Indonesia – Batu Karas and Green Canyon
Writing my travel journey with the rain pouring outside was so much fun! Especially, I wrote it from 20th floor with Semanggi as my view while listening to Daft Punk music!
After my first posting, I got an input from my colleague, Miss Rika Prasetia, who suggested that I should write my journal more descriptive in terms of places , views, environment, etc. so readers can feel the ambiance also. Ok, I’ll try on my Green Canyon and Batu Karas posting.
One month before the journey, 17 members of Share Travelers group (me, Rika, Dina, Sasa, Maria, Nining, Apple, Fitri, Gita, Ian, Djoko, Firman, Tony, Imam, Mitra, Bembi, Niko) led by Ian, have planned to visit Green Canyon and Batu Karas in Pangandaran, West Java. The main plan was to have a body rafting at Green Canyon (for those who do not know what body rafting is, you must read this posting until the end of the last sentence J). At first, I was curious with this kind of sport. I tried to ask Mr. Google for pictures or journals, but I could not find a perfect definition for body rafting, until I met my ex-colleagues. Their explanation made me more curious and I could not wait for the D-day. Meanwhile, the team leader always monitored the weather at Pangandaran through the body-rafting operator. We needed to do that because we cannot play body rafting during heavy rainfall, which will cause the river to be flooded. Fortunately, before the D-day, the operator said that light rains were showering Pangadaran for a couple of days, but the color of the river is still green. Yes, the color of the river is Green not Brown or without color 😀
Finally, at June 25, 2010 night, 16 persons gathered to go to Pangandaran (1 person joined us in Pangandaran) at 10PM. Even though it was already 10 PM, the traffic jam at Cikampek toll road was so awful. Well, what could we do other than sleep?
At around 4am, we stopped at a place with a mosque and a canteen (I forgot the place’s name and position, I promise next trip I’ll write down the place and the longitude as well). We were already hungry and also tired, so we decided to have a very early breakfast while waiting for Morning Prayer and continued the journey after it. Earlier, the team leader said it took 8-9 hours to Pangandaran, but apparently he miscalculated. At 4am, the journey was still half way to get to Pangandaran. Long way to gooo…
Finally we arrived at Pangandaran at 10am. Oh gosh!! We spent 12 hours on the road! A heavy rain welcomed us when we arrived. Everyone was thinking “oh no, can we do our body rafting?”. After we found Mitra, a member that already waited for us in Pangandaran, we directly went to Green Canyon which took 20-30 minutes from Pangandaran city. Finally we arrived at Green Canyon!! (70 40’55.50”S 1080 38’55.23” E). but wait…heavy rain was still falling down and our prediction was true, we could not do body rafting. All body-rafting operators cancelled the trip due to heavy rain. Ian decided to go directly to Batu Karas beach to go to our homestay and we would come back the next morning to have our body rafting. It only took around 10 minutes to get to Batu Karas from Green Canyon. Along the trip, we saw a river, that should be in a Green Color, turn into Brown color because of the heavy rain. Well, the river was becoming a Brown Canyon instead of Green 😦
We rented a house at Batu Karas. By the way, Batu Karas is a beach famous among surfers due to its friendly waves for surfing. Batu Karas faces South Sea or Hindia Ocean, that is why the wave is quite big, but not as big as those at Pelabuhan Ratu. We met some foreigners that were coming to do some surfing. For me, Batu Karas has great waves eventhough the sand was black not white like in several other beaches in Indonesia I already visited. The facilities at Batu Karas are quite complete. You can find fine and small hotels, or, if you prefer as a backpacker, you can stay in a resident’s house. Restaurants or “warung” are also plenty around the area. If you want to learn surfing, you can find rented surfer boards along with guides also. Some clothing stores are also available.
After re-packing our luggage, we had our lunch on the beach. Then, we were given options for water sports. It was either playing with banana boats, body boards or trying to be a surfer. I chose to play with body board, a strap made of a rubbery plastic that is attached at one end to your ankle by a Velcro cuff and on the other end to your board with a string that ties into a fastener. So much fun. We can also enjoy the waves without a surfing board. It was quite dangerous when the body board approaches the beach because there were lots of children, so we needed to drive the board to avoid them. Maybe because it was holiday season so there were lots of families there, including little monsters *children I mean 🙂
After being satisfied with the body board, we decided to go to Batu Hiu which took 20 minutes from Batu Karas. This beach has big waves but, again, not as big as those at Pelabuhan Ratu. It seemed dangerous to play on the beach because we did not see anyone on the beach. The coastline is very long, like in Kuta, Bali but with more big waves and black sand. It said that when Tsunami hit Aceh in 2004, Batu Hiu was also hit by the waves. The overall Batu Hiu view can be enjoyed if we walked to the nearest hill, which is intended for visitors to come to see the beauty of the beach. From the hill, if we look up to the left or the right, we could see the long coastline with its waves. It is very peaceful to see the view, sometimes I can’t believe that Indonesia has a view this great. The hill is actually a beautiful rock which is sedimented by the sea. It is a perfect spot for photographers to have photo shoots. At Batu Hiu we could find several “warung” and vendor street. Ooh I forget to mention that at there we felt an earthquake which was happening in Tasikmalaya at that time.
After some photo shoots, we directly went to Batu Karas to have a seafood dinner.
The D-day finally came. Body Rafting!! When we woke up, it was a little bit cloudy. We just prayed that it would turn to be a sunny day and yes! it was a sunny day. After breakfast, we went to Green Canyon again and we saw the water was already turning into Green color. Yeah Green!! Not Brown anymore.
Even though the green color is not so Green like in people’s pictures. To do the body rafting activities, several safety equipments are needed, such as helmet, life vest, and protector from knee to tibia. We looked like hockey players J. Total members at that day were 24 persons with 4 persons as our guides.
The journey began when we needed to ride a big truck for around 30 minutes to climb the hill. Then we needed to climb down the hill by foot for 300 meters. From far away we could already hear the sound of the river flow. When we finally approached the river, we saw the beauty of the river with its green water. First thing in my mind, oh gosh, the river has a very rapid flow, what should we do? Am I sure I wanna do this? ah c’mon 12 hours to get to this place and turn back, ehm..i don’t think so. Even though I was having a fever at that time, well, it was not going to stop me to do the body rafting 🙂
So, what is body rafting?? Body rafting is rafting without a boat (of course, that is why we call it body rafting, right?). So the point is, we need to let our body flow with the river’s flow including its rapid. The flow was quite rapid, because it was raining the day before. But it made this game more fun…
After we let our body follow the river’s flow, the guide would catch us by unfolding the rope from left side to the right side of the river. We needed to catch the rope. It was quite difficult to catch the rope with a swift flow pushing you so hard. In addition, sometimes we needed to avoid some rocks and sometimes it worked, but sometimes it didn’t and I would successfully hit the rocks ouch…*having hematoma for one week. If the rapid flow is quite dangerous we needed to walk at the edge of river, on the to top of the rocks or vines at the edge of the river by holding the rope as well.
The basic rule of this game is to follow the guide’s instructions. Sometimes they would tell you to put your feet in front of your body (like in kicking position), the purpose is when your body reaches the rocks, you can hit it with your feet. Sometimes they would tell you to direct your body to the left-side of the river, because the flow is quite rapid in your right-side, or at times when there is no flow, you need to swim until you get the flow.
Along the river we can enjoy the beautiful cliff and sometimes find small waterfalls. Some of us maybe could not enjoy the view, because we were more focused on the game (including me). The thought is always, what were the next challenges, while the heart was still beating and trying to overcome the cold of the river.
Reaching the finish line, we saw a beautiful cliff with a waterfall from the top of cliff. The rock is covered by moss. Ouch I am not smart enough to describe it, just please see the picture below :D. The excitement was not over yet. After the photo session finished on those lovely rocks, we needed to climb the cliff. Yes, climb! Not really high, but I was already tired, powerless, so it took some effort to climb it. Sometimes I just hum some songs just to give myself spirit!!
After all the members were already on top of the cliff, the guide said the options to get down were two: jump off from the cliff that is around 5 meters high or go back to the bottom of the cliff and go with the flow of the river. For those who got challenged, the option to jump seemed very exciting!! I never thought to jump from that high, but I finally jumped which took me less than 10 seconds to decide whether to jump or not 😀 . I think it was because of the influence of the flu drug that I took before body rafting. If you prefer to jump to the river, the guide will catch you. The jump was amazing, the first one for me. Anyone who plans to go there, must try it 😀 . Apparently the jump session made someone cry, but finally she managed to make the jump (go MARIA!!) and only one person didn’t jump .
Next, we needed to get through the last rapid and after that there would be no rapid flow. Finally we made it!! and we just realized that we started the body rafting at 10.30 am and finished at 3pm. Amazing trip!!
After we finally went back to the base camp, coconuts were waiting for us. That was the end of our journey and at 5pm we travelled back to Jakarta and arrived at 4.30am. What a longgg journey J. I hope, I’ve explained the definition of body rafting clear enough.
See you in the next trip.