Since arriving in Sumatra in early June I have met and made some amazing new friends. None other than the kind people of BKSDA. So while on a week off from my Bona duties I was invited to make the trip to Enggano Island.
The ferry left the port of Bengkulu at around 6pm. It was a 12 hour ferry ride to get to the remote location of Enggano Island. After a small bite to eat I ended up sharing the floor with the police chief of Enggano, together with my BKSDA guides we managed to partake in some conversation before finally getting to sleep on the floor of the ferry among the slow rolls of the ocean and the occasional groan of seasick passengers.
Enggano rose on the horizon as the sun pierced the stars of the night before and we headed in to settle at the BKSDA headquarters in the main port. After a short introduction to some of the local BKSDA crew we headed on motorbikes to meet various heads in some of the villages. It’s becoming a familiar practice for me when entering new villages to meet the heads and chat. Occasionally the heads will ask for gifts as a form of payment to be accepted to stay. On this occasion I had to give up a prized possession of a necklace I picked up in Africa. It was difficult to give up but I felt the need and didn’t want to upset this important man, which might impact on my travels around Enggano. After a long day of tripping across The island, we settled in for the night and the next day we started our circumnavigation of the island.
As far as open water boats go we weren’t in anything that could be considered too sturdy for seas that might be a bit rough, and rough it was with the seas reaching around 2m. Our crew were a motley bunch of BKSDA staffers with a 100 year old Enganno LEGEND who’s main priority was to bail water out of our boat while navigating the open seas around Enggano.
Entering areas where we could set the boat on some of the most gorgeous beaches I have seen were nothing short of a navigation miracle. Enggano is surrounded by many reefs and it’s only the locals who know these waters well enough to be able to navigate them successfully.
Every day we would wake at our remote location, set out on the open waters in search for a new and better location. The seas were a constant challenge and getting to each location was never easy, but once there life was good. We lived off rice and what the ocean provided.
The BKSDA crew were keen to show off their projects too. Some locations provided small crops for regrowth of plant life that provides food and shelter for the native fauna.
The western coast of Enganno island is abundant with Sea snake life. There are coral islands strung out along the coast and this provides the perfect haven for sea snakes to mate. Unfortunately these little islands provide the perfect gathering point for rubbish that finds itself floating on the indian ocean. It’s a very sad sight to see a TV and countless other trash wash up on what is the mating ground for these amazing sea snakes.
On the fourth day we rounded the island and reached the point where we began. We decided to make camp on a small island off the port of Enggano, called DUA Island. There are many small structures on this island but no population to speak of. We made ourselves comfortable in one small hut right on the beach. I was treated to some Indonesian live music and we slept our last night on a beach that was fitting of any 5 star location.
Four days of circumnavigating the open waters around Enggano. It was a privilege and an honor to be personally shown this amazing place by the BKSDA crew and I hope my photos have done some justice for what is a natural wonderland, and I hope it can stay that way.