Land’s people

I am not fond of the sea. Well, I often hate it, despise to be near it.

I mean I can’t bear to think of its depth, unpredictable nature, unknown wilderness, and bad character. I feel nothing as a human, I feel powerless. The sea is a god in itself.

The first encounter with the sea I think when I was 5 year-old. My parents took me to one or two of Seribu Islands near Jakarta. It was a big boat but I still can feel the wave in my head so I spent all day screaming my lung out. My mother was confused and she forgot to bring anti-nausea medication. I was crying all the way back. There was something nauseatic about seeing the waves and foam on the sea. I also didn’t like the smell. I couldn’t enjoy the view and the sun. I just want to be back on the mainland and feel settled.

I came to the sea again during middle school. It was Pelabuhan Ratu. I enjoy the land ride. Once I arrived at the venue, I distanced myself. The waves were mesmerizing. I started to appreciate and respect them. I still couldn’t enjoy them. They looked dangerous just by looking at them. I mean they are breaking on shore but they swirl, plunging, swell with great power. It’s almost impossible to control them, let alone tame them. As a human with intelligence, you don’t want to get into something that is not controllable and negotiable. Otherwise you will drown. Death in the ocean is not sweet and memorable compare to the one in land.

So yeah. What else can I said about the ocean?

Another encounter with ocean was during farewell trip after middle school graduation. I forgot the name of the beach. I think it was still around West Java. The waves were not as big as Pelabuhan Ratu. However, the so-called ex-boyfriend was with another girl. I wasn’t sure if they are officially dating. They were quite intimate and have great time on the beach while I watched them and the waves. I was not into touching or any bodily contact at that time.

I have more intimate contact with the ocean when I moved to Malang and visit some of its beautiful and calm waves. There are plenty of beaches around South Malang. They were perfect for beginner and land’s person like me. I slowly appreciate and in love with the beach, not yet with the ocean; it was another territory. The waves on the shoreline and beaches were friendly, they have human-like manner. They were touchy without being too much. They swirled with less power, they push and pull with no harm.

So last year was the most important moment where I really experiencing the ocean. I was visiting Yenbuba island in Raja Ampat and two other smaller islands. The waves were different. I don’t know what to say. The ocean has its pulse and life on its own. It change very quickly. It’s like having a borderline personality disorder friend at a party. He/she was calm in one minute, then he/she having a great tantrum. It’s dangerous partly because I don’t know how to handle it; I can’t swim. Even if I can, I doubt it would be enough to handle the waves. It’s important to have God or Gods in the middle of the ocean. Or maybe just worship the ocean at once.

The waves were raw. When you are riding waves using small boat, you feel the waves on your body because you have to align to the waves. It’s something new for me as a land’s person. I don’t have to align myself on land. In fact, human is known for their ability to carve the land to serve their desires and interests.

The experience change my perspective and respect to the fisherman and woman, to the islanders, to the fish and mammals, to the rocks and reefs, and to the winds. Honestly, I rarely respect or regard the nature in proper way.

After that visit, I also experience ocean in Labuan Bajo in the same year. I also just learned that the salinity of oceans are different. So I feel the salinity in Yenbuba island is higher compare to the one in Labuan Bajo, NTT. I got hyperpigmentation after coming home from Yenbuba but not from Labuan Bajo. I am now feel so good and lucky everytime I visited the ocean. I feel alive!

No, I can’t say ocean is a safe place. It’s a dangerous place but once you grow into it, you learn to navigate it. You can’t own the ocean, you respect it, you move with it.

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