THE THOUSAND ISLAND
North of Java, on the shelf of the Greater Sunda group of islands, lieabout a thousand uninhabited islands. Many of them do not even names. A lot of them appear to the green and fertile as birds and winds from the main island of Java have carried seeds to the islands, so that day they have quite large trees growing on them.
The shores of the many of these islands are covered with fine, white powdery sand that comes from the corals growing on the reefs round their beaches. In fact most of them are coral islands.
It is possible to leave Jakarta with its hot dusty streets and dencity of air pollution and be out in the Java Sea in less than one hour.
Beneath the surface of the shelf there is “black gold,” for in this area oil is still being discovered. It is here that much of the future wealth of Java is hidden.
There are also numerous coral reefs below the surface of the water where skin divers can discover a wonderful selection of corals. To find a beautiful secret garden beneath the sea is one of most exciting experiences of a life time. Many species of fish glide in and out of the hidden caverns.
Even in such a place we can sense the threat of pollution. Large ships throw all their garbage out into the ocean as soon as they leave the port. One day, on a recent visit there, we found ourselves swimming among plastic cartons, papers, cardboard and foam from detergents. The danger of pollution from oil is far more serious. One day start offshore drilling, the oil will pollute the sea and destroy all marine life.
We saw several sailing ships making their way between the islands in their voyages to Kalimantan or Sulawesi. In the rainy season they have to struggle hard against the monsoon winds and high seas.
To get the thousand islands of course one needs a boat. It is not always an easy problem to solve. But we were lucky at that time as we had some friends who took us and our camping equipment in their boat.
(Mrs. Elizabeth Waller)