It still tickles me even now at the mention of Kodingareng Keke and Samalona Island. I remember on the second day in Makassar, we had spontaneous word play game on the boat to Kodingareng Keke Island, one of the eleven islands located in Spermonde archipelago. Kodingareng Keke, Samalona and Spermonde; those are the tricky words. The continuous question of “where are we going again?” triggered the word play game as most of us had difficulty to pronounce Kodingareng Keke, Samalona and Spermonde. I, for example, spent half of the day, referring to Samalona Island as Salamona and Salmonala to the laughter of the rest.
Located about 1 hour boat ride from the mainland of Makassar, the Kodingareng Keke Island is an uninhabited island frequently visited by visitors for snorkeling and camping. On the way to Kodingare Keke Island, we passed by two small islands which are the Samalona Island and Spermonde Island.
Departed from Kayu Bangkoa Port as earlier as 8.00am
Water chalet seen from Kayu Bangkoa Port
Despite its near distance to the bustling town of Makassar, the little white sandy island stands out against the cerulean-blue sea. We arrived at the Kodingareng Keke Island at 9.00am. We had to wet our feet and pants as the wooden bridge did not reach the shore. The water was crystal clear and quite shallow to a point that I could see coral and sea urchins.
Before I could immerse myself with beach-bumming activities, we gathered at the second floor of the three tiers open gazebo that offered 360 degree views of Kodingareng Keke Island. Actually, you can finish walking around the island in less than 20 minutes. The northern part of the island is blessed with soft sand while the southern part is covered with coral sand.
The night before I was out with my Makassar friends who told me interesting unnatural underwater remnants that lie at the bottom of the sea bed. Some Greek statues!! That apart from the sunken minibus and WW1 Japanese ship wreck. I was hoping to catch the glimpse of the Greek statues while snorkeling. It could have been an epic blog entry, I told myself.
Since we were only allowed to snorkel from the shore, I formed a group of blogger friends who were interested to join my little Greek exploration and hired a boat to bring us about 200m from the shore. It was just a small boat which could barely fit 4 person excluding the boatman and we had less than 1 hour.
Kelly on her first snorkelling trip.
The boat ride took less than 10 minutes. At first, there were only negligible waves and the boatman insisted that we stick to a group so that he could bring us to the best snorkeling spot. But the thing was the depth of the water was not meant for snorkeling. The marine life was just too far from the surface at the depth of 10-15m. They are snorkelling subjects only if you could free dive. A skill I have not quite figured to date.
As we struggled to admire the underwater marine life from the choppy surface, the swelling waves pushed us away and away from the boat. Slowly but surely! Many a times the boatman had to tow Kelly and I back to the boat. Lily was glued at the edge of the boat. At one time, it was really chaotic!
The waves were so strong that we had to keep it close to the boat. The corals were colourful and beautiful but it was hard to enjoy with the strong wave. I wondered if I made the right decision to snorkel far from shore especially when the operator did not provide the fins for us. Perhaps, if we had a pair of fins we could better enjoy the beauty of the underwater world of Kodingareng Keke Island. As for the Greek statues, I found none at the spot and was told they were elsewhere to find.
It was too soon that we had to leave beautiful Kodingareng Keke Island.
One can access Kodingareng Keke by taking boat at Kayu Bangkoa Port which is in the city centre of Makassar. The boat ride takes between 40 – 60 minutes depending on the weather. The costs for the boat is around IDR500,000 to IDR600,000.00 per boat which can fit 8-10 people.
Proper toilet and supply of water. There are also shops selling junk food and drinks.
For more info on Makassar, please visit Indonesia Travel.
The trip to Kodingareng Keke was made possible by the invitation of Ministry of Tourism Indonesia for Trip of Wonders – Wonderful Indonesia campaign.