When you live in an archipelago, what better way to travel than by boat? And, Indonesia being the world’s largest archipelago, seafaring is undoubtedly the way to go – although with over 17,000 islands, ambitions must be modest. Since I lived here last time, I have had a desire to do a little island-hopping by boat, and now we will be off on an initial expedition – if this works well, then there are more far-flung opportunities. I guess this trip is, technically, a cruise, but the ship is quite the opposite of a typical cruising behemoth. We will be travelling on the Ombak Putih, the “white wave,” shown above – a purpose-built ship in the tradition of the old Bugis vessels that still ply their trade in these waters, perhaps twenty passengers plus crew – simple, comfortable, and good food.
The itinerary? Here’s the map:
Starting off in Bali, we will cross that icon of biogeography, evolution, and geological history, the Wallace Line, and travel east through the islands of Nusa Tenggara, ending up in Flores and Komodo (“there be dragons”). Along the way, several volcanoes, including Tambora, origin of the greatest volcanic eruption in recorded history that occurred in 1815 and resulted in the infamous “year without a summer” in Europe and North America; as a possible portent of unscheduled entertainment, Tambora has been rumbling in the last few weeks. Also en route, of course, a glorious variety of beaches – that will, at least briefly, contain slightly less sand after the visit of your humble correspondent.
So, I will be (blissfully) out of routine communication for week or so, but will, I hope, return refreshed and with some entertaining stories.
[Lombok beach image http://indonesia-oh-indonesia.blogspot.com/2011/09/south-lombok-island.html]