Visiting The Estuary of the Ancient Bengawan Solo River
Updated on 9/15/2015
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Bengawan Solo River used to flow quietly from its upper course in the north area and empty into Sadeng Beach that now is located in Gunung Kidul Regency. Four million years ago, however, a geological process took place. The Australia slab got under Java Island, causing the Java Land to rise slowly. The course of the river could not resist so that it turned northwards. The old line then dried since there was no flowing water anymore. This area is rich in limestone hills that, according to some researches, used to be coral reefs under the seawater.
Now, the ex line of the river that is popular through the keroncong song entitled Bengawan Solo created by Gesang becomes an interesting tourism object. In addition to serving as a tourism object, Sadeng, which was the estuary of the river, is one of the biggest fish harbor in Yogyakarta. Both of them become valuable geological sites. Once, there was a tour package exploring the course of the Ancient Bengawan Solo to its estuary.
On the way to Sadeng, we can see some hundreds meters line of the Ancient Bengawan Solo River. We can see the line after arriving at a blue plank with the writing "Girisubo - Ibukota Kecamatan". Get down from your vehicle and look carefully at the ex line of the river and record it with your camera.
There are two high limestone hills planking a low land that used to be the line of the river. The low land that now functions as a field for local people to grow vegetables bends beautifully as far as 7 kilometers northwards Pracimantoro area in Wonogiri Regency. The bends are so tempting that our eyes will have to see them.
The river line can also be explored southwards to its ex estuary in Sadeng Beach. One of the fishermen told that the estuary of the Ancient Bengawan Solo River was on the east beach, the area that currently is part of the fish harbor. Nonetheless, the explore to the south is not as beautiful as the one to the north because the line going to Sadeng Beach is not in the same direction with the flow of the biggest river in Java.
When we get to beach, we will see different scenery. The area of the beach also experiences changes like the line of the river that now functions as vegetables field. Sadeng Beach now functions as the most advanced fish harbor in Yogyakarta. This can be seen from the availability of big motorboats, gas station, shelters for fishermen and fish auction center and fishermen cooperative.
The development of Sadeng as a fish harbor has its own story. Around the year 1983, a group of fishermen from Gombong, Central Java came to this place. They considered Sadeng to be a potential place to go sea. The challenges are quite hard, not only the big waves but also local people's belief forbidding people to go sea and the beach that is believed to be mystical.
One of the fishermen, Pairo, told YogYES that the fishermen from Gombong believed that anyone could get into Sadeng Beach. Thus, anyone who dares to live in Sadeng will live. Finally, more fishermen from Gombong lived and made their living with their catches in that place.
Since then, the area keeps developing. In 1986, a center for fish auction was built and a harbor equipped with lighthouse to support the fishery activities were built. In 1989s, a cooperative for fishermen was formed. In 1995, an office that took care of the catches that also functions as a shelter for the transit fishermen was organized.
We will see the development of the fishery in Sadeng by visiting all parts of the beach. We will see fishermen cleaning their boats, carrying the fish to the acution center, grinding ice cubes to be placed in fish box before being distributed, and a number of mothers taking car of children in the shelter. All people are busy with fishery activities.
Besides, we can also explore the seashore in the eastern part and head to the sand dune close to the lighthouse. The scenery of the unlimited ocean will look clearly. Different from other beaches in Gunung Kidul in general, Sadeng does not have huge coral reefs so that our vision will not be obstructed. Sometimes, you can see fishermen's boats are going to sea.
Visiting Sadeng is like witnessing an evolution process. Along the way, we can recall the evolution of the low land of the Ancient Bengawan Solo line from its time when the water was still flowing to the present condition where the line changes its function as a field where local people grow vegetables. Meanwhile, visiting the beach seems like recall the beach that used to be the estuary that was quiet and now it becomes the biggest fish harbor in Yogyakarta.
Text: Yunanto Wiji Utomo
Photo & Artistic: Jaya Tri Hartono
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