PANTAI BARU
Fun Spot for Picnic, with Windmills so Unique


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Desa Poncosari, Srandakan, Bantul, Yogyakarta

The shadiness of Casuarinaceae turns the beach into a perfect spot for family picnic. The view becomes even more unique with tens of windmills functioning as the main source of electricity at the beach.

Updated on 1/28/2016

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Soft wind blew against our faces while YogYES team was passing through the Cross South Lineway, Bantul, Yogyakarta. There were no vehicles passing by; only the view of a vast sand dune covered by lines of brown bushes. Several huge posts were seen outstanding on the edge of the horizon, standing straight with a propeller spinning on top of each. As we headed closer, the number of windmills we saw increased, comprising different sizes. Large windmills were seen standing to tens of meters of height, accompanied by smaller ones sticking to the streetlamp posts. This was the unique view that greeted us when visiting Baru Beach, an eco-friendly tourism attraction in the South of Yogyakarta.

Baru Beach is not as popular as Parangtritis or Krakal, but its uniqueness is something worth talking about. The area is directly next to Pandansimo and Kuwaru Beach, only a few hundred meters from the estuary of River Progo. The beach is called "baru" (Indonesian word, meaning "new") as it was publicized officially only recently, in May 2010-very late when compared to other nearby beaches. One of the uniqueness the beach has is a Hybrid Power Plant (PLTH) near the entrance, with tens of windmills standing upright amidst the fields and bushes.

"Monggo, Mas, the parking fee is Rp.2000," said an old man who greeted us at the entrance, right at the end of the land road that connects Baru Beach with JJLS.

After taking a short rest, YogYES decided to take a look around and find any interesting things around the beach. The beach was not so crowded that afternoon; only few people were seen taking pictures amidst the shady Casuarinaceae trees. A shade of blue was seen between the green trees, revealing the beauty of the Southern Sea with its wave that never sleeps. At times, the sound of ATV motor was heard, roaring fast on the black sands, mixing with the sound of wave from the offshore.

The shield provided by the Casuarinaceae trees made the sunlight felt less burning. The air around the beach indeed felt fresh, just like in a forest; we didn't feel sultry like we would have normally been when at beach. This is what makes Baru Beach a perfect place to visit with family, as we saw a number of family groups having picnic along the shore. While laying down on a mat or hammock, you can enjoy the fresh air of the beach. Chatting with friends will also be fun with coconut ice sold around the beach. If you ever feel bored, you can also try riding an ATV motor while having a try of the sandy up-and-down track around the forest of the beach.

Done enjoying the quiet beach, we were once again made curious by the presence of windmild along the road to Baru Beach. There were tens of windmill towers standing upright between crop fields. They were not so big in size as ones commonly found in Europe-reaching hundreds of meters in height-but their presence was more than enough to aught our attention. The posts were made of iron bars arranged in a cellular power tower structure, with a large propeller on top of each. Each individual propeller has a special structure that enables it to move freely in horizontal movement. A fin on the rear part of each propeller functions as the main controller of the structure's movement, allowing the propeller to move towards the direction from where wind comes, thus maximizing the kinetic energy acquired.

We found out later that the windmills were provided as an aid by the Ministry of Research and Technology (Kemenristek) in 2010. The aid was part of the alternative power plant pilot program aimed at providing electricity for the areas around Baru Beach. Aside from utilizing energy from the wind, the power plant also utilizes solar power and biogas power produced by the local people's cow's droppings. As a whole, the power plant system known as Hybrid Power Plant (PLTH) is capable of producing sufficient energy to satisfy the energy needs of the people living around Baru Beach-from supplying energy for seafood kiosks to powering ice-maker machines for harboring fishermen.

Aside from their original function as a power plant, the windmills are also attracting in the eyes of tourists. Tourists often capture the unique structure of the windmills, either capturing them from afar to taking selfie photos in front of one of them. Sadly, it's rather hard for us to take photos from any closer, as the windmills are in the middle of fields and bushes. Also, some of them have started to show signs of decay, from merely rusty to loss of propeller parts. Still, it's not enough to stop tourists from capturing such a unique European-style view.

After few hours roaming and enjoying the fresh air of the shore of the Southern Sea, we decided to head back home. The subtle sunlight began to fade in the West, presenting us with a view of the silhouette of windmills that we obviously wouldn't want to miss. We retraced the long, quiet South Highway, this time with streetlamp lights and small windmills on top of each. What a fascinaing view!

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