Quiet Coral Reef Beach
Updated on 1/26/2015
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The smell of ocean started to fill the air as YogYES passed the smooth roads along the rural area of Gunungkidul, telling us that we were getting closer to the beach. Two hours of driving from Jogja eventually received its reward as we arrived at Drini Beach. The sun had not been too high; it gave time for the blue sky to expose itself, making it a background for the white-sand beach. Far away, a coral island floated lonely in the vast ocean.
Drini Beach is one of the special beaches along Gunungkidul's coastal line as it has a small island floating in, dividing the beach into two parts. It is believed that the island has numerous santigi (Pemphis acidula) trees, or known by the locals as drini. That is why the beach and the island are named after the tree. When the ocean recedes, we can go to the island. You don't have to be a climber to explore the reefs as there has been concrete stairs built to help you reach to the top of the reef. From up there, you can throw your view to the whole area of Drini Beach; from the gazebo roofs made of reeds to the lines of fishermen's boats. Everything seem so small; they look like miniatures made by dwarves. Today, drini trees no longer grow; all you can see is just sea pandan (Pandanus tectorius) covering every inch of the land, struggling to survive against wild grasses. During our visit, an old man was chanting Javanese tembang (poetic song) while collecting grasses for his cattle. His chant sounded like a song accompanied by nature's orchestra. Oh, juts how peaceful life is...
The island also separates the East and the West side into two opposing characteristics. Like one with dual personality; one is quiet and clam, while the other is tough and ferocious. To the East of the beach, coral reefs stand tall in dignity as if they were challenging the king of the ocean. Combined with the angry waves, a lagoon charmingly appears. Save from the fury waves, the lagoon is a comfortable place to enjoy bathing in warm salty water; just like a giant bath tub, it helps relaxing the muscles, which have been exhausted for exploring the coral island. The greenish blue water, along with the surrounding coral walls and islands, the blue sky above, and the limitless view you can enjoy, will give you more than any facilities offered by any spa on earth. While enjoying the sea water massage, you will find yourself accompanied by natural aquarium with various oceanic biotas. School of fishes such as Sand Guppy, Jambrong (Masarap Jeprox) , and Sergeant Majors are busy playing hide-and-seek, swimming around and chasing each other between reefs, each of them is trying to hide from the others.
In the middle of the beach, aligned with the track to the island, there is something interesting-few stack of black sands in highly small diameter eagerly spread through the dominating white sands. If you don't keep your eyes wide open, you will most likely miss it. Research said that there used to be an underground river flowing here, which ended at Drini Beach; its current brought those black sands, which remain visible even until the present time.
On the other hand, the West end of the beach offers another rich exoticism-outriggered boats on anchors, taking short break after spending the whole night fighting against the waves of the South Ocean. One or two fishermen are throwing their nets, hoping for fishes to come over and surrender so that they could feed their families. Yes, Drini Beach is also a traditional fishermen village. With its stronger waves which directly flow to the free ocean without being obtruded by any reef barriers, the beach is a perfect fishing track for fishermen to hunt.
Tired of walking around the beach, let's take a break at the reed-roof gazebos. You can enjoy drinking young coconut to satisfy your thirst as you wait while your fishes are being grilled. Having fun at Drini Beach is like visiting a therapist-getting both your feet as well as your heart relaxed.
Text KEN SAVITRIE Photography DANIEL ANTONIUS KRISTANTO Translation WIDIANA MARTININGSIH
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