After a filling breakfast with a special menu and vegetable named “lodeh” and fry wader fish, I bought two bunches of fresh bananas as a preparation for journey to Sukamade. We met our friend named Ika in Banyuwangi, I knew her when we were in college and active in some social activities, she helped us to find off road vehicles that can drive us to Sukamade beach in south of Banyuwangi, because the path to Sukamade can only be reached by that vehicle. After a brief chat and pleasantries we start exploring Sukamade using 4WD vehicle (Trooper), from Banyuwangi we have to travel 5-6 hours to arrive at the nearest home stay to Sukamade beach inside Meru Betiri National Park, along the way we just sleep because tired after an exhausting climb of Ijen one day before and the lack of rest, occasionally awakened by the driver to buy some necessities in mini market, we also woken up when we arrived at the gate of Meru Betiri National Park and pay the entrance fee of IDR. 20.000, – perperson for foreign tourists, from here we drive through the forest past the steep rocky path up the mountain is just passable by bicycle or 4WD cars. At 2 pm we arrived at the home stay, there is nothing for lunch, in addition to fried noodles in the canteen that only exist in the region. We spent the afternoon by relaxing and playing cards, finding turtles activities that lay their eggs on the Sukamade beach will be held in evening, after playing cards we fell asleep and was awakened by the officers at 7 pm for dinner.
Sukamade is a beach located in the Meru Betiri National Park, a conserved forest that stretches includes Jember and Banyuwangi districts, can be accessed from these two districts. Sukamade beach is protected by the National Park, with a coastline that extends approximately 3 km covered by cliff in the sides and forest, these situations makes this beach protected from the greedy of the human hands. Throughout the year we can find turtles laying eggs on this beach, the turtles are deliberately conserved by the National Park to be preserved.
At 8 pm we start the activity to find turtles lay their eggs on the beach, of the homestay we must walked approximately 500 m to arrive on the beach, national park officer gave us an instructions in order for the exploration do not make noise and turn on any lights, luckily it was a night full moon, so the light remains abundant. Did not take long to find turtles laying eggs on this beach, after waiting only about 45 minutes, we were given a sign that there is a turtle laying eggs and we headed to the location, wow ..! adult green turtle was about 50 years old laying eggs in a hole, spawn process takes a long time, for about 3 hours, from start digging holes, laying eggs, cover the hole and the last to make the camouflage hole that predators can not find original egg hole, then the turtle back to the beach and disappeared. Usually female turtles lay eggs for a period of approximately 15 days in a cycle of 3-4 years, once laying approximately 200 eggs and will last for 2-4 days in the period of 15 days. There are several types of turtles that lay their eggs on Sukamade beach, most often are green turtles, Sukamade indeed their native habitat, there are also occasional hawksbill and leatherback turtles lay their eggs on the beach, although the intensity is very rare. We found 2 turtles are laying eggs thats night, around 11 pm we completed this activity and go back to the home stay for a break after make sure to the officer for tomorrow agenda that we will take release turtle babies to the beach.
Package : Sukamade and Ijen crater tour
I Woke up at 05:30 pm for morning prayers, then I woke my friends, they are from Singapore and getting ready to release baby turtles into the sea. To be able to release the turtle babies, tourists are usually charged a fee of IDR. 50.000, – pergroup, in addition, Conservation Center officer also ask you for volunteer donations. At 7 am we went to the beach, carrying a bucket of turtle babies amounts to approximately 50 babies. Morning warm, bright morning sunshine, the fresh morning air, and the coastal wind is not too strong refreshing atmosphere in the morning, we lined up on the beach, and after making a line in the sand, we put off turtle babies right at the top of the line in the sand, they were running with gusto, although slowly heading towards the beach to welcome their new life, most of them will not survive to adulthood because hunted by predators, but a small group of turtles that survived will provide hope of survival of their species in the times to come and lay back on the Sukamade beach.
After releasing the babies of turtle in the morning and enjoy the atmosphere in Sukamade, we go back to the home stay and breakfast, after completing the payment administration, approximately at 10.00 am we left Sukamade and back to Banyuwangi, we stopped at a shop that serves a buffet for lunch, and proceeded to the house of my friend in Banyuwangi, we arrived around 3 pm. From Banyuwangi, we will continue the journey to Mount Bromo in Probolinggo, we still have to travel for about 6-7 hours to arrive in Bromo – to be continued –