An underwater photo exhibition in the Karimunjawa Islands in Jepara, Central Java, has attracted domestic and foreign tourists to the resort, located in the Java Sea, about 80 kilometers to northwest of Jepara.
Some 30 photos were on display underwater on Sunday at a depth of between 2 to 13 meters, attached to 12 pier pillars.
The exhibition was held underwater for one day to prevent salt water from ruining the pictures, which will be on display above water on the pier until Thursday.
The chairman of the exhibition’s organizing committee, Teo Andri Saputra, said that some of the photos were taken by participants of a conservation photo competition, while others came from a marine science students’ club at Diponegoro University’s (Undip) school of fishery and marine sciences in Semarang.
The photos, which measured 30 centimeters by 40 centimeters, were arranged vertically, with each pillar accommodating two to three framed images.
Some photos depicted forests damaged by irresponsible conversions, while others depicted illegal hunting of shark fins in Alor Island, East Nusa Tenggara or coral reefs damaged by global warming.
Forty divers were on hand for the exhibition on Sunday, which the organizers claimed was the first of its kind in Indonesia.
Divers came from Purwokerto and Semarang in Central Java; Bandung, West Java; and Riau.
“I have never seen such an exhibition before,” Irsalina, a student from Padjadjaran University in Bandung, said on Tuesday. “This is a unique, rare and brilliant idea.”
Irsalina said that her visit to the exhibition also gave her a chance to enjoy the beauty of the Karimunjawa’s coral reefs and sea biota.
Another participant, Daniel Bartlett of the UK, expressed a similar sentiment. Bartlett, who holds a dive master certificate, said that he came to Karimunjawa to participate in a coral reef scientific diving activity conducted by the Marine Diving Club.
Bartlett said that his visit was more enjoyable after he learned of the student-organized exhibition.
The head of the Information Service and Tourism Industry Development Center of the Central Java Tourism Agency, Puji Joharnoto, said that he welcomed the activity, which would help to promote tourism on the resort islands famed for their reefs.
“Some say that Karimunjawa is Central Java’s Bali,” Puji said. “Most tourists are attracted by maritime tourism here, especially snorkeling and diving. We will also develop overland tourism here, such as hiking, mangrove tracking and religious tourism for pilgrimage to the grave of Sunan Nyamplungan,” Puji said referring to the legendary figure who founded the first settlement in the area.
Puji said that only 50 percent of the islands’ tourism potential had been developed, adding that the office wanted to encourage tourists to experience the province’s art performances and food.
The chairman of the Indonesian Guide Association’s Karimunjawa chapter, Arif Rachman, said that there were 1,500 tourists visiting the islands every week. “They mostly want to enjoy snorkeling and diving.” (Jakarta Post)