The Indonesian article titled Pulau Sepa, Jakarta is also featured in Travel Fotografi magazine, Volume 18.
On the white sand beach of Sepa Island, among the vast archipelago of the Thousand Islands, a Spaniard leaned against the breeze while sharing the beauty of the islands formation far ahead with a person next to him. He muttered in awe that he had never seen anything like this in his long journey as an avid traveler. It is not a rocket science to envisage how high the district development will have leveraged the wealth of the islands and their scattered local inhabitants, if and when it happened. But rapid development has not reached this edge, considered to be one of the farthest parts of the district from the north coast of Jakarta. Infrastructure to support tourism grows at a slow pace in the past years. It is evident in the number of tourists that does not see significant increase from time to time. Boat traffic is scant compared to the size. Trip from and to Sepa island, for instance, is fixed on once every day, including weekends. One boat carries a maximum of total 40 passengers. Country policy that favors domestic tourism, or lack thereof, seems to resonate merely in an empty chamber.
Much ado about nothing
Visitors in Sepa Island enjoy each moment in seclusion. The noise that came from an elated boy could be heard throughout the beach, and quickly swallowed by the unremitting splashes of water. Two and a half hour from Jakarta, people needed time to adjust to the completely new kind of leisure experience, something that gave a sense of momentary isolation. Many found themselves an ample of time to do just about anything they wanted, nothing. A band of café musicians were also stranded there on the weekend. They brought with them high-pitch voice and stage noise that only lasted during lunch or dinner time. Then we returned the occasion again to the symphony of the calm nature.
No treasure island
Natural beauty like this still claims major parts of the Thousand Islands. Biodiversity on land or sea, though not remarkably varied, does not change since the formation of the islands took shapes long time ago. Unfortunately presence of modern humans leaves traces in the form of consumable wastes in some parts more likely visited. Some other interior part of the uninhabited island like this was left with, if any, minimal traces of humans’ visitation. By the time we journeyed into approximately a third of the island’s total diameter, all we had encountered was monotonous types of floras. We left with boredom. Sepa Island, with over two dozens of cottages built since it was opened for tourists, surprisingly holds an endemic fauna referred to by the locals “the locals”. They are a few giant lizards, a meter and half in length, untamed, yet shy of humans.
Reclining on a seat adjusted to this view is a treat no one can refuse. A fixed one trip per day to this island means that nothing would get in your sight to enjoy this scenery for the rest of the day, alone, except for occasionally seeing people renting kayaks, jet skis, or traditional boats to play around the vicinity. Perhaps this surpasses all the expectation. However there is so much to be done should the country aims to rake in more money through tourism industry. Improved transportation means in modern times have made travel to the corner of the world so much easier. Yet Indonesia remains stumbled in repetitive jargons and exhausting promotional campaigns without optimum result. It is regarded as the malaise of this country which persists to this day. It is also seen as an irony at the time when the country has not ceased to impress the business world for consumer-driven high economic growth. But is it necessary to hurry? If rapid growth has finally made it to Sepa Island, chances are you will no longer experience the vacation there this way.