Expeditionary Cruise of Banda Group of Inslands 7 Day Program
September - March, 2017/18
PER PERSON DBL BASED RATE
TOTAL 2,285 USD
With the recent advent of Flights from Ambon to Banda, we have take the opportunity to plan starting in September 2017 - March 2018, a very special cruise program around the Banda Group of Islands.
The Banda Islands (Indonesian: Kepulauan Banda) are a volcanic group of ten small volcanic islands in the Banda Sea, about 140 km (87 mi) south of Seram Island and about 2,000 km (1,243 mi) east of Java, and are part of the Indonesian province of Maluku. The main town and administrative centre is Bandanaira, located on the island of the same name. They rise out of 4-to-6-kilometre (2.5 to 3.7 mi) deep ocean and have a total land area of approximately 180 square kilometres (69 sq mi). They have a population of about 15,000. Until the mid-19th century the Banda Islands were the world's only source of the spices nutmeg and mace, produced from the nutmeg tree. The islands are also popular destinations for scuba diving and snorkeling.
The Dutch followed the Portuguese to Banda but were to have a much more dominating and lasting presence. Dutch-Bandanese relations were mutually resentful from the outset, with Holland’s first merchants complaining of Bandanese reneging on agreed deliveries and price, and cheating on quantity and quality. For the Bandanese, on the other hand, although they welcomed another competitor purchaser for their spices, the items of trade offered by the Dutch—heavy woolens, and damasks, unwanted manufactured goods, for example—were usually unsuitable in comparison to traditional trade products. The Javanese, Arab and Indian, and Portuguese traders for example brought indispensable items along with steel knives, copper, medicines and prized Chinese porcelain.
As much as the Dutch disliked dealing with the Bandanese, the trade was a highly profitable one with spices selling for 300 times the purchase price in Banda. This amply justified the expense and risk in shipping them to Europe. The allure of such profits saw an increasing number of Dutch expeditions; it was soon seen that in trade with the East Indies, competition from each would eat into all their profits. Thus the competitors united to form the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) (the ‘Dutch East Indies Company) in 1602.
Until the early seventeenth century the Bandas were ruled by a group of leading citizens, the orang kaya (literally 'rich men'); each of these was head of a district. At the time nutmeg was one of the "fine spices" kept expensive in Europe by disciplined manipulation of the market, but a desirable commodity for Dutch traders in the ports of India as well; economic historian Fernand Braudel notes that India consumed twice as much as Europe. A number of Banda’s orang kaya were persuaded by the Dutch to sign a treaty granting the Dutch a monopoly on spice purchases. Even though the Bandanese had little understanding of the significance of the treaty known as 'The Eternal Compact', or that not all Bandanese leaders had signed, it would later be used to justify Dutch troops being brought in to defend their monopoly.
In April 1609, Admiral Pieter Willemsz. Verhoeff arrived at Banda Neira with a request by Maurice, Prince of Orange to build a fort on the island (the eventual Fort Nassau). The Bandanese were not excited about this idea. On May 22, before building of the fort had started, the orang kaya called a meeting with the Dutch admiral, purportedly to negotiate prices. Instead, they led Verhoeff and two high-ranked men into an ambush and decapitated them and subsequently killed 46 of the Dutch visitors. Jan Pietersz Coen, who was a lower-ranked merchant on the expedition, managed to escape, but the traumatic event likely influenced his future attitude towards the Bandanese.
Banda can offer traditional experience from the Buka Kampung (opening ceremony of 'Adat' houses), the Cakalele dance (war dance) and many other dances. Some can be performed at the fort, during last day’s dinner. Apart from Naira, there are also some Rumah Adat on Banda Besar and also in Ay. All have different ceremonies. You can take this into consideration, maybe can help you decide how long you want to be on a certain island (Banda Besar and/or Ay). Buka Kampung will allow the Kora Kora to be out and be shown too, usually for a race or to escort ships as they arrive/depart in the 'doorway' of The Banda Islands.
The Gunung Api volcano is a hard but fun and rewarding experience for hikers. If this will be part of the program then the schedule needs to be adjusted as the usual starting time to climb is about 5.30-6AM.
Additional costs you might need to think about:\
-Lunches and dinners
-Entrance fees to historical sites including guide (usually its a Rp. 150,000/person on Naira)
-Costs of boat to be on Banda
-Ay island entree fee (last time I checked it was about Rp.50,000 for divers and Rp.20,000 for non divers), excluding the historical site (this is probably about Rp.20,000/person
-Costs of Buka Kampung (in order to see the Cakalele and/or Kora-kora, the rumah Adat has be opened/‘buka’).
the prices of Buka Kampung ranges from Rp.15-20million (depending on which Adat)
-Arrival in Banda Naira at 8AM Monday (we can discuss means of transport and prices eg. car, becak, bike, etc)
-Breakfast and welcoming guests at The Maulana Hotel
-11AM Historical tour in Naira island with a guide selected by The Maulana (Museum, exile/colonial houses, VOC offices, ‘Gereja Tua’, Chinese Temple and Forts)
-Lunch break at one of the recommended restaurants on Naira (pre-booked, change weekly?)
-Continue Naira tour
-Back to The Maulana
-Sunset cocktail/drinks and dinner
-Breakfast at The Maulana
-On Board (KLM Bidadari) to Rhun, Ay and Nailaka.
-Ay offers big plantation and colonial ruins eg. fort
-Rhun the island that was traded with Manhattan, still have ruins of
-Nailaka is uninhabited island near Rhun - lovely for lunch picnic and snorkeling.
Note- travel time of KLM Bidadari will determined how many days needed to experience these islands. Two full days should be more than enough. The Maulana can also arrange for Rhun and Ay local guides and family to cook for your guests whilst doing the tour (if you like). There is a possibility of cycling on Ay, I don’t know how long this will take as I need to find out about latest road work, but no more than half day, the island is relatively small. Trekking the plantation is one my favourite path as the trees are massive and old.
We can also see the fort Revenge.
-Still at in the area Rhun, Nailaka and Ay?*
-On the way to Hatta (lovely island, beach, snorkeling and diving)
Note: Depending on travel time, you could perhaps start the journey from Rhun, Nailaka or Ay from the night, arriving in the the morning at Hatta.
-A whole day in Banda Besar
Note: Banda Besar is the biggest island from the group of 10 islands here on Banda.
Cycling is fun here, you can do a half day cycling and/or trekking (there are some waterfalls, small but interesting). This island also offers nutmeg plantation with smoke houses and other historical buildings including a fort (Hollandia). Again like on Ay and Rhun, The Maulana can arrange for recommended guide and family to cook.
-Head back to Naira, going around the Gunung Api (volcano) and snorkel at Lava Flow.
-Lunch on board?
-Get to Naira island, check in to rooms.
-About 4.30PM wander around to the market for souvenir and spices shopping.
-Sunset and dinner at Fort Belgica (prepared by The Maulana)
-Breakfast at The Maulana
-Depart to Ambon
*Another option for the itinerary is that you can do one day around the group of islands Rhun, Nailaka and Ay - and instead, spend two days on Banda besar as it is bigger so there are more things to do and places to see. Note - Rhun is the furthest island from Naira and Banda Besar is very near. As I mentioned above, we can play around to have a perfect itinerary as we move further with the planning of this program.
PROGRAM ENDS IN AMBON AIRPORT