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Jakarta Post

A wonderful challenge at Timang islet

Sun, August 6, 2017   /   03:34 pm
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    A photograph of the makers of Timang’s wooden cable car is hung on the wall. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    A piece of rope is tied to a rock to support the wooden pole. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    A plastic wheel is used to reduce the friction of plastic ropes and to avoid corrosion caused by sea water. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    A man pulls down the wooden cable car. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    A local tourist smiles while riding the cable car to cross the strait during high tide. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    An operator waits for visitors to ride the cable car to reach the islet. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    These two men are in charge of pulling the rope to bring tourists back and forth from the islet. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    A reflection of a tourist’s sunglasses before crossing to the Timang islet. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    A cable car operator shows his calloused hands. Every Sunday, 12 cable car operators can each earn up to Rp 400,000 (US$30). JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    The view of Timang islet in Gunung Kidul regency, Yogyakarta. Tourists must brace themselves to cross the strait. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    A tourist takes a selfie at Timang islet. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

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    Some tourists prefer to cross the strait to Timang islet by using a hanging bridge. The bridge is made of 500 wooden planks lined up along 100 meters. JP/Magnus Hendratmo

The secluded Timang islet in the south of Gunungkidul regency, Yogyakarta, is famous among foreign tourists, especially Europeans.

To get there, visitors have to cross the strait for 100 meters using a wooden cable car, which was made in 1997.

The high tide often reaches visitors’ feet when they ride the cable car, which has experiences no accidents during its 20 years of operation, assured Siswanto, 54, who helps visitors reach the islet.

During the monetary crisis that hit Indonesia hard in 1997, Siswanto and his friends — Warno, Tukijan, Warsito and Wawan — made a wooden cable car as a means of transportation to reach Timang islet after they found it to be habitat for lobsters.

They usually left home at dawn to catch the lobsters, which can weigh between 0.4 and 1.5 kilograms. They could catch up to 30 kilograms of lobster per day and their catch was divided equally among the six of them.

The cable car apparently caught the attention of local and foreign media, creating a hype for tourists to visit the islet. Each visitor is charged for Rp 200,000 (US$15) for a round trip.

Siswanto has since opened his own restaurant boasting a lobster-based menu.

He and his friends eventually gave up catching lobsters. They now focus on tourism as Timang has gained fame as a tourist destination for local and foreign tourists.

Locals began to make a wooden bridge connecting the islet and the mainland. The bridge is made from around 500 wooden sheets tied with rope. [yan]