Location : Pulau Laut, Kabupaten Kotabaru, Kalimantan Selatan, Indonesia.
After a short stay at Teluk Gosongwe moved further to check out the new port (Ferry Penyeberangan Rute Teluk Gosong) which was very near completion. Local boys were there fishing under the hot sun. upon enquiring, we learned that this new port will later cater for boats travelling between Pulau Laut andPulau Sebukuor even Makassar. That would make life so much easier for both locals and tourists.
Entrance to the almost complete port
Had a chat with this local boy
Showing us his catch
Currently, tourists need to organize their boats from Batu Licin which is very expensive or for those who drive they would take the ferry to cross over to Pulau Laut first and continue over to Teluk Gosong for speedboat ride to Sebuku for its upcoming tourism. Honestly, after coming back from the trip while searching online, I am still in the dark about the exact location of mysterious Samber Gelap, a tiny turtle nesting island with rich underwater corals if online photos are anything to go by. This best kept secret of South Kalimantan could eventually match the popularity of Derawan, Maratua or Labuan Cermin. Logistics is the only obstacle holding it back. This new port with tour operators in place would certainly be the major breakthrough for fans of Samber Gelap. We shall see you one day, promise.
After enjoying the coastal beauty of Laut for most of the day, it was time to cross over the island, passing the village of Sebelimbingan, to visit a very special manmade 8hectar jungle of white meranti trees (Shorea bracteolate)started 40 years ago by a private company. The colourful mural paintings along the wall attracted our eyes the moment we step pass the security office.
Entrance to White Meranti park
No entry fees or thugs to collect parking fees which is quite rare in Indonesia. This is a very well organized park with gazebos, benches, concrete paths and clean toilets too.
Cool looking gazebo for visitors to chill out
Warning about strong winds
Honestly, they could do away with the small miserable zoo. The orchids project was a good try but needs more effort.
A white flower orchid growing on the trunk of a meranti
Cool, quiet, nice breezy air, scavenging squirrels and the tall meranti trees do give visitors that primary jungle feel. We were the last group to exit the compound.
Sapplings of meranti
Strong winds can bring about the downfall of these tall slender meranti. So stay away during windy days
Slow loris at the mini zoo
Just before we departed, the friendly staff invited us into their office for a photo shoot and a little chat. Terima kasih dan ketemu lagi.
Nice meeting you guys
We had to hurry in the fading light to catch the ferry and locating the Stagen jetty to cross over to Tarjun at the mainland was taking up a bit of our time and when we arrived the ferry just left. So, it was another hour wait in the car. Good to know a bridge is under construction to connect Laut Islandto the mainland (Borneo) which would make it the longest bridge in Borneo, a good 5+km.
Ferry dropping off commuters at Stagen jetty
After arriving at Batu Licin we checked into a motel and was surprised by the front desk when he asked to see our marriage certificate! He explained that this was a Muslim owned hotel. Bringing our marriage certificate for our trip was never in our list of ‘things to bring’. However, Oyonk quickly stepped in to tell him to excuse us because we were tourists. Saved. Next…….Karst of Desa Cantung.