Spice Islands Sailing Adventure 2012 — Manipa Island



The waters of the Eastern Indonesian Archipelago are some of the clearest in the world, and are perfect for diving and snorkeling. Our program most days was to explore the islands in the morning, back to the boat for a late lunch, and then a few hours snorkeling in the afternoon before sailing to our next destination. I ran a quick survey of our group as to which were the top snorkeling spots and they came up with two – one off Gunung Api (the Fire Mountain) in the Banda Islands, and one off what we all called Lighthouse Island which is near the western end of Ceram.

As recently as 1988 Gunung Api erupted and lava flowed into the sea. Unexpectedly, the coral has rapidly regrown and our group reported some good snorkelling located just off from the blackened lava flow.


We sailed from Saparua through the Haruku Strait to the island of  Manipa which is near Kelang on the map. Here we made a muddy landing ashore and trekked a few kilometres inland to view a traditional ‘factory’ distilling minyak putih or eucalyptus oil from the leaves of the Melaleuca plant. The crushed leaves are boiled in a huge vat over an open fire and the vapour is distilled into the oil, which is used all over Indonesia as a cure for bodily aches and pains.


However, the highlight of the day was our visit to the local school where the teachers in our group had the children practising their English and singing songs.


Lighthouse Island is located near Kelang Island off the west coast of the main island of Ceram and our group described some spectacular snorkeling with plenty of colourful reef fish, in what was a real life tropical aquarium.


This was our last stop before sailing north across the Ceram Sea and to our delight there was enough wind to raise the sails on the Ombak Putih for the first time, as we set our compass course for Obi Island and then Halmahera.


It’s time to do a tour of the ship. Below the main deck are 12 double or twin bed cabins with en-suite bathrooms and air conditioning, and the photo shows a typical cabin.


All of our pre-dinner drinks and delicious meals were taken outside on the front deck, and there was lots of relaxation and reading done on the lounges of the upper rear deck.


Sailing across the Ceram Sea we were joined by numerous dolphins who entertained us as they followed the Ombak Putih. How hard is it to get a picture of a dolphin as it breaches the water? Well Cathy Morrison was able to take this photo.


For more information go to http://www.ianburnetbooks.com and http://www.seatrekbali.com


About ianburnet

Author of the book, Spice Islands. Which tells the History, Romance and Adventure of the spice trade from the Moluccas in Eastern Indonesia over a period of 2000 years. Author of the book, East Indies.Which tells the history of the struggle between the Portuguese Crown, the Dutch East India Company and the English East India Company for supremacy in the Eastern Seas. Author of the book 'Archipelago - A Journey Across Indonesia'. Author of the book 'Where Australia Collides with Asia' Author of the book 'The Tasman Map'. Author of the book 'Eastern Voyages'.
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3 Responses to Spice Islands Sailing Adventure 2012 — Manipa Island

  1. Toni Pollard says:

    I was there. I saw it all. I did it all. I loved it all! The voyage of a lifetime. Toni

    • Hi Toni. Of course it will not be be the same interesting group, but we will be sailing again on the Ombak Putih from October 24 to November 4 this year, Ambon-Banda-Ternate. Please tell your friends.

  2. Cathy Morrison says:

    I too was there and thrilled with our ‘ interesting group” , but I am sure another group who share a spirit of adventure, an interest in the history of the Spice islands and the wish to get off the beaten track wil also love it. It was exciting to go to new places, where few tourists have ventured and the lack of hawkers trying to sell you things that is so common in most of Asia was refreshing. The crew on the Ombak Putih were wonderful: helpful getting us in and out of the tenders, good cooks, great entertainers, and also welcomed us back on board with a cool towel and chilled juice. This was a most memorable trip…especially as I took several thousand photos and Yes, I will certainly recommend it to friends. Thanks to Ian for being such a good organiser and host.

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