Labuan Cermin (two water lake); Indonesia

 By Mira Ichi Pratiwi (INDONESIA)

Labuan Cermin has something new for the tourists. Lately, the number of tourists have increased manifolds to visit its unique Natural creation and wonderful view. Labuan Cermin, situated in the Berau regency in East-Borneo, which is the largest regency in Kalimantan (Indonesia).

Berau has a string of interesting places for people to explore. The Labuan Cermin Lake located in the far interior of East Kalimantan, is surrounded by forests with towering cliffs is getting popular with tourists in Indonesia. The most famous site is the Labuan Cermin lake or the  Dua Rasa (two layers) lake  ,located in Biduk-biduk sub-district near with Batu Putih village.

Labuan Cermin lake has a beautiful natural scenery and unspoiled atmosphere, becoming very popular with travelers and tourists coming to Indonesia. This lake is so clear blue, shiny like a mirror, no wonder it’s called Mirror Lake because one can see the reflections on it.

The aura is magnificent. The thing that makes Labuan Cermin  lake different from other lakes is that the lake has two types of water, freshwater and salt water. That too, you will find both different waters in one area.

Not only that, but both types of organisms also live in the water of this Lake.

Freshwater fish living on the surface of the Lake while salt water fish live in the bottom of the Lake. Surprisingly, both types of water do not get mixed. It can be seen that the sea water and fresh water are separated by layers like clouds. The white muddy layer in the lake is allegedly the result of decomposition basic harbor organisms that trapped. The thickness of the layer of freshwater and saltwater can be changed in accordance with tidal sea water. This natural wonder is still a mystery of how this phenomenon occurs.

Recently, Labuan Cermin, famous for its crust rock formation entered as a finalist Copyright Award 2012, organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Republic of Indonesia. According to Co-leader of Biduk-Biduk, Mr. Saharuddin “Attraction to Labuan Cermin, which is now a mainstay on the south coast of Berau, there are continued effort to maintain its authenticity. Local people have even restricted this area which should not be disturbed by any other activity.

Labuan Cermin is a crust rock formation, if disturbed will get broken. “Through the co-operation of agencies, the local community, with district officials and village, we have always pursued the development and maintenance of the region”, he said.

But the charm and the beauty that lies in Labuan Cermin, has now started losing and disturbed with logging operations around the lake assessed begin to disrupt the lives of ecosystems and water quality at the site.

The headman of Biduk-Biduk Village, Mudassir said “The current water conditions in that lake now is very different than when he was a kid. Then the water in the lake is very clear and shiny.”

He adds “But now the lake’s condition has changed. Although it did not really affect the natural beauty of the lake or the ecosystem, however, if this condition is allowed to continue he is afraid that the condition of Labuan Cermin will become increasingly severe, losing its popularity with the tourists as well.”

Mudassir as the headman of Biduk-Biduk Village says “Every weekend there’s many people come to visit this place. Sometimes, they have to wait their turn to board the ship towards to the lake.”

We only have 3 boats to serve visitors to the lake. All boats are belongings the local community. There is no facility from the government and all service is given by the local people”.

“We have asked the government for development in the area, but until now there is no response”, explained the man nicknamed Dassir. Tourist need to bring their own equipment if they want to snorkeling, diving or camping.

“The local community here is unable to provide any tools/equipment except for a boat. People who plan to stay here overnight, there’s no accommodation or something similar except resident housing”, told Dassir.

The water soothes the skin. Sometimes it feels like a spring bubbles, and even at some point feels warm. People who wish to go swim are asked be careful with the water flows, because in some places the flows are quite strong and easy to drag people.

Lekmalamin, the only Non Governmental Organization/NGO in Labuan Cermin are the people who take care of this lake and its natural richness, built a simple wooden pier, and maintain the area very carefully.

They say “Labuan Cermin area now is not as beautiful as it used to be because there’s so many visitors. Littering is a major concern with people throwing carelessly and hence causing harm to the forest”. “We always keep reminding them to care about this area, we have been providing bins in every corner, but they are still littering the area. Sometimes, we need 1-2 days to clean up the area after every weekend”, explained Fazhri, one of the organization’s member.

Labuan Cermin can be reached within three hours from the north Derawan Island. People can rent a car from Berau City Center to Biduk-Biduk. After arriving in Biduk-biduk village, to reach the lake, one needs cross the canoe fishing trip for about 15 minutes, through mangroves and scrub forest.

Because of its isolation and away from the city, rarely or hardly any tourists visit this lake. This place is only known by local people from the surrounding area of East Borneo. Well, with all the authenticity and naturalness of this lake, Labuan Cermin Lake should be one of the sights one must visit.

–  Mira Ayu Pratiwi/Indonesia(The author is a freelance travel-writer based in Indonesia

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