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Mr Hasanuddin’s private beach

1 Nov

Many local residents own their own piece of land bordering the sea. So does mr Hasanuddin, who lives on the northern main island, Pulau Kemujan. If you don’t mind the distance of 19 km from Karimunjawa village – or if you stay in the neighbouring Buginese house -, you can make believe that the beach is your own.

We chanced to meet pak Hasanuddin through the headmaster of the muslim highschool nearby. When we got talking to him, we found out that he was well acquainted with the late pak Ahmad Jainuddin who once rescued Theo at sea near Bali. ¨Pak Ahmad often told about having rescued a Dutchman.” Perhaps not such a coincidence, because Buginese sailors are well-known to roam all over the Indonesian archipelago and at Karimunjawa use to anchor at the nortern Gon Bajak harbour (see next tip). While pak Hasanuddin is also of Buginese descent as evident from his house built on poles.

Pak Hasanuddin keeps a guestbook of visitors to his beach – many Indonesian but only a few foreign names in it, among the latter three Hungarian girls. The beach lies behind his house, at a walk of perhaps 200 m and then 30 m down a steep slope. If you swim out some 50 m, you get at the corals and can snorkel at your leisure.

Bapak Hasanuddin, Jalan Serma M. Toha km 3, RT05/RW02, desa Kemujan, Kecamatan Karimunjawa, Jepara 59455.

On the main road to the airport, at 19 km from Karimunjawa village, find on your right hand the “Balai Taman Nasional Karimunjawa” of the Forestry Department. Pak Hasanuddin’s house stands next to it.

Dermaga Gon Bajak

1 Nov

It’s the harbour of Kemujan, the northern main island. The name Gon Bajak means the pirate’s place. Here is where in bygone ages pirates found a refuge, no need to risk their skins at mainland Java. Subsequently the Portuguese and Dutch traders found this a good place to stock up on food and water on their way to the Moluccas; at that time the population of Kemujan island may have been more numerous than nowadays.

The photo’s show an empty harbour with recently renovated pier. Yet, if we may believe our informant, one should come here at full moon, when domestic sailors from all over the archipelago come stocking up just as in bygone days. When they are not there, the water is crystal clear, suitable for a swim.

Go all the way to and past the airport, then turn north and follow the sign to Dermaga Gon Bajak

Off The Beaten Path

19 Sep

Tips and photos of unusual, out-of-the-way Karimunjawa attractions

The lookout behind Karimunjawa Inn

19 Sep

When the weather is clear Java at 90 km distance is visible from Karimunjawa. A good spot to try this is the hill behind Karmunjawa Inn. Here 270 concrete steps lead up to a telecommunication tower. You have to pass the Inn’s reception to reach the stairs, just politely ask for permission.

When we climbed up, the sky was not that clear. But if you look carefully at the first photo, you can see the steam plume of Jepara’s power plant (PLTU), just right from centre at the horizon.

Directions: From the ferry jetty follow the road straight uphill, turn right at the T-crossing, and find Karimunjawa Inn after 100 m or so.

The Legon Lele trail

19 Sep

The map on the billboard at the harbour indicates a few hiking trails, but without details. We decided to try out the Legon Lele trail, as we had already found its starting point.

The main and only through road of Karimunjawa runs north of the village. If you follow it east of Karimunjawa Inn, its final part is a 2.5 km stretch paved with concrete blocks. After negotiating a few steep hills, the road ends at the shore of Legon Lele bay. But an earthen path – suitable for pedestrians and motorbikes – leads on to a small hamlet in a green valley. This is one of the few places where people can cultivate rice, irrigated with clear water springing from the hill. A farmer told us that the same spring also supplies Karimunjawa village.

When you reach the hamlet the path turns left, passing a few isolated houses, and then starts climbing. Soon you find yourself on a steep and rocky path going up to the top of the ridge, then less steep going down. Eventually you reach the main road again, but about 3 km west of Karimunjawa. At this point a rusty billboard states that it is forbidden to enter the nature reserve. Who cares, there was no such board at the other end of the trail…

This hike took us 1.5 hours. A full circle back to the starting point would take at least one hour more, but we found some villagers willing to bring us there on their motorbikes, for payment of course.

The Dewandaru Tree

18 Sep

The legend
The name dewadaru can be rendered as “gift of the gods”. See tip “The grave of Sunan Nyamplung” for an account of how the dewadaru tree came
to grow on Karimunjawa island. For the islanders, the dewadaru represents the wisdom of the gods in maintaining harmony, stability and peace.
The tree is seen as the guardian of all living souls on the Karimunjawa islands.Therefore it is taboo to take a dewadaru tree, or even a branch or leaf from it, to mainland Java. If someone would try to do so, his boat would not arrive safely on Java. As proof is mentioned the case of motor vessel “Tongkol IV”, which sank in Karimunjawa waters on October 11, 1983. Eighteen people are still missing to this day, sixteen bodies were recovered, and 48 people were rescued. All this because someone had smuggled a branch of a dewadaru tree from the grave of Sunan Nyamplung. 

The facts
Looking up info about the dewadaru tree on the internet, we found a site which says that the tree is actually native throughout South-East Asia. The scientific name is said to be Messua Ferrea L.  from the Clusiaceae family.
The flowers, leaves and seeds of the tree contain compounds with medicinal value, especially for the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery. Indeed this is one of the virtues also claimed by the islanders.
On another site are stated results of research by the Biology Department of Gajah Mada University in 1992. They report that the tree is rare and not easily propagated, and that actually there are two strains on Karimunjawa island. One is the Dewadaru Baccaurea Sumatrana from the Euphorbiaceae family, the other Fagraea Elliptica from the Loganiaceae family.
Which leaves us – botanical laypeople – puzzled.
  • Location : Around the karimun jawa island