Our position is 03:35:28S 128:37:42E
Banda offered more than scenery. These islands have a tragic history with one purge after the other. The original Bandanese were all but wiped out by the Dutch in the early 17. century (many thousands of people). After that it was the "gem" of the Spice Islands, although blood continued to flow at a ridiculous rate. The population is now the descendants of Arab, Dutch, Javanese and Chinese, but hardly any Bandanese. Today Banda is left to its own accord, quite poor after the Dutch left in 1945. The old mansions are still there, but badly in need of repairs. But the nature is magnificent with an excellent harbour next to a smoking (now and then) volcano (the Bandanese think they may end up as a sort of modern Pompeii).
People are nice, and their commercial background is apparent. Here we are allowed to pay and urged to buy. There are lots of antiques lying around. Fancy an old Portuguese or Dutch cannon made of bronze, approx. year 1600? Cannons, guns, coins and pottery are everywhere. And the diving on the coral walls are truly among the best. Where to stay if you are not on a boat? Mutiara Guest House is certainly among the best we have visited anywhere.
As yet we know very little about Saparua. The villages here are mostly Christian, and we are invited for lunch at the old Dutch fort "Duurstede". More about that later.
Eva and Jan Fr.
See also www.sailaway.no
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