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Maumere-Flores to Ambon-Maluku 850 miles -14 to 18 days
Top Indonesia sea voyages are meant as suggestions for the interesting courses that ships may follow through the archipelago. The routes are for planning purposes only and one must keep in mind that the itinerary and program may have to be modified as a result of unfavorable winds or other circumstances. This itinerary from Maumere to Ambon covers about 850 miles and depending on your personal interests and preferences this route will require a minimum of 14 days
This voyage departs from the harbor of Maumere in Flores and after a first sunset at sea you go on an overnight crossing to one of the most remarkable sights in Eastern Indonesia. On the second day of the cruise you will wake up with the ship standing off near the Island of Kumba, a smoldering volcano in the middle of the Flores Sea. Depending on the tide and if the conditions allow you to do so, you may want to go ashore on one of the pebble beaches and perhaps there is even an opportunity to go snorkeling. We suggest you leave again in the course of the morning and proceed to the island of Lembata.
After another night at sea the next stop is on the South coast of Lembata where you visit the traditional whale hunting village of Lamalerap. Here local fishermen still practice whaling with small open boats. Traditional whaling is still allowed under the International Whaling Convention, the local economy entirely depends on it and it cannot in any way be compared with the Japanese industrial variety. On the beach you will be able to witness how the whalers maintain their small sailing craft. From Lembata you set your course towards the Alor archipelago where you anchor in front of the town of Kalabahi. On the fourth day of the cruise you go ashore on the island of Alor. You find a rugged landscape and may want to make your way to the village of Takpala to get some insight in the specific character of the island. After a night at anchor you spend the fifth day on an easterly course and cross the imaginary ‘border line’ between the Lesser Sunda Islands and the Moluccas.
On the sixth day you reach the West Coast of Wetar Island. The biggest island of southeast Maluku, it is one of the least populated, with an interior thick with jungle said to still be populated by small bands of hunter-gatherers. We suggest you first make a landfall off the small islet of Reong and go ashore on the main island for a walk to the hot springs and the small settlement before you continue sailing around the north coast of the island.
On the seventh day you have the opportunity to go snorkeling off the deserted beach of Moapora, a small island near Pulau Romang. Do also go ashore on the main island to meet the inhabitants of Romang. The island has well kept orange and coconut groves and the tidiness of the main village and the neat small houses will come as a surprise. Most likely these friendly folks will invite you in for a cup of sweet tea.
After another overnight sail the eighth day brings you to Damar Island where you anchor in a small bay on the East Coast. When you go ashore at the village of Beber you find that the dwellings in the village are simple huts made from leafs of the sago palm. Staple food of the locals is sweet potatoes, bananas and fish. You can either make a two hour trek around the volcano to the beach on the North coast or anchor off the small uninhabited island of Pulau Terbang Utara.
The next day you pass three different volcanic islands: Teun, Serua and Nila. These islands are literally some of the most remote ones in the archipelago. Here cloves used to be grown by the local people but since the eruptions in the seventies most of the population migrated to other islands in the Moluccas.
On the tenth day you reach the small island of Manuk which is uninhabited by humans but truly a bird and marine sanctuary. Frigate birds, gannets and other marine birds have their nests in the trees. In case the tide allows it, do make a landing. If not, just watch the bird life from the ship. A last overnight crossing then brings you to the Banda Archipelago, famous for its natural beauty and its cultural heritage from the time the Spice Islands were the target of the European colonizers.
After so many miles at sea you will be more than ready for several leisurely days around Bandanaira to stroll through the town, visit old fortresses, admire the planters’ houses and see what remains of the ancient plantations, churches and cemeteries. You may want to climb Gunung Api, the Fire Mountain or visit a few of the other islands in the archipelago, such as Ai, Revenge and Hatta. There is no doubt that the Banda islands which played such a remarkable role in world history will be the highlight of the cruise. When leaving the Banda’s it is worthwhile to make a last stop at visit Run Island. An amazing historical footnote is the fact that in 1667, under the Treaty of Breda, this small island was ceded by the English to the Dutch in exchange for Manhattan. The last part of this epic voyage is the 115 nautical mile crossing to Tulehu harbor on the island of Ambon. Here you say farewell to the crew of the vessel. Top Indonesia will arrange your transfer to Ambon airport and assist you with all further travel arrangements.