After spending 7 weeks in Raja Ampat, we sailed along the Ceram Sea, south to Ambon.
We sailed into the straits surrounding Ambon at night and we could already smell the clove and nutmeg.
Ambon is a big city and the tourism industry is trying to recover after the war that was fought here between 1999 and 2002. The city has a 50-50 muslim christian population and they clashed violently with great loss of life and property.
We do not know of many places where you can feel the history with your five senses.
In the Middle Age, the Moluccass were the only islands in the world that produced nutmeg. Egyptians and Chinese traded with the Banda Islands as early as 4.000 BC and Arab traders from the middle east had been trading for centuries when europeans found out about the spices. Food seems to have been pretty tasteless back in those days and the spices revolutionized the eating experience. Obviously, only for those who could afford it, since the spices had to come from so far away.
Portuguese, in the 15th century were the first ones to find a sailing route to the Banda Islands, via the Cape of Good Hope and soon the Spanish followed looking for an alternative on a westward route.
That brought Columbus to America !!
Dutch and British followed later.
The Empires fought each other to control the trade routes (Venice emerged with this spice trade) and continents were discovered on the journeys to get to these island.
“Whoever is Lord of Malacca has his hand on the throat of Venice.“
Tome Pires, apothecary, traveller and author of a landmark book on Asian trade, the Suma Oriental que trata do Mar Roxo até aos Chins
Lumbaz was on a journey to explore the Spice Islands.
Banda Neira is a very small island in a big ocean but many civilizations and cultures have left their footprints, both historically and genetically on this island.
For us, it became one of the most interesting and fascinating places on our journey.