Exploring the Old Sunda Kelapa Harbour

Aboard a modest motorboat, off the old Sunda Kelapa harbour, time dilated. Wooden schooners, trucks, container ships. Lighthouses, a wrecked breakwater, and gulls –there were so many to observe. Alors, this is how the wind and the wave took me around Jakarta Bay.

M4B Sunda Kelapa 1
Welcome to Sunda Kelapa harbour! (Courtesy of Krisananta)

Past the entrance gate of Sunda Kelapa harbour, the first view that strikes visitors is the loading-unloading activities. The ships carry various stuffs, such as cement, sugar, iron, and wooden furnitures.

A ship was loading sugar and scheduled to depart for Bangka. In a 2 day-2 night trip, she will reach her destination. Another ship was borne for Pontianak, laden with iron and armchairs on her deck, clad neatly in several layers of tarpaulin.

M4B Sunda Kelapa 2
The ship, loading sugar in, is borne for Bangka island. (Courtesy of Krisananta)

Off-shore, as our modest blue motorboat left the harbour, a wave of hand is given and received frequently. It was as if everybody forgot that they don’t know each other. At each passing human, I waved and they waved back. Perhaps human should live in the sea more often than before.

When not loading, the crews repair their ship. They used simple, self-made tools, such as a wooden hook ladder. You would wonder if these men have magical skill for maintaining work safety.

M4B Sunda Kelapa 3
Doing a ship maintenance. Bon courage! (Courtesy of Krisananta)

Northward where the open sea awaits, I was welcome by red and green lighthouses. They are still on duty and serve the harbour mostly at night. Larger ships lingered beyond. Then we approached a damaged breakwater and saw a gull gliding across. Aw, too late to take snap!

As the harbour was further left behind, the wind got up and our boat rocked harder. A light rain began to fall and it was time to turn round.

M4B Sunda Kelapa 4
One of two lighthouses: the green one! (Courtesy of Krisananta)

Blown forward by the wind, our boat moved past a barge and I saw shiny thin coating of oil, covering the sea water. This waste oil seemed to have escaped from the surrounding ships. Well, I suppose it is time to do something that can reduce the contamination in Jakarta Bay.

Meanwhile, visiting Sunda Kelapa harbour is simple once you are in Jakarta city centre. Take the Jakarta Kota-borne intercity train (or commuter line) and alight in Jakarta Kota station. Then take any uberized transportation and go straight to the harbour which is 4.4 kilometres away from the station. On y arrive!

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