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The Moluccas – Maluku in Indonesian– are the original Spice Islands, and a magical destination, beautiful, remote and unspoiled, with a long, fascinating and turbulent history. For millennia these fertile volcanic isles, dotted about the Equator, were the world’s only source of the ‘holy trinity’ of rare spices; cloves, nutmeg and mace. Once worth their weight in gold, they were traded along the ancient monsoon sea routes that stretched from China to India, the Middle East and the Mediterranean, enriching Moluccan kings, enterprising seafarers and distant merchant-middlemen such as the Arabs and Venetians. Such huge profits lured Europeans out onto the world’s oceans to find the spices’ mysterious source for themselves. Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and English fortune seekers wrote a violent history of treaties and treachery among these islands, battling to monopolise them. The Moluccas were torn, too, by Indonesia’s struggle for independence and more recent transition from dictatorship to democracy. Today they bask in peace as well as natural beauty and bio-diversity, below the water as well as above. Your Indonesian-speaking guest lecturer Jeffrey Mellefont, a research associate of the Australian National Maritime Museum, is an expert on this unique island world and its traditional maritime communities. He relates their stories as we sail from age-old ports full of history and heritage to unspoiled villages and wilderness that can only be accessed by our ship’ tenders. From the clove Sultanates of Ternate and Tidore we follow spice routes through sheltered islands and seas to the remote but charming Banda islands, the original source of nutmeg. Our final destination is the busy provincial capital, Ambon.
The Expert's Advice
Richly illustrated by photography taken during research into Indonesia over the past 30 years, Jeffrey’s lectures and talks will cover a wide array of topics covering culture, history, and the traditions and navigational techniques of the maritime world of the Indies. In addition, there will also be possible opportunities to go aboard local boats, with a chance to sail, meet and engage with the crews, with Jeffrey translating as we go.
- Silk, Spice and Gunpowder
- Tanah Air Kita – Indonesia’s Land of Water
- Mighty Maritime Empires
- A Tapestry of Seafarers
- Celebes Ships: History Behind the SeaTrek Fleet
- Renown Europeans and the Prahus of Indonesia.
- Bahasa: the Unifying Utility of the Indonesian Tongue
Note: The price of this cruise does not include any domestic airfares to and from our start and end points, however, our reservations specialists in Bali are more than happy to help arrange domestic flights on your behalf and advise on scheduling. We book hundreds of flights each year on behalf of our guests and we know the best routes to take to ensure you arrive on time. We only book with IATA-approved airlines that have met with international standards of safety and dependability. Except for Bali, transfers to and from local airports to the boat are also included. If you are booking flights by yourself, do not book any flights before checking with us first. Our first and last day programmes rely on strict time scheduling, so please confirm with us to ensure that you arrive and depart at your destination with plenty of time to spare and to avoid disruption to other guests' schedules.