We have since spent an incredible week in these islands. I am accustomed to travelling to interesting places but the Banda Islands are truly unique. They are the original home of nutmeg, for thousands of years this was the only place in the world where nutmeg was grown, consequently these tiny islands, distant from the mainland, have often been at the centre of world events.
The Dutch, British and Portugese had skirmished over these islands in the 16th and 17th centuries. That people would travel half way around the world and risk their lives seeking ingredients to make their food taste better blows my mind. At one stage the British swapped with the Dutch the Banda island of Rhun for Manhattan. That’s a pretty good deal! It gives an idea how valuable these islands once were. But does anyone know of the Banda Islands now? Its glory days have faded.
The colonisers no longer lived there but they had left their mark. Beautiful colonial houses and blunt stone forts were in surprisingly wonderful condition. The local people were also quite comfortable being around foreigners I felt. They were a little shy at times but there was no gawking or shouting at, we were just part of the scene and encouraged to wander around their laidback towns.
The diving was also incredible! An amazing diversity of fish and
beautiful underwater walls with decent coral coverage. We had a couple of great dives but mostly we just enjoyed snorkeling. We are all getting better at free-diving, we can dive deeper and hold our breath for longer. It’s a peaceful, beautiful thing to swim deep and be with the fish for a minute or two on their home turf without the cumbersome gear or bubbles.