When travelling this archipelago, the history and legends surrounding these mysterious islands add to the natural beauty for which this region is famed.
Cruising the Banda Sea on the luxury dreamboat the Oceanic Discoverer is such a delightful way to experience the elusive Spice Islands of Indonesia. Each island you visit offers further stories, insight and history of these secretive seas. Frequently welcomed to each new island by ceremonial canoes your intrigue and appetite for knowledge awakens further as your journey unfolds.
Cinnamon trees where the bark is removed and dried as grown in the Spice Islands
Long before the Europeans discovered these regions, these waters were well travelled. In the 16th century, laden with cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg, skilled sailors followed the trade winds to Madagascar and Africa, returning home with cargoes of iron, prized ivory and often human slaves. Such rich lands attracted the Europeans. After the Portuguese arrived, followed by the Dutch, they too used these islands to trade the valuable spices. The rich history is ingrained deep into towns such as Banda. The old buildings hold many stories as to their past occupants. Given the extensive history in the spice trade, no one would judge you for closely examining any nearby foliage of these islands. With the odd sniff you can stumble on familiar spices. Plentiful in this area, nutmeg and cinnamon are widely found. If you are fortunate to visit a working farm, watch as the farmer meticulously cares for their precious crop.
Limestone islands in Wayag (one of the Four Kings), Raja Ampat, Indonesia, are now covered by tropical vegetation. They were once below the waterline and originally made by reef organisms.
Searching for the four kings is on almost all agendas when visiting the Spice Islands given the remarkable nature bestowed upon this region. Unlike European history, these kings are not of the human kind, Raja Ampat, the four kings, are actually the four biggest islands out of a staggering 1500 islands, 35 of which are habited. Interestingly, folk law rumours these four islands to have hatched from a group of seven eggs, the remaining three eggs, mysteriously turning into a ghost, a woman and a stone. The best features of the four kings are their natural diversity. A staggering 3000 species of fishes and over 300 species of corals have been identified just in the shadow of the four kings alone. Specialty drift dives make the most of currents; with ease the corals move gently. Stunning walls make for even better deep dives, offering the experienced diver richness of colour and exciting new varieties of sea life and corals to marvel.
One thing is for sure, with the history, the exotic smells, the inhabited islands, there is something uniquely special, even enigmatic about this place one has to experience to believe.
Unconventional Conventions will be cruising through the Spice Islands on the Coral Discoverer in October 2016. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION