TCS we rock!!!!
Food as Medicine Spice Tour with Janet DeNeefe
Ambon – Lease Islands – Banda – Ambon
Expert Cruise Led by: Janet DeNeefe
Cruise Summary

Discover the Indonesian Spice Islands with all of your senses. Your senses of smell, taste and adventure will all be peaked to the max on this all-inclusive, eight-day culinary tour and exploration of the tiny islands that shaped a whole world of flavour.

Every day you can look forward to engaging encounters while visiting the many islands on our route. On these embarkations, you will tour markets with Australian-born, Balinese culinary expert, Janet DeNeefe, and her team. You will smell, touch, taste and learn about the spices that first intoxicated traders throughout the new world, while meeting the local people and witnessing the culture of these little-known corners of the Earth. Finally, you will, of course, dine on local favourites from menus that have been especially selected to highlight the exotic flavours that you have just experienced.

By night, there will be opportunities to deepen your own culinary knowledge by creating fragrant meals with other members of the group in cooking classes led by Janet. As always, on the Ombak Putih, there will be plenty of time for rest and relaxation with a refreshing drink and a book in our comfortable deck lounge. Alternatively, you can simply steal away and take in the incomparable views as we wend our way through the islands.

If heightened adventure is your desire, there is ample time to snorkel, kayak and stand-up paddleboard through the shimmering blue waters. Lined with clove and nutmeg trees, the islands are as fragrant as they are beautiful, boasting dramatic volcanoes, pristine beaches, and crystal clear waters lined with vibrant coral reefs.

Come follow in the footsteps of maritime explorers and tantalise your untamable taste buds as we indulge in all that the fragrant and fiery Spice Islands have to offer.

Note:  Guests will meet the Ombak Putih on the island of Ambon. As we would like to start early, we recommend our guests arrive in Ambon one day before embarkation or take the very early morning flight from Makassar at 3.35 am. The airfares to and from Ambon are not included in the tour package. Our SeaTrek office will be happy to assist you with any information and local flight reservations.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1
This morning we will pick you up from your hotel or the airport and transfer you to Ambon Harbour where you will get your first look at the Ombak Putih. After you are settled on board, we will have a quick briefing before our expert Ms. Janet De Neefe and our tour leaders take you into the town for a visit to the local market. We will have lunch in town at a restaurant to sample some of the local specialties. It was the Maluku Islands (also known as the Moluccas) that triggered the European age of exploration, and Ambon was the historic centre of the Dutch clove monopoly. Today, the city of Ambon is a commercial centre as well as the capital city of the Maluku province. Apart from still being a spice hub, Ambon is one of the biggest hubs for fish and seafood in the area. After lunch, we will board the Ombak Putih again, weigh anchor, and enjoy the view of Ambon Bay as we cruise towards open waters. In the evening, Janet will lead a cooking demonstration in which you will be invited to participate. We will be using ingredients locally sourced on Ambon to prepare the first dinner of the cruise. If tasting rather than cooking is more your speed, then you are welcome to sit back, relax and watch the sunset instead.

Day 2
Today we will arrive at the mysterious island of Manipa which is said to have magical powers because the seafarers on the Portugese, Dutch and Japanese ships never landed here despite occupying all of the surrounding islands. We will visit a distillery for kayu putih oil (similar to eucalyptus oil and known for its antiseptic qualities) for which the area is famous. We will explore the village to learn more about the local life, the local diet and food specialties. During lunch, we will cruise towards the Pulau Tiga Islands for some exceptional swimming, snorkelling, paddleboarding, kayaking and beachcombing. In the evening we will enjoy another delicious meal prepared by the Ombak Putih chefs while we discuss the rich and varied history of Indonesia.

Day 3
Our next destination is the island of Nusa Laut. This is the smallest of the Lease Islands to which Ambon and Saparua also belong. Nusa Laut is one of Indonesia’s Christian islands and it is rarely visited by outsiders. We will see how life in the villages still reflects some of the customs of the forefathers. The island is still filled with clove, nutmeg and cinnamon trees, sago palms and an abundance of fruit trees. The sago palm produces a flour that has become the staple food for the native villages on the islands, and the local people will show us the process of extracting the flour from the tree. Sago Palm is used in many dishes, the most famous of which is called ‘papeda.’ Apart from that, the palm is a source of building material for roofs and bricks. In the afternoon we will be warmly welcomed by one of the villages; the people will show us around and will prepare a feast of local dishes for us right on the beach.

Day 4
This morning is dedicated to exploring Saparua, a former Dutch stronghold in colonial times. The historic Fort Duurstede, located in the heart of Saparua, was established by the Dutch East Indies Company in 1691. In the early 19th century, it was attacked and conquered by Thomas Matulessy, also known as Pattimura, an Ambonese soldier and national hero of Indonesia. This story is told in the museum inside the fort in a realistic diorama. The island boasts a vibrant morning market where we can discover exotic ingredients and stock up on fresh supplies for our evening culinary adventures. In the afternoon we pay a visit to a local earthenware-pottery maker.

Day 5
Our arrival in the renowned Banda Archipelago generates a true sense of historical excitement. These islands, which were once the world’s only source of nutmeg and mace, are among the highlights of Indonesia; famous for their beauty and cultural heritage from the time of the Dutch and English colonisation. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the demand for the aromatic nutmeg, which was believed to be a cure for the bubonic plague, spurred exploration and shaped colonial empires with European traders selling it at a 6,000 percent markup, making it worth more than its weight in gold. The natural splendour of these islands contradicts the brutality that engulfed them during the 17th century when the Dutch sought a total monopoly on the nutmeg trade and the local people resisted. Despite their illustrious and well-documented history, the Banda Islands are a place that time seems to have forgotten. Today they retain an aura of mystery, allure and astonishing remoteness, with a quiet colonial ambience and an exceptional biodiversity that makes this destination truly special. We will anchor near the hacienda-style colonial hotel in Bandaneira, the only city in the Bandas, and stroll through the city visiting old fortresses and admiring plantation mansions from the past.

Day 6,7
These days will be filled with visits to a few of the other islands of the archipelago, perhaps the very small island of Run – which the English traded with the Dutch for Manhattan – as well as the islands of Ai and Hatta, where we will see what remains of the Dutch colonial houses and land parcels known as ‘perken, which were handed to Dutch planters, ‘perkeniers,’ to manage. We will see more forts, as well as churches, cemeteries and nutmeg plantations. Here, the evergreen nutmeg trees – identifiable by the hundreds of ripening yellow fruits that hang from their branches – grow randomly in the shade of the magnificent kenari trees, which themselves yield an almond-like nut locally used in confectionary and sauces. In these rocky backwaters, we will feel on a par with the pioneering adventurers; nutmeg and mace can be seen drying in the sun outside nearly every village home. The locals use the pulp of the fruit to make syrup, jam and candy. We should be able to see learn about the harvesting of the nutmeg and mace, and taste some of the dried fruit, as well as enjoying some nutmeg jam and baked goods flavoured with fresh mace and nutmeg. We will also have several opportunities to explore the pristine waters and bountiful reefs of the islands. We will then proceed from Banda northeast, perhaps with a Moluccan war canoe called a kora-kora, with 20 rowers, escorting our departure out of the harbour in the direction of Ambon.

Day 8
After breakfast on the deck, and a wrap-up of our voyage into 17th century Indonesia, we will say goodbye to the crew and your seaborne home, the Ombak Putih, before transferring you in comfort to Ambon airport for your onward travel.

About The Expert: Janet DeNeefe

Adding extra flavour to this extraordinary adventure will be Ubud Writers & Readers Festival Founder & Director, Janet DeNeefe. Melbourne raised, Janet has made Bali her home since 1984. Her love of Indonesian culture and cuisine led to her opening two Ubud restaurants: Casa Luna, and Indus, as well as inspiring two cookbooks: Fragrant Rice, and Bali: the Food of My Island Home; in addition to a food festival: Ubud Food Festival.

Cruise Summary

Discover the Indonesian Spice Islands with all of your senses. Your senses of smell, taste and adventure will all be peaked to the max on this all-inclusive, eight-day culinary tour and exploration of the tiny islands that shaped a whole world of flavour.

Every day you can look forward to engaging encounters while visiting the many islands on our route. On these embarkations, you will tour markets with Australian-born, Balinese culinary expert, Janet DeNeefe, and her team. You will smell, touch, taste and learn about the spices that first intoxicated traders throughout the new world, while meeting the local people and witnessing the culture of these little-known corners of the Earth. Finally, you will, of course, dine on local favourites from menus that have been especially selected to highlight the exotic flavours that you have just experienced.

By night, there will be opportunities to deepen your own culinary knowledge by creating fragrant meals with other members of the group in cooking classes led by Janet. As always, on the Ombak Putih, there will be plenty of time for rest and relaxation with a refreshing drink and a book in our comfortable deck lounge. Alternatively, you can simply steal away and take in the incomparable views as we wend our way through the islands.

If heightened adventure is your desire, there is ample time to snorkel, kayak and stand-up paddleboard through the shimmering blue waters. Lined with clove and nutmeg trees, the islands are as fragrant as they are beautiful, boasting dramatic volcanoes, pristine beaches, and crystal clear waters lined with vibrant coral reefs.

Come follow in the footsteps of maritime explorers and tantalise your untamable taste buds as we indulge in all that the fragrant and fiery Spice Islands have to offer.

Note:  Guests will meet the Ombak Putih on the island of Ambon. As we would like to start early, we recommend our guests arrive in Ambon one day before embarkation or take the very early morning flight from Makassar at 3.35 am. The airfares to and from Ambon are not included in the tour package. Our SeaTrek office will be happy to assist you with any information and local flight reservations.

View Day-to-Day Itinerary >>
Cruise Summary

Discover the Indonesian Spice Islands with all of your senses. Your senses of smell, taste and adventure will all be peaked to the max on this all-inclusive, eight-day culinary tour and exploration of the tiny islands that shaped a whole world of flavour.

Every day you can look forward to engaging encounters while visiting the many islands on our route. On these embarkations, you will tour markets with Australian-born, Balinese culinary expert, Janet DeNeefe, and her team. You will smell, touch, taste and learn about the spices that first intoxicated traders throughout the new world, while meeting the local people and witnessing the culture of these little-known corners of the Earth. Finally, you will, of course, dine on local favourites from menus that have been especially selected to highlight the exotic flavours that you have just experienced.

By night, there will be opportunities to deepen your own culinary knowledge by creating fragrant meals with other members of the group in cooking classes led by Janet. As always, on the Ombak Putih, there will be plenty of time for rest and relaxation with a refreshing drink and a book in our comfortable deck lounge. Alternatively, you can simply steal away and take in the incomparable views as we wend our way through the islands.

If heightened adventure is your desire, there is ample time to snorkel, kayak and stand-up paddleboard through the shimmering blue waters. Lined with clove and nutmeg trees, the islands are as fragrant as they are beautiful, boasting dramatic volcanoes, pristine beaches, and crystal clear waters lined with vibrant coral reefs.

Come follow in the footsteps of maritime explorers and tantalise your untamable taste buds as we indulge in all that the fragrant and fiery Spice Islands have to offer.

Note:  Guests will meet the Ombak Putih on the island of Ambon. As we would like to start early, we recommend our guests arrive in Ambon one day before embarkation or take the very early morning flight from Makassar at 3.35 am. The airfares to and from Ambon are not included in the tour package. Our SeaTrek office will be happy to assist you with any information and local flight reservations.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1
This morning we will pick you up from your hotel or the airport and transfer you to Ambon Harbour where you will get your first look at the Ombak Putih. After you are settled on board, we will have a quick briefing before our expert Ms. Janet De Neefe and our tour leaders take you into the town for a visit to the local market. We will have lunch in town at a restaurant to sample some of the local specialties. It was the Maluku Islands (also known as the Moluccas) that triggered the European age of exploration, and Ambon was the historic centre of the Dutch clove monopoly. Today, the city of Ambon is a commercial centre as well as the capital city of the Maluku province. Apart from still being a spice hub, Ambon is one of the biggest hubs for fish and seafood in the area. After lunch, we will board the Ombak Putih again, weigh anchor, and enjoy the view of Ambon Bay as we cruise towards open waters. In the evening, Janet will lead a cooking demonstration in which you will be invited to participate. We will be using ingredients locally sourced on Ambon to prepare the first dinner of the cruise. If tasting rather than cooking is more your speed, then you are welcome to sit back, relax and watch the sunset instead.

Day 2
Today we will arrive at the mysterious island of Manipa which is said to have magical powers because the seafarers on the Portugese, Dutch and Japanese ships never landed here despite occupying all of the surrounding islands. We will visit a distillery for kayu putih oil (similar to eucalyptus oil and known for its antiseptic qualities) for which the area is famous. We will explore the village to learn more about the local life, the local diet and food specialties. During lunch, we will cruise towards the Pulau Tiga Islands for some exceptional swimming, snorkelling, paddleboarding, kayaking and beachcombing. In the evening we will enjoy another delicious meal prepared by the Ombak Putih chefs while we discuss the rich and varied history of Indonesia.

Day 3
Our next destination is the island of Nusa Laut. This is the smallest of the Lease Islands to which Ambon and Saparua also belong. Nusa Laut is one of Indonesia’s Christian islands and it is rarely visited by outsiders. We will see how life in the villages still reflects some of the customs of the forefathers. The island is still filled with clove, nutmeg and cinnamon trees, sago palms and an abundance of fruit trees. The sago palm produces a flour that has become the staple food for the native villages on the islands, and the local people will show us the process of extracting the flour from the tree. Sago Palm is used in many dishes, the most famous of which is called ‘papeda.’ Apart from that, the palm is a source of building material for roofs and bricks. In the afternoon we will be warmly welcomed by one of the villages; the people will show us around and will prepare a feast of local dishes for us right on the beach.

Day 4
This morning is dedicated to exploring Saparua, a former Dutch stronghold in colonial times. The historic Fort Duurstede, located in the heart of Saparua, was established by the Dutch East Indies Company in 1691. In the early 19th century, it was attacked and conquered by Thomas Matulessy, also known as Pattimura, an Ambonese soldier and national hero of Indonesia. This story is told in the museum inside the fort in a realistic diorama. The island boasts a vibrant morning market where we can discover exotic ingredients and stock up on fresh supplies for our evening culinary adventures. In the afternoon we pay a visit to a local earthenware-pottery maker.

Day 5
Our arrival in the renowned Banda Archipelago generates a true sense of historical excitement. These islands, which were once the world’s only source of nutmeg and mace, are among the highlights of Indonesia; famous for their beauty and cultural heritage from the time of the Dutch and English colonisation. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the demand for the aromatic nutmeg, which was believed to be a cure for the bubonic plague, spurred exploration and shaped colonial empires with European traders selling it at a 6,000 percent markup, making it worth more than its weight in gold. The natural splendour of these islands contradicts the brutality that engulfed them during the 17th century when the Dutch sought a total monopoly on the nutmeg trade and the local people resisted. Despite their illustrious and well-documented history, the Banda Islands are a place that time seems to have forgotten. Today they retain an aura of mystery, allure and astonishing remoteness, with a quiet colonial ambience and an exceptional biodiversity that makes this destination truly special. We will anchor near the hacienda-style colonial hotel in Bandaneira, the only city in the Bandas, and stroll through the city visiting old fortresses and admiring plantation mansions from the past.

Day 6,7
These days will be filled with visits to a few of the other islands of the archipelago, perhaps the very small island of Run – which the English traded with the Dutch for Manhattan – as well as the islands of Ai and Hatta, where we will see what remains of the Dutch colonial houses and land parcels known as ‘perken, which were handed to Dutch planters, ‘perkeniers,’ to manage. We will see more forts, as well as churches, cemeteries and nutmeg plantations. Here, the evergreen nutmeg trees – identifiable by the hundreds of ripening yellow fruits that hang from their branches – grow randomly in the shade of the magnificent kenari trees, which themselves yield an almond-like nut locally used in confectionary and sauces. In these rocky backwaters, we will feel on a par with the pioneering adventurers; nutmeg and mace can be seen drying in the sun outside nearly every village home. The locals use the pulp of the fruit to make syrup, jam and candy. We should be able to see learn about the harvesting of the nutmeg and mace, and taste some of the dried fruit, as well as enjoying some nutmeg jam and baked goods flavoured with fresh mace and nutmeg. We will also have several opportunities to explore the pristine waters and bountiful reefs of the islands. We will then proceed from Banda northeast, perhaps with a Moluccan war canoe called a kora-kora, with 20 rowers, escorting our departure out of the harbour in the direction of Ambon.

Day 8
After breakfast on the deck, and a wrap-up of our voyage into 17th century Indonesia, we will say goodbye to the crew and your seaborne home, the Ombak Putih, before transferring you in comfort to Ambon airport for your onward travel.

About The Expert: Janet DeNeefe

Adding extra flavour to this extraordinary adventure will be Ubud Writers & Readers Festival Founder & Director, Janet DeNeefe. Melbourne raised, Janet has made Bali her home since 1984. Her love of Indonesian culture and cuisine led to her opening two Ubud restaurants: Casa Luna, and Indus, as well as inspiring two cookbooks: Fragrant Rice, and Bali: the Food of My Island Home; in addition to a food festival: Ubud Food Festival.

Day 1
This morning we will pick you up from your hotel or the airport and transfer you to Ambon Harbour where you will get your first look at the Ombak Putih. After you are settled on board, we will have a quick briefing before our expert Ms. Janet De Neefe and our tour leaders take you into the town for a visit to the local market. We will have lunch in town at a restaurant to sample some of the local specialties. It was the Maluku Islands (also known as the Moluccas) that triggered the European age of exploration, and Ambon was the historic centre of the Dutch clove monopoly. Today, the city of Ambon is a commercial centre as well as the capital city of the Maluku province. Apart from still being a spice hub, Ambon is one of the biggest hubs for fish and seafood in the area. After lunch, we will board the Ombak Putih again, weigh anchor, and enjoy the view of Ambon Bay as we cruise towards open waters. In the evening, Janet will lead a cooking demonstration in which you will be invited to participate. We will be using ingredients locally sourced on Ambon to prepare the first dinner of the cruise. If tasting rather than cooking is more your speed, then you are welcome to sit back, relax and watch the sunset instead.

Day 2
Today we will arrive at the mysterious island of Manipa which is said to have magical powers because the seafarers on the Portugese, Dutch and Japanese ships never landed here despite occupying all of the surrounding islands. We will visit a distillery for kayu putih oil (similar to eucalyptus oil and known for its antiseptic qualities) for which the area is famous. We will explore the village to learn more about the local life, the local diet and food specialties. During lunch, we will cruise towards the Pulau Tiga Islands for some exceptional swimming, snorkelling, paddleboarding, kayaking and beachcombing. In the evening we will enjoy another delicious meal prepared by the Ombak Putih chefs while we discuss the rich and varied history of Indonesia.

Day 3
Our next destination is the island of Nusa Laut. This is the smallest of the Lease Islands to which Ambon and Saparua also belong. Nusa Laut is one of Indonesia’s Christian islands and it is rarely visited by outsiders. We will see how life in the villages still reflects some of the customs of the forefathers. The island is still filled with clove, nutmeg and cinnamon trees, sago palms and an abundance of fruit trees. The sago palm produces a flour that has become the staple food for the native villages on the islands, and the local people will show us the process of extracting the flour from the tree. Sago Palm is used in many dishes, the most famous of which is called ‘papeda.’ Apart from that, the palm is a source of building material for roofs and bricks. In the afternoon we will be warmly welcomed by one of the villages; the people will show us around and will prepare a feast of local dishes for us right on the beach.

Day 4
This morning is dedicated to exploring Saparua, a former Dutch stronghold in colonial times. The historic Fort Duurstede, located in the heart of Saparua, was established by the Dutch East Indies Company in 1691. In the early 19th century, it was attacked and conquered by Thomas Matulessy, also known as Pattimura, an Ambonese soldier and national hero of Indonesia. This story is told in the museum inside the fort in a realistic diorama. The island boasts a vibrant morning market where we can discover exotic ingredients and stock up on fresh supplies for our evening culinary adventures. In the afternoon we pay a visit to a local earthenware-pottery maker.

Day 5
Our arrival in the renowned Banda Archipelago generates a true sense of historical excitement. These islands, which were once the world’s only source of nutmeg and mace, are among the highlights of Indonesia; famous for their beauty and cultural heritage from the time of the Dutch and English colonisation. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the demand for the aromatic nutmeg, which was believed to be a cure for the bubonic plague, spurred exploration and shaped colonial empires with European traders selling it at a 6,000 percent markup, making it worth more than its weight in gold. The natural splendour of these islands contradicts the brutality that engulfed them during the 17th century when the Dutch sought a total monopoly on the nutmeg trade and the local people resisted. Despite their illustrious and well-documented history, the Banda Islands are a place that time seems to have forgotten. Today they retain an aura of mystery, allure and astonishing remoteness, with a quiet colonial ambience and an exceptional biodiversity that makes this destination truly special. We will anchor near the hacienda-style colonial hotel in Bandaneira, the only city in the Bandas, and stroll through the city visiting old fortresses and admiring plantation mansions from the past.

Day 6,7
These days will be filled with visits to a few of the other islands of the archipelago, perhaps the very small island of Run – which the English traded with the Dutch for Manhattan – as well as the islands of Ai and Hatta, where we will see what remains of the Dutch colonial houses and land parcels known as ‘perken, which were handed to Dutch planters, ‘perkeniers,’ to manage. We will see more forts, as well as churches, cemeteries and nutmeg plantations. Here, the evergreen nutmeg trees – identifiable by the hundreds of ripening yellow fruits that hang from their branches – grow randomly in the shade of the magnificent kenari trees, which themselves yield an almond-like nut locally used in confectionary and sauces. In these rocky backwaters, we will feel on a par with the pioneering adventurers; nutmeg and mace can be seen drying in the sun outside nearly every village home. The locals use the pulp of the fruit to make syrup, jam and candy. We should be able to see learn about the harvesting of the nutmeg and mace, and taste some of the dried fruit, as well as enjoying some nutmeg jam and baked goods flavoured with fresh mace and nutmeg. We will also have several opportunities to explore the pristine waters and bountiful reefs of the islands. We will then proceed from Banda northeast, perhaps with a Moluccan war canoe called a kora-kora, with 20 rowers, escorting our departure out of the harbour in the direction of Ambon.

Day 8
After breakfast on the deck, and a wrap-up of our voyage into 17th century Indonesia, we will say goodbye to the crew and your seaborne home, the Ombak Putih, before transferring you in comfort to Ambon airport for your onward travel.

Meet Cruise Expert >>

Cruise Summary

Discover the Indonesian Spice Islands with all of your senses. Your senses of smell, taste and adventure will all be peaked to the max on this all-inclusive, eight-day culinary tour and exploration of the tiny islands that shaped a whole world of flavour.

Every day you can look forward to engaging encounters while visiting the many islands on our route. On these embarkations, you will tour markets with Australian-born, Balinese culinary expert, Janet DeNeefe, and her team. You will smell, touch, taste and learn about the spices that first intoxicated traders throughout the new world, while meeting the local people and witnessing the culture of these little-known corners of the Earth. Finally, you will, of course, dine on local favourites from menus that have been especially selected to highlight the exotic flavours that you have just experienced.

By night, there will be opportunities to deepen your own culinary knowledge by creating fragrant meals with other members of the group in cooking classes led by Janet. As always, on the Ombak Putih, there will be plenty of time for rest and relaxation with a refreshing drink and a book in our comfortable deck lounge. Alternatively, you can simply steal away and take in the incomparable views as we wend our way through the islands.

If heightened adventure is your desire, there is ample time to snorkel, kayak and stand-up paddleboard through the shimmering blue waters. Lined with clove and nutmeg trees, the islands are as fragrant as they are beautiful, boasting dramatic volcanoes, pristine beaches, and crystal clear waters lined with vibrant coral reefs.

Come follow in the footsteps of maritime explorers and tantalise your untamable taste buds as we indulge in all that the fragrant and fiery Spice Islands have to offer.

Note:  Guests will meet the Ombak Putih on the island of Ambon. As we would like to start early, we recommend our guests arrive in Ambon one day before embarkation or take the very early morning flight from Makassar at 3.35 am. The airfares to and from Ambon are not included in the tour package. Our SeaTrek office will be happy to assist you with any information and local flight reservations.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1
This morning we will pick you up from your hotel or the airport and transfer you to Ambon Harbour where you will get your first look at the Ombak Putih. After you are settled on board, we will have a quick briefing before our expert Ms. Janet De Neefe and our tour leaders take you into the town for a visit to the local market. We will have lunch in town at a restaurant to sample some of the local specialties. It was the Maluku Islands (also known as the Moluccas) that triggered the European age of exploration, and Ambon was the historic centre of the Dutch clove monopoly. Today, the city of Ambon is a commercial centre as well as the capital city of the Maluku province. Apart from still being a spice hub, Ambon is one of the biggest hubs for fish and seafood in the area. After lunch, we will board the Ombak Putih again, weigh anchor, and enjoy the view of Ambon Bay as we cruise towards open waters. In the evening, Janet will lead a cooking demonstration in which you will be invited to participate. We will be using ingredients locally sourced on Ambon to prepare the first dinner of the cruise. If tasting rather than cooking is more your speed, then you are welcome to sit back, relax and watch the sunset instead.

Day 2
Today we will arrive at the mysterious island of Manipa which is said to have magical powers because the seafarers on the Portugese, Dutch and Japanese ships never landed here despite occupying all of the surrounding islands. We will visit a distillery for kayu putih oil (similar to eucalyptus oil and known for its antiseptic qualities) for which the area is famous. We will explore the village to learn more about the local life, the local diet and food specialties. During lunch, we will cruise towards the Pulau Tiga Islands for some exceptional swimming, snorkelling, paddleboarding, kayaking and beachcombing. In the evening we will enjoy another delicious meal prepared by the Ombak Putih chefs while we discuss the rich and varied history of Indonesia.

Day 3
Our next destination is the island of Nusa Laut. This is the smallest of the Lease Islands to which Ambon and Saparua also belong. Nusa Laut is one of Indonesia’s Christian islands and it is rarely visited by outsiders. We will see how life in the villages still reflects some of the customs of the forefathers. The island is still filled with clove, nutmeg and cinnamon trees, sago palms and an abundance of fruit trees. The sago palm produces a flour that has become the staple food for the native villages on the islands, and the local people will show us the process of extracting the flour from the tree. Sago Palm is used in many dishes, the most famous of which is called ‘papeda.’ Apart from that, the palm is a source of building material for roofs and bricks. In the afternoon we will be warmly welcomed by one of the villages; the people will show us around and will prepare a feast of local dishes for us right on the beach.

Day 4
This morning is dedicated to exploring Saparua, a former Dutch stronghold in colonial times. The historic Fort Duurstede, located in the heart of Saparua, was established by the Dutch East Indies Company in 1691. In the early 19th century, it was attacked and conquered by Thomas Matulessy, also known as Pattimura, an Ambonese soldier and national hero of Indonesia. This story is told in the museum inside the fort in a realistic diorama. The island boasts a vibrant morning market where we can discover exotic ingredients and stock up on fresh supplies for our evening culinary adventures. In the afternoon we pay a visit to a local earthenware-pottery maker.

Day 5
Our arrival in the renowned Banda Archipelago generates a true sense of historical excitement. These islands, which were once the world’s only source of nutmeg and mace, are among the highlights of Indonesia; famous for their beauty and cultural heritage from the time of the Dutch and English colonisation. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the demand for the aromatic nutmeg, which was believed to be a cure for the bubonic plague, spurred exploration and shaped colonial empires with European traders selling it at a 6,000 percent markup, making it worth more than its weight in gold. The natural splendour of these islands contradicts the brutality that engulfed them during the 17th century when the Dutch sought a total monopoly on the nutmeg trade and the local people resisted. Despite their illustrious and well-documented history, the Banda Islands are a place that time seems to have forgotten. Today they retain an aura of mystery, allure and astonishing remoteness, with a quiet colonial ambience and an exceptional biodiversity that makes this destination truly special. We will anchor near the hacienda-style colonial hotel in Bandaneira, the only city in the Bandas, and stroll through the city visiting old fortresses and admiring plantation mansions from the past.

Day 6,7
These days will be filled with visits to a few of the other islands of the archipelago, perhaps the very small island of Run – which the English traded with the Dutch for Manhattan – as well as the islands of Ai and Hatta, where we will see what remains of the Dutch colonial houses and land parcels known as ‘perken, which were handed to Dutch planters, ‘perkeniers,’ to manage. We will see more forts, as well as churches, cemeteries and nutmeg plantations. Here, the evergreen nutmeg trees – identifiable by the hundreds of ripening yellow fruits that hang from their branches – grow randomly in the shade of the magnificent kenari trees, which themselves yield an almond-like nut locally used in confectionary and sauces. In these rocky backwaters, we will feel on a par with the pioneering adventurers; nutmeg and mace can be seen drying in the sun outside nearly every village home. The locals use the pulp of the fruit to make syrup, jam and candy. We should be able to see learn about the harvesting of the nutmeg and mace, and taste some of the dried fruit, as well as enjoying some nutmeg jam and baked goods flavoured with fresh mace and nutmeg. We will also have several opportunities to explore the pristine waters and bountiful reefs of the islands. We will then proceed from Banda northeast, perhaps with a Moluccan war canoe called a kora-kora, with 20 rowers, escorting our departure out of the harbour in the direction of Ambon.

Day 8
After breakfast on the deck, and a wrap-up of our voyage into 17th century Indonesia, we will say goodbye to the crew and your seaborne home, the Ombak Putih, before transferring you in comfort to Ambon airport for your onward travel.

About The Expert: Janet DeNeefe

Adding extra flavour to this extraordinary adventure will be Ubud Writers & Readers Festival Founder & Director, Janet DeNeefe. Melbourne raised, Janet has made Bali her home since 1984. Her love of Indonesian culture and cuisine led to her opening two Ubud restaurants: Casa Luna, and Indus, as well as inspiring two cookbooks: Fragrant Rice, and Bali: the Food of My Island Home; in addition to a food festival: Ubud Food Festival.

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Janet DeNeefe

Adding extra flavour to this extraordinary adventure will be Ubud Writers & Readers Festival Founder & Director, Janet DeNeefe. Melbourne raised, Janet has made Bali her home since 1984. Her love of Indonesian culture and cuisine led to her opening two Ubud restaurants: Casa Luna, and Indus, as well as inspiring two cookbooks: Fragrant Rice, and Bali: the Food of My Island Home; in addition to a food festival: Ubud Food Festival.