Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ujung Kulon: Memories of paradise

It was before sunrise when we arrived by bus in Sumur village, Banten. The six-hour trip from the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) office in Jakarta was quite exhausting. The bumpy ride on damaged roads made us forget the prospect of a sound sleep.
The coastal village is the gateway to Ujung Kulon National Park. The sky was gradually brightening, and fishermen were appearing from the sea aboard their boats of various sizes; a number of traders, mostly women, were waiting on the beach.
We were heading for Peucang Island located in Panaitan strait, around three hours sail from Sumur village. But with no terminal, the two ships that were to take us could not berth properly so we used smaller intermediary vessels to board.
“No terminal is built so as to enable locals to share the earnings from ecotourism by hiring out their boats,” said Mirza Sharz from Koperasi Gema Umat (Kagum), a cooperative established to boost the area’s tourist industry.
Kagum was founded in 1999. The local people, comprising mostly of ship and boat owners, caterers, coral transplant farmers and artists are affiliated with this community-based ecotourism management partnership.

Full story by Ricky Yudhistira, The Jakarta Post (with pictures)

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