Of course there are many mangroves on the Karimunjawa islands. But by far the most extensive lie between the two main islands Karimunjawa and Kemujan. In fact the two are connected by this field of mangroves. The road to the airport crosses them and only a small bridge indicates that you pass from one island to the other. Young boys go fishing at the bridge.
Part of the forest has recently been promoted to 'educational forest', to make the locals aware of its value. Several trees visible from the road have name-tags on them.
If you don't want to rent a boat for a swim, you have a few options.
Closest to the ferry harbour are the beaches of Dewadaru Resort and Escape Beach Resort. But you have to stay there or ask permission to use their beach. Somewhat farther east lies Nirvana Resort, charging Rp 12,500 for access to their beautiful beach.
Free, and suitable for snorkeling is Ujung Gelam beach. Close to the shore there are corals, although the site is not the most perfect.
From the main road one has to walk about 1 km along an earthen path. It is an interesting walk, the locals are friendly and eager for some small talk. We met men at work reparing a boat, and on our return found one willing to climb a tree and provide us with a fresh coconut drink.
Like Pulau Kecil, also Pulau Tengah is a good place for snorkeling. The same abundance of corals near the jetty, but even more fish, shoals of them. Right below the jetty we saw this bright orange male one, with a female hiding in the sea-nettles below. While most fishes keep their distance, this male approaches you to indicate "keep away from my territory". The photo of fishes we made from the jetty, having attracted them by throwing some rice in the water. And there was this bird taking a ride on a floating log.
After having had our fill of snorkeling near the jetty, we asked our boatman to sail around the island. On the far (east) side we saw from the boat vast stretches of more corals in water of perhaps 2 m deep.
Pulau Tengah is owned by the same rich Chinese from Semarang as Pulau Cilik. But the bungalows on Pulau Tengah are for rent, if you can make a deal with the caretaker living there.
There is a fenced-in basin at the jetty like the one at Wisma Apung (floating hostel); some big fish in there, but no sharks.
Karimunjawa has two harbours, a new ferry harbour at the southwest and an older fishing harbour at the northeast. The fishing harbour is quite close to the village square, the ferry harbour about one km from it.
On the morning we wanted to go snorkeling we just drove up to the ferry harbour, there was pak Hadi waiting for customers at his boat. We made a deal with him for a day tour to Pulau Cemara Besar, Pulau Menjangan Kecil and Pulau Menjangan Besar for Rp 300,000 (May 2009).
If you stay near the town square, we suppose you can also get a boat at the fishing harbour.
Pulau Cemara Besar takes its name from a species of pine trees (cemara) that grow here in abundance. But you find them in most islands of the Karimunjawa group.
We went here by local boat for snorkeling (see Hiring a boat at Karimunjawa Harbour), the travel time was about one hour.
The fishermen have their anchoring points where they moor the boat and you can jump overboard for snorkeling. The anchoring point at Cemara Besar island is near a sandbank, and you can walk to the island. Wherever you swim a short distance from the beach you find corals.
Later we anchored at another place in mid-sea facing Ujung Gelam peninsula. At both places we saw beautiful corals and fish, but also much dead coral; see our Info page for comments on this. The corals near Pulau Cilik and Pulau Tengah we found in better shape.
Sorry, no underwater-photography. Enjoy the pictures of the island.
And this is the island where no one will take you, Pulau Gundul or Bald Island. Not just because it is lacking in vegetation, but because it is a training ground for the navy and unexploded ammunition is said to lie around.
This photo is the closest I succeeded in making with 6x zoom. It was shot from the far (east) side of Pulau Tengah.
We found Pulau Cilik (Small Island, also called Pulau Kecil) one of the best spots for snorkeling on a short distance from the main island Kemujan. Jump straight from the jetty and all around you are fine living corals, only a few dead ones, Unfortunately we do not possess an underwater camera, so you have to come and see for yourself.
Pulau Cilik is privately owned, so we were told. On the island are a few bungalows and a pendopo (open meeting hall), but they are not for hire. Admission is free, there is generally no one around. Your boatman will tie up the boat to the jetty, and you can go snorkeling or roaming the island at leasure.
Kohin beach lies on the east side of Kemujan island. It is the closest beach to Pulau Cilik (Small Island) and Pulau Tengah (Middle Island). From the small Buginese community living here one can hire a boat for a snorkeling trip to these islands. We hired one from pak Mustafa for the price of Rp 150,000 for a 5 hour trip. That is ample time, the crossing to Pulau Cilik takes about a quarter of an hour, and from there to Pulau Tengah another quarter.
There are also a few bungalows for hire at Kohin beach, pretty basic as is to be expected. You can see the villagers at work bringing ashore a crop of sea weed while children play around. And we were lucky to find pak Mustafa busy building a boat for a neighbour.
shark is one of endangered species in karimunjawa.
here, you can meet some friendly shark, swimming and taking picture with.
don't worry, like in 'finding nemo', they're unharm, at first i thought they're vegetarian but too bad, i witnessed them eating some fishes.
this is the hightlight of the vacation!
karimunjawa got the best coral reef. some island is still inhabited so sometimes you're the only one there.
rent a boat to explore the islands for snorkeling and ask the guide to show you the best corals with fishes.
~ pulau burung [bird conservatory] ***** my first meet with anchovies
~ pulau galeang
~ pulau menjangan besar
~ pulau menjangan kecil **** we got bitten by spiky ones
~ pulau cemara besar
~ pulau cemara kecil **** lovely sunset from this place
~ ujung gelam [the extension of karimunjawa besar] **** nick's comments: like in la dique or praline, seychelles
~ pulau gosong selikur
~ pulau bengkuang
~ pulau karang kapal
~ pulau krakal kecil
~ pulau krakal besar
~ pulau genteng
~ pulau gosong tengah
~ pulau nyamuk
~ pulau gosong
~ pulau menyawakan *** private island with kura-kura resort [we never been there!!!!!]
~ pulau taka menyawakan
~ pulau kumbang
~ pulau karang
~ pulau gundul * closed for public, serviced as military field
for those who loves marine life can be fulfilled to meet anykind of sea creatures during snorkelling or diving. from protected coral reefs [very colourful plateaus and plains in deep and shallow waters], pelican and hornbill, seagrass, crabs, turtle, anchovy, spiky ones ‘duri babi’, starfish, sharks, stingray, jellyfish, red snappers, etc. also several kind of local specialities species as we have here our beloved ikan belutak that we call her so sweet "baby". she's the ones among several sea animals that can be found in seawater aquarium at pondok terapung JK. i do miss her now!!! baby, oh baby :)
for me, it's also a heaven. anywhere in the islands, if the sky is clear ... can be seen beautiful sunset. also from my back window in the floating cabin [made from fishing platform]. serene and charm.
entitled as national marine park, karimunjawa archipelago stands from 27 small-tiny-mini-but beautiful islands.
so, every single day you can visit one or two of the islands, depend to your interest. from fishing, snorkelling, diving or just swimming.
mostly of them have white sandy beaches but difficulties in anchoring [refer to the only transportation is a boat] will vary. but even your boat can not reach the island properly, you still can visit the island by swimming in the shallow water and let the boat anchoring offshore.
get up early, go uphill (walk, or take a car) to watch the sunrise.
it was beautiful but it was a bit cloudy when we were there.