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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Kodingareng Keke: A Snorkeling Wonderland in Makassar

Makassar Day 2

My friend arranged the boat for our trip on our second day. Boat rental is a little steep at IDR 400,000. Well, this is a big boat that can accommodate up to 10 pax that's why. There are no available smaller boats for fewer number of people. We didn't mind this at all since we are staying with my friend and this is our first major expense in Makassar.

all of my favorite colors in Kodingareng Keke

You might be asking, but where is Makassar? Maybe it is your first time to hear about it. It is the largest city in East Indonesia and the provincial capital of South Sulawesi. I know this part of Indonesia is still unheard-of to other travelers. To give you an idea, look at the illustration below. Sulawesi is just located south of the Philippines only being separated by the Celebes Sea. There used to be a direct flight from Davao to Manado in the past!

It is a great jump-off point to several exotic destinations too. It has direct connections to Borneo, Flores, West Papua and Maluku (Moluccas aka Spice Islands). Yes, it is the Spice Islands Ferdinand Magellan was looking for kaya lang sumablay ang navigation nya, sa Pilipinas sya napadpad! All of these 4 places are in my bucket list so there is a very high probability that I'll be back in Makassar.

Map of Sulawesi, Indonesia

Now that you get a general idea of where this place is, let me continue my story hehe. We woke up at 7:00 AM to prepare for our beach trip. Since we were heading to an uninhabited island, we already bought our food and supplies before heading to the port.

sailing on a perfect sunny day

We did a quick stop at Pulau Samalona to rent some snorkeling gears. We paid for INR 100,000 for 2 pairs of snorkels and a pair of flippers. Not bad. We will also be visiting this island but we headed to Kodingareng Keke (KK) first, because we wanted to be there early in the day for better water visibility while snorkeling.

Beau checking our snorkels

Kodingareng Keke is about 45 minutes from the city. It is one of the many islands scattered off Makassar. Don't worry it wasn't a rough ride, though there may be times that you'll get wet by the waves.

we're here!!!

When we arrived, we did not check-out the beach first. We jumped from the boat and snorkeled right away! The clear water was that enticing.

let's go fish hunting :)

The first thing I've noticed aside from the very clean and clear water were the thriving corals. Being someone who'd been snorkeling a lot in my home country and some other countries as well, I can honestly say that they have a very vibrant marine life here.

The corals were so beautiful yet so fragile. I kept telling Beau to please don't, don't ever step on the corals. It takes years for them to grow! I don't take that many photos when under the water. I just love to stalk fishes, swim with them and get lost in wonder.

After a couple of hours snorkeling, we felt exhausted and hungry. That was only time when we get off the sea and head to the jetty towards the beach.

KK Jetty

Totally unpopulated, there were no shelters nor other structures in the island aside from the jetty and the wooden fences as seen in the left side of the photo below.

We just found a place under the shade of the trees, sat in the sand and ate there.

that was our packed lunch!

Our lunch munch that day was Nasi Kuning (Bahasa for yellow rice). It is an Indonesian rice dish cooked with coconut milk and turmeric. It usually comes with side dishes such as vegetables, fried anchovies and peanuts and shrimp in chili. You will also be asked to add other dish on it like chicken, beef or seafood.

Nasi Kuning @ INR 5750 (PHP 21)
We also bought water and a lot of snacks from Indomaret, my favorite convenience store in Indonesia haha. We had chips, coco jelly and Sponge Crunch Strawberry for dessert! Ikhsan and I raced to the shelves to get the last and only pack of Sponge left -but he won! :'(

If you are from the Philippines like me, you are only familiar with Oishi's Sponge Crunch Cheese and Chocolate flavors, right? Well, in Indo they have a strawberry one and it tastes like " strawberry heaven"! No wonder, Ikhsan won't give me the chance to have it! It is his favorite too. I was glad he shared it with us at the beach. Sorry, I can't help but tell that story haha!

back to the sea

just beautiful

We were back to the waters after feeding ourselves. We were the only people in the whole island. It was just me, Beau, Ikhsan and our boatman. How cool is that? :)

Fil-Indo Friendship Day in KK ;)

afraid to let go, too deep!
We circumnavigated the island in 30 minutes. It is just like a huge sandbar, so you can walk around it that quick. On this side of the island, it has fine white sand. On the other side, the sand was darker and a little bit rougher with some pebbles on it.

Kodingareng Keke is a beautiful island. This is my perception without comparison to all the other islands I've been to. It met my standards of a good island destination. It has great snorkeling spots, the coral reefs are intact, it has white sand, the water is unpolluted and it has all the colors I imagined of a beach paradise. I'm the one who would always choose an uninhabited island over a commercialized one.

abandoned kitties in the island

The not-so-good things I've noticed were just a few. But what I really don't like is the trash being left by the tourists. Since no one lives in this island, nobody's taking care of all the rubbish being left there. I hope people will take their trashes back and dispose it properly in the city. I also felt bad about the cats living there. For sure, somebody brought them there. How cruel. :(

"Looking at beauty in the world, is the first step of purifying the mind." ~Amit Ray

Before we left the island, I sat down in the jetty for a few minutes. I looked all around, hoping that I won't forget all the beauty that surrounds me and how happy I am being there. 

The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. ~Jacques Cousteau

This is Part 2 of my South Sulawesi travel series. 

Samalona Island and our expenses report, up next!

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