Friday, November 01, 2013

Rhun

From the tiny island of Nailaka (Indonesia), we dinghied over to the larger westernmost island of Rhun where we had snorkelled yesterday and this time went ashore to a beach to see what we could find. We found a few shells but also saved some old washed up remnants of Chinese pottery from the Dutch colonial period.

As a digression, I offer an interesting bit of history. Rhun is sometimes called Manhattan Island in jest. You see, in 1667, the Dutch possessed almost all the Banda islands except for Rhun which it wanted to complete its control of the spice trade. So a trade was made: Rhun, owned by the British, for the sparsely populated island of Manhattan, owned by the Dutch. That's right, now the New York island (USA). What a difference time can make!

View from the village

The village has about 1,000 persons and was mostly very tidy with not too much of the ubiquitous Indonesian litter lying around. Some houses were constructed with tile overlay which was quite attractive and many had detailed, colourful window and/or doors.

Neat and colourful tiled house

Built along a steep slope of steps and concrete paths along vine-draped limestone cliffs, the village has an upper and lower level, and we were soon joined in our village exploration by a young local man named Burhan. Burhan told us that there was a wedding feast being prepared for tomorrow and he walked us to where the preparations were in progress. Many women were slaving in the hot temperatures - boiling food in large pots over fires, squeezing coconut cream from fresh coconut, preparing fish cakes in small ovens in hot shacks, etc.

Meal prep for wedding

Burhan invited us to the wedding and party which was later in the evening (feast tomorrow/wedding today) but we politely declined as we were anxious to get some miles under us. The entire village attends a wedding and most prepare and provide for the feast.

Burhan next took us to his guest house where he served us fresh coconut juice from coconuts picked from his trees in the backyard. He also picked a fruit from his tree that we had never tried before called kedondong, a small green fruit that you eat entirely. Crunchy with pucker power! We had also purchased from a neighbour a fruit called delima, a larger yellow fruit (which was similar to a pomegranate). Neither will be on our shopping list soon.

Not to our taste

Burhan also sold us a papaya and 3 coconuts for 10,000 Rupia (about $1 Cdn). We love the prices in Indonesia!

We drift snorkelled past Rhun once again (as it had been so good yesterday) before lifting anchor at 15:00 under hot sunny skies and calm seas for our passage south towards Flores.

Our unscheduled visit to the Banda islands was another example of finding an unexpected surprise and those are the experiences we remember the best. For us, that's what sailing is all about!

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