The Captain’s Log
July will be remembered as the month of the Banda Islands. We set sail from Dili on the 8th of July sadly leaving behind quite a few new friends. We spent a lot of time in East Timor simply because we could accomplish so much for the people there. In the end it was difficult to choose which of the many projects would best benefit the normal rural population in the most direct and meaningful ways. Those that requested educational and medical supplies or the basic tools for people to start earning a living were top of our list.
The short 330 Nm trip from East Timor to the Banda Islands, Indonesia should have been one long pleasant close reach across the gentle monsoon winds, but this year the weather patterns are all messed up so instead of South East winds at about 15 knots we had North East winds at 25+ knots and some pretty rough cross seas with almost constant rain, usually on my watch of coarse. It was only on the final morning that the skies cleared as the famous Gunung Api Volcano with Banda Besar and then the main island of Banda Neira appeared from below the horizon.
The Banda Islands are a small chain of volcanic islands located in the middle of the Banda Sea. These small islands of only about 40 sq/kms can truly be said to have changed the entire coarse of human history. Read more »
Important navigational notes on the Banda Islands. If you plan on sailing to the Banda Islands please be sure to read and remember these notes. Read more »
Provisions and other practical matters.
There are a few drawbacks to staying more than several days in these wonderful islands. They have nothing to do with the people, but more to do with available supplies and provisions. Read more »
Children’s education is the basis from which all long-term community development grows. Read more »
The health services on the Banda Islands are struggling against many difficulties not the least of which is there isolated location far from the government centers of Ambon and Jakarta. Although many important improvements are being made by the time budgets reach them little is left. Now thanks to JOTUN Paint of Indonesia some of those problems have been solved. Read more »
Thanks to JOTUN Paint - Singapore we were able to provide many of Banda Besar’s elementary school children with exercise books, and other supplies they need, but many cannot afford. Read more »
Fish so fresh it tries to jump off your plate can be had almost all day long in the market for very reasonable prices. The yellow fin tuna is always fresh caught and a real bargain, as is red snapper. The local Almonds are another speciality that add flavor to any dish. Go and visit Aba at the Mutiara Guest House for a delicious buffet dinner featuring eggplant a la almond, if you are lucky you might get the secret recipe from his wife Dilla for her magnificent almond sauce. If you want a sauce that simply has no rival with fish or chicken this is it. The vegetable selection at the market is a bit limited but always fresh and reasonably priced. Bread is another thing you may miss. The local bread, called roti, is a small sweat loaf that although quite enjoyable and cheap is not exactly the thing for sandwiches or garlic toast. Of coarse spices such as nutmeg, cloves, mace, and cinnamon is everywhere you look either still on the tree or ready for use.
Such things as toilet paper we strongly advise you have plenty of when you arrive. Also onions, potatoes, things like that are best brought along. The local onions are really shallots great for some things, but after a while you will start wanting a good old fashion white onion for the salads or stews. And finally do be sure to bring along enough Indonesian Rupia, as there are few places to make change. Because of the difficulties they have re-exchanging the rates are not always that good and as of August still no ATM service. (although we were told that was coming soon, along with wireless internet). Fuel can be had at pretty reasonable prices, just ask around for Hussein the fuel man. Everyone knows him.