Thousand Islands, or Kepulauan Seribu as it is known in Indonesia is a string of 128 islands and sandbars stretching 45 kilometres out in the Java Sea from Jakarta's mainland. Not knowing what to expect after the raucous start to the journey we luckily share the same boat with Yohanes Bodoyo.
Yohanes works for Kepulauan Seribu Marine National Park, protecting 78 of 128 islands in the archipelago. On the boat journey out to the archipelago's administrative centre, Pramukha island, he offers to show us his work environment. "Over the past two decades almost half of the reefs around Thousand islands have disappeared, contributing to a sharp decline in marine life and wide-scale erosion of the islands coastlines," he tells us. The land elevation ranges one metre and the whole archipelago is under severe threat, as the sea level begins to creep higher. Since 1870, sea levels have risen over 17 centimetres and the rate during the last 20 years is almost double of the century before. These islands be a warning alarm to nearby megalopolis Jakarta as the sea level overcomes them. The city which also lies mostly at sea level is sinking due to groundwater extraction and is home to almost ten million people.
Huge amounts of waste from the capital and years of unsustainable fishing with dynamite have put enormous stress on the marine ecosystems in this area. "We have several reef rehabilitating projects where we graft soft and hard coral onto existing or man-made reefs to restore the important ecosystems," says Yohanes Bodoyo.