Getting to know Moyo Island in West Nusa Tenggara

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Mata Jitu Waterfall is a place for people to get relax and also one of favorite places for visitors when visiting Moyo Island. (photo: IO/Prive. Doc)

 IO, Jakarta – So far, you may only know Lombok and Sumbawa Island, the most iconic in NTB, but, there is one island that you can visit at the end of this year. Moyo Island can be your choice of des­tination for vacation this time. Located to the north of Sumbawa Island, Moyo Island is still incorporated in the islands of the Province of West Nusa Tengga­ra (NTB). Moyo Island in Teluk Saleh has a nature reserve in Moyo Island National Park which is surrounded by beautiful coral reefs. Sumbawa has a blend of Lombok and Sumba land­scapes, namely the rows of beaches on the edge of cliffs, grasslands and brown hills in the dry season. In order to get there, you can choose to land at Sultan Muhammad Kaharuddin III Airport in Sumbawa Besar or Sultan Muhammad Salahuddin in Bima. As a sea lover, I chose to fly to Sumbawa Besar, with a temporary stop at Lombok International Airport. Sumbawa Besar which is the capital of Sumbawa Regency, is quiet and calm. The Sumbawa motto and slogan is “Sabalong Samalewa” which means balanced physical and men­tal development. Sumbawa does take the hearts of tourists with the natural beauty of the sea, and is untouched by humans. Various species of animals ranging from turtles, rays, sharks, bar­racuda, napoleon, and various coral reefs can be found there.

Moyo’s name spiralled since famous world figures chose it as a holiday desti­nation. Princess Diana visited this place in 1993. Visits by Dutch footballers, Edwin van der Sar; British musician, Mick Jagger; and the Russian tennis athlete, Maria Sharapova, reinforced the island’s special impression.

Muara Kali and Labuhan Badas, two ports in Sumbawa Besar, are the gateway to Moyo Island. In Muara Kali there is a public motorboat which is the main transportation to the main settlement in Moyo, namely Labuhan Aji village, with a travel time of approxi­mately two hours thirty minutes. If you want to go around Teluk Saleh, you can rent a boat, whether you choose to stay at Moyo or not. I chose a public boat because I was happy to observe the ac­tivities of the residents. While enjoying the scenery along the way, I listened to their chit chat. Some returned from the city after shopping for household needs, some returned from the clinic, and there were some who quibbled.

The village that is on the beach is not too big, with cemented roads that are partially outdated and the row of houses on stilts. Goats of resident’s roamed among fishing boats on the coast. I met the Village Chief, Mr. Su­hardi, who told me about the modesty and philosophy of the life of the local community. The roads in this village are small and unpaved, motorized vehicles that can pass are only mo­torbikes, which are usually without plates because they are only used on the island. These motorbikes was what I used to visit various interesting desti­nations in Moyo. Overnight in Labu­han Aji made me forget for a moment the hustle and bustle of the city. I really enjoyed the quiet nights with the view of the star-studded skies. Occasionally, a faint clink of cow bells could be heard in the distance. Electricity that only lights up 12 hours, from six in the afternoon to six in the morning and bad cellular signals make Moyo the perfect holiday destination. From Labuhan Aji, I took a motorcycle taxi to Diwu Mbai Water­fall. About three kilometers away, it only takes fifteen minutes. This small water­fall with a clear natural pool is the place locals around use to relax.

There is a rope hanging from a tree by the pond. Apparently, the children used a rope to swing before plunging into the middle of the pool. This water­fall is like a playground that provides natural facilities and in my eyes it is more interesting than urban water rides. In addition to Diwu Mbai, there is another waterfall that is more charm­ing, located in Brang Kua village. About ten kilometers from Labuhan Aji, the motorcycle taxi driver will be willing to take you home and it costs seven­ty five thousand rupiah. That day the innkeeper kindly lent me his motorbike, I followed the rocky grounds along the thick dusty road whilst coughing.

After thirty minutes the motorbike crashed, I arrived at the entrance to Moyo Island Buru Park, which was the location of Mata Jitu Waterfall. Includ­ed in the conservation area, this park has a variety of flora and fauna, includ­ing deer, bulls, wild pigs, long-tailed macaques, porcupines and various species of birds. From the motorbike parking lot, I walked several hundred meters to Mata Jitu Waterfall. From above, you can see the amazing scen­ery around the waterfall, I could not wait to go down. The first obstacle is a bridge made of tree slabs fenced by twigs. I was transfixed when I arrived at the waterfall that was nicknamed the Queen Waterfall. The name is pinned because this place was visited by Prin­cess Diana. The waterfall is not too high, but underneath there are seven naturally formed ponds such as terrac­ing due to lime deposits. The water is clear, turquoise because of the reflec­tion of algae at the bottom of the pond. Fearlessly, I jumped into the pool.

Other destinations in Moyo Island is Sagele Takat or Gusung Island which are popular spot
for diving and snorkeling. (photo: IO/Prive. Doc)

The cold water made my body shiver but, the freshness makes me not want to move. Another destination that is equally interesting is, the Sagele Takat or Gusung which are popular diving and snorkeling locations on Moyo Is­land. This puddle was formed from dead coral heaps that were crushed to sand as soft as wild bombings. In the past many fishermen bombed the rocks on the seafloor to get abundant fish in a short time. As a result, the fragments accumulated in one place because they were carried away by the current. For­tunately, the bombings are no longer carried out and there are strict rules that prohibit anyone from doing so.

The location of the Takat Sagele is not far from the coast of Labuhan Aji village, can be reached by boat for ap­proximately twenty minutes. This small island is not always visible and it usu­ally appears when sea water recedes in the afternoon. As it appears before dusk, Takat Sagele is the perfect loca­tion to watch a beautiful sunset. If you are still not satisfied, walk along the coral reef with fish of all colors, enjoying the warmth of sea water while watching the sky rise. (Aldo)