I am having the time of my life in Ujung Kulon! These excursions are defining moments of this trip. Yesterday we planted coral off of Badul Island and today we visited another waterfall. Before I get lost in all the excitement running through my body, I should probably start with yesterday.
Before we left for the boats I had a relentless debate with myself about my bathing suit. I was arguing whether or not I should cover up more due to more conservative views of the region. In the end I decided to where my rash guard and bikini bottoms, which no one seemed to mind. The Indonesian students understood that we came from a different background where we show more skin. Aside from my irrational dilemma, I had a great time in the water.
At first I jumped in with full snorkeling gear but quickly became tired since the flippers were too big for my feet. I’m not the world’s greatest swimmer, but I manage enough to keep afloat. Everyone seemed to plant the coral with ease; I on the other hand couldn’t manage to reach the bottom. No matter how hard I kicked and reached for the base, it was always just out of reach. Luckily for me, JP ( a professional swimmer) managed to grab my hand and pushed me to the bottom. Although it took two tries and my ears popping, I was able to plant coral. After this fiasco, I just floated on my back trying to catch my breath. By lunch time, I was ready to go once more. I spent the rest of the day playing marco polo with the other Rutgers students and Bagus.
Today was our last nature excursion. We left our homestay at 6 o’clock in the morning for a grueling two hour hike up a mountain. This hike was a physically challenging, but mentally I was not going to be defeated. The inclines burned my thighs, the sweat made my clothes stick to my skin and I was constantly searching for air, however the idea of seeing such natural beauty kept me going. Also the constant singing of “Don’t go chasing waterfalls” by TLC helped keep up the positive attitude. Once we reached the best fall for swimming, without any hesitation I walked right into the ice cold water. The water was so cold that my roommate’s, Tereza, lips turned purple.
As we spent some time in the water, we realized it was deep enough to jump into. After seeing a few people successfully jump into the water, I decided it was my turn to do the same. I waited along the edge of the cliff gathering as much adrenaline as possible before jumping in. After being engulfed by the water I didn’t feel cold anymore. I had a wave of energy flow over me which left me wanting more adventure. Today was unforgettable and I plan to do more activities like this in the future whenever given the opportunity.