Thursday, 8 March 2012

Why travelling to Karimunjawa in the rainy season may not be the best decision..


Well Karimunjawa is pretty and all, and it goes without saying that visiting in the less crowded rainy season may net you a bargain or two.

But in Karimunjawa it may not always be the case. In the December-February period every year (this year included) the weather will not be the most pleasant. Every year there will be news of people getting stuck in the island longer than they intend to because of the high seas. When the waves are too high, ships from both Semarang and Jepara may stop operating altogether. So, it is prudent to check the weather and the sea's status with the ship operator periodically. In the past, foreign and domestic tourists alike have experienced these woes, forced to stay in the islands a few days to two weeks longer than intended. I, too, have experienced this to a lesser scale last year, when my fast boat trip from Semarang was cancelled on the day itself. Lucky me it happened before I set foot on the islands.

The simple 'terminal' at Karimunjawa
Well of course there's the bane of being able to explore the island more thoroughly, snorkeling everyday, lounging around and living like a boss! Sure, many who are forced to stay has said so. But what if you simply have not enough money to stay longer? Many of the lodgings will be kind enough to offer discount in such emergency situations, but how deep can your pocket go? Worse still, there is no ATM whatsoever in the island, so the only thing you have will be your cash. Almost no one accepts credit cards other than the top-notch resorts (which will burst your pocket anyway).

Dewadaru Airport Runway
If you are rich enough, maybe you can rent a private ship or rent a small plane at your risk. Last year there were Italian tourists who rented a plane for IDR 30 million because they get stuck! Ah and speaking about traveling by air, Karimunjawa is only equipped with a simple little airstrip with charter-only operation. Until the runway gets lengthened and the airport gets an upgrade, sea voyage will be the only way to reach this little paradise. This project is definitely in the pipeline, with the government planning to lengthen the runway to 1200 m this year. A further expansion of the runway to 1900 m and upgrading of terminal has also been proposed for tender in 2013 [source]. As of now, any trip you will be taking in the December-February period will involve an inherent risk of you having to alter your schedules.

That is until a scheduled flight gets into the Dewadaru airstrip more regularly. But will this be good or bad for the delicate environment in Karimunjawa? Will hoardes of tourists visit (and maybe ruin) it? That would be another story to ponder..