visit smaller islands like Cemara or Gileyan, there are only small huts. You may want to have private time there or just do it *cough* “naturally” *cough* in the sea.
  4. Medicines. Your own medicines or just generic ones, doesn’t matter – you’ll need to bring them with you. Karimunjawa doesn’t have clinic or hospital. There’s a drugstore in the main land, but nowhere else beside that. The Red Cross boat will give you first aid and local people will help you when you feel ill.
  5. TELKOMSEL (Phone Provider, Simpati). The only phone mobile/internet provider that works good in these islands is SIMPATI, provided by government-owned PT Telkomsel Indonesia. Other providers have “decent” signal, but only operate until 9PM (I had XL Axiata and accessing internet took ages). I guess if you want to travel around Indonesia, you’ll need to buy at least one Telkomsel’s Simpati SIM Card…
  6. Sunblock and aloeveraEveryone must have known about this already when they decide to go to the sea. I suggest higher spl for sunscreen, but everything is up to you. I’m a mountain guy who never take one and don’t know much about this stuffs. I feel like a grilled fish when I go back to my habitat…
  7. Electricity: extension, powerbank, and batteries. Karimunjawa only has Diesel Power Plant which operates from 6PM to 6AM only. You heard it right: your devices can’t be charged until sunset. Prepare T-shaped extension like [THIS ONE] because normally your hotel room doesn’t provide many. Indonesia works in 220V/50Hz and normally two pin round socket and plug just like Europe.
  8. Sunglasses and hat. This one is optional, but better bring them with you. Sadly I wore (minus 5) glasses so I really don’t fancy having to wear two glasses at the same time.
  9. Cash money. There is no ATM and even there is, only one ATM BRI (Bank Rakyat Indonesia) located in main island. You might not need that many, but better safe than sorry, right.
  10. Sandal. Absolutely you won’t bring mountain shoes to beach, right…

I was invited by my older sis some weeks ago since her friend’s friend couldn’t come and my parents (amusingly) support me to go there. I wasn’t sure about myself joining marine trip at first, but since someone actually invited me: why not? I am still unemployed too. So fast forward to D-Day, we’ve prepared everything (and forgot many things) a day before and took Bandung-Jepara Night Bus.

The bus. Oh God. May be it can force an atheist to think about the existence of Higher Being on the spot and realize that he needs a faith to whoever drive the bus. We took off the bus pool at roughly 6.30PM and arrived in Jepara’s Kartini Port about 4AM, stop to eat dinner somewhere about 30minutes. The speed was like 120kmh in toll road and it freaking drifted like Fast-n-Furious Tokyo DRIFT complete with screaming brakes and burning smells. When I saw outside the bus window, I immediately realized it overtook every single cars we met. I’m glad I’m still alive.

Our journey didn’t end in that 10hours Bandung-Jepara flying bus. We still need to go on roughly 2.5 hours Monday speedboat ride rocking in August Java Sea Wave. It was a clear day but I didn’t want to experience boat-drift-and-furious once more so I asked my sis a motion sickness medicine. Collapsed to dreamland for 3 hours afterward and finally arrived in Karimun Jawa main island. Wooo!!

Look at that clear blue sea and sky! Welcome to Karimun Jawa! I was told that the ferries and speedboats aren’t always depart, which surprised me. If the weather is bad, no boats can cross to the island; so you’ll have to wait for the next day since they only depart once per day in the morning. The sea isn’t so friendly in August either, so I am really happy we finally made it safely. Mr. Jerry, our guide, told us that there was one trip that people just wanted to cross the sea despite the horribad weather so they boarded small fisherman boat to go there. It took them 5 hours rocking ride in extreme waves, felt like they could be thrown to the sea at any moment (but for local seamen it was nuthin! I admire their strength…!)

Menjangan Kecil Island

Menjangan Kecil Island

We arrived in our resort hotel “Kampung Bule” in Menjangan Kecil Island (unfortunately the google map doesn’t provide its name. Menjangan is “Deer” in Javanese but unfortunately you won’t see any deer there). I feel like my pictures taken by phone couldn’t serve any justice on the beauty of this island. The white sand to blue sky gradation and whatever I found inside the water body… I can only suggest you to go there yourself and see it with your own eyes! Our resort covers entire Menjangan Kecil Island, 15 rooms for guests in huts and 12hours electricity just like the rest of the islands. There are many plantations here, not just coconut tree. The people living there are just guests and hotel employees (and sometimes tourists who did island-hopping), and other creatures like mosquitoes, gecko, mantis, three dogs, fish, crabs, shells, and birds.

Menjangan Kecil (Cloudy) Sunset

Menjangan Kecil (Cloudy) Sunset

There were many swings like this one for tourist photo spot (I admit random swings like this and sea scenery is beautiful) and also in the island tied to strong tree branch. I recall there was a hammock too and a net for beach volley ball. Resort’s chef cooked delicious food and the grilled fish was really good! I loved her tongkol balado (sweet-chili-sauced mackerel). They’re Javanese, so they tend to put sugar in the tea. It was too sweet for my Sundanese tongue, so we only ordered plain (slightly bitter) Jasmine Tong Tji tea.

In the western side of island, there was a spot dedicated for sunset gazing. Not only that, the spot next to it (fenced with bamboo) was border to the most beautiful snorkeling spot Menjangan (Marine) National Park. You could snorkel your way from beach, but better hire a fisherman boat who knew best snorkeling spots and they would bring you to open water. At the beach, it was also home to various kind of fishes. When we were there, Mr. Jerry’s acquaintance (a local fisherman) snorkel his way and harpooned a huge fish. We also caught a small (poor) crab trying to hide in the sand and watched two small fish built their nest under a coral. They brought materials (sand, shells, and huge branch[?]) with their mouth and shoo away other fishes who approached them. Kinda cute.

Menjangan Kecil Sunset Hunting

Menjangan Kecil Sunset Hunting

At night, we went to bamboo-built dock and lie down there for stargazing and playing fireworks brought from Bandung. But due to super strong wind, the fireworks flew above the resort with huge bam (instead of above our head at the dock). Sadly it was full moon and the moonlight was too bright for stargazing. The plankton’s light couldn’t be seen because of that too.

Below read more are the pictures for Day-1, including sunset and Menjangan Kecil beach.

Menjangan Kecil Sunset

Menjangan Kecil Sunset

 

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