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Traveller's Tales


Plengkung Beach

Plengkung beach located in the very south east tip of East Jawa, at Cape Blambangan, known as one of the best beach for surfing in the world (S8.43.841-E114.21.051). To reach Plengkung Beach from Jember, take direction to the east to Kali Baru, after Genteng take south to Jajag and take east to Benculuk and go down south all the way.
Plengkung beach known as one of the best place for surfers. However, the locals avoid going to Plengkung beach by land, because they have to go through the very sacred “Alas Purwo” (sacred jungle), as legend has it, that those who entered the sacred “Alas Purwo” would never find their way out ….. but I have my GPS of course! However, since 3 years ago, upon requests from many tourist operators, the local government decided to make road and betraying the centuries old legend. In the rainy season, road to Plengkung beach by land is beyond description, therefore people still prefer to use the old routes, by boat from Muncar, a small fishermen town south of Banyuwangi or depending on the tide, through Grajagan, south of Genteng.
I went to Plengkung beach by land and in the end of rainy season, but still pretty wet. Up to Karang Anyar, the road is still reasonably good, however the road started to get bumpy when entering “Jati Jungle” (Hutan Jati). We arrived in Pucuk, the last post to enter the wilderness to Plengkung beach. The rules clearly says that considering the road situation, anybody who is going to Plengkung beach will have to use transportation provided by the Ranger Post Pucuk. I thought that it was a good commercial thinking, before I find out the reality behind the thinking the hard way. Well, the transportation provided by the Rangers happened to be a 45 years old 4X4 Landrover 4 cylinder. After a lengthy explanations, I managed to convince Pak Eko, the Head of the Rangers that my Landcruiser “Sahara” is a state of the art and designed to travel on any terrains.   Finally, Pak Eko agreed with one condition that he would come along with us, just in case we encountered any problem on the way. Very wise man ……
The road from the Pucuk Post to the Plengkung beach is characterized with   a thick bamboo jungle, as if we went through a tunnel of bamboo with long sharp pikes (bamboo duri) and the condition of the road was beyond description. I could not say it was a road, but a path full with thick mud and in some places, as deep as 40 to 50 centimeter. After having gone through the worst (so I thought) and just about 500 meters from the most famous Plengkung beach, suddenly Pak Eko pointing out in front of us, something that I started to regret what I have proudly said about my state of the art Landcruiser, earlier to him. Trying to stay calm and pretending in full control of myself, I said to him  that if that old Landrover could overcome this bits, surely this Landcruiser could handle it without any trouble at all…… With all its mighty my state of the art Landcruiser crossing the thick mud, jumping up and down, leaning side to side wildly and finally stop in the middle of the mud, as thick as mountain’s lava, and could only moaning helplessly…… and Pak Eko being a very polite Javanese only said: “See what I mean…..?”
Pak Eko contacted Post Pucuk with his equally old “Walky Talky” and to my horror, he instructed his men to bring the old Landrover to rescue the all mighty Landcruiser. I sat still and pretending I wasn’t listen to the conversation..… During the process of rescuing, in the middle of nowhere, suddenly appeared a charming woman carrying her surfing board and with her English accents, as thick as the mud, asked: “What’s going on…?”   I explained to her that it was a moment of truth, of which was more superior, the state of the art technology from Japan, or the pure British muscle? God was not in my side that time, as if to remind me that HE has no mercy for an arrogant person, like me. With HIS helps (God saves the Queen) the old British muscle successfully managed to rescue the state of the art Landcruiser. With a typical English humors, the woman said: “I am glad to note that we the British are not only rules the waves, but rules the mud as well…..”
There are two complexes of bungalows in Plengkung, one owned by Pak Bobby from Bali and the other owned by a New Zealander entrepreneur, managed by an Australian by the name Muhammad Murki, who married with a local girl and converted to Islam. There were a dozen surfers who stayed there and they came to Plengkung by sea from Muncar. Most of the surfers complained that the local government should provide easier access, in order to make more people come to enjoy Plengkung, which in the end would become a handsome revenues to the local government.
By the way, my photographic equipments were in my mighty Landcruiser resting mightily in the middle of a thick pool of mud, therefore they did not have any good use to me this time around. I could not make pictures as much as I would……

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