Adventure in Sukamade : Meeting Up With the Turtles

It’s always nice to travel and work at the same time. Challenging myself to accept an offer from my dad’s friend’s travel company, I worked as a French tour guide. I went with Frederic, Jerome, and Tanguy to Bromo and Ijen via Sukamade. I’ve never been to Sukamade before. So, besides of earning more money, I also grab this opportunity to make survey for my own adventure tour operator company. What else could be better than getting to know new place, making survey for free, meeting and learning from new people, and getting paid? It was perfect! 🙂

Brief Description

Sukamade is the name of a beach in Meru Betiri National Park, Banyuwangi, where turtles usually put their eggs on. During certain time, turtles seek some beaches to put their eggs, bury them deeply under the sand, and let the eggs naturally hatched. However, due to human’s greedy nature, many eggs were stolen from the beach, and being sold in black market trade. Thus, Meru Betiri National Park was making a hatchery for the turtles. The eggs will be brought to the hatchery center, and buried until they naturally hatched. The baby turtles then are put into an aquarium for 7 days as “adaptation” phase before they will be sent to the beach.

Getting There

I visited this beach as a guide of an organized tour, thus I came there by private car. I started the journey from Kalibaru, Banyuwangi by taking 4 wheel drive jeep, and it took like 5 hours to reach Sukamade. You can reserve a 4 wheel drive jeep at Kalibaru. Most of the hotels have this kind of service, and they even organize a tour to Sukamade. So far, renting private car will be the best and easiest option. However, I was amazed that there were some European guys coming with public transport to Sukamade. I had no idea how they got there, but maybe they got ride from a truck that went to rubber factory near to Sukamade. Those guys had style, man!

What To Do?

  • Bird watching and (shallow) swimming. I went to a river in the late afternoon to get some refreshment. Remember : it’s not Amazon, the river’s depth was not more than my knee. The guys went swimming while I did bird watching. We found some toucans and bats flying home that afternoon.
  • Waiting for the turtles to come to the shore. Well, it was nice activity, anyway. I went there when it was full moon, so it was pretty romantic to watch the moon with a handsome French boy… who was 12 years old. Ahahaha 😀
  • Watching the turtle delivering its eggs. if you’re not brave enough to see human delivering their baby’s birth, watching a turtle lying its eggs is more than enough.

People were watching and filming Mama Turtle lying eggs

Go Mama Turtle, Goo!!!

  • Watching turtle bury her eggs and go back to the sea. People normally went back to their lodge after they watch the turtle lying her eggs. However, if you want to be a bit more patient, you can see how turtle made camouflage to keep her eggs safe. Watching the “turtle mama” going back to the sea also gave me a touching feeling. I know what she thought was more or less like this; “Kids, be safe there. I’ll find your daddy. He has to pay the bill!”

Hiding something? It’s women’s expertise :p

The rangers were counting the eggs for identification matters

Bye Mama Turtle! Be safe!

  • Animal watching. If you’re lucky like I was, you’ll be able to see some animals hunting foods in the night. I saw some deer and pigs. In the day, you can see some species of monkey hanging around on the trees. They were photogenic. Trust me 🙂
  • Releasing turtle. Well, it may look interesting to release baby turtles to the sea. However, we have to know that baby turtle doesn’t eat anything until they lost their placenta. It took like 7 days. Sometimes, because the demand is high (and the economical income so), the ‘under aged” turtles were released. It will kill them, because they are not ready enough to hunt any food before the placenta has totally gone.
  • Visiting Teluk Hijau (green bay). This is what we call as paradise! It was so calm, quiet, and “untouched”. It has white sands and in the rainy season, there will be a waterfall there. We were like in our private beach, minus the party :p

Cap Vert, Green Bay, Teluk Hijau

Private beach for four of us 🙂


We don’t have many options regarding accommodation. The youngsters prefer to set the tent. While I stayed at a lodge. It was basic accommodation with typical Indonesian “bak mandi” way of taking bath. There are two choices of lodge. The first one is called “wisma pantai” (beach lodge), which is closer to the Sukamade beach. I prefer to stay at “wisma kebun” (garden lodge). It has a mini restaurant with quite peaceful environment.

How Can I Feed My Appetite?

You better carry food yourselves if you choose to stay at wisma pantai or setting tents. But if you stay at wisma kebun, they will cook for you. It costs around IDR 40.000,-/pax

Is there any notice I should pay attention to?

Bring your mosquito repellent. When I was there, there was no single mosquito. But just to let you know, mosquitoes are everywhere in Indonesia. Just be prepared 🙂 And yes, please bring some sarong or mattress, or whatever available as a layering. You’ll wait for hours for the turtle to come. You may fall asleep, too. Thus, bringing a linen to lie down is a good idea 🙂

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C’est Dans La Tête

It’s almost the end of the year of 2012. Nine months have been passed, and now we’re entering the tenth month. It’s been a great year for me. I did many varied projects, from being public relations manager, organizing ultra marathon race, starting to be part-time French speaking tour guide, being vice local unit of cinema movie production, and will be involving as a member of advisory board of a hikers jamboree soon. And yes, I’ll be working with those 40-something years old guys, again :p

And above all, I did my hobby and I was paid. What else could be better?

I met a lot of people, including a film crew who gave me a flower when we waited for dinner. And yeah, it was cauliflower that supposed to be our dinner meal. I know he was too creative to be true 🙂

I met and got to know some Indonesian actors and actresses, and I even ran together with one of the casts on the way down from Ranu Kumbolo to Ranupani. Who could easily get chance to run together with a brilliant basketball player who is also an actor? I got to know astute Indonesian cameraman, film director, film producer, and great movie crews., too That was really an asset for me.

Denny Sumargo (Brilliant Indonesian basketball player and actor) having lunch at Rani Homestay

I also got to know some great sportsmen, who mostly are extreme runners, who usually run for hundreds of kilometers. It was an honor for me to be with them and learn that within ultra marathon, we’re not conquering the terrain of the stages, but we’re conquering ourselves.

The extreme runners with outstanding body and mind

I also met some wilderness guys who shared same vision with me, that nature is our home. Well, anyway, I’m not that naturist who get naked on the beach. No, not that kind of naturist. It is another one :p  That harmony between people and environment is essential. That sometimes, in the jungle, we can find a peaceful moment of solitude although we’re surrounded by many adventurer fellows. That in the wilderness, the one that we consider a stranger can be like friend. We can talk and share foods or water, in the name of survival. A picture of life that may be hard to find in the selfish life of metropolitan city.

I also met a client who is a photographer, documentary film maker, and production house owner. He was the one I guided on East Java tour. He`was a director of a film institute in France. What an honor to meet great person and learned from him.

Meet new people and discover new places : a bliss 🙂

Despite my break-up story, this year of my life sounds great, huh?

It wouldn’t be great if I didn’t set myself to be a “yes-woman”. Yes, I sometimes picky in term of accepting jobs or do things in general. I sometimes doubt of myself whether I would be able to do a thing or not. Sometimes I feel afraid of failure.

This blog is the simplest example. I know I’m good at writing such kind of scientific papers and talking at the seminars or debates, but I’m not good at writing stories or fictions, or such kind of popular pieces. That’s why I started to write in this blog to sharpen my (potential) talent.

I actually didn’t sure whether I wanted to do this year’s edition of Les Volcans De L’extreme or not. It was 230-something kilometers, mate! It wasn’t easy. I had to walk and make sure that everything’s well prepared. It wasn’t easy to concentrate on two things at the same time. But hell, yeah, I know I was crazy to accept being the chief of organization, along with Dacchiri Dawa Sherpa, a Nepali extreme runner. And I know I was crazy to know that everything was well done 🙂

I also didn’t actually want to be involved in the movie production, since I’ve never done that kind of job before. Organizing 90 movies crew and 230 supporting crews wasn’t easy at all. But then I challenged myself; if I could do this well, I’ll use the money I get to explore South East Asia with my brother. And yes, overall it was well done. Although there were some misunderstandings that I needed to clarify to the producer. It wasn’t easy to argue with the son of well-known production house owner, but  finally they accepted my clarification because I told them the truth. Yes, I believe that good deeds always win 🙂

I wasn’t really confident of my French. I know I’m mastering English but I wasn’t sure that I would be able to communicate well in French. But hell yeah, everything was fine in the end. There was no major lost in translation thing 🙂

And lately I just said “yes” to the owner of an adventure gears producer to be involved in his project. I’ll be the youngest member of advisory board of a huge event ; mountain hikers jamboree. I’m so proud of the trust he gave to me. It’s not that I think I’m a very good organizer, but it’s another chance for me to prove to myself that it’s not age that determines ability, but hard work and positive willingness.

Now I learn from myself that sometimes we’re too afraid of doing something, even before we jump in to that activity. Sometimes we put too high standard of the outcome of what we do. Sometimes we put too much doubt to ourselves. Sometimes we grow self-disbelief inside us. Sometimes we think we’re too weak, while actually people think we’re good enough to do a thing. Sometimes we over think. Sometimes we try to always control the outcome of what we do. Sometimes our fear of being failed covers our true potentials. Sometimes we are too focused on negative thoughts instead of the positive ones.

I know, being insecure is really human. But now I know that life’s like roller coaster. It has ups and downs, and turning out sharply. Shit happens, and so do good things. As long as we try our best, the result will follow. Trying not to over think the outcome of what we do will lead us to bliss. Letting go of fear of being failed will lead us to bring it on, to give our best shot. We won’t know whether a food tastes good or not if we don’t eat that, right?

So, c’est dans la tête; it’s inside our head. Once Descartes said “Except our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power”.

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We Feel Good When We Do Good

It was a sunny Saturday in Kuta, Bali, Indonesia. A nice weather to cheer a day up. It was a perfect afternoon, as perfect as our road trip with a cab to Jodie O’Shea orphanage. There was no huge traffic jam as what always happen at Ngurah Rai bypass, Denpasar, Bali. We were lucky!

We arrived couples of minutes before 1 pm,  the time of appointment we made with the orphanage staff. Stopping by in front of this orphanage, I was wowed by a colorful painting this house had. We were also warmly welcomed by Alison Chester, a British origin Indonesian citizen who operates this orphanage. There were some Singaporean students visited this orphanage also in that afternoon. After entering the house, I got more wowed as the interior of this orphanage was very kids friendly. It had a reading room, an art and computer room, a large garden, a small sport court, a vast clean kitchen, some fridges with a lot of dairy products and fresh fruits in, and some clean and neat rooms, each is for around 8 children.

My favorite spot : the paintings on the sport court

The Singaporean students in the reading room. Cool, huh?

With a lot of curiosity, we asked Alison how come this orphanage was named Jodie O’Shea.  Alison explained us that Jodie O’Shea was an Australian victim of 2002 Bali Bombing. Alison was a volunteer in a hospital at that time, in which she accompanied the survivor of the blast. Jodie was burnt due to the explosion. Alison gave her a painkiller pill, and Jodie just refused it politely. She told Alison “give the pill to the girl on next bench, she needs it more than I do”. What a generous and big heart-ed Jodie was! I unconsciously shed my tears. It was so touching and inspiring true story! Jodie was survived until she was sent to Australia afterwards. She passed away couples of times after.

Brigid and Alison in the art and computer room

Anyway, this orphanage takes care of 57 Indonesian kids with different social background. Most of them experienced abusive and traumatic life in the past. I met Y ( I put initial here for the sake of her dignity), a beautiful around 7 years old kid who witnessed a murder of her mom that was done by her daddy who committed suicide by drinking poisonous liquid afterwards. I also met a boy whose parents were sent to jail for murdering their boss’ family. There was also a 22 years old boy who previously worked as migrant worker in Singapore, but he wanted to go home to Indonesia, and now he lives in this orphanage.

The kids are wearing T-shirts with Southern German dialect words. Thanks for that, Brigid!

No other expression I can use to represent the life in this orphanage but love! Yes, this house is a place where the children get love, care, and supports. Even if the kids got those unpleasant experiences before, I saw no more misery on their face. Everyone was smiling and live in a cheerful brotherhood ambiance. I witnessed myself how the kids love Alison and Yanto, Alison’s husband. The image I captured was that, yes, Alison is like a mother of 57! She has lot of love to share with! The staffs were also caring to those children. I’m so proud of this orphanage!

This orphanage depends solely on the donation of the people, because the government of Indonesia doesn’t even give tax compliment or so fort. If you want to donate, get more details, or contact them, please visit this orphanage’s website

Well, what I’ve learned from this lovely orphanage is that we are a bunch of human race, regardless where we are from, what ethnic group we belong to, what social background we have, and what religion we do believe. I learned a lot that the universal language of the world is love. Thanks Alison and Yanto for taking care those unfortunate Indonesian kids. I really appreciate that 🙂

Then, we went back to hotel with an irreplaceable feeling. Those kids put smile on my face that day. Those kids made me realize that gratitude is altitude. Can’t wait to come back soon!

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Believe. Behave. Be brave

Life is sometimes beyond our expectation. I experienced it myself. I never expected before that I would live in Istanbul. But then, because my friend wrote my name on scholarship recipient candidate nomination list, I ended up living in Istanbul for 5 months. So do other challenging things. I broke up with my almost 4 years long boyfriend. At first I thought that it would be hard to live without him. But then I realize that the more I grow my self-disbelief, the more I slow down my own life.

Well, that’s why I then discover my life motto : believe, behave, and be brave.

I always believe that life is a gift. God sent me to be meaningful for other people, thus God never let me stay in my lullaby-like comfort zone. I know God now is trying to make me realize that there are many things I need to explore and learn. God’s way will never be wrong, as long as I believe in it. Thus, I try to behave as I am, not the second version of other figure. I am me, and I’ll do my best to get what I want.

And what else do I need? Yes, I need to be brave. To challenge myself and to prove to myself that I can be a better me. I have to be brave to say goodbye to my past, and say hello to my future 🙂

This break up exactly tells me to discover myself. To love myself first before I’m ready to love others. I need to empower myself, so that I’ll get the one who is meant for me. Well, that I’m moving on now, I know that what lies in past will be a nice lesson for my future life. No more whining, be ready of winning 🙂

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Exploring Baluran, Indonesia’s Little Africa


Triggered by a documentary show he has just watched couples days ago  in TV, my brother urged my dad to bring us to Baluran National Park for his school break. As I’ve never been there before, I, without any doubt, confirmed that I’m in. Ironically, in the morning before we went for this trip, I broke up with my (ex)boyfriend. And yeah, coincidentally it turned to be my personal post-break-up refreshment trip. What a great timing!

Well, my intention is not to share my creepy broken-heart thing here. So why don’t we move to the cool part of the story? Exploring Baluran, Indonesia’s little Africa!

Brief Description

Baluran is one of Indonesia’s National Park where animals are protected in their own habitat. Located in Banyuwangi-Situbondo by pass, this park offers a unique combination of Africa-Like savannah ecosystem, the mountain view, and what you’ll get more is the fact that the clean and calm beach (Bama beach)  is just a stone throw away from the savannah.

Getting There

Private Car

Driving private car will be easiest way to get there. I went there from my hometown, Malang, through Pasuruan, Kraksaan, Paiton, and Situbondo. Please check this google map for the driving direction.


Take the bus to Banyuwangi, and stop at Baluran National Park Office. Then take ojek (motorbike) to the savannah.

Here is my trip’s sum (by private car):

Malang – Baluran National Park Office : 7-8 hours

Baluran National Park Office – Bekol (where bungalows are available to rent) : 1 hours (12 km)

Bekol – Bama beach : 30 minutes

What To Do?

  • Bird and safari animal watching
  • Fishing
  • Cycling (bicycles are available for rent)
  • Canoeing
  • Snorkeling
  • Bottom glass boat trip


There are some bungalows  owned by the national park and located in Bekol savannah are ready to rent. Please check this link  for details and  reservation.

How Can I Feed My Appetite?

Well, better to bring your own foods since food stalls are far away to reach, but cafeteria is available in Bekol Savannah area, next to the bungalows.

Is There Any Notice I Should Pay Attention To?

Well, surprises are what make every trip interesting, huh?. But I think I need to inform you, just beware of the monkeys, especially in Bama beach. It is better not to obviously carry foods, since the monkeys expect you to give them foods. In short, just be cool. Don’t we always want to look cool, even in front of monkeys? haha

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