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What We Seek We Don't Find

INDONESIA | Wednesday, 27 May 2015 | Views [112]

It was a 3-day holiday before exam week starts. We don’t have much time, but as it was our luck, we arrived 10 hours late, shivering all night in the too-cold air-conditioned executive class bus. It was still a long way to go, a public transportation to Sendang Biru beach, a fisherman’s boat to Sempu Island plus a two-hour walk to Segara Anakan beach where we would finally set up our tent and enjoy our runaway trip.

So we took a wash in some public toilet in a gas station, all 13 of us standing in line like a group of girl scouts, had lunch across Malang’s main bus station and catch an angkot to Sendang Biru.  It was a brutal race with time. As for what we know, the last boat to Sempu leaves at 4.30 P.M. and if we couldn’t get there before that we’ll have to wait until the next day.

Our sleepy eyes watch the region marking pass one by one as we get a kilometer closer to the paradise we’ve been dreaming of.  Finally! As our feet touches the sand, we ran to the guard’s office to get boat. But as we feared, the last boat has gone so we set up our tent and start cooking.

After an encounter with a drunk man followed by a restless sleep we hop on to a boat and are soon pushing through the knee deep mud and slippery roots. The two-hour walk was in fact three hours of intense struggle through the deep forest of Sempu Island. After nearly slipping off a cliff, I saw clear blue water shimmering just 3 meters below my mud-coated feet.

We’re here! We’re finally here! Our long journey has been paid off with a fraction of the Indian Ocean, protected by a unique coral barrier with a round opening in the middle.

That was the image I got from the Internet, the image I keep on picturing in my mind the whole journey. But reality has it’s own way of showing it’s face: the beach was packed with hundreds of multicolored tents with only a few spots left, there was a heap of trash left by campers on one side of the beach, and the water was murky, what we saw before was the far side of that salt water lake.

We set up our tents once again, sat under what little shade we had, protecting ourselves from what seems like an angry Sun, and taught maybe it was a good thing we came late and only had one night on the island. Maybe it’s meant to be for us to see what has become of this hidden paradise in the far side of a conservation island.  From that day on, I made it a mission to myself to find a way of sharing any kind of hidden paradise without bringing harm to it. 

Tags: backpack, hidden beach, trekking

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