Actually, this experience of mine happened in November 2011. Back then, I took my annual leave from my office for 8 (eight) working days. I was worry because until the 1st date of such leave, I have not got any destination to travel to and any partner to travel with. Somehow, my friends from Aku Cinta Indonesia 2010 program (“ACI 2010“), Terryna and Kusumorini organised a dive trip to Kepulauan Seribu and then they offered me to join them. Without thinking, I accepted the invitation.
I already travelled to Kepulauan Seribu together with Terryna, Kusumorini and many other ACI 2010 friends in several ocassions. As usual, our meeting point was at Citra Land Mall, Grogol at 06.00 WIB. This time, the travel mates came from many group of friends, not just from ACI 2010. About 10 (ten) mates or even more (I can’t recall the exact number) participated the dive trip.
I went from my house to Pinang Ranti Terminal at 05.00 WIB, ushered by my parents by car. I took a TransJakarta bus (also known as Busway) with Pinang Ranti – Pluit track for Rp 3.500 (three thousand Rupiah). The track from Pinang Ranti to Citra Land Mall took around 45 (forty five) minutes.
After all of the dive trip participants gathered on the meeting point, we took a public transportations code: B-01 (red painted small minibus) having 12 (twelve) passengers capacity. It cost us Rp 5.000 (five thousand Rupiah) per person. The track from Citra Land Mall to Muara Angke port using such minibus took around 30 (thirty) minutes.
We took a wooden motor boat with Muara Angke – Pulau Pramuka track, having capacity about 100 (a hundred) passengers. The ticket price is Rp 35.000 (thirty five thousand Rupiah) per passenger and the voyage took around 3,5 (three and a half) hours.
All of the dive trip participants checked in Wisma Dermaga. It was located on the back side of Pulau Pramuka. The hostel has quite a lot rooms but with separated bathrooms. The rooms are very clean and basic. We took the biggest bed room so that all of 10 (ten) participants could stay in the same room (each bed was put on the foor). If I am not mistaken, the price was Rp 350.000 (three hundred thousand Rupiah) per room per night. Pretty cheap right?!
Every participants had a lunch at Wisma Dermaga (the catering cost was separated). After that, we went to Pulau Pramuka dock (the same dock for anchoring the boats) to start our dives. The participants were divided into several teams. My dive buddy was Bang Endi (ACI 2010) and I also dived with a dive guide (forget the name).
The first dive site is Tanjung Penyu waters about 15 (fifteen) minutes sailing from Pulau Pramuka. In this dive site, I saw a very huge fish that I thought it was a Black Tip Shark. As my first experience ever to meet a shark, I was very tremble, my blood rushed in my body, I was petrified!
Seconds gone, I tried to call Bang Endi. Our distance was too far plus I did not have a hook to make sound. Bang Endi was very focused on taking a macro photos. Somehow I just realised that it wasn’t a Black Tip Shark. It was too huge to be one and it had white spots all around its body. After just 1 (one) minute, the shark gone.
On the vessel, I told all of the participants the story, neither Bang Endi and other groups believed the story. I did not bring a camera so I could not picture it! Turned out, there was 1 (one) group who just finished the dive and trying to get on the vessel. Guess what? They saw it!
The dive guide (of the last group who showed up), Pak Salim, told us that they saw the huge fish. He said, it was a WHALE SHARK! We tried to believe it but how come whale shark could be fould in Kepulauan Seribu. Sea waters which very near to the capital city (Jakarta). As we know, many Whale Sharks can be found in Nabire waters, Papua (far more remote and quiet than in Jakarta).
Unfortunately, none of us (the divers who saw the Whale Shark) did not take a single picture as proof.Months after such experience, I attended an event called On | Off Pesta Blogger 2012. There I met a well-experienced diver, Kak Nunuk (ACI 2011) who knows a lot about Kepulauan Seribu even he ran a dive business by renting a dive boat. When I told him about my experience meeting a Whale Shark in Tanjung Penyu waters, he was not surprised. He told me that in 80’s, there were a lot of Whale Sharks in Kepulauan Seribu waters.
Back to my dive trip story, I also took my first night (Maghrib) dive at the second dive. The day after, We dived in the Tabula Rasa wreck in 30 (thirty) meters deep. Many other sites I dived after that but without so memorable experience like the experience to meet a Whale Shark for the first time.
I think, “Meet a Whale Shark in Kepulauan Seribu waters is like meeting a Super Model at a traditional market while meet a Whale Shark in Nabire waters is probably like meeting a Super Model on the catwalk.”
PS: I can not recall how much the costs for the dive gears, dive boat, dive guide, catering, etc. If you really are interested to know, just let me know, I will contact my friends who organised it to know the prices information.