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Wonders of
the Underwater


The heat and bustle of Jakarta may drive you to seek more temperate climes, places where you can relax and even enjoy the beautiful sights of the underwater world. You may wonder where you can find such a spot in a city like Jakarta…. Well, if the place you're looking for is one where you can also do other water sports, then Pulau Seribu (the Thousand Islands) is the right place for you. As the name suggests, the Thousand Island group comprises numerous tiny islands scattered across the Java Sea to the North of Jakarta; here you will find an abundance of water sports such as windsurfing, paddle boats, jet skis, swimming, sailing and snorkeling. With a myriad of tropical fish living among multicolor corals, the Thousand Islands are great places to hang out and let the heaving city slip away behind you.

It takes anything from 20 minutes to 2 hours to reach the islands by speedboat from the Ancol Marina or Tanjung Kait. The islands can also be reached from Tanjung Priok or Pasar Ikan in Sunda Kelapa by ferry or by chartered boat.

Diving trips are offered four times a day, at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., the months of June, July and August being some of the best since underwater visibility is at its peak after the rainy season has finished. However, another peak season for diving is also seen in December and January. When booking a trip to the Thousand Islands, bear in mind that the further away from Jakarta you go, the cleaner the water gets.

The natural setting of the Thousand Islands is emphasized with buildings made of bamboo and wood rather than bricks and mortar. Safety is also a top priority when undertaking potentially hazardous water sports and only fully qualified divers are permitted to dive without a guide. Unlicensed divers may get a feel for the sport by taking special introductory courses, accompanied by highly experienced tutors. The resorts provide two-hour diving lessons before allowing beginners to go diving (fully supervised) to depths of between 6 and 10 meters. Fully qualified divers will also benefit from going with a local guide, however, as they know all the best spots. Most resorts provide passenger and dive boats. For visitors wishing to take the sport more seriously, check out one of the dive operators in the city and take the full PADI course. This consists of two days of theory and practice in a swimming pool, followed by two days on an island during which you will complete four dives up to a maximum depth of 22m. There are a number of operators offering this service; choose a reputable one and make sure they are fully PADI certified.

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