Looking for a better change from Thousand Islands and Bali is too far and costly? Sanghyang Island is one of the answers for those who live in Jakarta. Lies just off the coastline of Anyer, Banten, it is an economical perfect place for divers who want to get some salinity in their system.
Brata, Jerry, and I went there on Saturday July 12, 2003. Departed Jakarta at 5:45 am, we arrived at Paku Pier on time at 7:20, it was cloudy in Anyer. Hastily, we rode Raras Sakti. And surprise-surprise some dolphins showed the pectoral fin right in the middle of our journey. Rather a pleasant view for us the three amigos, it was.
We arrived at our first D-Spot after 45 minutes. It was Legon Waru. Last year, I dived the same diving spot while joining Trisakti Diving Club's Reef Check on Earth Day. As agreed, we descend to 24 meters. Jerry and I were geared with our Olympus C-4000 digicam in PT 010 housing, while Brata was testing his brand new PT 015 for his brand new Olympus C-5050. Thank God, after one year the coral had not shown much of a change, still covering all over the dive area. The magnificent view was at 6-10 meter depths. We found tremendous carpeting soft and hard coral. It was a pity that visibility was not so friendly too us. It only gave us 5 meters at max. Fishes were also shy, cannot compare with Bunaken I guess. However, we were quite shocked by the appearance of a quite big Regal angelfish (Pygoplites diacanthus) about 40 cm in length. Afterwards I found at least two others. Longfin bannerfish (Heniochus acuminatus) did not want to miss the show either: The performance of three gawky divers. Two with lightning on their hand while another one hanged one of its "pectoral fin" on some box-shape balloon. Nudibranch (Pteraeolidia canthina) made this dive memorable for me. For Brata, it was a green turtle (Chelonia mydas), which made the dive. After sixty minutes, we ended the dive.
An unusual lunch of sandwiches filled up our stomach while we were making our two hour surface interval.
We chose Kedondong for our second dive. The visibility was worse only one to two metres and I got separated from Jerry and Brata because of a Thorny oyster (Spondylus varius). While a bit desperately searching for them, I found myself surrounded by a school of Grey unicornfish ( Naso caesius). Afterwards, a school of Pennant bannerfish (Heniochus chrisostomus) passed by. After a ten minutes of solitary diving, fortunately they managed to find me again, thus together we were able to spot a huge Puffer (Arothron mappa) and a balleting Polyclad flatworm (Pseudobiceros sp). So much to see in the ever murky water before we ascended. It was thirty-eight minutes.
Batu Mandi was the third dive-site that we tried our luck at after an hour and fourteen minutes of surface interval. Well, it had not changed that much. It was back to square one with the first dive, five meters visibility. In anyway, our eyes were served with the view of Sea slugs (Phyllidia sp.), another Polyclad flatworm (Pseudoceros sp.), and the seldom to see Beaded sea anemone (Heteractis aurora), with its Sebae anemonefish (Amphirion sebae). It really pays even though one of us got separated again. It was Brata this time. However, he doubled his luck because he spotted or rather another Sea turtle spotted him. We could only heard his honking excitement without knowing where the sound came from. A real lucky dive trip for him, though surge went to ten meters deep. Thirty-six minutes, then we decided to surface.
We had not wanted to return three unused diving tanks so that after an hour and a minute surface interval, we decided to make our fourth dive of the trip. Kebua, the site of Giant clam (Tridacna gigas), the boatmen said. Visibility was not improving. It was still not more than five meters. Nevertheless, the diving scene was not less enchanting. We saw various Nemo's real estate. Gigantic sea anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea), Magnificent sea anemone (Heteractis magnifica) were among others. Of course Nemo and his cousins did not want to waste the ample space. Like the first three dive spots, Kebua was also fully carpeted with monochromatic hard and soft corals. The color is from red to brown whether for the Acropora sp., Montipora sp., Fungia sp., Lobophyllia sp., Lobophyton sp., or Sarcophyton sp. Should we not be bound by the time limit, we would have been diving for an hour or more, searching for the giant clam. More than a meter and a half wide, some said. Too bad, after thirty-two minutes we had to paddle ourselves up. The more reason to return to Sanghyang Island, or rather to make a regular diving trip there.