Aquatic Universe so Amazing with a Pair of Giant Turtle Guarding
Updated on 1/28/2016
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The ferocity of the wave in the beaches to the south of Jogja often bring fear to people and cause them to feel reluctant to come closer. The waves rolling one after the other from the direction of the vast ocean seem like competing to shoo us away from the water. Unlike other friendlier beaches in the northern coast of Java, this part of the land that directly greets the vastness of Indian Ocean is not a proper place for indulging yourself in swimming in salt water or enjoying the thrill of exploring the beauty of the sea floor while snorkeling together with bands of small fishes. This eventually force you to content yourself with playing water along the shore, a place where the froths start to fade away. However, all of those previously thought to be impossible for fun, like swimming and snorkeling in the south beach, came into reality when YogYes visited Nglambor Beach.
A fifteen minute trek was YogYes' choice to end the three hours of bumpy ride. Dangerous terrain with steep decline forced us to choose between walking or using the motorcycle taxi services offered by experienced locals instead of riding by ourselves to the beach.
Passing through the gap in the floral fences formed by Pandanus Tectorius, we arrived at the beach. A group of youths wearing bright orange life jacket and other snorkeling equipment looked really enthusiastic and excited to swim and dive in the shallow water. Nglambor Beach is one of the snorkeling destinations in the southern coastline of Yogyakarta, possessing fantastic sea floor panorama with various corals and sea life. Sergeant Major, Jambrong (Jeprox Fish), and other small fishes are the native inhabitants that can often be found swimming in packs or playing hide and seek in every nook and cranny of the corals.
This beautiful view concealed by the waves is highly conserved by the locals living nearby Nglambor Beach. The beach is a farming area for several types of fish as well as a conservation site for corals and other sea lives. Sea offering tradition called Ngalangi is also performed regularly at the beach. "Ngalangi" is a Javanese word that means 'preventing' or 'forbidding'. The locals in Nglambor Beach forbid anyone from catching fish in the beach unless it is done once a year outside of the fish spawning season. The fish catching process can only be done using gawar, a kind of net made out of the root of wawar tree tied on stakes and thrown to the sea by the locals.
As if reluctant to stay put, the nature guards and defends the beauty of this aquatic universe by commanding two giant turtle rocks to protect the beach. "Watu Kalong" and "Watu Kuntul" stands gallantly to tame the fierce waves so that the forces that hit the beach can be weakened. The very existence of these two giant turtles is the one that keeps the corals in Nglambor Beach from being crushed by the waves, as well as making the beach safe for snorkeling.
Wearing snorkeling equipment, complete with shoes and life jacket, we were ready to greet the dwellers of the neritic zone with the help of one of the guides. Luckily, we came to the beach at the right moment: when the tide was at the state between rising and falling. At the beach, you can find two snorkeling equipment rentals, Bintang Nglambor Snorkeling (BNS) and Pokdarwis Nglambor Lestari, and that's why you don't have to bother yourself with carrying equipment all the way from home.Wearing snorkeling equipment, complete with shoes and life jacket, we were ready to greet the dwellers of the neritic zone with the help of one of the guides. Luckily, we came to the beach at the right moment: when the tide was at the state between rising and falling. At the beach, you can find two snorkeling equipment rentals, Bintang Nglambor Snorkeling (BNS) and Pokdarwis Nglambor Lestari, and that's why you don't have to bother yourself with carrying equipment all the way from home.
The remaining of the tamed waves provides distinct sensation during our snorkeling adventure at Nglambor Beach. They sometimes spoiled our success of swimming to the middle by washing us away back to the shore. With the skill of a rookie, we dove with extra caution so as to not stepping on corals and damaging this beach's sea floor ecosystem. We didn't want to be added to the list of human activities threatening the wellbeing of the coral such as fish over-catching, construction of buildings in coastal area, and coral bleaching. It was all for the sake of keeping the beauty laid before our eyes that will need a very long time to regain its former glory should it ever be destroyed. If this sea floor ecosystem is damaged, the efforts of the locals and the giant turtles will be for nothing. Nglambor Beach and everything within it have spoiled us with mesmerizing landscape. As the ones enjoying the beauty, there's no harm in teaming up with the locals in a joint effort to preserve the beach and thus easing the burden of the two giant turtle rocks.
After tons of laughter and photo sessions with the small fishes, the shade provided by the rocks in the southern part of the beach became the perfect place for enjoying the sea breeze while drying our clothes. Not far from the place where we were sitting, fresh water was flowing out from the cracks in the rocks. At the beginning, we were astounded by the sight of a freshwater spring at a beach. According to a limestone researcher climatologist from LIPI (Indonesian Institute of Science), the freshwater spring phenomenon in Nglambor Beach is caused by a limestone tunnel in the form of U-shaped pipe functioning as ground water channel.
Lulled by the sea breeze, we failed to notice that the sun had risen so high and that our wet clothes have completely dried up. We left the spot, changed our clothes with the clean ones, and packed our stuff. It was time to say good bye to the giant turtles and let the two continue their job guarding the beach.
Text DIAN NORRAS Photography JAYA TRI HARTONO
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