The Karimunjawa archipelago could be considered as Java’s hidden paradise. White sandy beaches and crystal water is always a welcome sights for those who visits Karimunjawa. It is also home of the Karimunjawa National Park, which consisted of twenty-two islands around it that have been declared as a marine reserve. These islands have their own beauty and uniqueness – each one has their own charm that we may not be able to experience on other islands. One such island that offers some great experiences and worth to visit is Menjangan Besar Island.
Menjangan Besar Island is a part of the chain-islands that form Karimunjawa National Park. It has an area of about 56 acres. Before reaching this island, you must first come to the main island of Karimunjawa. There are chartered planes from Semarang that fly from Semarang to Dewandaru Airport in Kemujan Island. There also a regular ferry that sails from Tanjung Emas port in Semarang and Jepara port to Karimunjawa island. From there, it requires a mere 5-10 minutes from the Rakyat port to Menjangan Besar Island as it is the closest island to Karimunjawa Island.
Menjangan Besar Island is largely uninhabited and the island property has been owned by PT. Raja Besi. It is mandatory to visit Menjangan Besar Island as it is included in the Seven Charms of Karimunjawa Archipelago. Lodging in Menjangan Besar Island is available as it is located right in front of captivated shark pools. The captivated shark pools of Menjangan Besar Island are consisted of two pools. The first pool containing approximately ten young sharks while the second pool had fifteen older sharks swimming in it. The pools offer an opportunity to test your adrenaline by swimming with the sharks in captivity. You do not need to worry because the sharks here tend to be less dangerous than their cousins in the wild and won’t actively attack humans unless provoked by food or bait. In addition to captivated sharks, Menjangan Besar Island also has a nursery pond for turtle hatchlings where dozens of them will be released in open sea when they have reached the right age.
Besides swimming with the sharks and releasing the turtle hatchlings, diving in Menjangan Besar Island is an experience one cannot miss. As a part of a marine conservation park, the undersea vista of Menjangan Besar Island is nothing but stunning. Here you may dive to see a plethora of acropora corals and table corals scattered around the bottom at 3 to 10m depth. This high coral diversity dominated largely by hard rock coral is a good place for seeing various kinds of marine biota from the schooling fish of Snappers and Fusiliers to bottom dwellers such as Gobies, Moray, Scorpion, Leaffish, and Blennies. The coral fishes here is also abundant where Butterfly, Cardinal, Angel, Grouper, Damselfish, Anthias, Batfish, Wrasse, Parrot, Surgeon, Trigger, Box, Puffer, and Porcupine are often seen swimming and hiding between the reefs. As the water has relatively weak to no current and warm water temperature ranging from 27°C to 30°C, it is a good place for any diver, though experienced one may want to dive elsewhere.