Monday, October 28, 2013

Banda bustle

The day the passenger/cargo ship comes to Banda's inner harbour is always a busy event. The alley in front of the terminal is packed with comers and goers and venders of every type set up in their makeshift booths and small boats cramming the docks to facilitate the expediting of cargo and passengers. This day was no exception as a colossal passenger/cargo ship arrived early in the morning passing real close in front of Sea Turtle, and shoehorning itself in at the pier.

Tiny dock compared to huge approaching ship...


Loads of longboats waiting for cargo and/or passengers...


Crowds of locals with their prized goods...


And then as quickly as it had all started, it suddenly seemed to be over. The people had all disappeared, the stalls were empty, and this gentleman appears to be finished for the day with his empty cart...


We too decided to high-tail it and dinghied over to Banda Besar (Big Banda) to a pearl farm. This large farm was set up different from the ones we had visited in French Polynesia. There were thousands of submerged oysters in the process of hopefully making saleable pearls.

Racks of oysters beneath our feet...


These Indo pearls are almost always white or a beautiful yellow, almost never black. They are essentially all sold for export through Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia) and only a few locally. Up in the yard was a crew of chattering workers sorting emptied shells and they waved us over to see. As a by-product, the shells are sold to China and we watched as they did their rapid sorting.

Rickety dock leaving pearl farm facility...


It was still early so we went over by the volcano island of Gunungapi across from Sea Turtle to snorkel. We splashed in the water just down from the black lava flow and found it to be pretty good. There was a large amount of different varieties of coral and many bright coloured fish.

On the way back, we passed a little island with volcanic formation similar to Ireland's Giant's Causeway. So curious with such square rock formations...


So far, we have been unable to purchase wine in Indonesia. Beer, not so cheap, is always available, but wine, non-existent in most places is very expensive. A potent black market liquor called Arak and made from palm is sometimes available.

Our inquiry turned up a dealer but we weren't sure if we wanted to buy it or not, so we said we would think about it. When we later returned to Sea Turtle, the seller was hanging around, but totally inebriated! He tried to talk us into drinking with him, but we politely declined. We decided black market products were not the best idea to partake of, not knowing exactly what it was made of but we supposed if he drank it and lived, it would have been alright. Although at 02:00, Jordan saw him laid out in a cadaverous pose. In the morning, he was gone.

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