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Asia » Indonesia » Maluku » Banda Islands April 21st 2011

So we got on our second ever Pelni at about half 12 when the klaxon sounded twice - this was meant to be when there was 1 hour to go before we left. If anyone remembers Emma's reaction to the 3 1/2 day Pelni trip from Lombok to Sulawesi we took on the last trip ( we didn't do a blog but family and friends should remember the look of dread on Emmas face) then you would not be surprised that Emma was not too keen on the next 8-12 hours. The boarding was much more organised than the last one with no big shove to get on but once on we encountered the same problem as last time. Seat/beds were hard to come by and we plunged ever deeper into the huge ex-cruise liner. We ... read more
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Asia » Indonesia » Maluku April 19th 2011

Ambon was not great but it had the two things we would need - an immigration office and ATMs so we could stock up on cash as there were no reliable ones south of here. Just like our last trip we got lucky and met an English speaking person to help us through the minefield that is Indonesian bureaucracy. William was an Indonesian businessman who was staying in the same guesthouse as us. He got us to the office and back easily and managed to get an explanation on how the visa extensions work from the immigration office where only a few words of English were spoken. They told us that we would need to come back after 25 days when our current visa ran out. This done we maxed out our cards and got a ... read more
Suggestive bollards
Ambon
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Asia » Indonesia » Maluku February 19th 2011

We have now arrived back in Makassar, Sulawesi. We spent the last 6 weeks on the Maluku islands, including Lease Islands, Banda Islands and the Kei Islands. Most of the time things were pretty basic and laid back especially Kei Islands where we rented a room in a 'villa' right on the beach. We have been travelling around on the infamous Indonesian planes, ferries and boats, some journeys were eventful, the language barrier being a challenge at times but we made it, we can now speak quite a few phrases, enough to get by on. There has been very little Internet, which is why I've not written too often, it is very hot in Makassar especially in this Internet cafe so I am not writing much right now. We will be home in just over a ... read more

Asia » Indonesia » Maluku February 18th 2011

The Bemo pulled away and we breathed a sigh of relief that we'd found a bed for the night. We tried to organise our things in the tiny room using every available nail! The bed wasn't a full size double bed so it promised to be a sweaty night. The bathroom or 'mandi' was along the wooden walkway outside, there was no running water just a large tiled tank in the corner with cold water and a scoop. The scoop was to be used for throwing over you to wash and also to pour down the toilet to act as a flush. We took a walk along the beach and to the village close by, as it was Sunday it was full of locals but we'd read that throughout the week the whole place was desserted. ... read more
.... and the other way
A shady spot
Fun in the sand

Asia » Indonesia » Maluku » Banda Islands February 6th 2011

After hearing horror stories about conditions on the Pelni ferries (sleeping on brown paper on deck possibly in the rain, and never taking you eye off your backpacks for a minute for fear of being robbed) we decided to splash out and book a first class cabin. The ferry to Tual on the Kei Islands was due at midnight and expected to take 11 hours, which on Pelni usually means 12 / 13 hours, so we figured we'd sleep for much of the time. Not far behing schedule the Ceremai sailed into Bandaniera port at 12.50. we were up by it's hooter, that was the beauty of Vita Guesthouse, it was a stones throw away and when you're sitting on the decking (or lying on the bed as we were, you can watch the ferries docking ... read more
Getting closer to the port
Thousands of passengers milling about
Waiting to board along with a Dutch couple

Asia » Indonesia » Maluku » Banda Islands February 2nd 2011

I've had lots of requests to see photos of the beaches and under the sea around the Bandas, so at last I've updated the blog and added photos., there's lots so keep scrolling down if you don't want to miss any! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- February 2nd 2011 We have now been on the Banda Islands for almost three weeks. The main reason we came here was tales of how outstandingly beautiful the undersea world wasl, miles and miles of pristine coral reefs and drop offs teeming with fish. We were not dissapointed, we did a snorkel trip almost every day and were increasingly amazed at the site that met our eyes each time we jumped in, our trusty boatman took us to numerous sites bordering several of the Banda Islands. We tended to do a couple of stops ... read more
Puala Pisang
Beach Banda Besar
Beach - Banda Besar

Asia » Indonesia » Maluku » Banda Islands January 20th 2011

'Fire Mountain' - the apt name for Ganung Api. The volcano that overlooks Bandaniera. One night, after a few Bintang beers, some of the guests at Vita thought it would be a good idea to get up early next day and climb to the summit. Needless to say, at 5.15am the next day we found ourselves on a boat sailing across the bay to the foot of the volcano in the pitch dark. With the aid of tiny torches we set off up the steep black soil path, dampened from the rain 2 days earlier. The going was tough as the path snaked it's way through dense, damp vegetation. The task was made more difficult due to the fact that our torches are wind up ones ( in case we couldn't buy batteries in this remote ... read more
On the False Summit
Misty Summit
Looking Down onto the Short runway from the summit

Asia » Indonesia » Maluku » Banda Islands January 18th 2011

Vita – The name of our guesthouse on Bandaniera. A place to spend long lazy days. This is the kind of place you’re happy to just do nothing. Seven rooms all face out onto an open courtyard with two tables large enough to seat six people, a great place to meet and exchange travel stories with other travellers. In front of the courtyard is a lovely tropical garden with a couple of hammocks strung between two palm trees. Perfect to while away a hot afternoon. A huge tree casts a welcome shadow over pots of delicate plants. A hearty breakfast is brought to you within minutes of popping a sleepy head out of your front door. Fresh fruit – pineapple, papaya, mango and melon. Not to mention the big bunch of tiny bananas that was always ... read more
Evening meal on the veranda of Vita
Breakfast with Ricardo, Maria, Derek and Lorena
Friendly game of dominoes

Asia » Indonesia » Maluku » Banda Islands January 17th 2011

For more than two years we have tried to figure out how to get to the elusive Banda Islands, also known as the Spice Islands for one obvious reason. This is where spices were first discovered. Well we've finally made it! The journey here has been quite difficult. Just getting information about ferries and flights was a major problem. Then when we did find out times and dates ect it was difficult to book on a flight as there are only two a week and the plane has only 20 seats. The next ferry was sceduled for over 2 weeks away. In the end we decided on the plane even though we had a 9 days wait. The flight left a bit late but otherwise no problems there. It was a very tiny plane, inside it ... read more
Nutmegs drying in the sun
Given to us by a kind local man
The Tiny Plane that Got us Here

Asia » Indonesia » Maluku » Ambon January 14th 2011

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 ... read more
On the Boat to Kota Saparua
Cloves Drying on the Roadside!
More Cloves drying




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