Sunday, 31 July 2016

Stop 2 - Banda Islands - Banda Neira. July 26 - 31 2016

Our welcoming committee to the Banda Islands
Our journey from Tual to Banda Islands covered 202 nautical miles. We motored sailed for 1/2 the time due to low winds, batteries not charging due to overcast conditions, made water, we wanted to make the anchorage in day light and the wind was not in our favoured direction for sailing. We took 34 hours and 45 minutes to cover the 202nm's. We dropped anchor in 22 metres of water at: 4.31.19S & 129.53.40E. The journey was uneventful and a good run. Once you pass the initial archipelago you have a clear run with no obstacles. we did not encounter any fishing boats. Keep the local divers number handy: 082399759389 - Eddie in case you need assistance. You could arrive in the dark but due to the depths it is not ideal - try to make it in day light.

Local ferry terminal

Our neighbors 

Our neighbors directly behind us
Anchoring was a bit stressful. The bay is extremely deep almost to the shore line and trying to find a 'drop off ledge' took some time. As usual the rain decided to bucket down as we were trying to drop anchor the first time and it was unsuccessful. However the second time we moved to a small bay and successfully dropped anchor in 22mtrs of water. With our own little village.

Local village children saying hi (the little one on the back is paddling with a stick)

The fleet anchored stern to the harbour wall.

You can anchor stern to the water at the harbour with assistance but we opted to not do that.

Points of interest:
  • You can NOT enter the anchorage from the southern end due to a new power line that was put in place early 2016, you must enter via the red and green beacons under Kraka Island between Gunung Api & Naria islands.
  • Rubbish bins are provided
  • Laundry can be taken to the little hut where the tenders are behind the stern to boats
  • Loads of activities can be arranged for you in the hut: spice run, snorkeling, city tour, market tour, dive tour, volcano walk, fort walk and cooking classes. Massages are also organised with the helpers at the hut.
  • Walking around is easy and safe - the local children can get a bit boisterous - they dont see too many visitors and get very excited when they do
  • When doing the Spice Tour, protect from mosquitoes. This is Dengue Fever mozzie territory
Our first night was wonderful. We ordered satay chicken for 20 and all sat around talking about the trip up and the anchorages.

Everyone waiting for their satay chicken.

The following day saw us meander around the little town, enjoying the dutch influence in their housing and we enjoyed a lunch at 'The Spice Cafe' which soon became a fleet favorite. Then back in the afternoon for a welcoming ceremony by the local school children was wonderful. A delicious buffet dinner was served not long after and we all had another great night.

Canons just remain where they fell.

We got mobbed by all these kids,,it was so funny

Some of the fleet enjoying our welcoming ceremony

Some dancing by the local school children

Next day we went in for lunch, again at The Spice Cafe, then did a walk up to the fort. Wow its amazing - built 1602! Abba's hotel was just across the road so we walked over there and its absolutely amazing. We all stayed for a cool drink and then Bruce and I walked home to cook a little lamb roast while the others all stayed on for dinner.

Spice Island Cafe - brilliant food.

Top of the fort - Matilda is at anchor beyond Bruce's left shoulder

The gardens outside the fort walls.

Another canon.

Outside the fort walls.

Abba Rizal's Estate

The reception area. The attention to detail incorporating history was very well done.

Honeymoon Suite (not sure why there was a spare bed in the room).

Spices drying outside

The day we choose to do the Spice Tour it poured with rain, and not just a downpour but torrential rain like we had never seen rain before. It put a dampener on things to say the least but we still managed to enjoy ourselves. Most of the what we have seen so far in our little travels that is common is they bury their dead in their front yards. On this island, they did that also but they also had a cemetery and we had to walk through it to get to the almond trees which are huge, giving protection to the nutmeg trees and we still find it upsetting the amount of tiny graves. However the village's we walked through were untouched by westerners and these people couldn't be more excited or genuinely welcoming - its very overwhelming. It was very interesting learning about: cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Long boats being built for racing.

Spices drying

This is the lounge room of a guest house and quite posh!

The day before we left we had the local village kids come over to Matilda and it was a wonderful experience having them on board - they were clearly in awe of our boat and being on one!

The local kids swam and jumped on board. We gave them lollies that they didnt like!

Time to go home!

The passenger cruise liner the 'Tudor' was entering Banda as we left giving us kittens as he was not passing as per international law of port to port - and with him at the entrance its not that wide.

Fisherman right beside Matilda

We thought this was cute. Our GPS (for the anchor drag alarm) created a love heart!

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