Our next plan was to leave Bali towards the world’s most populated Island – Java. After waiting for a public minibus at roadside it took us about 90 minutes to get to Gilimanuk. From there a one hour ferry ride brought us to the city of Banyuwangi.

Once again we were blessed with having generous friends living in the area. Melanie, a Swiss friends of Kevin’s family, migrated to Java a few years ago. She and her lovely family offered us to stay with them for the next few days. Kevin was immediately taken hostage by Miguel the five year old boy of the family. They became instantly best friends. The heat and humidity took its tool and we opted for an early night.

The next day they showed us around Banyuwangi where they run a aerobic and fitness studio (although we were already constantly sweating just from “existing” – so it was hard to imagine doing any fitness).

The following day we went on a two day tour to Sukamade Beach south of the city. The adventure started with a four hour jeep ride (i.e. milke shaker). For the first hour or so the streets were still nicely paved (but the traffic was as usual in Indonesia on the more crazy side) but soon afterwards they started to get quite rough.

On the way we stopped to see cacao trees, how rubber was extracted from rubber trees and how palm sugar was extracted from the palms and then cooked for 36 hours. Quite interesting.

As part of our journey we needed to cross several rivers. First the guide thought about taking a short cut through one big river (instead of four small ones) but once he saw that the water was hip-heigh he fortunately changed his mind (although we still think he was tempted to give it a try).

Sukamade is a turtle refugium where the freshly laid eggs are are taken from the beach and kept for 55 days till the little turtles hatch which are then released into the sea. So after putting our bags into our room we headed straight to the beautiful beach with a bucket of young turtles ready to be released.

As you can imagine it was super cute to see the little clumsy turtles robbing towards the sea once set on the floor. After that we relaxed and saw a fantastic sunset at the lonely beach – what a fantastic spot!

After a nice dinner it was time for the second part of the turtle adventure. So at about eight in the evening we went back to the beach again. While waiting for the mother turtles to come to the beach and lay their eggs we enjoyed the clear sky with its million of stars. After about an hour the first turtle came ashore – what a sight to see a green back turtle from so close. These animals can get up to 120 years old and only start to lay eggs after about 25 years.

The first turtle went back to the sea without laying any eggs (as the sand was apparently still to warm – they check the temperature with their backside). Luckily about an hour later a second turtle came to the beach and went into action. The green back turtles lay up to 130 eggs in one session and neatly camouflage the spot afterwards to prevent predators to get after their eggs. We felt again very privileged to witness this spectacle from so near.

The next morning it was time to drive back. On the way back we picked up some local kids who missed the turn off to Paradise Beach which was our destination anyway.

After half an hour of jungle hiking we arrived at the beach and it really was like in paradise, white sand, a waterfall as shower and blue and clear water. It can’t get any better. And so we enjoyed ourselves for the rest of the afternoon before heading back to town.

The next day we were off to Singapore where we will break our journey for about three weeks!  We will definitely come back to Indonesia!

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