Most people have known that Indonesia has many beautiful and scenic diving sites such as Raja Ampat, Lombok, Bunaken or Bali. But how many are there know about the hidden diving jewel in the land of Java? Many might have not known about this, but the land of java also has their own special place that hold many unique diving site, white sandy beaches and serene nuance named Karimunjawa.
Karimunjawa or Karimun Jawa is an archipelago of 27 islands in the Java Sea, approximately 80 kilometres northwest of Jepara. The archipelago is under the administration of Jepara Regency, Central Java Province, with its sub district divided into three villages, namely Karimunjawa, Kemujan and Parang. The islands’ name is coming from old javanese language meaning ‘a stone’s throw from Java’, depicting its nearby location from the land of Java.
As such, it won’t be painstakingly long and arduous to reach it. 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.
The Javanese dominates the culture and a large portion of its population, with pockets of Bugis and Madurese inhabited it too. As of 2001, twenty-two of the islands in Karimunjawa have been declared as a marine reserve the Karimunjawa National Park. The other five islands are either privately owned or are under the control of the Indonesian Navy. The archipelago is mostly dominated by quartz sand stone, gravel, mud, and clay. It has a wave of low land, with elevation ranging from 0–506 meters above sea level, with Gajah hill as the Park’s highest point. The temperature is mainly tropical, ranging from 30 to 31°C. There are various kinds of accommodation here, from the four star hotels to homestays. Karimunjawa provides lots of sea foods which can be found within any restaurants are located within hotels or other eateries such as ‘warung’. Across from the harbor there are the shark pools where visitors are welcome to swim with the half a dozen black reef sharks.
Designated as a national marine park, Karimunjawa consists of many small islands with the main ones being Karimunjawa island, Kemujan island, Menjangan Besar island, and Menjangan Kecil island.
As one of the favorite dive sites in Indonesia, Karimunjawa Archipelago has several dive sites that are in good to excellent condition for all sorts of divers. The marine area around the archipelago offers varies types of diving spot such as fringing reefs, atolls and wrecks that most of them can be seen around Menjangan Besar Island, Menjangan Kecil Island, Tengah Island, Cilik Island, and Cemara Besar Island. The waters are warm and very safe even for the kids to try out some snorkeling. Drift diving in Karimunjawa is also popular as currents are often quite strong.
There are a number of beautiful submerged coral reefs around the islands such as Karang Kapal, Torpedo Reef and Ezdir Reef which offer good coral growth and sea lifes such as bumphead parrotfish, jacks and odd whitetip shark. Crocodile fish, Leafy Scorpion fish and whale sharks occasionaly seen if they are passing through. Wreck diving session is possible at the island of Batu Kunci, Karang Kapal, Karang Ketel, and Batulawang.