A (Failed) Leap of Faith on Tidung Islands
After some travel-crave weeks, finally last weekend I had an excursion to Kepulauan Seribu (literally means Thousand Islands), a group of approximately 300 islets just north of Jakarta. I went there with a friend of mine as backpackers instead of travel-agent-arranged tourists. Before going to the islands we did some research about the transportation, accommodation and things that we can do there. So, last Sunday, at 4 am, we went to Muara Angke harbor by taxi. Actually the boat leaves the harbor at 7 am, but we decided to go there very early to avoid long line of queue. Besides, the harbor also serves as a major fish market which means the later we go, the more crowded the road to harbor will be.
There are several boats which go to different islands. We chose the one which heads to Tidung islands. Tidung islands comprise of two islands: Tidung Besar (Big Tidung) and Tidung Kecil (Small Tidung). Tidung Besar mainly serves as settlement island as well as tourism spot. While the later serves as conservation island. The boat that we took brought us to Tidung Besar. It took nearly 3 hours to get to the island and I must say that the trip was not very pleasant since the boat is relatively crowded. Plus, it was also my first experience on aboard a boat. So, the seasickness did stuck me, mildly though.
As soon as we reached the island and got off the boat, I notice an ice cream man who sells a rather different kind of ice cream, which is traditionally made. It was very refreshing considering my previous three-hour-long nauseating trip.
After finishing the ice cream, we went around to find a place to stay and we were quite worried since this is a high season of tourism. But luckily enough, we coincidentally met a man named Ameng who helped us find a hotel which is reasonably cheap (around USD 40 per night). However we had to wait until 12 pm until the room is ready after the previous guests checked out. Having decided not to spend too much time, we went to find bicycles (around USD 1,80 per bicycle per day) to rent and head to the eastern tip of the island where the true beauty lies. The eastern tip of Tidung Besar is connected to Tidung Kecil by a small bridge which is called Jembatan Cinta (Bridge of Love). Rumor has it that there were a mother and her son who lived on Tidung Kecil. In order to get to Tidung Besar the mother always had to swim the small channel. One day when the mother was on Tidung Besar, her son decided to catch up with her. Then the little boy swam trough the channel and got drowned. Therefore local people decided to build a bridge between the two islands.
The arch of the bridge (which allows boats go under the bridge) is a popular spot for people to jump into the sea. Seeing those people jump into the water makes me want to try it. But I chose to go to Tidung Kecil first and did the attempt to jump on my way back.
There is practically no house whatsoever on Tidung Kecil and the island itself looks deserted. My friend and I were a bit hesitant in the beginning but then we decided to go through the small pathway anyway. There was a strange feeling though when passing through the pathway. I felt like someone or something was lurking upon us (I watched too much Lost series I guess). But after a few minutes, finally we saw an opening and found a very quiet beach. Then, swim time! The water is quite shallow, therefore I could walk to a considerable distance from the shore without significant difficulty.
After a few hours, we decide to head back to Tidung Besar. When I crossed the arch, one of the biggest challenges in my life started. My friend was ready to take a picture of me jumping from the bridge (which is approximately 10 meters high from sea level). But the view up there is completely different. I have already known that I have fear of falling, but one way or another I always managed to overcome it. However this time it was different. After many thinkings, many calm-myself moments, many this and that, I couldn’t jump. Actually there was one moment when my feet were ready to jump but my hand hold the bridge so firmly and won’t let go off it. It was supposed to be a leap of faith but this time I failed. Next time I go there I hope I will be ready to jump.
Originally we planned to go back to Jakarta in Monday afternoon, but we were informed that the weather would get worse in the afternoon, hence no boat leaves the coast. Therefore we took the boat which leaves in the morning. Only this time it was a speed-boat which has a maximum capacity of 30 people and travels faster than the boat that we took to get to the island. The trip was an adventure itself since the boat had to go through pretty huge waves several times. After stopping at Lancang Island and Untung Jawa Island, the one-hour-long ride finally arrived at Ancol Marina Harbor. It’s also the end of this short but fun (other than the failed jump) trip.
By for now.
Related Post: Sweet Reminiscence of Tidung Islands