Belitung Diving Deep Down
Do not want to be merely a destination for fans of novel and coffee, Belitung (Billiton) is now actively promoting diving. The potency is huge, but the facility is something that needs a lot of improvement.
Suppose Andrea Hirata hobby is diving, maybe he will tell Island’s underwater nature in his novel: Laskar Pelangi. While visiting the East Belitung island in mid-October, I found this island proved to have the potential to be a diving destination. Corals grow close together and it has a pretty good collection of fish, at least in certain seasons.
For visitors without diving certificate, snorkelling is not less interesting. Buy an island hopping package tour, you can stop for a moment on one small island to swim and enjoy the crystal clear shallow waters in the vicinity.
Just a tip, all of the activity – island hopping, diving, and snorkeling is ideally acted in the mid-year when the weather is sunny and the currents is relatively calm.
The Laskar Pelangi novel and movie successfully catapulted the name of Belitung, but the repercussions can not be maintained as a tourist magnet. I do not think many people are willing to visit schools replica repeatedly.
That is why since two years ago the East Belitung regional government began to look nautical activities. They print the books featuring underwater photographs of the region, and invited many journalists from Jakarta to carry out diving tour.
This year, an underwater photo contest was held in order to hoist the prestige among divers. All efforts have been made, but unfortunately one is forgotten, which provides services to the diver.
When I arrived, the East Belitung don’t have dive center and dive resort, as a result, divers must bring their own tools or rent them in Bangka. That means extra baggage charges on aircraft.
Another problem is the tin business, injuring ecology and natural aesthetics. Local government claimed to have fought to stop the mining activities, but this effort will not be easy, because the community has been so long rely on the tin which incidentally offers a “quick buck” rather than long-term dimension of tourism.
In the midst of a divers wave to the eastern Indonesia, Belitung might actually offer alternative destination in its western side which is closer in distance, at least compared to Weh Island in Aceh.
Belitung can be reached within 45 minutes from Jakarta. The main roads are smooth and maintained, the people are friendly with low crime rates.
Strategic island location can also be a capital to attract foreign tourists. Flanked by Kalimantan (Borneo) and Sumatra, Belitung lay on cruise ship tracks that depart from Singapore to eastern Indonesia.
One more Belitung appeal; it does not have dive sites map, so the diver will be faced with a challenging terrain (and surprise). In the absence of the map, you have the opportunity to find the best dive sites, and give them name as you like to, for example Andrea Reef or Hirata Slopes.