Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lost Souls in Samalona

After the passing of my father, I began to rethink Samalona. Those days death seemed in a remote distance. Life was still young. -- Well, not me. I had come to the self-awareness state in that I had moved to the old spectrum of life (I was 23). With the coming and going of teenage people, I felt that my unstirred being somewhat grew fresh on the outside rusty on the inside, blown by the salty wind from the ocean of life.

To think that death was so close by. Despite anyone's belief of unexpected arrival of death, let us leaf through some existing risks and past circumstances.

Setting out from Makassar in a speedboat, capacity 4 people, 6 people max. Being a speedboat, the nose was constantly elevated at an angle in 84mph. I do not have the knowhow of speedboats and average speed, but comparing the rush of wind at my side riding a motorbike, that was my estimation. First time on a speedboat, I thought I was going to be seasick. I didn't. Apparently it was more dangerous to get used to living next door to a death-defying activity without the need to be alert. No one was ever wearing a life jacket.

In the northeast of Samalona within a couple of hundred meters from the pier during rainy season. Approaching the island, even a speedboat had to struggle to get through the meeting of 3 waves on different direction.

Swimming to accompany father and daughter Wunsches up to the lulling border of clear blue and deep, dark blue. To the feet of the tower marking the border. No apparatus whatsoever (not that I knew how to wear them), not even fins. Dumbstruck, pondering into the depth of the waters of Samalona that suddenly dropped into blackness. In a second too long I realized the fact that there was strong currents underneath the surface. Remembering a story of a fisherman on his sampan being drifted helplessly by the currents to Pare-Pare, 95 miles north of Makassar. A second longer I started pulling and kicking away. A second too long, what would happen?

Without approaching the brink depth there is still danger lurking on the coastline. Sea snakes, eels, foot cramp, getting stuck between semi-giant corals when the sea comes in big waves. Am I not exaggerating? Those sea creatures were there, though of which species I did not know; poisonous or not, I was surely not going to find out from up close. Noon falling, I would spot them swimming in the more pupolated corals under the pier, the place I rarely explore even at early day. I might have subconsciously let myself felt uncomfortable swimming pass under the pier. Not to mention the risk of being fished by another human being from up the pier.

There was another danger near land. On the southeastward shore that was like a lengthy beach or spit, the beach changed shapes and directions in accordance with the changing of sea currents. Slowly in milimeters per day the sandy beach shifted more to the east or to the south. In that area the sea waves were trapped and formed a small maelstrom.

When put together it all sounds gruesome, doesn't it? It was one of the reasons they put up a sentry at the end of the pier. Besides keeping the waters from destructing behaviors such as fish bombing, the mariners also helped watching over the safety of visitors. They were the lifeguards. I hoped I already made myself useful, at least by warning the children before they played too far from shore or from their parents. Or by telling some visitors of the danger at the beach southeast. Oh. Haven't I related the incident yet? During a study tour of a school some months before I came on board, two female students (teen siblings) were having a good time there, at the southeast side, before they were dragged by the current to the bottom.

In the end, let the people only see the breathtaking beauty of Samalona. Leave it to the mariners and us workers to worry about their safety.


Blogger Irwan Bajang said...

next time i'll go there
beatiful island..
berkunjungbro ke blogmu

3:00 PM  
Blogger Samalona said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Samalona said...

@Bajang, thanks for stopping by :). Selamat menjalankan ibadah puasa, bro.

2:41 PM  

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