25 October 2013
Taka Bonerate National Park, The World's 3rd Largest Atoll Reef
Taka Bonerate is an archipelago in the Southern Sulawesi Island. It is in the Southeast of Selayar as the mainland of the archipelago. Taka Bonerate becomes the 3rd largest atoll in the world with 530.765 ha that covers the whole area with 220,000 ha coral reefs. This area was identified as the largest atoll in Southeast Asia after Kwajilein atoll in the Marshall Islands and Suvadiva atolls in the Maldives.
Inside the archipelago there are 21 Islands, 7 Islands with population while 14 others leaving only sands, trees, beautiful reefs, and the diversity of marine life. They’ve lived there for hundred years long ago before the independence day of Indonesia.
The story begins 3 years ago when I decided to find a place where I can take a short internship about the marine life related to my studies in the University. And my choice goes to Taka Bonerate. I spent two weeks in the mainland, and then the rest of it in the Archipelago.
Taka Bonerate is not as famous as other marine tourism places in Indonesia. But this place is a real paradise for travelers, adventurers, and scuba divers. Visiting this place means you will have a really adventure trip and sailing experiences. It’s a really long way to paradise. But, no worries you will enjoy the whole trip when you get in and you will never want to go out.
There are 3 categories of coral reefs inside the National Park, the barrier reef, fringing reef and atolls. The diversity of coral reefs is quite high, and the interesting thing on coral reef ecosystems in the National park is a steep dive spot (drop off).
One of the most popular tourism destinations in the National Park is Tinabo Island. Tinabo is the center of marine tourism inside the National Park. Tinabo island has a white sand substrate, with a sloping topography between 0-2 meters where we can find many coconut trees, sentigi, ketapang , grasses and shrubs . The main activities that visitors can do is diving, snorkeling and canoeing.
You will love this place as I do. I really enjoy having a snorkeling experience there, capturing coral reef underwater photography, swimming like a clown fish, and being amazed with the cute of the baby sharks. I also did a tree planting, coral transplantation, and sunbathing. If you love scuba diving, then the whole area is your spot to dive in. Always bring your camera and you will be surprised with the diversity of the Ibel Range, Joan Garden, Softcoral Point, and Wall Reef.
If you are not a diver, no worries, snorkeling and having a hopping island trip to Tinanja, Latondu, Rajuni and other islands nearby will be a great attraction for you. Sometimes dolphins follow your boat. The society in the Island is friendly and overwhelming. Don’t forget to have a conversation with them, because they are one of the Gypsy’s in Indonesia, Bajo. Well, it is different with the Bajo tribe in Wakatobi that still live and build houses above the water, the Bajonese in Taka Bonerate has left the tradition to live inside the houses above the water, but they still go to sea and earn a living from the sea.
The island is a really perfect place to capture the golden sunset in the afternoon and if you come around May – June, you will see the Milky Way, where thousands stars dancing above the sky and only you and the island become the only witness of the great
Once you visit the place, you will always promise yourself to come back again. You will never miss the paradise for short but longer time. Even hard to get there, but you will never regret to come again and again.