Last stop on Dive in Style author Tim Simond's trip around Indonesia was the remote Karimunjawa archipelago. Here he tells of his experience.
Karimunjawa. Sounds exotic and remote and it is. A short 35-minute flight from Semarang in a comfortable 8-seater and a 45-minute boat ride, a large part through the commercial seaweed farms, and you reach the small island resort of Kura Kura. Crowded with stands of royal palms and set amongst them is a selection of villas in simple but immaculate gardens.
En route to our pool villa we meet one of the reintroduced brilliantly coloured parrots who come crowing for his daily shower from the gardeners hose. The rooms are beautifully designed, somewhat Balinese in style with thatched roofs and soaring ceilings. They are lovely.
A bad start but the diving in Karimunjawa came good
But what about the diving in Karimunjawa? Our first dive was on a shallow wreck and to be honest was poor as we struggled with terrible visibility. Things did not get any better on the second and third dives, the house reef seemingly devastated and by then I had made up my mind about the place, or so I thought…
The next day, things changed. The quality of the coral soared and the fish life exploded! Yes the sea here is only 200ft deep for miles which precludes pelagics, but everything else is thriving. Soft and hard corals in abundance as well as turtles, morays and batfish and stunning anemones in more colours than I can recall, and all very relaxed in this newly created marine park and if it gets the supposed promised protection, it can only get better.
The dive operation is well run by the characterful Renato, painless for the guest with delicious fruit and freshly baked pastries between dives, and the boats plentiful as this place is buzzing in the summer months when they are all needed.
Is Kura Kura place for you?
So as I write this I am puzzled by Kura Kura. A beautiful resort with wonderful rooms and delicious food, on a beautiful island in the most peaceful and remote of settings you can imagine and with the nicest staff possible and where the only real activities are canoeing, chilling or diving. That makes diving a really important activity here and yet I am still struggling to understand why we did the first three dives, when really lovely diving was also available and try as I could my limited language skills failed to elucidate an answer!
Further plans are afoot; two villas are shortly to be under construction on a neighbouring totally deserted island with white sand beach and a beautiful lagoon, where you can disappear for a few nights, with or without a chef. Pretty special.
To me this is not a destination for a ten day or two week holiday (one guest is here for a month so I am probably wrong), but if you are in Java and want to be spoilt at a fraction of Balinese prices with luxury accommodation and wonderful food in this remote truly peaceful backwater and fit in some really easy, undemanding and beautiful diving, then a short stay at Kura Kura in Karimunjawa could well be for you.
If Kura Kura sounds like the place for you, get in touch to learn more.