Aside from culinary tourism in the middle of an ocean, this floating cafe also provide marine tourism and education.
Losari Beach. The name of this tourist destination has surely become so familiar in the ears of the Indonesian people. Located in Makassar, the capital city of South Sulawesi Province, Losari Beach has become one of the most visited destination, both by local tourists, and by tourists from all over Indonesia. Even international tourists occasionally visit this place.
Unlike other beaches who are commonly sandy, Losari is designed like a city park, only located at the beach. This 1 kilometer beach spreads from the south to the north. Looking to the west, Losari becomes a place to enjoy panoramic sunset, making this beach more crowded in late afternoons. Facing towards the ocean, a floating structure is visible. This structure is none other than the “Makassar Floating Cafe”, which belongs to Joint Business Group (KUB) Bahari Mandiri. This cafe which is equipped with floating marine cages has become a new destination for culinary tourism in Losari beach.
“We want to help the government in successing the fishery development program,” said Rio Abangsagara, the main manager of the cafe. Together with his group, he started the cafe a year ago. This Bahari Mandiri group gained the trust of the Marine, Fishery, Farming, and Agriculture Agency of Makassar City to manage a floating structure in the middle of the sea.
This floating structure was previously meant to be a floating market. However, the structure is strategically positioned at the center of tourist destination. This compelled the Bahari Mandiri group to choose a cafe concept in utilizing the floating structure.
Just like its name, Makassar Floating Cafe, this restaurant actually floats on seawater surface. However, this water surface location does not deter tourists from visiting this cafe for culinary experience. On the contrary, it attracts more visitors who want to try the sensation of dining in the middle of the sea. This cafe is located approximately 50 meters from the shore. The visitors who will have some food tastings there are transported using small boats by the personnel guarding by the beach.
The location of the cafe which is well protected from direct waves makes this cafe relatively relaxing even though it is floating on water surface. The waves that come once in a while only create little wobbles that do not bother the visitors. “My impression of this place is, the atmosphere is very uplifting,” said Ernawati, one of the visitors from Maros District of South Sulawesi who just visited Makassar for the first time.
This cafe which opens from afternoon until midnight is usually visited by young couples and families. They come either to order snacks while enjoying the beach scenery, or to actually dine together.
For some, it was their first visit, while for some others, it was a returning visit while bringing their relatives. “I have been here before; the place is comfortable. That is why I’m taking my friends here to experience the sensation,” said Rais, a student of Hasanuddin University (Unhas) who is vacationing in Losari.
“The top menu is the seafood because of the freshness, since it is taken directly from our cages. Some of the menu are milkfish, rabbit-fish, and grouper, said Rio who is still considerably young. Rio has some cooking skill, and became a chef right away in his floating cafe, turning fresh fish into various menu.
Aside from fresh fish, this cafe also serves Makassar food and beverages such as epe banana, sanggara peppe banana, and local coffees. “I am very excited because the sanggara peppe dish is delicious,” said Resti who ordered that menu.
Marine Tourism and Education
Aside from culinary tourism, this floating cafe also provides marine tourism and education. The marine tourism offered is in the form of duck boats to sail along the Losari beach. “As for the education, we assist visitors who would like to know about milkfish cultivation in these marine cages. How to feed them and so on,” Rio said.
On Saturday nights when more people are visiting, the cafe provides live music on a regular basis to entertain the guests. The ocean breeze and sparkling city lights visible from the cafe amplify the special atmosphere for the guests. “The ambience is so relaxing. Really suitable to get de-stressed,” said Ernawati.
Rio admitted there are many positive responses from the visitors. Some also gave inputs for the improvements of Makassar Floating Cafe. “Some even gave input to add beach bicycles, and water balls which we can enter into. And we will work on those ideas. Hopefully we can provide it by the second year. And we can make it even more festive,” Rio welcomed the suggestions from his guests.
Aside from suggestions to add more types of tourist attraction, some visitors also gave suggestions to add the food menu. One of them came from Arsyad, a Geology Engineering student from Unhas who recommended to add traditional Makassar food into the menu. “So every Makassar food, both from land and sea, will be available in this cafe,” he said.
Aquatec Floating Structure
The number of people visiting this cafe can reach 1,000 to 2,000 per month. This number depends heavily on the weather condition at the beach. The maximum capacity of this cafe is at 100 people, and 300 people on new years, according to Rio.
Makassar Floating Cafe uses Aquatec Floating Houses product. This Floating House is built on a floating dock made of cylindrical floating device from High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). Aquatec Floating House is equipped with flooring and walls made of Wood Polyethylene Compound (WPC), or more commonly known as Ecowood. Ecowood is a mixture of teak dust and polyethylene ore, making this Aquatec Floating House termite-resistant and weatherproof, even in the ocean. In addition, the house frame and the roof holder are made of marine aluminum material, making it light but sturdy enough to withstand ocean waves. The UPVC roof and doors are made of Polyethylene (PE) material that complete this floating house structure.
Rio admitted that the quality of Aquatec floating house is considerably long-lasting. It has been two years since that floating house were constructed in Losari beach. He and his group have even added more products from Aquatec such as floating marine cages and floating pier to support the operations in his cafe.
The durability of Aquatec products that we use in Makassar Floating Cafe is considerably good and strong in the midst of extreme weather condition in Makassar. For the past two years since the construction of this floating house, not a single component was damaged,” Rio said.
ITROBOS Aqua / Adc