Eco Tourism and Turtle Conservation in Ujung Genteng.
Ujung Genteng combines potentials in natural resources and nature conservation so that eco-tourism grows and it has become tourists' favorite destination in Sukabumi.
Ujung Genteng as a breathtaking tourism spot at the southern tip of West Java has been widely known. Pristine beaches with several ideal locations for observing sunrise as well as sunset are stunning attractions besides aquatic activities at this well-kept-secret place.
Swimming, snorkeling and diving lovers can find ideal place at Ujung Genteng and particularly for surfers, beaches at Pangumbahan and Ombak Tujuh (Seven Waves) offer something special. If you think surfing at Nusa Dua, Bali is suitably for novice, advanced surfers should try Ombak Tujuh. This is one of the most challenging beaches in the world for surfing lovers with its consistent adrenaline-pumping waves.
Don't worry about accommodation in Ujung Genteng. There are hotels, resorts and inns ready to accommodate visitors in friendly prices. The hotel price ranging from Rp. 200,000 - Rp. 450,000 (around 20 US$ - 47 US$) per night.
Where is Ujung Genteng located.
Ujung Genteng is a small town at the Regency of Sukabumi city and located at the southern beach of around 3 hours drive from Sukabumi or around 6-7 hours from Jakarta.
I have to admit that the roads leading to Ujung Genteng when I visited it in early April 2013 need immediate repair because of unceasing holes along them which make the trip very bumpy. Going there by sedan or short ground-clearance cars is not recommended considering this road condition.
Some Natural Attractions in Ujung Genteng.
Here are some main natural attractions in Ujung Genteng :
Kalapa Doyong Beach :
It is at the street along Kelapa Doyong beach where most of accommodations are located and they strategically view the Indian ocean too. You don't have to sweat to enjoy sunset at this beach from your place since the view can be seen just from your bedroom or veranda !
Besides the wonderful sun set, at this beach you can also observe fisherman's life doing the fishing activities, how fish auction take place in the morning, and like we always did in our visit, taking pictures as long as doing beach combing and collecting colorful seashells .
Cikaso Waterfall :
This is a waterfall which has 3 names in 1 location. Cikaso river flows down and at an ascending locations it forms a cliff which is split and makes 3 waterfalls respectively called : Asepan (left side), Meong (middle), and Aki (right side).
Cikaso waterfall is located at Surade district, around 10 km from Ujung Genteng.
Ciganggsa Waterfall :
Cigangsa is another pretty waterfall in Ujung Genteng. We need to do some careful hiking to reach the waterfalls with long railings on one side for visitors to hold so in order not to slip on wet tracks. It is recommended to rent local people's boat to reach Cigangsa by which the stunning views of the river walls (many say it's like Grand Canyon in America) can be enjoyed better.
Cipanarikan Hawaiian beach :
Cipanarikan Hawaiian beach is a perfect place to capture a sunset. The beach serves open seas combined with an estuary next to it. The wave splashes make water droplets which create beautiful effect in the pictures taken at the beach.
Ombak Tujuh (Seven Waves):
This is an ideal beach for surfer enthusiasts. The name is taken from the beach characteristic where it constantly produces huge waves, often in 7-consecutive-rolled waves which become advanced surfers' most wanted challenge.
This beach location is around 15 km away from Pangumbahan, the well known area for green turtle conservation.
Amanda Ratu :
Amanda Ratu is a hilly area overlooking the open Indian sea with a small island braving the thundering waves down the cliffs creating an extraordinary scenery. The island is really looks like the famous Tana Lot in Bali so that Amanada Ratu has a nick name: Tana Lot Amanda Ratu.
Palm sugar center :
Thousand of coconut trees grow in Ujung Genteng has made it a center of palm sugar producer. Local people who don't catch fish as source of income, will coconut nectar to be made into palm sugar.
You can visit home palm sugar industries starting from the nectar collecting process, the cooking, up to the sugar molding and buy the fresh product right away.
Ujung Genteng's Important role in green turtle conservation.
Besides offering its unusual beauty, Ujung Genteng plays very important role in Green Sea turtle conservation. It's shown with the establishment of a vast turtle conservation center at Pangumbahan, a coastal district around 3 km from Ujung Genteng.
There several areas for turtle egg hatcheries at Pangumbahan. Every area is surrounded by wire fences to protect it and make sure that there are no unwanted factors which disturb the hatchery area.
Inside every hatchery area there are around 150 hatchery points where stands a mark containing information about point number, starting date of hatchery.
How Turtles Breeds.
Green turtle will be sexually mature when they are around 20-50 years of age. Under her heavy, cumbersome shell, a female turtle comes to the beach suitable for egg laying in the dark night. With its hind limbs she digs a hole in the sand around 40-50 cm deep then she points her tail toward the hole which is ready to contain her eggs.
A green turtle lays around 50 to 150 white, soft-shelled eggs in every lay then bury those deposited eggs behind with sands using her back limbs. She will let natural incubation hatch her eggs and she crawls back to the sea when everything is finished. She tries to make sure that her eggs are safe by not leaving any traces around her nest (she will flatten back the hollow traces in the sand cause by her body during egging and makes some camouflage on it).
The eggs will hatch after 45 to 75 days of incubation and the sand temperature will determine the turtle's sex.
Hot temperature of the sand will make it female while cold sand makes male turtles.
The newly hatched turtles will squirm to the surface and face directly to the sea.
About Green Turtle's Life.
Green (sea) Turtle (Chelonia mydas) is one of six-most endangered sea turtle species in the world. This animals travels thousand kilometers away from its origin at the other sides of the earth around America, Canada, and Mexico to lay their eggs at Pangumbahan beach, Ujung Genteng and this activity has taken place for more than 100 year !.
Green turtle populations face critical future and they are in steep decline because of some major threats: their nesting beaches are converted to holiday resorts, turtles and their eggs are poached for food, and they are accidentally caught and killed in fishing nets.
Because of their declining populations, both people and ecosystems get the impacts. Coral reefs and sea grass as turtle's main food become unbalanced. Threatened green turtle future will also give serious negative influence to its cultural and ecotourism importance. Take for example a cultural ceremony called Pedudusan Agung dan Macaru in Bali. This ritual is regularly held and needs the presence of Green Turtle offering as the condition for the ceremony to take place. Packed with local wisdom and tourism, people at Benoa, Bali have a turtle conservation site so that they can fulfill green turtles needed for the ceremonies without exploiting turtle population in nature.
Some interesting facts about Green Turtle.
- They are called Green turtle not because they physically look green, but because of green fat under their shells.
- Green turtle is the largest sea turtle which the adult can weigh up to 400 pounds and 5 feet in length.
- Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) is the only herbivore (plant eater) among other sea turtle species. Baby turtles eat small aquatic invertebrate animals but when they reach 20-30 cm long they eat sea grass and algae to become fully herbivore.
- The turtle's main food is sea grass and algae. An adult green turtle of +/- 10 years old consumes around 80 kg of sea grass everyday.
- Green turtles maintain the sea ecosystem healthy because the sea grass they eat will keep the sea grass grow well and healthy. Sea grass is also the nurseries for other sea invertebrate and fish and in the next turn give benefits to human food and economy.
- Green turtle have to migrate thousand miles away from their feeding places to find suitable places to lay their eggs. Their eggs need 52 until 70 days to hatch which is influenced by sand temperature and humidity.
- Newly hatch turtles are called Tukiks and they are born with their readily instinct to find the sea from anywhere they are hatched.
- Green turtles will always go to the smooth-sanded beach, the same beach they were hatched, and lay their eggs only at quiet nights every 3-4 years.
- The sand temperature where an egg is hatched will determine green turtle sex. Hot temperature makes it female while low temperature makes it male.
- Green turtle has sophisticated migration system and how the system works is still unknown.