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Published: March 30th 2011
On the Boat
Catching up on writing my travelblog
We left our big backpacks with the owner, Pete, at Beta Hotel so we could travel light to Puala Saparuha for a few days.
We caught the Bemo to Tulehu then jumped on an Ojek – (motorbike taxi) to the port where we located the correct ferry, bought a ticket and prepared ourselves for the long wait while cargo was loaded on. We managed to find out that the ferry left at 1pm and would take two hours – all by speaking Indonesian – hope you’re all impressed!
Once on Saparua we were pounced on by Ojek drivers and Bemo drivers all eager to take our money. One quoted us 50,000 rupees to take us to our chosen destination. The average price should be 5,000 rupees per journey. We surprised him by saying ‘tidak’ the word for ‘no’ in Indonesian and climbed into a Bemo full of locals heading for the main town. We paid just 5,000 each!
In town we bumped into a Dutch guy who we’d met in Ambon, he informed us our chosen guesthouse had been destroyed recently by the monsoon but recommended another one fairly close by and said we needed to get
On the Boat to Kota Saparua
Taking time out to enjoy the scenery
the same Bemo as him, (he was staying in a private house with a family.) We followed and within 10 minutes the Bemo pulled up in a tiny village and we were ushered off and down a small side street by all the locals who were sat on their front porches. There was only one guesthouse around these parts so it wasn’t difficult for them to figure out where we wanted to go. The owner greeted us with open arms as it turned out we would be the only guests.
Our room was close to the sea and surrounded by palm trees. Before getting into the sea, however, you needed to negotiate the mangrove trees that grew along the water's edge. There was also a concrete jetty where you could access the sea, we chose that route but got inundated by swarms of small naked boys all wanting to join us. They each carried an empty five litre plastic container to ask as bouancy aids. We never actually got to swim far out as they were determined to stay close by and A: I was worried they might actually drown me as there were so many swimming around
me and B: I wasn't sure how well they could swim and didn't want to lead them into danger.
Dinner was included in the price of the guesthouse which was just as well as there didn't seem to be any kind of restaurant in the village. The main diet here is 'ikan' and 'nasi' - fish and plain boiled rice so I wasn't looking forward to it too much.
When we arrived in the dining room they were almost ready, some kind of Hawian music was playing softly and Paul explained that it was Traditional Malukan music. I needn't have worried about the food, firstly we had noodles in a thin tasty sauce followed by rice and fish, as expected, and a huge plate full of mixed vegetables. In addition there were two small mixed veg. omlettes. It turned out to be the best meal we'd had for weeks. If that wasn't enough they had icy cold beer - we treated ourselves to one even though it was almost £3 a bottle. We spent the evening talking to Paul before going to bed around 9.30pm. Instead of the noisy traffic of Kota Ambon town we were lulled to
sleep by the gentle sound of cicardas.
Next day after breakfast of nasi gorang (fried rice) and omlette we decided to go and find the beach we'd read about that supposedly had good snorkelling. We set off walking towards the next village along the narrow palm tree lined road, although it was only 9.30am the sun was already beating down intensely.By the time we'd made our way through three villages it was becoming apparent that this beach was a lot further away than we'd anticipated. By now we were getting hotter and hotter as the sun beat down and we desperately needed to cool down. We spotted some steps going down straight into the sea from a concrete jetty so made for them. Once in the sea we could see just how clear the water was even though we were at close proximity to the village, the coral was superb with lots of colourful fish too, we swam around for about 30 minutes keeping a close eye on our stuff left on the jetty but we needn't have worried no-one made any attempt to touch it but we did get lots of stares as we got out of the
Washday on Saparua!
We are so spoilt with our automatic washing machines!
water from some villagers passing by. They just don't seem to go in the sea to swim and it makes me wonder if they even know what a wonderful sight it is under the surface! Obviously they know there's lots of fish - that's all their diet consists of!
On our way back through the village we were curious to see a boy about seven years old shimmy up a tree and come down holding a huge fruit, he seemed to want us to admire it so we asked him what it was, he ran indoors and came back with a huge machete and proceeded to chop it in two right there in the middle of the road. His dad approached and took over the task then showed us the inside of the fruit, he explained it was a Jack fruit and insisted we tasted it before giving us a large portion to take away with us. It was very sweet and we ended up leaving it outside our room for the ants to devour.
After dinner we took a stroll through the grounds of Mahu Lodge and watched the fireflies in the mangrove trees.
The following day
we arranged a snorkel trip and got taken to a beach only accesible by boat, a short swim out and the coral was even better than we'd seen the day before. The guesthouse had made us a packed lunch of hot - yes I mean hot noodles, rice and omlette, all in a stainless steel insulated container. By 2pm we were ready to go back, as we sailed around the headland we were greeted with dark cloud and the neigbouring island looked as though it was pouring with rain, the sea whipped up as the wind increased and minutes after we arrived back down came the rain, heavy rain - than kgoodness we came back when we did! We had planned to go and explore more of the island but the rain kept up for most of the day so we gave it up as a bad job.
That evening we were served up with a three course banquet, Paul had bought in some pineapple as I'd told him I hadn't seen any on sale since being in Indonesia.
Next morning we'd planned to get the Bemo back to the port but as we ate breakfast the rain
began again and got heavier and heavier, by 9.30am it hadn't abbaited, Paul said he could call a taxi or he would walk to the Bemo stop with us and carry umbrellas. As the rain was beating down and the Bemo stop was a good five minute walk we decided to blow the expense and opted for the taxi.
We'd only brought a small bag onto the island, leaving our big backpacks back in Ambon and of course our raincoats were in them!
When we got to the port we discovered the ferry wasn't running but luckily the express boat was, probably because it was enclosed and could withstand the weather better. Although we were tossed around in the rough waves we managed to arrive safely back on Ambon.
When we arrived back at Pete's place our room was still empty so we checked straight back in.
Next day, after confirming our flight, we spent the day at Kota Pintu beach, then went to bed early for our 3am early morning wake up.
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