When talking about snorkeling location in Indonesia, places such as southern Bali area, Bunaken waterpark of North Sulawesi or Raja Ampat in Papua may have already made its name among tourists.
But here is another place worth trying, and it is not too far to reach from the capital Jakarta.
It is Pahawang island in the south of Lampung province. That small island and its surrounding offers visitors the view of white sandy beach which is home to corals such as Acropora Acuminata and anemones.
The blue-green sea water that surrounds the islands enables divers to see the rich ecosystem living in the area.
Just put on the gogles and dive in, visitors can spot on exotic fish such as clownfish (famously known as Nemo from the cartoon movie Finding Nemo), blue and purple starfish and napoleon fish swimming between the corals.
Not to mention little seahorses dancing freely around the anemones. However anyone may need to be aware of sea urchin that peeks between corals.
"This island will be strong competitor among beautiful snorkeling locations in Indonesia in the future," Reza, a visitor from Jakarta said.
Another site that`s worth to visit is Tanjung Putus area. It is actually two separate islands which seemed to be one if the sea water subside.
Hence there`s little wave in the seashore in this area. If the sea water subside visitors can walk from one island to another.
Here the water is clear, and sometimes visitors may spot on jellyfish trapped in the shallow area due to water subside.
The journey from Jakarta to Pahawang island and Tanjung Putus area is quite tiring for those who use land transportation. First is taking bus from Jakarta to Merak port (Banten province).
The journey will take approximately 3 to 4 hours and cost Rp20,000 each. Then cross Sunda strait using ferry to Bakauheni port (Lampung province) for 45 minutes to one hour.
The journey using ferry (cost Rp11,500 per person) here is quite tricky bevause it uses "first come first sevre" system.
So if anyone wants to get VIP spot with air conditioner and sofa he or she must be hurry to get in line.
The crew may charge an additional Rp10,000 for those who occupy the VIP room.
For those who prefer sitting outdoor, there are people who rent carpet for the price of Rp15,000. The carpet can fit 5-6 people all together.
Once arriving in Bakauheni port, visitors must continue journey using rented car to Ketapang port, a small port in southwest of Lampung province.
Usually the journey will take about one to two hours. There are a lot of local drivers waiting in Bakauheni port, so visitors shouldn`t be worried of not getting a rented car.
Average cost for renting a van (containing 8 people) is Rp250,000. Upon arriving at Ketapang port, take a 45 minutes journey using boat to Pahawang island.
Total journey from Jakarta to Pahawang island may take eight to ten hours. However, such long journey is worth the price as visitors set foot on the white sandy beach of Pahawang island and see for themselves the rich underwater ecosystem in the area.
After snorkeling and playing around Pahawang and Tanjung Putus area, take a rest at Kelagian island. It is an island owned byNavy Forces but visitors may rent small cottages there when there`s no drill or other activities by the navy.
Hiring a small cottages (can fill up to 10 person) may cost you Rp500,000. For the record, local people there can provide food for you with average cost Rp48,000 per person. But to cook, local people usually want to give service to group of 20 or more people.
A Kang Alam, a local people living near Ketapang port, said more and more tourists visit Pahawang island every month.
This, of course, brings fortue to the locals such as himself. Business such as boat rental, tourist guide, snorkel equipment rental and cottage rental are flourishing in the area.
"Every weekend there`s always a group of tourist coming to either Pahawang island or Tanjung Putus. Then they choose to rent a cottage at Kelagian island," he said.
Alam who run a cottage rental at Kelagian island admitted he received Rp1,000,000 for rental of two cottages per week from tourists.
His wife also gets around Rp1,000,000 to Rp1,450,000 for cooking for a group of tourist (20 to 30 person) every week.
However he reminded tourist to keep the hygiene in the area. Plastic waste, food wrapping waste and pieces of glass may disturb the beauty of the island, he added. (Antara)