Wednesday, October 31, 2012

East Java Trip Part 3: Sempu Island

After going up Mt. Bromo and and rafting down the river, it's not yet an extreme holiday without camping and trekking. Located on the southern shore of Malang, Sempu island is a nature conservation area. It takes only 10 minutes to reach Sempu island from Sendang Biru beach.

Map is taken from Wiki

Aneen and I picked up Windy at Malang Kota Baru station. Then we rented two tents and six tarpaulin mats. Aneen was considering to rent sleeping bags, but I told her that if we were to sleep on the beach, sleeping bags were not necessary. If you're sleeping in the mountain or higher ground or during cold weather, now that's another story.

We decided to not rent portable stove, which means that we should bring cooked foods. There are eateries in Sendang Biru and we all packed up our foods. Some bought rice with chicken or tempe (soybean cake). I bought two slices of tempe. Other alternatives are bread and chocolate bars. Each was carrying a big bottle of water for there is no freshwater source in Sempu island.

There was a funny scene before we reached Sendang Biru beach. We were waiting for the angkot (public minivan) to depart. Then Desy asked the heavily tattoo-ed driver,"Hey, where's the driver? When are we leaving?" in her shrill voice. The driver nudged his friend to accompany him to come closer to us. We just had to laugh. Bearing tattoos along your arms clearly doesn't mean you're a brave guy.

Tips #1: If you feel uncomfortable to carry out your excretory urges outdoors, it's best to eat as little as possible. However, proper hydration is important.

The journey to Sempu island began. Photo by Windy

 The boat refused to come closer so we had to get wet on the first place

The first sight that welcome us in Sempu

Tips #2: Write down the boat owner's phone number so you can call him to pick you up on the designated spot.

We called these: Gerbang Jodoh (Gate of Love) #eaa #WhatHappensWhenSingleGirlsTravelTogether

A tree branch bends down, forming this swing-shaped construction

The trekking was difficult enough and we all carried big heavy backpack. My backpack is the biggest of all and looking back at the photos made me amazed that I could go through the 2.4-kilometer trek between the spot where we landed and Segara Anakan. Once again it's a matter of strong will, I guess. And keeping up my balance.

No matter how hard the trekking goes, there is always time for photo sessions. I wish the backpack's rain cover were red, though. Photo by Aneen.

Before the last sun ray disappeared in the forest. Photo by Windy

When we reached Segara Anakan, it was already dark and then it started to drizzle. We pulled the tent from the bag and tried to set it up. I've learned how to set up dome-shaped tent several time, such as in Mt. Beuticanar and Mt. Krakatau, but it was still difficult to do it in the dark.

Just when I thought it would take forever, a group of men came to our rescue. They had set up their tent nearby and offered hands in building our tent. They scolded and teased us, though.

"Why did you come too late? You girls are so reckless and you don't even know how to set up tent."
"Why didn't you approach us in Sendang Biru? We could come together and you wouldn't need a guide."
"You know what? I think your tent should be moved closer to our tent. It's for your own safety."
"Did you bring any salt? There are many snakes around. This is why your tent should be close to ours, so if something happens we can help you."

Windy, Aneen and I just laughed to hear their words.

Within five minutes, one tent (the tent for Windy, Aneen and I) had stood. Meanwhile another tent for Sisca, Desy and Daeng was still not finished.
"Guys, if you have finished over there, would you mind helping us here?" Desy asked.
"Yes, we do mind. You already have a man over there. We only want to help the ladies," said one of our kind gentlemen.
Ahem, there is a perk of being a woman, afterall :).

We spent the night chatting by the beach, watching the stars (#eaa) and eating mangoes. With five women and one man in the group, it is easy to guess who has bought the mangoes. It's Daeng! Hahaha.

Sempu island full team, from left: Daeng, Sisca, me, Desy, Aneen and Windy

At night, I slept in the middle, Aneen on my left while Windy on my right. Then the following conversation took place.
Aneen: This side is too close to the men's tent. What if one of them come after me in the middle of the night?
Me: Relax. I'm sleeping right on the tent's entryway. I'll be the first victim if something happens.
Aneen: Or perhaps they will take Windy first to eliminate suspicion that they're the perpetrators.
Windy: Just go to sleep, you guys!

The next morning, we walked around the low-tide Segara Anakan. The guys-next-tent had folded down their tents and were ready to go home when three women wearing tank tops and mini shorts came.

"Stay put and set up the tent! We're not going home now!" one of the guys said.

Seeing how dirty the place was, we decided to throw a beach clean-up party. We piled up plastic, paper and other thrashes we could find. Could you believe that we found a diaper?

We should have brought some marshmallows too

During the low tide, the corals in Segara Anakan are coming to surface

Segara Anakan panorama

Our tents are the green ones. 

Then we went trekking to Kembar 1 beach, Kembar 2 beach and Pasir Panjang beach. Although the trekking was quite difficult, this time it was much easier for I left my backpack in the tent.

 This is nothing. Photo by Windy.

 Now this is something. Kind of like 127 Hours. Photo by Windy.

 It's a wild cat! A female Javan gibbon! No, it's just me making my way along the ridge. No biggie:P. Photo by Aneen
But the rewards are the empty white sandy beach. This is Kembar 1 beach

Kembar 2 beach

Pasir Panjang beach

Pasir Panjang beach. Taken by Windy's camera with self-timer.

This silly one is taken on Aneen's camera

From Sempu island, we drove back to Malang and then went separate ways. Aneen took a travel (a kind of rent car) to Solo, Daeng continued traveling to Surabaya, Desy and Sisca took executive class train Gajayana to Jakarta, while I went back to Jakarta with Windy using Majapahit, an air conditioned-economic class train, priced at Rp 275,000. While Gajayana only takes around 15 hours trip, Majapahit needs 17 hours to reach Jakarta from Malang. My butt will never be the same.

All in all, it's been a great trip and wonderful experience. Thank you my friends for taking me with you in this trip. Looking forward for more trips ahead:).

P.S. Windy also writes her experience in Sempu in her blogs (in Bahasa Indonesia). 

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