Spice Islands- Banda Naira Part II–By Brian

We were greeted by a smiling man who directed us to stern-tie to the village wharf.  He eagerly tied up our lines to various trees and posts buried in the grass.  He climbed aboard with a loaf of fresh bread in hand and introduced himself.  His name was Abba and he ran a local guest house and eatery in town.  I was a bit nervous since we were operating in a “grey area” within Indonesian law.  We did have our cruising permit (CAIT) and also our Social Visa’s but Banda Naira is a small island and has no clearance facilities, so technically we were not allowed to stop.  I’d read that stops were allowed en-route to a major port depending on the mood so I figured why not, let’s give it a shot.

After exchanging the usual pleasantries in decent English Abba asked if we were part of the Indonesian Rally, and if we had checked into Indonesia yet.  Nope on both accounts was our reply.  He looked at us quickly and asked for our paperwork.  Oh no I thought, here we go.  I’d heard so many stories of Indonesians asking for “gifts” (bribes) to make things happen and was sure we were heading down this path.

How was the sail?  Engine troubles perhaps?  No but we did rip a sail. (This is true but it was months ago in fact.)  He smiled and said he’d inform the harbor master of our arrival.  I delicately asked if there were any charges or fees required.  He replied no, of course not!  He only asked that we enjoyed our time in Banda.  No fees, no gifts, just a big smile and a loaf of bread.

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Delos stern tied at the village wharf.

Banda Naira and the surrounding islands are mind blowingly cool.  For a place that was nearly destroyed and pillaged by European powers of the time they have bounced back and lead a comfortable life.  All the houses are clean and tidy with shiny tile floors, running water, electricity, and a really sweet mix of architecture and furniture that can only be described as Asia meets Europe.

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Exploring the village.

The people are exceedingly friendly and the food is amazing, and for the first time since Delos was in Mexico things are CHEAP AS!  For the same price as a  Quarter Pounder Meal in Australia we are now enjoying full on Bandanese cuisine and it’s amazing!  Street food is even cheaper with our staple of Ayam Mie Goreng (Spicy Fried Noodles with Chicken) setting us back a cool 20,000 Rupiah which is about $2.00.

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The awesome people of Banda and yummy street food for super cheap.

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Awesome dinners for 80,000 Rupiah ($8.00) at Abba’s Mutiara Guest House.  Delicious and spicy!

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Touring the nutmeg plantations on Great Banda.  The island has everything one would need.  Nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, mint, coffee, henna, peppers, bananas, papaya and even avocadoes!

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Delos goes nuts for volcanoes!

We settled into Banda pretty quickly and got acquainted with the local characters and scene.  Touring the nutmeg plantations and climbing the still active volcano were definite highlights.  The snorkeling was awesome and we even stopped by Ai and Run on the sail out to do some diving.

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Sailing to Ai for a dive with our new Indonesian crew for the Ambon trip- Abba!