Midnight Escape

Ah… boat life. I love it, really. Even when my husband wakes me up in the middle of the night to come and help remove the stern lines and lift the anchor. We were in a bit of a pickle. Strong gusts had dragged us sideways and a one-metre swell on the beam made the anchorage uncomfortable. To make things worse we were surrounded by mooring boys and local boats, making escaping tricky business. Seathan decided it was better to re-anchor while it was still relatively calm and before the stronger gusts arrived (the new swell indicated more weather was on its way).

I was yawning away on the foredeck whilst looking out with a big torch for other boats, fishing devices, mooring buoys and anything else that could be in our way. It was only a few miles to the other side of the bay which was well protected but unfortunately very deep. Only solution was to drop in 35 metres, just 40 metres from the shore and then tie a stern line to the trees. All this in the pitch-black and without the help from our number one crew who was soundly asleep. But we managed and we got some sleep in the end (at least I did; I think Seathan was up and down a few times).

The kids slept through it all didn’t notice anything until the next morning, when they poked their heads outside the cockpit. 😀

Anyway, such is life onboard Rehua!

Apart from the deep anchorages, the Banda Islands are great! Beautiful lush islands with plenty of dive and snorkelling opportunity (even the harbour wall!), many remnants of old colonial days, characterful old buildings and, of course, spices. You can buy heaps of nutmegs, mace, cloves and cinnamon everywhere. Banda Neira, the main island, has a small and picturesque centre with many colonial style buildings, an old Dutch fort, a mosque, a few small restaurants, several dive hotels, guesthouses and a decent fresh produce market.

A couple of days ago we went on a spice tour in nearby Banda Besar; a gorgeous island with huge plantations dating back to the Dutch colonial days. We’ve also climbed the volcano on Banda Api, but of course you’ve read all about that on the kids blog!

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Rehua anchored at Banda Neira


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Midnight escape to the other side of the bay (photo courtesy of our Norwegian friends)


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The mosque and the volcano


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many beautiful colonial style buildings


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outside the museum


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the cruel history of Dutch colonial times


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Fort Belgica


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women in the market


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the view from Banda Besar


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Banda Besar


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Spices drying along the roadside


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mace


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unripe nutmeg


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cloves


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cinnamon trees smell delicious


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local cuties


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huge 600 year-old almond trees shade the nutmeg trees


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a man carrying water


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old coins anyone?


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on the way back from our spice tour


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ruins everywhere


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the mosque on Banda Besar


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meeting the local school children at Banda Neira


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Volcano Api in the background, can’t believe we climbed to the top!


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the view from the top


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that was hard work


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at the top of the volcano, many smoking vents


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ready to descent


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colourful harbour display


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local mooring line


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don’t step on these


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feathery corals


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strange tail


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mandarin fish


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they come out at sunset…


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…and are just gorgeous!

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