REMEMBER Sadako, the creepy girl with her signature long silky hair? Remember where she lived?
Ever since I watched Sadako in the movie Ringu where the setting took place in Izu Ōshima (a small island with its lighthouse as a landmark), my impression on every lighthouse in the world has changed. It has become more than just a beacon of light. It was an echo chamber, echoing the time lapse and history within.
And sometimes there were only darkness and despair.
I still felt the spine tingling experience as we entered the Anyer lighthouse, located not far from the main road of Anyer-Carita, Banten. This tower stood tall & slender (around 75.5 meters height with 18 floors and 300 stairs) over a small park at its base. No, I didn’t talk about Sadako (in fact, just forget about her!), but the feeling that this building was a historical place somehow made me thrilled.
The lighthouse was erected in 1885 by the Dutch government (at the behest of William III, King of the Netherlands, and that’s why some simply called it Willem III’s lighthouse). Massive metal plates had been bolted together to form a large cylindrical tower. And after more than 120 years later, the lighthouse has started to look a bit worn out.
This sentinel was built up replacing the previous one that was wiped out by the tsunami that struck following Krakatoa’s explosion in 1883. And Anyer’s lighthouse has made the second oldest in Indonesia after Semarang’s lighthouse that was built in 1884.
We were inside the lighthouse. The air was filled with the smell of rusty metal. The floor and the walls showed the spread of rust. It took some effort to climb up some 300 stairs, but once we arrived at the top it would be paid off. We definitely could see a circular view: the green fields, the red roofs, the bending coastal road, the vastness of the sea.
The only thing bothering was how people had left their trash everywhere in this high ground. Most of them were empty bottles, including one empty bottle of 1 litre Coke. People surely need some drink after climbing up here, but they also need some environmental awareness. “All these people need is some brain!” said my friend. Since there were only us left, so we decided to pick up the trash, and load it into a plastic bag (that had been left forgotten on the floor).
There was a small park adjacent to the lighthouse (entrance fee around Rp. 20,000/car). We walked down the path about 30 meters from the tower. There was a small statue marking the zero km starting point of Anyer-Panarukan road that was built by Daendels. This was also the location where the original lighthouse erected long before the Krakatoa’s 1883 tsunami struck.
Willem III a.k.a the Anyer lighthouse was shimmering under afternoon light, standing tall like a cost guard. It seemed clear to me that this lighthouse was a sentinel for both the coastal and the history around. I realized that the dark and despairing site of a lighthouse was just my exaggerated thought. Lighthouses could be just as atmospheric on their own.