The Scent of the Spice Islands I
Moluccas, Indonesian Maluku, also known as Spice Islands, Indonesian islands of the Malay Archipelago, lying between the islands of Celebes to the west and New Guinea to the east.
The Moluccas are the original Spice Islands; a magical destination, beautiful, remote and unspoiled, with a long, fascinating and turbulent history. For millennia these fertile volcanic isles were the world’s only source of the ‘holy trinity’ of rare spices; cloves, nutmeg and mace, which were once worth their weight in gold. Great opportunity to swim and snorkel in waters rich in marine life.
Safari covers Banda Islands, Obi, Bacan, Halmahera and Ternate.
Upon arrival at the Ambon airport cars will be waiting to take you to the Ombak Putih at her mooring in the harbour.
We will take an (optional) short tour of the surrounding area. We will then head to the north of the island and visit Hitu Lama.
After this we will return to the boat for lunch before heading out and on our way to the Banda Islands.
Today we will reach the renowned, remote Banda archipelago. In the capital Bandaneira, on the biggest island, Neira, we land near the elegant arches of Hotel Maulana.
Just across the harbour is Banda’s perfect, jungle-clad volcanic cone Gunung Api (‘Fire Mountain’ – 640 metres). We can climb it or we can snorkel over the black lava.
Day 3 and 4
We choose from some of the other small islands of the Banda archipelago – Lonthoir, Ai, Run, Hatta.
You can observe the age-old technique of harvesting by hand, and can taste (and buy) baked goods, condiments and jams flavoured with fresh mace, nutmeg or their fruit casing. We will climb up to fortress Hollandia.
Leaving Banda we will navigate through the Sonnegat (‘Sun’s gap’) between Neira and Gunung Api.
On Saparua we land beside Dutch Fort Duurstede (1691). A highlight here is a lunchtime feast of wonderful local dishes – freshly prepared by villager hosts from forest, garden and sea produce.
Our next destination is the Island of Manipa.
After an afternoon snorkeling, we will cruise on towards Belang-Belang.
Deserted, white-sand Belang-Belang is a real beachcomber’s paradise, where we can launch our full flotilla of watercraft, kayaks and paddle boards.
We will visit isolated Manatahan, a village of migrant Butungese from Sulawesi hundreds of miles to the west.
The crew will have delivered you on schedule to the Patinti Strait and Doworalamo, where we visit a village of the famous sea gypsies, known in Eastern Indonesia as Sama-Bajo.
We will also have opportunities for swimming, snorkeling and beach-combing before our ship continues on its northerly course.
We will wake up off the north shore of Bacan, another seat of Indonesia’s historic spice sultanates.
We go exploring ashore at the isolated village of Geti or its neighbour Goro-Goro, walking up a rainforest-clad river valley.
Sunrise finds us in Indonesia’s most stunning seascape. Four volcanic-cone islands emerge from the sea. They are Makian, Moti, Tidore and Ternate.
There are interesting expeditions ashore and good places to snorkel. Later we cruise towards Payahe Bay on the mainland of Halmahera.
Easy afternoon trek towards a forest waterfall.
Today we will visit the ranger station of Loh Buaya on Rinca Island where we will have another ranger-led nature trek in search of more Komodo dragons.
In the afternoon we can go snorkelling and enjoy some beach time with paddle boards and kayaks.
The crew will build a bonfire and prepare a beach barbecue as a final celebration of our memorable voyage.
We reach the island of Ternate and our final destination. After that we will go back to the Ombak Putih to say goodbye to our expert guide, the captain and the crew, and you will be transferred to the airport and your flight to Jakarta or Bali.
The route and dives are always organized according to the weather conditions, the currents and tides.