Friday, July 11, 2014

Jakarta Diaries : 5 : Thousand Islands

After a wonderful day at Taman Mini last week, my expectations about the next weekend were high, but soon I faced the same problem again. I wasn't getting anyone to accompany. Last week, luckily I met Rahul in hotel lift and we planned a visit to Taman Mini. This week, it didn't happen. Rahul and many in my team returned to India this week.

I decided to go alone. I remember the "Ekla chalo re" song by Rabindranath Tagore. Having someone to accompany is a nice thing, but if you don't get anybody, why should stop doing things you want to, or cancel the plans? You can give yourself the best company. I love watching movies, visiting places, photography... So sometimes I make my mind to do what I love alone if required.

The second issue was the place. I had the wishlist of places in Jakarta prepared based on internet information, feedback from people who actually visited those. Thousand Islands was on that list. One colleague told me that scuba diving activity is available on some of the islands, and that made my choice clear for that weekend.

As I have mentioned long ago in my old post, Scuba diving, sky diving are in the list of things to do before I die, since I watched Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. :D

There are thousands of islands of different sizes and shapes around Jakarta. That is why this area is called Thousand Islands. Some islands are so small that nobody lives there. Some islands are big enough to accommodate a small village, while some beautiful islands are converted into resorts, and being promoted as tourist attractions. 

The islands nearer to the Jakarta City are affected due to pollution. But those which are farther are famous for the crystal clear water, beautiful coral, and diving sites. I chose to go to Sepa Island since scuba diving was available there. 

My friends went there, but they couldn't do scuba diving, since all the diving kits were rented out by a professional group of divers. He told me to try my luck with that, but also said that the island is really beautiful, and worth visiting.

On Sunday morning I left for the dock, where you can get a boat for the island. And again one issue popped up. I was alone to go to Sepa Island that day, and if I had to go, I had to pay for the entire boat, instead of sharing basis. That was way too expensive. After the lady came to know about my wish for scuba diving, she recommended me to go to Putri Island. She told me all islands are almost same. You'll get everything here also. I had no choice, I accepted to go to Putri Island, and boarded the boat.

It took us around 1.5-2 hours to reach the island. On the way, we really saw hundreds of islands, wonderful shade of blue in the water, and many other boats.

After reaching the island, I realized that all the descriptions I heard about the place were true. The water around the island was so clean, that you could clearly see the plants, fishes, sand everything under the water from above.

The island was converted into a lovely resort. Many types of cottages, a small swimming pool (on an island surrounded by so much water :D), restaurant, club house provide nice facilities for a picnic. Many groups were enjoying their stay on the island, singing local songs, playing games.

I completed a walk around the island in just 20-25 minutes. Then I went to the scuba diving counter, but unfortunately unlike Sepa where trainer is available for scuba diving enthusiasts, Putri Island permits diving only for license holders. I had to do snorkeling, which I have done before in India. 

Anyway, it is also enjoyable, I felt little bad just because I was so excited about scuba diving and I couldn't do it. For those who don't know about both, scuba diving is going deep into sea and observing the sea life, coral, fishes, crabs, etc. Snorkeling is doing same, but just from the surface, not going deep.

The positive point about the facility was there was no time limit for this. I got one wet suit on a rent, and was pleased with the way I looked fit and awesome in that suit. ;) I also enjoyed snorkeling with no hurry. The view under the water is magnificent. Different species of fishes, plants, and the colorful life in the sea makes you realize that you know nothing about the complexity of nature. God has created such a complex and wonderful world that despite human attempts to discover everything we will still have a lot to know.

Click here to see the photos I clicked in this trip. The disadvantage of going alone on a trip is there is nobody to take your photo. I requested one guy to take my pictures, but he really did a bad job. All the photos were blurred and out of focus. :(. The only photo I have of mine is the one when I clicked myself in the window of some cottage. :D

I had my meal and returned in the same boat to Jakarta. If I could bring someone with me, it would have been nice. But I alone enjoyed nonetheless. :)