In preparation for the expedition, we started a book club and read Nathaniel's Nutmeg that narrates the competition between the European countries in the 1600s to stake their claim on the "Spiceries." The book describes the obstacles, hardships, tropical diseases, and dangers that sailors faced in reaching these islands - on average only 20% survived! Luckily we fared much better during our trip and all members survived the trek.
We started our journey off with a relaxing overnight stay in Ambon to fully prepare ourselves for the Pelni - a ferry run by the Indonesian government. Getting on the ship was our first challenge and unfortunately I have no pictures as we were warned about the pick-pockets and told to hide all valuables as deep in our bags as possible. Boarding was a sweaty free-for-all with thousands of people pushing to get on and off the boat, porters forcing their way through the crowd, groups of hawkers selling all kinds of "treasures", and of course a group of 10 tall Westerners trying to find our way through the maze. We made it to our rooms and immediately headed to the deck and cracked a few bottles of wine to celebrate.
|Banda Benders 2014|
|Main stairway to get to the upper decks|
|Economy class has beds and a shelf to store your stuff|
|So many families were traveling in this condition, very sad.|
|Adelle is really lovin' our second class cabin|
|This porter was using a suitcase as a battering ram to get through the crowd. Shortly after this picture, he slammed me in the head one too many times and got a tongue lashing along with a stink eye.|
|So many schools of fish!|
|Crystal clear water and lush green jungles made this some of the most beautiful scenery we've seen|
|Little blue shrimp - good find Jeff!|
|Love these clown fish|
|Six person selfie outside the old Dutch fort|
|This shot took about a dozen tries|
|Sunset from the dock|
|Our last look at the Pelni after disembarking in Ambon. Can you spot the two bules in the crowd?|